Elissa Grossell Dickey is a fellow author in the 2021 Debut Group. She describes herself as “a mother, writer, and multiple sclerosis warrior who believes in the power of strong coffee and captivating stories,” which means she and I would get along just fine should we ever meet in person. The Speed of Light was an Amazon First Read for February, though it officially released on March 1, and I’ve already had the pleasure of reading it. (Unputdownable is a great way to describe the book.) Elissa has another book on the horizon—Iris in the Dark—which will be published by Lake Union Publishing in 2022, and I’m hoping she has stories to come after that. With everything going on right now—book launch, a job in higher education, a family, and more—I’m glad that Elissa had time to chat with me.
Christina: Congratulations on the launch of your debut, The Speed of Light! Can you tell us a little bit about it?
Elissa: Thank you so much! It’s still a little surreal, honestly, that my book is out in the world! The Speed of Light is book club fiction told in intersecting timelines that follows a tumultuous year in the life of a woman grappling with a multiple sclerosis diagnosis, a new love, and a terrifying workplace incident.
Christina: Sounds intriguing! What inspired you to write it?
Elissa: My own journey with MS is really what inspired me. Before this story I had never written a main character with my illness, so I decided this would be the story; I was going to be brave and do it. In many ways, my main character’s journey with her MS diagnosis, symptoms, and fear for the future mirrors my own, so the story is very special to me.
Christina: Was it difficult to write such a personal story?
Elissa: Yes, it’s definitely difficult and scary to put such a personal story out there. But, I’ve received some personal messages from readers with chronic illness saying the story really resonated with them, and that has been amazing and made it totally worth it.
Christina: What do you hope readers take away from The Speed of Light?
Elissa: My hope is that readers will see that people with chronic illness and disabilities deserve to be the heroes of our own stories and deserve our happily ever afters.
Christina: What is the best part of being a published author?
Elissa: Just having this dream come true, and having my kids see it happen—they’ve seen all the hard work I’ve put in over the years, and I’m thrilled and proud they’re getting to see that you can work hard and achieve your dreams.
Christina: What are you working on now? Do you have any plans for another book?
Elissa: Yes, I recently announced my second book, IRIS IN THE DARK, which is coming in spring 2022 from Lake Union Publishing. It’s book club fiction about an over-protective single mom who reluctantly agrees to house-sit and must face her fears after she hears cries for help over a two-way radio. I’m really excited about this story, and I hope readers will be, too!
Christina: Thanks for joining us today! Where can we find out more about you online?
Elissa: Thanks so much for having me! You can find links to my book and all of my social media accounts on my website, https://elissaadickey.wordpress.com.
Thanks to Elissa for agreeing to this interview! If you know of an author who’d like to be featured in an interview (or you are an author who would like to be featured), feel free to leave a comment or email me via my contact page.