Could you please start by telling us a little about yourself?
I'm a work-at-home mom living in the San Francisco Bay area. Of my many part-time jobs, writing is by far my favorite, and I hope to make it a full time job as soon as possible. I'm happily married to the most wonderful man I know, who always shows up a bit in all of my heroes. He's a great sounding board and loves reading my manuscripts and participating in.research. I came to writing in a round-about way. My background is in biotech, but I've already loved reading fiction and I have a passion for everything from history to science fiction. When faced with that balancing act between work and motherhood, I took a risk to try following a dream and become a writer, and I'm so happy I did!
If you could be one of your characters - Who would you be? And why?
Oh, that's a tough one. When writing, you always fall a little bit in love with your characters, and put a little bit of yourself in your female protagonist and a little bit of what you love in a man in the hero. I'd say part of my split personality is always being the character that I'm writing at any given time. Still, overall I'd have to say that I have a book coming out in November with Cerridwen Press called Match Made by Moonlight. That was the first book I ever wrote, and I adore Marianna. I would love to be her, and be engulfed by the magic and romance of the Shropshire hills in the moonlight.
What's your favorite genre to read?
I have to decide? It varies with my mood. A sweeping historical epic is always a favorite, but a clever scifi can just make to laugh and gasp in all the right places. I have to confess and intense fondness for the Regency period and fell in love with Austen at a young age. As an adult, I always wanted to find out what went on behind closed doors
Who or what influences you when you write?
My husband is a huge inspiration and support to me. He makes me laugh at myself and he makes my writing so much better. He fills my characters with spark. I also have a wonderful support group of writing friends from around the world that I've found on the Internet, and their ideas and personalities have been a fantastic inspiration. My first release, Scandalous Profession, is really a salute to a very good friend of mine. She's a dynamic, funny and sexy single mother in need of her very own hero, and Charlotte is her mirror image in the Regency.
What do you do on a typical writing day?
Get my son off to school and my husband off to work. Sit down with a tall glass of water and my laptop (but not in too close proximity, I've had spills happen and lost some great stuff!), and try to write at least a thousand words every day. I also have a lot of other part time jobs, and I've found that switching between grunt work and writing keeps the writing a joy, a reward for finishing other tasks. Writing to me remains a pleasure, a fun adventure, and I always hope that my readers will be swept away with me.
When you have writer's block how do you break free?
Write, write, write! I usually have at least two stories going at any one time, not to mention a lot of short fanfiction stories in various genres. If a character or a plot point just doesn't seem to be working, I'll switch and go to something else for a while, often finding that in the meantime, another track in my brain has worked out what the original problem was and I can move forward in the first story I was working on. I find that the old adage is true, the more you write, the more you write!
Can you please give us a sneak peek at any of your upcoming books?
There's Scandalous Profession of course with Ellora's Cave, which I am really proud of. I don't think that single parenthood is a topic much dealt with in Regency historical, and it certainly made a fun way to get two great characters to meet and fall in love. I think you'll find a library is a very, very interesting place after you've read what can happen there in Scandalous Profession. In November, I've got a Match Made by Moonlight with Cerridwen Press. This was actually my first book, and I really have a deep attachment to the characters. Two lovers, separated by a war and hundreds of miles, meet and fall in love in their dreams. A touch of moon magic aids them as they try to find each other through the perils of war, distance, mistaken identity, and evil conniving cousins. This is also set in the Regency, and I think both Marianna and Brandon are characters you want the best for, and you'll cheer for them to find each other and overcome every hurdle.
Please tell us what you have planned next?
I'm currently working on two books. One is for the "Jewels of the Nile" series that Ellora's Cave is planning for 2008, surrounding the birthstones for each month. I've always loved garnets, the birthstone for January, and I'm writing an interesting sci-fi twist around two fascinating characters and how garnets make it possible for them to be together. The other book is the first in a series I've been thinking about for years, involving a family of mages, who send their sons out into the world to find their mates and bring out the magical potential in these special women. The first book in the series is set in bustling New York City during the Roaring Twenties, with jazz and booze and magic interweaving into quite an interesting spell. I'm really enjoying bringing it to life, and I hope I can bring it to you soon!
In 5 years, where do you see yourself? -In general and in you're writing career
In general, I hope to have a happy, healthy family. We're considering having another child, and that would be a big change. I hope my newly planted garden is thriving and we've made our new house truly into a home. As far as writing, I'd love to be able to get down more of the stories in my mind, and develop new and interesting plots and characters that my audience would find fun to read. I'd like to expand a bit more into sci-fi, other historical periods, and into the paranormal genre, which I've always found fascinating.
Who is your perfect hero? And why?
I hate to sound corny, but my husband. I even had the words "My Hero" engraved in his wedding ring. He's an amazing man, whose been through a lot in his life, but is still hopeful. He's thoughtful and passionate, funny and incredibly intelligent. He puts up with me despite my peculiarities, and he always makes me feel beautiful and loved. Sure, he has his own problems, but who doesn't? A hero should be honest, interesting, and sexy as hell. He should be able to more than stand up to a strong heroine, and be turned on the more he is challenged.
What do you do for inspiration?
I love a challenge, and so I sometimes ask for prompts - a word - a time period - an object, from my writing friends. I also like that Ellora's Cave has "Calls for Submissions" that can give some great ideas. Other than that, I love themes combining magic and history, and a sense of wonder at the world. If I have the beginnings of a story in my head, I get online and do a lot of searching, often finding lots of great information to flesh out the world of a story with period detail or captivating twists. Heck, I've had plot bunnies attack me just from reading a Wikipedia article!
Is there a genre of book you would like to write but haven't yet?
Shapeshifter or vampire paranormal. I love vampire and werewolf mythology, but I haven't thought of an innovative plot to do the genre justice. Hopefully soon I'll get a chance to play around in this fun world.
What type of book have you always wanted to write?
I'd love to write characters so interesting that people want to read more, or even write fanfiction about! I'd love to create a fantasy world so rich that it would really engage the imagination. I want to write books that make people think, even while giving them a touch of fun escape from the day to day world. I love working with EC/CP as a publisher, because they give you a lot of creative freedom!
What kind of research do you do for your books? Do you enjoy the research process?
I love research, and I'm on the computer or at the library all the time. Thank goodness for the internet. If I'm writing about New York City in 1926, I want to get the landmarks right, I want to get the clothes right and I want to know when the Yankees were playing the Red Sox. I think this really brings a story to life!
Do deadlines help or hinder your muse?
Help. I'm a procrastinator, and a deadline forces me to focus and work! Otherwise, a thousand other things seem to get in the way.
When did you first decide to submit your work? Please, tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step.
After finishing my first book a couple of years ago and submitting to agents, I had got a few rejection notices and though I vowed not to get discouraged, I let life interfere and let dust gather on my dream. Then, joining an online group of amateur writers allowed me to find some great friends, including the wonderful lady who is the inspiration for Charlotte in Scandalous Profession. I wrote the original version of that book on a whim as a present for her, having never written such an erotic original story before, and she loved it so much she really encouraged me to try submitting to Ellora's Cave. Given the ease of the electronic submission process versus the nerve-wracking process of envelope stuffing, it was easy to send it off and wish for the best! Once they accepted that, they were interested in any other work I had done and I was off and rolling.
What would you like to tell your readers?
I really love a good story, and I love writing. I want to do my best to give you the best story and to improve my skills as a storyteller. I love feedback, and as I said before, I love a challenge. Please visit my website or drop me an email and tell me about the kinds of books you like to read, and if there's a historical period you feel is neglected, or a topic that you want to see turned into a backdrop for romance, I want to hear about it. I love learning, and writing is a constant journey into undiscovered territory.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
About writing? Best - believe in yourself and write what you think is interesting. You'd be surprised how many other people will love the same things. Worst - You'll never get published without an agent.
Do you outline your books or just start writing?
A bit of both I suppose. I almost always have a general outline of five or six touchpoints of plot or scenes that I want to be able to write into a story. Then, it's a matter of sitting down and knocking out the words to tie everything together into a seamless whole. At least, I hope it's seamless by the time I'm done. Thank goodness for great editors!
Do you belong to a critique group? If so, how does this help or hinder you?
A very informal, probably overly-supportive writers group. If I want someone to tell me the truth, I have to ask my husband. He's brutal, thank God.
What was your first published work and when was it published?
Scandalous Profession is my first published work, and I'm really excited about it!
What would be the best way for readers contact you? Do you have a website? Email address? MySpace site? Blog? Message Board? Group?
My web site is my blog, elainelowe.livejournal.com. Come on over and check it out, and feel free to friend me for exclusive commentary and updates! My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and I really want to hear from all my readers!
How can readers find out more about you and your books?
I'll be participating in several chats about Scandalous Profession, but the best place to read more is my blog elainelowe.livejournal.com. I'll be setting up a mailing list for any updates soon, so drop me an email at email@example.com
Thank you for this opportunity!
Interviewed by Tammie King