The Author Next Door

Weston local, Ellen Wolfson Valladares, launches her second novel, Crossing The Line: an intriguing, mystical tale about friendship, fate, and the courage to believe.

Ellen always knew she wanted to be a writer. From a young age, she loved to write for fun and dreamed about writing a book one day. In college, she studied journalism and began a career that involved writing news, features, public relations, and advertising copy. By the late 1990s, the desire to write a book came back and in 2008 her first self-published book, a children’s novel called Jonathan’s Journey to Mount Miapu, came out.

It took a few years before she came up with another idea that inspired her enough to start the writing process. “I don’t know if people realize how much goes into writing a book. The second time around, I realized I still had a lot to learn about fiction writing. I was writing a young adult novel this time and I wanted to develop great characters, a well-thought- out plot, and compelling scenes. So you write and rewrite and rewrite again. I got feedback and rewrote again,” she shares. Only this time, she chose to find a publisher. It was really a dream come true when WiDo Publishing expressed interest in her manuscript.

The inspiration behind Crossing the Line started in the headlines involving tragedies in which kids did some unspeakable acts against each other. Ellen remembers thinking “if they had just taken a moment to stop and try to understand what was going on with the other person they wouldn’t have made the rash choices they made.” That’s when the book idea popped into her head: the spirit of a girl who died comes back to make sure that what caused her death doesn’t happen again. “It’s interesting and fascinating how a story and its characters develop out of a simple thought, and how the subtle messages we hope to convey get wedged between the cracks of an entertaining tale. That’s the beauty of fiction. You hope to entertain and if you’re lucky, you inspire along the way,” she exclaims.

The story is told in alternating points of view: Rebecca, a current-day teenager, and the spirit, Laura, from the 1980s. Ellen’s two children and their high school friends inspired the first character’s perspective and the latter was fueled by her very own memories from the class of 1983. As she wrote, she learned that “so much is different between the generations, namely technology and access to information, and yet, so much of the teenage angst is the same. Everyone still just wants to be accepted and seen.”

Ellen’s immediate future is filled with book events, including the launch of Crossing The Line on April 15th from 3:30 to 6:30 at Zen Mystery in Dania Beach. She is also hoping to put together a writing workshop and has a couple of ideas brewing for future books and projects. We will see what takes flight!