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  • Anna P.

Indie Support Sunday: Estelle Grant

I might not have read their debut, but I’m calling it right now—Estelle Grant is going to be an indie author to watch for as long as she writes! Finding My Name releases tomorrow and I am so excited to dive into this story, because from everything Estelle has said about it…the book feels like a glimpse into their soul. Including writing Sally, a trans woman, as one of the leads!


Estelle and I connected via Threads (honestly, it’s the best place to meet indie authors) and I love their brand of honesty. Plus, I feel like we’re a lot alike in the way we see the world. Not to mention that Estelle’s writing journey began with fanfiction (me too!) and got back into reading romance thanks to the pandemic. She also makes playlists for every story, which is honestly the coolest thing ever.


Make sure Finding My Name is on your TBR and pick it up in Kindle Unlimited when it releases tomorrow!


BEING AN AUTHOR

Who or what inspired you to write?

I’ve always known I wanted to write stories. Even from a young age, romance has always intrigued me. I just wanted everyone to have a love story. In high school it started with fanfiction and then as time went on I realized I wanted to write original works. 


I actually stopped writing when I got to college because I thought I could never write a novel, but during the pandemic I rediscovered reading romance and that really sparked this fire and it hasn’t died since. But there is a Norwegian drama series called Skam that inspired my style of writing and made me realize how much I loved interconnected standalones.


What’s the best and worst part about being an indie author? 

The best part is the control and the community you build. I feel like so many indie authors want to help each other and it’s beautiful, really. I also love the control because I get to write whatever I want. I have no idea if a Trans FMC would sell and trad publishing might push back on that, but with the indie route I can write about my experience and not feel pressured to write something else.  


The worst part? Probably the cost. I don’t believe you have to spend a lot of money to publish, but I know I needed a lot of editing done because of my dyslexia. Grammar is something I struggle with all the time. 


Why did you choose to self-publish instead of going the traditional route?

Like I said before, control really. I was super stressed when I realized I wanted to release a book between my debut series Book 1 and 2 and I don’t think Trad would have let me do that. I also think the rejection after rejection from querying would literally kill my soul. 


When you’re not writing, what do you do to get the creative juices flowing?

Playlists, I make one for each story I have in my head. I can play it and I can literally watch the scenes happening with each song. Pinterest is also a big one I play around on. 


I also love going on long nature walks and driving just to relax and let my brain think slowly. 


If you were to recommend books to me (in any genre), what would they be?

Dark Romance: Kill Switch by Penelope Douglas, The FMC is blind and the way the world is described through her POV is just so beautiful to me. It’s also the book I think about daily. 

Mafia Romance: The Bully by Sophie Lark, I love a good redemption arc

Queer romance: The duology What If it’s Us/Here’s to Us by Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli. Beautiful YA romance. 


My taste ranges from incredibly dark to sweet tooth all the time. 


What are your top 5 tips or pieces of advice for aspiring authors?

I def don’t think I’m able to give advice, but if I gave any, it would be this

  1. Don’t edit while you write. It really bogs down the process, and you get stuck on chapter one for a week.

  2. Have other creative outlets on days it’s hard to write. Whether that’s making a playlist or creating a video/post. I always have a side WIP to write if my current project is being mean.

  3. Don’t rush through any of the drafts. Take your time and work at your pace. 

  4. Mental health breaks are important. No book is worth you becoming sick over it.

  5. Write what you want to write. People will tell you to write, but if it doesn’t feel right to you then it’s not right. Trust your gut. 


ROMANCE AS A GENRE

Why did you choose romance as the genre to write in? What is your favorite thing about the genre?

Love stories mean the world to me. I think everyone deserves one and I made it kind of my mission to bring to life stories about trans women. I love the happiness mixed with the angst. The moment they realize they are in love, it just makes me giggle like a schoolgirl. 


If not romance/subgenres of romance, what genre would you like to write in?

Probably paranormal. I don’t know if I could write a full fantasy book, but I love anime and manga so I’ve had ideas for paranormal stories. Maybe I will write one someday under a different pen name. 


What are your most and least favorite tropes?

Most favorite: Fake Dating, Unrequited love, Grumpy Sunshine, and enemies to lovers. 

Least favorite: Second Chance, friends to lovers, love triangle, and Why Choose


What are some tropes you want to write in the future?

I want to write a bully romance so badly, but I’m not sure if I have time in my schedule for it. 


What are some topics (sensitive and otherwise) that you think should exist more in romance?

Men's mental health, burnout, and glass children.


If you write open door romance, why did you choose that and what inspires your sex scenes?

It felt right. I also didn’t want to shy away from trans women having sex because it felt like I was hiding it then. Trans women are allowed to be just as sexual as anyone else. We often get demonized for our sexuality. 


YOUR BOOKS

What inspired your published story? How and when did you come up with these stories and plots?

I always had this fantasy of returning to my hometown and no one recognized me. Sally kind of lives out that fantasy for me, but she’s not very happy about it. 


Can you briefly tell me about your debut?

Finding My Name follows two childhood friends who reunite one summer. Sally is a trans woman that was saved from her birth family and adopted into the Reed family and the summer before college she gets a letter informing her of her birth parents' deaths. So in order to move on, she travels to her hometown, Alliance, to settle everything. There she runs into her childhood friend Oliver, but realizes he doesn’t recognize her. It becomes more complicated when Oliver starts to flirt with her. 


Do you already have a favorite character from the stories you’ve written?

Yes I do. I know authors are supposed to love them equally, but I do have a favorite. His name is Jaxon and you meet him in Finding My Name as a side character. 


If I had to choose a favorite Reed sibling, it would be Leon or Lotte. 


If you were to cast your book for a movie/television show, who would you cast in the lead roles?

Sally would 100% be Hunter Schafer. 

Oliver, I have a face claim for him, Corrado Martini, but if I had to choose an actor, it would probably be Chase Stokes from Outer Banks.


How much of yourself do you put into these characters?

I definitely put parts of myself in characters. Sally holds many of my insecurities and my eventual goal is to write a trans woman character who possesses boundless confidence. 


What is a story/stories that you really want to tell?

I want to tell a college dorm roommate to lovers story. Where the reason she’s there is that the administration sucks and they kind of take it down as a b plot. 


Is there one common element that readers can find in all your stories?

Found family and queer characters. I love casual queerness a lot 


What’s next on the bookshelf for you? Anything you can tell us about a future project?

So currently I am working on two projects. I’m in the beginning stages of Chosen Name book 2 which follows Leon’s story. I’m not a super optimistic person so writing a sunshine character has been very fun. 


The other project will be officially announced soon, but let’s just say I’m entering my sports romance era


When you write these stories, what are you hoping your readers will feel?

Happiness mostly. I also want you to feel accepted in the world I create. 


AUTHOR’S CHOICE

  • Paperbacks, hardbacks, ebooks or audiobooks

  • Contemporary, fantasy, historical or romantic suspense

  • Single or Dual POV

  • Standalones, series or standalones in a series

  • Open door, ajar door or closed door romances

  • Music or silence when writing—Or playing something on the tv

  • Plotter, pantser or plantser

  • Water, tea, coffee or….wine?

  • Cold or warm weather

  • Write better in the morning, afternoon or night?—It’s between midnight and like 5am 

  • Illustrated or photo cover?


Make sure you follow Estelle on Instagram and TikTok. Don’t forget to check out the playlist for Finding My Name!

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