Award winning author Lizzie T. Leaf
Award winning author, Lizzie T. Leaf
started life in Kansas, continued her growing in North Carolina, and currently shivers through the winters in Colorado. She has numerous e-books in varying lengths and her first print book, Struck by Lightning
, won dual 2007 Beacon awards, in addition to being a finalist in two other contests.
In addition, Making Christmas
, a Christmas Historical novella set during the Civil War won Love Romances Café Best Historical for 2011. Beyond Magic
, the first book in the Magical Love series won the 2012 Award of Excellence Best Paranormal/Fantasy/Sy-Fi
Since discovering the fun of writing paranormal, she plays with creating vampires, faeries and other immortals.
When not creating mischief for paranormal beings, she can be found exploring the other genres she wants to write. She also serves as President for the Heart of Denver Romance Writers. Lizzie loves to read, spend time with her family and travel with her best friend husband during her free time, on which most of friends ask…“what free time?”
Connect with Lizzie at her website, Facebook, Follow her on Twitter,
And keep up with her happenings on her blog.Lizzie was gracious enough to answer a few questions for her readers:WPMP: Do you listen to music while writing?
Lizzie: Most definitely. The kind of music varies, depending on the book or the scene. When I worked on Making Christmas, I listened to a lot of music from the Civil War era. For really heart wrenching scenes, I like Phantom of the Opera.
WPMP: What is your favorite outfit?
Lizzie: I don’t really have one. At home, I like comfortable…shorts in summer, jeans in winter. At conferences I try to dress professionally with a touch of splash for fun. I love hats and scarves, too.
WPMP: How long did it take to have your first book published?
Lizzie: Less than two years after I became serious about writing. Or at least that’s the timeline for the contract. The actual release date came a few months later…probably around the 2 year mark after deciding that writing is what I wanted to do with my new life.
WPMP: What authors inspire you?
Lizzie: I’m inspired by everyone who has the courage to put their words down and let others read them. They become fair game for anyone who does to praise or slam and that takes personal strength.
WPMP: Where do you get the inspiration for your plots/characters?
Lizzie: Any and everywhere. Some comes from past memories, others from someone waking down the street, or at the next table in a restaurant. Plus, movies, news casts, talk shows and at times, just taking a look around at the environment you’re in at that moment.
WPMP: What is your favorite dessert?
Lizzie: Ice cream!!!!! I can eat a carton at one setting. Of course, I’ll be sick afterward, but I do love the stuff. Especially chocolate with peanut butter swirled through it!....YUMMMY!!!!!
WPMP: Has it become easier to complete manuscripts the more you have written?
Lizzie: For me it varies. There are some books that fight every word through the process. Then others flow threw my fingers onto the keyboard like water, the characters sitting on my shoulder whispering the words and suggestions. Love it when that happens!
WPMP: Do you have any trunk novels?
Lizzie: Oh, yeah. Buried really deep in the back of the closet!
YA Author Brigid Kemmerer
Brigid Kemmerer was born in Omaha, Nebraska, thought her parents quickly moved her all over the United States, from the desert in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to the lakeside in Cleveland, Ohio, and several stops in between, eventually settling near Annapolis, Maryland.
Brigid started writing in high school, and her first real “novel” was about four vampire brothers causing a ruckus in the suburbs. Those four brothers are the same boys living in the pages of The Elemental Series, so Brigid likes to say she’s had four teenage boys taking up space in her head for the last seventeen years. (Though sometimes that just makes her sound nuts.)
Brigid writes anywhere she can find a place to sit down (and she’s embarrassed to say a great many pages of The Elemental Series were written while sitting on the floor in the basement of a hotel while she was attending a writer’s conference).
Most writers enjoy peace and quiet while writing, but Brigid prefers pandemonium. A good thing, considering she has three boys in the house, ranging in age from an infant to a teenager.
While writing STORM
, it’s ironic to note that Brigid’s personal life was plagued by water problems: her basement flooded three times, her roof leaked, her kitchen faucet broke causing the cabinet underneath to be destroyed by water, the wall in her son’s room had to be torn down because water had crept into the wall, and her bedroom wall recently developed a minor leak. Considering SPARK
, book 2 in the series, is about the brother who controls fire, Brigid is currently making sure all of the smoke detectors in her house have batteries. Brigid loves hearing from people, and she probably won’t refer to herself in the third person like this if you actually correspond with her. She has a smartphone surgically attached to her person nearby at all times, and email is the best way to reach her, Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.orgYou can find Brigid Kemmerer
at her website
, and Facebook
.We were able to entice Brigid from her busy schedule to give us a glimpse into her writer's life:WPMP: What influenced you to become an Author? BK:
I’ve been writing as long as I can remember. I love hearing stories, so I naturally love telling them, too. My father used to say I have a “Social Worker Complex,” because people always want to tell me their life stories. I don’t mind at all – I love hearing where people come from. Who knows – maybe all those real stories will make it into one of my books one day!
WPMP: Where do you typically write? BK:
If the IRS asks, I write in my home office – and it’s true that I do a fair amount of my writing there. But I’m a mother with a full time (non-writing) job, and I’ll get a few words down on paper anywhere I can. I have a small MacBook, and it’s always in my purse. WPMP: Do you listen to music while writing?BK:
Yes, always. I have very eclectic tastes, but I can’t listen to anything instrumental when I write. WPMP: If you could spend unlimited money in a store - what store would it be and what would you buy?BK:
Target. I’d buy out the whole place. WPMP: How long did it take to have your first book published?BK:
It takes forever, and it’s worth every second. Every. Single. Second. At 19, I landed an agent for my first novel, which was about four vampire brothers living in the suburbs. That novel never sold, and that agent and I parted ways when I got busy with work and school. When I was in my late 20s, I started taking writing seriously again. I rewrote the book about the four vampire brothers, got a critique partner, and started to query my novel. I did it the traditional way: query after query after query. I didn’t know anyone in publishing. This was in 2007 – and I didn’t land representation.
I went back to the drawing board and write a new book. Again, query after query. I landed an agent in the fall of 2008
That book didn’t sell.
Again, back to the drawing board. I wrote a new novel, STORM: Book 1 of The Elemental Series, which sold in February 2011. Writing is not a get rich quick scheme. Anyone who says differently is selling something. WPMP: What is your favorite dessert?BK:
I’m not a sweets person. I’d knock someone down for a bucket of popcorn, however. WPMP: What authors inspire you?BK:
Wow! Lots of them. Charlaine Harris. Melissa Marr. Veronica Rossi. Stephanie Perkins. Simone Elkeles. I could go on and on. WPMP: Where do you get the inspiration for your plots/characters?BK:
I make it all up. I don’t base any of my characters on real people. WPMP: If your life had a theme song, what would it be?BK:
What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger) by Kelly ClarksonWPMP: If you could control any element, which would it be & why?BK:
This is such a hard question! I love to swim, so water would be amazing. But fire is so powerful. And earth has such a connection to everything—just like air. Can I say I’d like to have them all?Thanks so much to Brigid for her great interview! Leave her a comment to make her feel welcome!
USA Today Best-Selling Author
"I’m not one of those people who knew from birth she was destined to become a writer. I always loved to read and throughout my childhood I could usually be found with a book in my hands. To the disgust of my friends, I even enjoyed creative writing assignments that made them all groan. But I had other dreams besides writing. I wanted to be an actress or a teacher or a lawyer.
Life took a different turn for me, though, when my mother made me take a journalism elective in high school (thanks, Mom!). I knew the first day that this was where I belonged.
After I graduated from college in journalism, I took a job at the local daily newspaper and I reveled in the challenge and the diversity of it. One day I could be interviewing the latest country music star, the next day I was writing about local motorcycle gangs or interviewing an award-winning scientist.
Through it all — through the natural progression of my career from reporter to editor — I wrote stories in my head. Not just any stories, either, but romances, the kind of books I have devoured since junior high school, with tales about real people going through the trials and tribulations of life until they find deep and lasting love.
I had no idea how to put these people on paper, but knew I had to try — their stories were too compelling for me to ignore. I sold my first book in 1995 and now, more than 30 books later, I’ve come to love everything about writing, from the click of the computer keys under my fingers to the “that’s-it!” feeling I get when a story is flowing.
I write full-time now (well, as full-time as I can manage juggling my kids!) amid the raw beauty of the northern Utah mountains. Even though I might not have dreamed of being a writer when I was younger, now I simply can’t imagine my life any other way."You can find RaeAnne Thayne at her website
, on Facebook
, and on Twitter
.RaeAnne Thayne was kind enough to answer a few questions for her readers:WPMP: What influenced you to become an Author?
RT: I was a voracious reader when I was a child, which led to love of writing. I eventually decided on a career in journalism and spent a decade as a newspaper reporter and editor. The whole time I worked at the newspaper, though, I dreamed of writing a romance novel, the kind of book I’ve always loved to read. I started writing when I was home on maternity leave with my daughter (now 21!) and I’ve been at it ever since.
WPMP: Where do you typically write?RT: With three children, one with special needs, I’ve learned to write anywhere. I wrote my first 20 books on a makeshift office set up in our dining room, dreaming of a day I would have my own real office. We moved into a larger home that better met our needs about seven years ago and I have a really lovely office now but, ironically, I find I’m often most productive elsewhere. I love to write at the campus library in our community, in the bookstore, even in my car in the mountains near my house. I guess I crave environmental variety!
WPMP: How long did it take to have your first book published?
RT: I sold my first two books to Bantam Loveswept in 1995, about five years after I started writing.
WPMP: What is the best gift you ever received?RT: This one is easy but requires a little backstory. I quit my job as a newspaper editor upon the birth of our second child (the week I sold my fifth book!) to write full time. Our son was born with some serious medical challenges, though, and I spent the next year struggling to keep up with deadlines while dealing with this frail baby who had multiple doctor and therapy appointments a week. My wonderful husband, who has always been my biggest cheerleader, was working a job he didn’t necessarily love but that (mostly) paid the bills while I struggled to keep my writing career going. His greatest joy were his vacation days when he could spend his time with his family or doing his favorite hobbies. Money was very tight and we made a deal the second Christmas after our son was born that we would get each other only small gifts that year – but my husband stunned me on Christmas morning by presenting me with a used laptop I could take with me to my son’s various appointments. I knew we didn’t have several hundred dollars for this and when I asked how he could possibly have come up with the money for it, he admitted he had cashed out most of his vacation days for the next year to afford it. Isn’t that the sweetest thing?! He is still my hero in every single way!
WPMP: How do you decide on character’s names?
RT: I work hard on picking my character’s names, trying to choose the best one for how I visualize that character. Sometimes I’ll use baby name books (or apps now!) and sometimes I’ll leaf through the phonebook. It’s one of my favorite parts of coming up with a plot, coming up with just the right names for my people.
WPMP: Do you ever suffer from writers block? How do you deal with it?
RT: I don’t really have time for writers block. My problem is usually not so much writers block as mental fatigue. Writing is hard work and sometimes I just have to take a break from the words for a few days. If I do find myself struggling to figure out what happens next, I find if I take a walk on one of my favorite trails nearby, I can usually come up with the answer.
WPMP: What authors inspire you?
RT: So many! I love discovering new-to-me authors who have a huge backlist and I also love the hard work and enthusiasm of those who are just starting out. Some authors, like Brenda Novak and Debbie Macomber, accomplish so much good beyond their wonderful stories that they continually inspire me to try harder to be a better person.
WPMP: Where do you get the inspiration for your plots/characters?RT: I’m not sure I have a good answer to that. When I was a journalist, I would find a dozen stories a day reading through the wire service stories. These days, I get a lot of help from my wonderful plot group. And sometimes I think my subconscious is busy all the time, seething and bubbling under the surface while I go about the rest of my life. I just keep my fingers crossed that the ideas keep coming!
WPMP: What is your favorite dessert? RT: Creme brulee. No question. I’m on a life-quest to find the perfect creme brulee.
WPMP: If your life had a theme song, what would it be? RT: Wow. You ask the tough questions! The first song that came to mind was Amazing Grace because I do feel as if I have been extraordinarily blessed in my life. But since I don’t write inspirational fiction … on a non-religious note, the first song that came to mind was the New Radicals song, You Get What You Give. I think that simple philosophy is true in virtually every area of life. Give your best self in everything you do – with your loved ones, with your career, even in your casual associations and your life will be better for it.Thanks so much to RaeAnne for her great interview! Leave her a comment to make her feel welcome!Check out our reviews of Blackberry Summer and her newest book, Woodrose Mountain.
Author Lia Habel
was born in Jamestown, NY – as far as it’s physically possible to get from New York City and still be in the same state, and official spooky abandoned farmhouse territory. As an only child of good geek stock (her mother still attends San Diego Comic-Con yearly, and her father is still an early tech adopter), young Lia was lovingly reared on horror movies, video games, and Victorian novels. She developed an affection for horror movie monsters early on, often challenging her weary mother with lists of reasons why Jason Voorhees might yet be saved or excuses for Darkman’s cackling insanity. As she grew older and her natural sympathy extended to ever more serial killers, swamp monsters, sentient fanged beasts, and reanimated gents, her mother began to worry what her daughter might one day bring home.
Despite this promising start, Lia went on to live an unremarkable life. Although she entertained vague thoughts of one day writing (comic books, specifically), it was only her love of literature that compelled her to pursue her B.A. in English Lit from SUNY Buffalo. Afterwards, ever the generalist and lover of Old Things, Lia moved to the UK to attend the University of Leicester and get her M.A. in Museum Studies. Several scattered internships and jobs followed, but Lia was never able to obtain long-term, serious work in her chosen field. In order to support herself, she at different times worked as a makeup artist, retail clerk, envelope-opener, door guard, and substitute teacher. Success never seemed to be hers, and she wrote the first draft of Dearly, Departed while unemployed for the fifth or sixth time. She had all of $10 in her bank account when she received her first check for it.
Miss Habel currently still lives in Jamestown, with three former alley cats and far too many Victorian ball gowns. She enjoys attending anachronistic and steampunk events, watching zombie movies (her goal is to watch every zombie movie ever made), and collecting Victorian and Edwardian books. She still hopes one day to run into the beautiful monster of her dreams, but would settle for the reincarnation of Vincent Price.You can find Lia on Facebook, Twitter, and at her website.Lia was kind enough to take the time to answer some questions:WPMP: What influenced you to become a Young Adult Author?Lia:It's funny - I still don't consider myself a YA author, though the Dearly series is youth-focused and I'm currently working on a few other projects in a similar vein. I think that when I sat down to write Dearly, Departed I simply knew, sort of instinctively, that I wanted to tell a story that focused on young people. Nora's passion and her desire to fling herself whole-heartedly into a temporal relationship gets a lot of fuel from her being in that youthful, exuberant, "damn the consequences" stage, and she and the other young characters are poised to grow and learn so much throughout the entirety of the series - I think those are the main reasons, at the end of the day. But I see the Dearly series as multi-generational, because I refuse to push the adults to the wayside, and I think they're every bit as interesting as the young characters. (Of course, that could just be me talking!)WPMP: Where do you typically write? Do you listen to music while writing?Lia: I write in my bedroom, which is also my office. I can't write on a laptop, and I also can't write in public, so I'm sort of chained to my desk and iMac day after day. (I cannot wrap my head around the people who go to cafes to write - they're much more skilled than I am.) I tend not to listen to anything while writing - in fact, I require absolute silence, to the point of putting in earplugs. But I definitely craft huge playlists for my characters, and I will listen to instrumental music while taking notes or editing.WPMP: What is your favorite outfit?
Lia: I haven't worn them yet, but I have two spring outfits I can't wait to wear out, and I can't choose between them! I have a cute mint green suit that I mean to wear over a white underskirt, and a lavender ball gown. I think sometimes jewel and gothic tones tend to dominate neo-Victorian fashion, so I'm trying to buck that trend by choosing pastels this season.WPMP: How long did it take to have your first book published?Lia: About two years - a year to sale, and then a year to publication. Traditional publishing moves at a glacial pace!WPMP: How long does it take you to complete a manuscript?
Lia: I wrote the first draft of D,D in 45 days, and I wrote the first draft of D,B in 3 months. I try to get the first draft down as quickly as I can, while the ideas are fresh and raw - I liken it to finger painting, in a way. At that stage, I'm just filling up the page with blotches of color. But then revision tends to take forever, sometimes years, and up to six re-draftings. That's when I refine things, figure out what just won't work, tone down some of my more wild ideas.WPMP: What is the best gift you ever received?Lia: My mother bought me a beautiful white gold and diamond ring for my 21st birthday, and I wear it almost every day. Other than that, my Keurig machine - I'm a coffee addict!WPMP: How do you decide on character’s names?
Lia: I will either consider a character's name totally insignificant (meaning that I don't want any special meaning, I don't really care what it sounds like, etc.) and so it'll change over and over again as I try to settle on one (that happened with a zombie girl in my latest book - she went from Sofia to Laura) - OR I will pick a name randomly out of the air, and later find out that it's totally perfect. The most striking example of this is probably Colonel Edmund Lopez. I picked "Edmund" out of thin air, and later came to find out that it means "rich protector" - which is precisely what he becomes in book two. Honestly, the best names are the randomly-decided ones. All of the dead teens were named that way.WPMP: Do you ever suffer from writers block? How do you deal with it?Lia: I try not to use the term "writer's block" - I prefer to say "I don't know what to write right now." That turns it into a problem I can solve, not something that's happening to me that I have no control over. (I think it was Dean Koontz who phrased it that way.) In that case, the solution lies in figuring out what I want to write! If I'm honestly stuck for how to proceed plot-wise, I usually end up writing "back room" scenes that will never make it into print, but offer me important information, regardless - stuff like "what are the adults talking about right now?" I think it's important to produce work every day, even if it's horrible work. You never know what might come from it.
WPMP: If we emptied your purse what treasures would we find?Lia: About a pound of makeup - I'm a total makeup junkie - and ten Gothic Lolita keychains on a ring that contains one key.WPMP: What authors inspire you?Lia: My childhood authors - Conan Doyle, Leroux, Shelley, Alcott, the Brontes. Not only were they amazing at their craft, I just love the level of detail that went into their work, and some of the crazy things they came up with! We want to give a big thanks to Lia Habel for her participation in this month's author spotlight! If you're new to her work, check out our 5 star review of Dearly, Departed.
A busy wife and mother of three (2 daughters and the family dog),
Donna Alward believes hers is the best job in the world: a combination of stay-at-home mom and romance novelist. An avid reader since childhood, Donna always made up her own stories. She completed her Arts Degree in English Literature in 1994, but it wasn't until 2001 that she penned her first full-length novel, and found herself hooked on writing romance. In 2006 she sold her first manuscript.
Donna loves being back on the East Coast of Canada after nearly 12 years in Alberta where her Harlequin career began, writing about cowboys and the west. Donna's debut Romance, Hired by the Cowboy, was awarded the Booksellers Best Award in 2008 for Best Traditional Romance.
Donna loves to hear from readers; you can contact her through her website at www.donnaalward.com, visit her facebook page, or through her publisher. Her Twitter is: @DonnaAlward
Donna was nice enough to do a Q&A with us:
WPMP: How long did it take to get your first book published?
DA: It took nearly five years, and ten manuscripts before I got the call. There were several times I got discouraged and contemplated quitting, but they never lasted long. I was too stubborn to give up. Funny story though – the night before I got my first contract offer, I was blubbering all over my husband’s shirt because I was sure it was never going to happen! Then I got up in the morning and checked my e-mail and there it was!
WPMP: Has it become easier to complete manuscripts the more you have written? How long does it take you to complete a manuscript?
DA: It depends. Some manuscripts are like pulling teeth and others seem to flow together with a minimum of fuss. The only way to do it is to put your butt in the chair and keep working at it. I have written books in a month and others have taken me 3 or 4. Once I had to rewrite a book from scratch – and then the next went through with minimal revisions. The one thing that HAS gotten easier is realizing that no matter what, I am capable of fixing whatever is wrong. It might not be easy, but I *can* do it (because I’ve done it several times already!). That alleviates a lot of the stress.
WPMP: What is your all time favorite comfort food?
DA: Toast with butter and raspberry jam. I have a lot of comfort food favourites, but that is one I can have any old time at all. It’s especially good with a hot cup of tea.
WPMP: Where do you typically do your writing?
DA: In my office. I was so excited when we moved into this house and I got an office. Before I had a 7x7 foot space that I shared with a piano, a toy box, and a fish tank – not to mention I shared the computer with my spouse. I have a lovely office now with lots of windows, looking out over grass and trees, with my own desk and computer and a comfy futon for doing edits on, or reading. It’s bliss. I know some people like changing their environment up but not me. The routine of being in the office puts me in the zone.
WPMP: Do you listen to music while writing?
DA: Sometimes, but it’s usually instrumental or something in another language so it doesn’t distract me. Sometimes though I’ll fire up a few songs as I’m getting ready to open my document. I do usually have a soundtrack for a story, and listening to some key songs BEFORE I launch in puts me in a good frame of mind.
WPMP: Who are your favorite authors?
DA: Oh gosh – this is hard! My two all-time faves are LaVyrle Spencer and Julianne MacLean. I recently got hooked on Mary Balogh, too. I adore historical romance – it’s my favourite reading escape. I really enjoy Robyn Carr and Susan Mallery and Sherryl Woods on the contemporary side of things (especially her Chesapeake Shores series). There’s also a pretty new author in the line I write for – Harlequin Romance – who is seriously becoming a big fave of mine: Barbara Wallace. I finished her September book, The Heart of a Hero and adored it.
WPMP: If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
DA: I’d like to say Hakuna Matata, but anyone who knows me will laugh at the thought of me being a “No Worries” kind of person. Actually – I totally believe in seeing things as opportunities, and I used to love running and listening to Eminem’s LOSE YOURSELF before I sold. Totally believe in the lyrics “You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow/this opportunity comes once in a lifetime”. Life’s not a dress rehearsal. Opportunities are there – we just need to seize them!
WPMP: Where do you get the inspiration for your plots/characters?
DA: You know, it gets harder as I go on, sometimes. Quite often I’ll get a snippet of an idea from something I’ve watched on tv – sometimes it’s as insignificant as the way a character moves or looks at another. The way someone walks into a room…and I think, that person needs to be a book character. Sometimes I think of ideas but I’ve already done something similar so I either have to let it be, or find a way to twist it. And quite often I brainstorm with friends, or do a “what if” scenario. I also tend to be an “issue” writer, so I look for an issue I haven’t dealt with yet and weave it into the conflict.
WPMP: Do you ever get writer’s block? How do you deal with this?
DA: Not as such. I’m not sure I believe in it. What I do believe in is going in a wrong direction and writing yourself into a corner where the words just aren’t coming. When that happens, it’s usually because I’ve done something wrong and I need to go back and fix. Recently I was writing and it didn’t feel right and I realized I needed to cut over 4000 words. I axed them and it was painful, but once I did the rest of the book flowed out. The “cure” for writer’s block is to put your butt in the chair and write those first few paragraphs. Usually if you do that, you’ll keep going. It’s like exercise. Getting to the gym etc. can be the hardest part, but once you’re 10 minutes into the workout, chances are you’ll finish it. And be glad you did.
WPMP: Was there ever something you really wanted for Christmas as a kid, that Santa didn't bring you?
DA: Not that I remember, but I did tend to keep Christmas lists pretty simple. One year I wanted a Daniel Hechter sweatshirt. EVERYONE had them. Some people had several. I just wanted one. I got it. Of course this was the ‘80s, so lists didn’t really include the gadgets so popular now. Maybe Santa will hold out on me this year - I think I want a kindle…
We want to give a big thanks to Donna Alward for her participation in this month's author spotlight! Don't forget to check out her new release, Breathe from Samhain Publishing.
New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestselling author Elizabeth Hoyt
is the New York Times
, USA Today
, and Publishers Weekly
bestselling author of historical romance, including reader favorite, The Raven Prince
. Elizabeth was born in New Orleans but grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota. She was fortunate to be able to travel extensively as a child, visiting St. Andrews, Scotland; Germany; France; and Belgium. She spent a year in Oxford, England and was a summer exchange student to Kawasaki, Japan.
Elizabeth has a BA in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and, as a result of having no clue what to do with her life thereafter, a career history as a barista, a (terrible) sales clerk, a Wisconsin Revenue Service data entry slave, and an archeological field work grunt. Fortunately, Elizabeth married relatively young and produced two children who kept her busy until her mid-thirties. At about this time, when her youngest was entering Kindergarten, Elizabeth’s mother hinted that perhaps Elizabeth should get a Real Job. Sadly, Elizabeth was so delusional she thought writing a romance novel might qualify as a Real Job.
But! Five years later, to everyone’s surprise, she actually sold that romance novel (The Raven Prince) and began a rather successful career as a Romance Novelist. This was most fortunate since Elizabeth is singularly unqualified to do anything else but Make Up Stories. Since then Elizabeth has written eleven books to critical acclaim: The Prince Trilogy (The Raven Prince, The Leopard Prince, and The Serpent Prince); the Legend of the Four Soldiers series (To Taste Temptation, To Seduce a Sinner, To Beguile a Beast, and To Desire a Devil); and the Maiden Lane series (Wicked Intentions, Notorious Pleasures, and the upcoming Scandalous Desires.) All of Elizabeth’s books are set in eighteenth century England and all feature a fairy tale story that serves as a foil to the main story. Elizabeth lives in central Illinois with a bevy of untrained canines and a garden in constant need of weeding.
You can find Elizabeth Hoyt on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ElizabethHoytBooks?ref=search&sid=1033016156.428653851
and Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/ElizabethHoyt
Elizabeth was kind enough to answer some questions for her readers:
WPMP: Has it become easier to complete manuscripts the more you have written?
How long does it take you to complete a manuscript?
EH: You’d think it would become easier to complete a book the more you write, but in my case at least, it’s the opposite. It takes me about four months to write a first draft, but then I spent a lot of time on revisions—up to four to six months.
WPMP: How long did it take to get your first book published?
EH: It took me three years to write The Raven Prince, about six months to find an agent, and then about one and a half years before we found a publisher.
WPMP: What is your favorite foreign location?
EH: I’d love to visit India. Does that count? ;-)
WPMP: Do you write while on vacation/ abroad?
EH: If I have a book due, then yes. I tend not to go on vacation unless I’m between books.
WPMP: Do you have any trunk novels?
EH: Yup! Two detective books. Maybe if this historical romance thing doesn’t work out…
WPMP: What authors inspire you?
EH: Authors with elegant prose. Lately I’ve enjoyed Eileen Dreyer, Eloisa James, and Jim Butcher.
WPMP: What made you choose to write books set in 18th Century England?
EH: I think subconsciously because that’s when all the great swashbuckler stories are set: Scaramouche, The Scarlet Pimpernel, etc. I liked the swords and the elegant dresses. Now I’m writing in the early part of the Georgian period with my Maiden Lane books and it’s a very exciting time period for London: lots of immigration and turmoil.
WPMP: What is your favorite fairytale?
EH: Hm, that’s a hard choice. One of my favorites is The Seven Swans.
WPMP: What would we find inside your purse?
EH: Everything! I am prepared: tissues, bandaids, earbuds, gum, mints, hand cream, chapstick, lipstick, folding brush, two small notebooks, pens, my iphone, my ipad, and a Bluetooth keyboard. Oh, and my wallet. ;-)
WPMP: Do you have a favorite family recipe?
EH: We eat quiche a lot:
3 cups whole milk
1 cup shredded cheese of your choice
½ cup chopped onion spinach, red peppers, broccoli, or asparagus up to ½ cup cooked.
Sautee veg in 2T butter. Put pastry in pie plate. Place sautéed veg in pastry. Add cheese. Combine eggs, milk, 2T flour, salt and pepper to taste in bowl, then pour in pastry up to edge of shell. Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg. Bake at 425 degrees until top is puffed and just beginning to lightly brown. Cool before cutting.
Our thanks to Elizabeth for sharing her time and her talent!
Enter our giveaway for your chance to win a copy of her latest book in the Maiden Lane series, Scandalous Desires.
Award Winning Author Jasmine Haynes
Award-winning Jasmine Haynes is the author of sensual and classy erotic romance and a 2007 Rita Finalist, two-time Holt Medallion winner, and winner of the NRCA. She writes for Loose-Id and Berkley, including the Fortune Hunter Trilogy and her Courtesans Tales. Coming in 2011, she brings readers a breath-taking new erotic trilogy from Berkley Heat, The DeKnight Tales, starting with Past Midnight
in May. She also masquerades as Jennifer Skully, writing over-the-top, hilarious romantic mysteries and is the winner of the prestigious Daphne du Maurier award. Look for a brand new Jennifer Skully novel this summer! And of course, Jasmine is the author of the award-winning Max Starr psychic mystery series. Look for the Max Starr Series in print!And now, an exclusive interview with Jasmine:
Jasmine: Thanks so much for having me. A little background on myself, as Jasmine Haynes, I write erotic romance for Berkley Heat and LooseID, and am the author of the paranormal mystery Max Starr Series. I also write funny romantic suspense as Jennifer Skully.
WPMP: Do you follow a strict writing schedule?
JH: Definitely. My day starts with my promo stuff, like Facebook, Twitter, my blog, guest blogs, and interviews. Then I start writing about 10 am. If I’m working on a first draft, my goal is to write 2500 words a day, and if I’m in the revision process, the goal is to revise 3 chapters a day. when I adhered to that schedule. I used to be an accountant and we’re very regimented, LOL!
WPMP: Do you write in an office?
JH: I have a home office with a lovely view. In fact, I was inspired to write my Rita finalist Somebody’s Lover while looking at the view outside my window. The book is about a family of tree trimmers and the view that particular day happened to be my very attractive tree trimmer climbing around in my trees, LOL!
WPMP: Do you listen to music while writing?
JH: I know a lot of writers are inspired by music, but I actually prefer silence when I’m writing. However, the song which inspired me while I was writing Dead to the Max was “You’re Gone” by Diamond Rio. Funnily enough, in Baby, I’ll Find You, my latest book under my pseudonym, Jennifer Skully, the title of the book is inspired by the song my hero writes.
WPMP: How long does it typically take you to finish a manuscript?
JH: I just finished The Principal’s Office, Book 3 in The DeKnight Trilogy, which took me a little less than three months to write and revise. It’s a full-length book at 90,000 words. Novellas like Kinky Neighbors, which is about 40,000, take six weeks.
WPMP: How do you decide on character names?
JH: I have a large file full of fun names. Many of them come from spam or reading the credits of movies! A writer is never bored, not even while sitting through credits or sifting through spam. I also have a cross reference file for all the books so that I don’t duplicate names. But ultimately, a name has to strike a chord in me. And sometimes it can be something quite random. I remember sitting in an airport, and hearing the name Angela Rocket over the loudspeaker. I got the ahah moment and knew that was the perfect name for a character in Power to the Max, the 4th book in the Max Starr series. LOL, later I heard the name repeated, and it was actually Angela Crocker, but I still used Angela Rocket because it was so right for my character.
WPMP: Do you ever suffer from writers block? How do you deal with this?
JH: I’m never short of ideas; I fall asleep by making up stories. So writer’s block to me is when the story just isn’t working. I push through and keep writing, but ultimately I have to figure out where I went wrong, what was the mistake I made in the storytelling and go back to fix that wrong turn. Sometimes it doesn’t even get fixed until revision time. In What Happens After Dark, Book 2 of the DeKnight trilogy (available Nov 1), there was something off with my hero, and it wasn’t until I discussed it with my editor that we both realized it was his back story. I completely changed it because it wasn’t working, and the story is so much better for that.
WPMP: Where is your favorite hiking trail?
JH: My favorite hiking trail is in Big Basin State Park, CA (fairly close to my house). You can walk from the top of the mountain all the way down to the ocean. It’s about 13 miles, and there’s a gorgeous waterfall along the way. Of course, that means you need someone to drop you off at the top and pick you up at the bottom!
WPMP: What Authors inspire you?
JH: Bella Andre inspires me, her stories are fantastic and emotional and her productivity is amazing. I’m also inspired by writers like Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Robert Crais. They all create heroes that a romance reader can adore. I especially love Robert Crais’s Joe Pike character. He’s such a tough guy, and yet there’s always this soft spot leaking through.
WPMP: If you could be a guest star on a television show, what show would you choose? JH: I’d want to be on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I know, it’s an old show, but I loved it! Every time it started to get boring, Josh Whedon threw in an amazing twist that turned everything around and made me dying for the next episode. But gosh, if I had to pick something new, then I’d like to be on Dexter, another of my favorite shows. Same thing, the writers of that show know when to throw you a curveball. This last season (which I just watched on DVD) almost made me cry. I think I’d like to be on the forensics team with Dexter.
WPMP: What is the best gift you've ever received?
JH: My husband bought me an MP3 player, and I’ve been hooked on audio books ever since! I love to read, but since I’ve become a published writer, my time is so limited that I was down to reading perhaps one or two books per month. But with the MP3, I now listen to at least three books a week, while I do my morning speedwalk, clean the house, do the dishes, and iron my husband’s shirts. The MP3 has given me my reading life back!
Jasmine: Thanks so much for having me! Readers can find me at www.jasminehaynes.com, www.jenniferskully.com, and they can read all about the Max Starr paranormal mystery series at www.jbskully.com. I’m also doing a free erotic read, a chapter every week, on my blog, www.jasminehaynes.blogspot.com. I invite everyone to come by!
A big thank you to Jasmine Haynes for allowing us to interview her for the Author Spotlight. We also want you to know that we've reviewed her book Past Midnight and Dead to the Max. And check out the Giveaways page for your chance to win a copy of Past Midnight!!
Best Selling Author Dakota Cassidy
Dakota Cassidy lives in Texas with her husband (her very own hero), two sons, her mother and a myriad of cats and dogs. She was reviewing e-books in 2004 when she decided to submit one to Liquid Silver Books. They bought it and as they say…. the rest is history!
She loves a good laugh and it is reflected in her writing. Her goals in life, she says, are to “banish the color yellow forever, create world peace via hot rollers and Aqua Net; and finally, nab every tiara in the land by competing in the Miss USA, Miss Universe, and Miss World pageants, then sweeping them in a stunning trifecta of much duct tape and Vaseline usage, all in just under one week. Oh, and write really fun books!”
She has three book series: Accidental Series, Ex Trophy Wives Series and Hell Series. She also writes Erotic Romance. Dakota was kind enough to answer a few questions for her readers:
Where do you do your writing?DC:
I write in my office--and always at night. Like 7-5 or 6 in the morning. There's no getting anything done here during the day.WPMP:
Do you listen to music when you write?DC:
I do listen to music, but most often it's music without words. I'm a lyrics savant in that I know the words to so many songs, I always have to mouth the words. It means I get nothing done because I'm busy singing along.WPMP:
Where do you get the inspiration for your plots/characters?DC:
My inspiration comes from a multitude of things--reality TV, the "what if" in life, people, places, Bed, Bath and Beyond...WPMP:
How long does it typically take you to finish a book?DC:
Depends on the book. If it's a full-length book it takes three-four months tops. A novella can take a couple of weeks to a month as long as I'm not stuck in what do I do next hell. LOL!WPMP:
Who are some of your favorite authors?DC:
Nina Bangs, Sandra Hill, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Karen Rose, to name a few.WPMP:
If you could spend unlimited money in a store - what store would it be and what would you buy?DC:
OMG--it would be Prada and I'd have more shoes than LA has breast implants and botox .WPMP:
If your life was a movie who would play Dakota Cassidy?DC:
Uh, this question always stumps me because I can't imagine anyone even considering making a movie about my boring life. But if forced, I'll go Sandra Bullock. her personality, snarky, goofy, is a lot like mine.WPMP:
What is your favorite dessert?DC:
I'm not a dessert lover--don't shoot! LOL! I don't eat sweets often, but I do occasionally love a really good bread pudding or super dark chocolate cake. Hmmm-mmmm You can visit Dakota at her website: http://www.wix.com/dakota324/dakotacassidy
She's also on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/dakotacassidy and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/DakotaCassidyFanPage and she also Blogs: http://www.dakotacassidy.net/
(Be sure to enter our Giveaway (starts 7/16) for a copy of Ms. Cassidy’s latest release - Burning Down The Spouse/plus a Promotional Gift from Dakota. Also drop in and read our review!)
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Maggie Shayne
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Maggie Shayne lives in the wilds of Cortland County, NY. She spends her time in her farmhouse “Serenity” with her soulmate, Lance. She has a pair of English Mastiffs, Daisy and Dozer, Niblet – the English Bulldog, and Glory, their wise feline guardian. Maggie is a Wiccan high priestess and a strong believer in the Law of Attraction.
She has over 50 published novels and 23 novellas to her credit. She has written for two soap operas: As The World Turns and Guiding Light, and 7 publishers. If that wasn’t enough she also writes a weekly advice column, “Shayne on You” for the Norwich Evening Sun. She has had 15 RITA Award nominations with a win in 2005. Her novella, Love Me to Death in the Heart Of Darkness anthology is a nominee for Best Novella of 2010 RITA Award and Kill Me Again is a Rita finalist for Best Romantic Suspense!
Look for the release of Vacation With a Vampire
(anthology) this summer and Twilight Fulfilled
in October. Also now out in electronic format, Fairytale
and Forever Enchanted
two novels written by Maggie back in the 90’s for Avon Books. She retained the rights when they went out of print so they are now available. Watch for another 90’s favorite, Annie’s Hero
coming to electronic format soon!
You can visit Maggie at her website www.maggieshayne.com
She’s also on Twitter - http://twitter.com/#!/maggieshayne
and Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/MaggieShayneAuthor
She blogs solo at www.ShaynesShenanigans.com
and with friends at www.Storybroads.com