Great to have you here today, Elaine. Unfortunately I haven't hosted many Ellora Cave authors which is a shame because from what I have heard they are a great publisher to write for. Could you tell us a little bit about them? Their editors? Turnaround times etc? A lot of my visitors are writers trying for that break!
This is actually a really tough question! I don’t think there’s any one author, there are dozens. I love Mark Twain for wit and insight, JK Rowling for world building and wonder, David Brin for making my brain spin and my universe expand, LaVryle Spencer for introducing me to romance, Jane Austen for making me adore the awkward accidents on the way toward true love. My current favorite, Gail Carriger, whose amazing steampunk romance/adventure series starting with Soulless has me completely addicted to tea.
2) When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think I really first thought of myself as a writer the day I was finishing one book, editing another, and doing promotion for a new release, all at the same time. Juggling three completely different stories at the same time made me realize I had created all these worlds, and people wanted to read them! It was exhilarating.
3) Describe your writing space?
Anywhere and everywhere. In the waiting room for my son’s speech therapy. In the garden under the rose arbor. Starbucks. On the couch in the living room is the main one though. I got a couch with a chaise longue attached to it just so I could put my laptop on my thighs and my legs up and write comfortably! I live in a small house with no room to create my own physical space, so it’s more an internal landscape of imagination and inspiration.
4) What are you reading now?
I’ve just finished “Out of Time” by Monique Martin, which was a nicely written mix of time travel and paranormal romance with very well realized characters set in 1929 (I adore the Roaring Twenties, I wrote Enchant the Dawn mostly because I adore the NYC of the period)
5) How many books have your written? Which is your favourite?
I’ve written seventeen books, some short novellas of fifteen thousand words, some much longer stories closer to eighty five thousand words. Everything from science fiction romance to paranormal, but most of my books are historical romance with a touch of magic. I have to say my favorite is a toss up between my first book, Scandalous Profession, a sexy Regency novella, and Lady Six Six, an intense political romance set in the Mayan courts of 682 A.D.
6) What comes first, plot or characters?
For me, characters. They have to speak to me, or their story just doesn’t get written. The plot is problem solving to walk them on the path they need to tread. I’ve read incredible books where the plot is intricate and amazing, but if the characters aren’t memorable, I find that I don’t go back and read again. If I love a character, I will go back again and again to that book or that series.
7) Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?
Absolutely. Somedays, the words just aren’t going to come. Either there’s too much stress and I don’t have time to write, or I’m not sure of where I want the story to go. Word goals, even just 500 words a day, really help push past those times. I also frequently have two or three different manuscripts I’m working on at any one time, so that if I get stuck on one, I can move to another and work on that. The more I write, the more I write. The longer I get stuck, the harder it is to build up momentum again.
8) What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Read of course! But when I’m not engaged in literary pursuits or “research” with my wonderful husband, I do love spending time in my garden, indulging my passion for good food, and most of all making my son giggle.
9) Tell us about your latest book?
My latest book is a bit of a departure for me. Rather than a heavily researched and plot-heavy historical, Magic Eights is a fun contemporary romp with that touch of magic. Susanna Wong makes a wish on a Magic Eight Ball that she receives as an anniversary present, and gets seven copies of her husband ready and willing to fulfill her every need. It’s fun and sexy and perfect summer reading.
10) What’s next for you?
Trying to get through summer vacation with my child not driving me crazy? No, he’s a sweetheart and I will maintain my sanity somehow. Mostly, I’m working on several sequels to Magic Eights which delve much more deeply into the magic behind that Magic Eight ball. I’ve just finished Memory Lapse, the story of a vampire and a half-Fae brought together after a century worth of courtship, and who are going to have to bring in Esme Morgan before she destroys most of the West Coast. Esme is the very same witch who gave that Magic Eight ball to her good friend Susanna. I’ve been having a “ball” world building for these books, and I think you are going to enjoy the results!
Have fun and keep reading!
I totally hear you with the summer vacation thing, Elaine - it's the last day of school for my two daughters tomorrow and already they've asked me..."What are we doing next week?" Oh, lordy, here we go!!