Author Spotlight – Elisabeth Kauffman

Elisabeth is not only a contributing author, but also a volunteer editor on our anthology project. A recent blog post of hers was shared by one of her personal heroes, the ever engaging Amanda Palmer. Elisabeth gives fantastic tarot readings as well!

The Debut Collective is a supportive tribe of authors (both published and aspiring), editors, formatters, and cover designers working together to foster a new generation of stories and authors. We will be publishing 5 short story anthologies in June 2016.

We are pleased to share the following interview with contributing author, Elisabeth Kauffman.


Please share a little about yourself and your background.

  I’ve been a reader from a very young age, and I’ve been writing stories for a very long time as well. I always wanted to be a writer, but I got scared away by the competitive atmosphere of traditional publishing and by the “you should do something practical with your life” narrative that my family fed me. Writing isn’t practical is it? Anyway, I majored in English despite the protests and proceeded to be an admin assistant for the next decade, writing for myself, creating stories in my head, but never really sharing any of them. When I had the chance I got back into the writing world through freelance editing, and that’s what I do for a living now. I help authors achieve their dreams and write the best stories they can possibly write.

Then I attended my first UtopYAcon last year, and I ran headlong into the realization that I still wanted to be a writer. I still carried that dream somewhere inside me… and the people that I met at the con were so amazing and supportive, and were living out their dreams right there in front of me in such an inspirational way that I knew I couldn’t deny it anymore. So when the Debut Collective offered this chance to leap into the world of being a published author, I took it.

It’s a scary and vulnerable thing to do, sharing your stories. But it’s what they’re made for… and I’m so glad I have had this awesome support group to cheer me on while we reach for our dreams together.

Please share information on any published or upcoming books.

I’ve committed to publishing my first novel (!!) in 2016. It’s titled Chasing the Wind. My story in the DC anthology is a prequel to the novel. I love my character, and I am excited to share a larger part of her story with you all! Join my mailing list on my website to receive updates about the book’s release.

Which Debut Collective anthology/anthologies will you be published in?

Act of Bravery

Share a brief teaser or logline for your story/stories.

Trea’s no hero. She keeps her head down and tries to stay out of trouble. Until she finds something worth fighting for.

Share an insight into your main character. What made you want to write a story from their perspective?

She actually spoke to me. I’m not the kind of person where that happens to me regularly, but this character seriously said “Hey, here I am, and here’s my story. Now go tell it.” And I just think she’s lovely, vibrant, determined, caring. How could I refuse?

What genre(s) do you write and what draws you to that genre?

I tend to write fantasy, or occasionally magic realism. I like the added element of magic to complicate the worlds I create, although my story for the anthology doesn’t have any magic in it, per se, just the allusion to it.

Describe a typical writing day, or is there such a thing for you? Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day? Write in Scrivener, notebooks, or on cocktail napkins?

There’s no such thing as typical for me… but when I’m crunching through something (say for NaNoWriMo) then it involves a target word count and Write or Die to keep me on task until I hit that word count. I try to write something every day, though. Right now, that includes revisions on Chasing the Wind, so the word count is not actually very high, but the creative energy is there.

Are you a plotter (outline plot) or a pantser (prefer to run with an idea)?

I’m usually a pantser… and even when I plot, things tend to get away from me eventually. I like how Brandon Sanderson calls it “Discovery Writing.” It feels like I’m on an adventure with my characters and who knows where we’ll end up?

What book(s) are you currently reading or would you recommend?

I’m currently reading Artificial by the awesomely talented Jadah McCoy, who I read tarot for at Utopia last year. It’s riveting. I definitely recommend as a fast-paced, intense sci-fi read.

What is your favorite writing/reading related quote?

It’s actually one of my own, that I use on my editing clients all the time: There are no bad stories, only stories that aren’t ready yet. Keep writing yours.

Tell us 5 random facts about you:

  1. I can’t pass a rock/precious gem shop without going inside.
  2. I’m a complete bird nerd.
  3. I read tarot.
  4. I have a blue merle collie, Tag. He’s the best dog ever.
  5. I make my own ice cream.

Does music influence your writing? If so, can you share a song that inspired your Debut Collective anthology story?

I don’t have a theme song for the story, or anything… but I love listening to music from Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Pirates of the Caribbean while I’m working. Epic and flowing but not overly distracting.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? How has participating in the collective and the anthology project inspired or pushed you creatively?

Make the leap. Share what you’ve written. Your stories deserve that. Keep working on them until they’re done. And stop calling yourself “aspiring”. You’re a writer.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website or Blog: and (for freelance editing services)









More interviews with our fantastic group of authors next week! Stay tuned.




  1. Elisabeth, I love your quote, and I 100% agree that writers should leave the ‘aspiring’ off of their title.



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