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Monday, March 27, 2023

CRAFTS WITH ANASTASIA--AUTHOR ELLE MITCHELL VISUALIZES HER STORIES BY CREATING MINIATURE SCENES

Elle Mitchell writes raw, character-driven dark fiction. She spends her downtime researching and eating more than her share of homemade baked goods. Learn more about Elle and her books at her website. 

I’m a visual person.

 

That sounds almost contradictory, given that I’m an author. I haven’t always been a writer, though. I used to be a special effects makeup artist. It was a lifetime ago, when I used another name and lived in another city. 

 

A long medical journey led me to leave my original career path in need of a more sedentary lifestyle; it led me to writing. But when the newness of my first novel wore off, I realized I missed that physical, tactile representation of my work. So used to seeing my vision on screen, it felt small on a page. 

 

In came crafting.

 

I’ve been a crafter since I was a teen, but not a focused one. Until that point, I’d tried a little bit of everything—from shadowbox necklaces to encaustics. Choosing what would best represent my books seemed impossible. So, for years, it was everything.

 

I made resin shakers of TVs and embroideries of cul de sacs, collages of inspiration photos, and beaded jewelry. It all still felt a little lacking. When I started making miniature books to keep track of my reading, things seemed to fall into place.


I dove into the world of miniatures headfirst. Something about me: I’m not good at trying or testing something. I just have to do it.

 

There were a lot of glue mishaps and ruined pajama pants. But eventually, I found my stride. 

 

Once the miniatures are in my hands, it’s like I'm able to let the stories go. They are truly complete.

 

With Another Elizabeth, I knew I wanted to make one or two crime scenes. My first instinct was to choose the bloodiest ones and tap back into the side of me that came home with blood splatters on her cheek and chunks of fleshy bits in her hair, but I went a different way. I chose by the location.

 

I wanted to make a dirty kitchen and a coffee table, to stain a piece of carpet with paint and have an overflowing trash can with a slimy pizza box. Making small and ordinary objects was so gratifying. 

 

I feel as proud holding a miniature loveseat that I made as I do holding a book I wrote. One took months, maybe a year or more, while the other only took a few hours. But both express how I view the world. That’s not nothing.

 

I plucked a still image of violence from Elizabeth’s imagination for the second miniature. She works at a grocery store and has a fun time picturing the murders of her customers. This led me to a checkout line conveyor belt covered in viscera.

 

Most of the materials I used are scrap paper, packaging from cream cheese or scissors, polymer clay, or plastic bits of broken electronics. There are a few 3D printed objects (the sink, for instance), and the silverware was purchased.

 

Bringing parts of the story into the physical world is like a bookend to the novel. My imagination has come to life in every way I can share it. 

 

I hope readers enjoy the extension of the novel, and it draws miniature lovers to the book because curiosity kills people (never cats).

 

Another Elizabeth

The Janes Series, Book 3

 

Elizabeth Dauphine’s life is taking a turn. She has three jobs, a boyfriend that loves her too much, and a recent diagnosis of Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. She’s coming apart at the seams. Now all she cares about is keeping her promise to her younger self before her body fails her—kill without getting caught.

 

Can Elizabeth physically handle satisfying her urge and maintaining her carefully built fa├žade of normalcy? And if so, will she be able to stop with just one victim?

 

Note: This is a dark book with many graphic situations. There is no sexual assault or rape. No animals are tortured or die.

 

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