Hi, and thanks for your willingness to appear on my blog! I’m looking forward to sharing your knowledge and advice with the rest of the world (at least with the small portion of it that follows my blog). Please tell us a little about yourself.
I’ve been married to my husband for nineteen years and we have two fantastic boys who I’m grateful to be at home with during the day. We’re home schooling the oldest and loving it (the youngest isn’t ready for school yet). Prior to kids, I was a software engineer whose heart was split between education and programming so, for the longest time, I taught programming on the side (best of both worlds!) – going so far as to get a PhD in technology education. I figure it’ll come in handy as we home school, but I don’t really miss using it. I love to cook and crochet and watch police procedurals in my spare time.
Why did you start writing?
I don’t honestly remember not writing. I’ve always had something in the works – certainly since high school. For me, I have to write. I get these story ideas and they simply beg to get out. They’re not always publishable (or even finishable) but every now and then I go back and look them over to see if I can mine the idea for something useful.
How did you start writing?
I spent a lot of time reading craft books about how you’re supposed to write. Every one of those books has at least three different things you absolutely have to do in order to be successful writing. So for the longest time, I did them – even when they were contradictory. By the time I’d get through plotting my stories to death, I’d be tired of them. It wasn’t until I gave myself permission to simply sit down and write that I really got better at my craft and became able to produce finished and cohesive manuscripts.
How did you select your genre?
This was actually tricky for me – and I think it’s still a work in progress. I read in just about every genre, and I have ideas for most of those same ones. So at this point it’s been the stories that clamor loudest in my head. For now that means contemporary romance – and I suspect that will always be a thread – but I have other ideas for some speculative story lines that may need to work their way out at some point.
What is your writing day like?
Chaos! I try to grab writing time when I can – sometimes it’s while the kids are playing, though this seems to inevitably end with me managing two sentences before one has whacked the other with something and there’s crying and craziness ensuing. So most of the time when the littlest is napping and the eldest and I have finished school, I have him do some reading and I write. And then once they’re in bed, if my husband is content to play Xbox, I’ll hang out next to him on the couch and write while he does that.
How do you organize your writing (outlines/note cards/post-its)?
The most organized I get at this point is a piece of paper with a loose timeline. Sometimes that’s by chapter, other times by events that are happening, or a combo of the two. But I’m a fairly unplanned writer, so anything more than that is unusual.
What’s the most surprising thing a character has “told you?”
In my current release, the mother of my main characters (who has been giving the girls a very hard time about their challenges having children) revealed that she had also had challenges conceiving. I hadn’t seen it coming – and really, she should’ve been more sympathetic given her own history, but she kept a tight lid on it and it turns out all her harshness was a manifestation of guilt for her bad genes. Honestly, there’s always something – these characters keep me on my toes.
Do you have a list of characters that you’re saving for future use? What kind of information do you keep on these characters?
I have a handful of them – I have a hidden Pinterest board for them with clothes they might wear, who might play them (for attributes), the houses they live in. That sort of thing. I don’t have a ton of pins because I’m just not a plotter, but I try (if only so I can keep them consistent.) Most of them have had minor roles in my previous books and I’ve realized they’ll need their own stories at some point.
What does your work space/office look like?
Since I write on a laptop, I tend to be wherever I need to be for household management purposes. Right now I’m at the kitchen table. Sometimes I’m at my desk – but that’s rare. More often than not I’m either here (kitchen) or on the couch. Wherever I am, I like to have my feet up.
What is your go-to snack when writing?
I try really, really hard not to snack. But if I just have to have something, I try to go for mixed nuts or a piece of fruit (I love apples with peanut butter on them). Sometimes though the only thing that’ll do are chocolate covered almonds or peanut M&Ms.
If you could only recommend one NOVEL, what would it be? Why?
Only one? I guess In the Hall of the Dragon King by Stephen Lawhead. The books in this series have stuck with me since I first read them when I was eleven or twelve and I still go back and re-read them periodically. They’re simply delightful and so well written.
If you could only recommend one CRAFT book (writing, no crocheting), what would it be? Why?
Currently I’m in love with Write Your Novel From the Middle by James Scott Bell. It’s short and succinct, but has been a book that I continue to refer back to. The general premise is that you need to know the epiphany turning point of your character and that generally happens in the middle of novels – once you figure that out, then you can figure out what happens before and after more easily. (There’s so much more, but that’s the gist.)
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I’d love for readers to sign up for my occasional newsletter. I’m planning to have some special deals for new releases that are subscriber only, so there’s definitely a benefit there. Beyond that, thanks for having me!
You can connect with Elizabeth here: