Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thursday's Interview

Today I'm featuring Elaine Cantrell, a fellow EPIC author. Hope you enjoy.

1. What's your genre or do you write in more than one?

That’s an interesting question, isn’t it? The more I read and write the more I think that genres tend to bleed together most of the time. I always thought I wrote straight contemporary romance, but I realized one day that a lot of my work has elements of suspense in it. The Welcome Inn is a good example. In that book, my heroine is being pursued by persons unknown, and she has no idea why. These people break into her home to search for … something, try to abduct her when she and my hero are taking a moonlight swim, try to kidnap her in the grocery store parking lot, break into her apartment to capture her, and finally track her down to a presumably safe hiding place. Of course my hero rescues her each and every time, but just when you think the danger is over, the bad guys pop up again and bring the story to a rousing conclusion. So, the short version is yes, I write in several romantic genres.

2. Did you choose your genre or did it choose you?

I guess I probably chose it. I’ve always spun little fantasies in my head, and since most of them revolved around a romantic theme, it seemed like the best place to start.

3. Is there any genre you'd like to try? Or is there one you wouldn't?

I’ve branched off into sci/fi romance and have one book completed and another one in the works. I also have an inspirational novel written, but they are all in the romance genre. I wouldn’t write erotica. I’m not exactly sure how to explain why either. If it’s well done it can be remarkably er…interesting, but if it isn’t it’s just boring. I like to immerse myself in the plot of a novel, and to be honest some erotica doesn’t have much of a plot. Just one over the top sex scene after the other. Okay, now that I’ve offended all of the erotic authors and readers let me say that if I wrote erotica it would read more like a manual. Insert part A into part B. You get the picture. Nobody would want to read it. That being said, one reviewer said that the swim scene from The Welcome Inn was “near steamy” so …

4. What fiction do you read for pleasure?

I like cozy mysteries, thrillers, ghost stories, books set in the South (I’m from South Carolina.), and time travel novels. Right now I’m reading A River in the Sky by Elizabeth Peters, and I just finished Juliet by Anne Fortier. Now that’s a good book! I reviewed it on my blog if you’d like to check it out.

5. Tell me a bit about yourself and how long you've been writing,

I’d be delighted to! I’m a Southern girl, born and raised in upstate South Carolina. I say ya’ll, which is always plural, and I like grits. I graduated from Clemson University with a BA in secondary education and went back for a Master’s degree in personnel services. I’m a member of Alpha Delta, Kappa, an international honorary sorority for women educator’s, Romance Writer’s of America, and EPIC Authors. My first novel was the 2003 winner of the Timeless Love Contest and was published by Oak Tree Books in 2004. I’m still teaching social studies at our local high school, and in my spare time, if there is any, I like to read, play with my grandchildren, and collect vintage Christmas ornaments. You can see my vintage collection in my Facebook photos at!/profile.php?id=10000015304148

6. Which of your characters is your favorite?

The character I’m writing about is usually my favorite. I get so involved with them that I almost live as much in their world as I do my own. When I was Writing Return Engagement, I accidentally called my husband Richard. Richard is the hero of Return Engagement. I guess if I had to pick just one I’d take Richard Lovinggood. I liked him and his family so much I just couldn’t give them up. I have a sequel written and a third book planned.

7. Are there villains in your books and how were they created?

LOL. What’s a story without a good villain? Yes, I do have them. When I create a villain, I try not to make a stereotypical, flat character. I want him to have some redeeming qualities or he won’t seem real. Take Travis Abercrombie of The Welcome Inn for example. Travis blackmailed the mayor because he needed the mayor’s support for a pet project. When the mayor refused to cooperate, Travis send a hooker and a photographer to the mayor’s office, and they shot some pictures that made it look as if the mayor, a married man, was having an affair. Travis released the pictures to the press when the mayor still refused to play ball with him. That’s nasty, isn’t it, but as we get to know Travis we find out why he did such an awful thing, and by the end of the book he’s totally redeemed himself.

8. What are you working on now?

At the moment I’m working on a sci/fi romance, and I’ll shortly be doing edits for a book coming out in June. The title isn’t firm yet, but tentatively it will be called Jilted! But maybe not. For various reasons the publisher me to change the original title, and Jilted! Is the one I like best.

9. What's your latest release and how did the idea arrive?

My latest release is Return Engagement, and the book was written to showcase my ideal hero. I noticed that most of my heroes had certain traits in common, so I compiled all of them and came up with Richard Lovinggood.

10. Tell me about your latest book and how it came about. Enclose the opening of the book around 400 words.

Besides showcasing my ideal hero, Return Engagement explores the topic of ‘what if’. I bet there isn’t a person alive who hasn’t wondered how their life would be different if they had made different choices. In Return Engagement my characters fall in love when they’re both pretty young, but his father is a powerful senator who doesn’t think Elizabeth is good enough for his son. He breaks them up. Ten years later they meet by accident on a California beach, and the fireworks begin! Richard and Elizabeth won’t waste a second chance to find happiness. Here’s the beginning of Return Engagement which is available at


“Stop it!” Elizabeth cried. She scrambled off the bed and
put as much distance as possible between them. “It’s over,
Richard! No, don’t shake your head at me. I mean it.” Her
face blazed with color. “We have to end this, or I’ll be exactly
what the tabloids called me. I can’t, I won’t, live with that.”

Chest heaving, Richard struggled for self-control as he
faced Elizabeth across the bed, distracted by her beautiful
blue eyes and disheveled dark hair. What did the sleazy, tabloid
press matter? They loved each other; why did she panic
over a few nasty stories?

“Honey, you’re an actress,” he soothed, his voice velvety
soft and persuasive. “The tabloids won’t leave you alone no
matter what you do. Half the stuff they print is lies anyway.
Why are you letting them scare you?”

She stared at him with eyes stretched wide. “You’re seventeen
years old! In California you’re still a minor, and I’m
an adult. They have a right to accuse me of cradle robbing!
Don’t you know how many people agree with them?” Her voice dropped. “And that includes my mother and your parents. They’re so mad at us it scares me.”

Richard ignored the fact that his father’s reaction had
scared him too. “You talk like you’re fifty,” he scoffed, “but
you’re only five years older than me. You know it doesn’t
matter.” He lunged for her hand, but Elizabeth danced away
from him.

“It may matter to your career. Have you forgotten Senator
Lovinggood’s plans for you? Your dad wants you to be the
president one day, but a scandal like this could ruin your
chances before you even get started.”

Richard impatiently shook his head. “Don’t you get it?
You’re more important to me than any career in the world!
Without you I don’t care what happens to me.” His eyes softened.
“We fell in love with each other the first time we met
in the studio. Why would you even consider letting five lousy
years ruin things for us?”

Elizabeth dropped her head and bit her lip to hold back
her tears. “I know what I have to do, but why does it have
to hurt so much?” she whispered so low that Richard barely
heard her. She raised her eyes to his. “I love you, Richard,
but we can’t keep our hands off each other. It’s only a matter
of time until we do sleep together.” She made a sound
somewhere between a laugh and a sob. “If we do sleep together
I’ll deserve everything they’ve said about me.
Please, please go.”

For a moment the issue hung in the balance. The air in
the room which already shimmered with emotion now started
to sizzle, but with an exclamation of surrender Richard bent
and scooped his shirt from the floor. “I’ll call you.”

Elizabeth’s eyes filled with tears. “No, please don’t. It’s
over; don’t you see?”

Thanks so much for having me today. It’s been fun.

1 comment:

Diane Craver said...

Hi Elaine,
I enjoyed learning more about you.
Great excerpt!