Amy: What was the first romance novel you ever read?
Elizabeth: I’ve always been one to have a book around, but I read across multiple genres without any particular favorite until about 12 years ago. Whatever book caught my eye or was popular enough to make into a movie, I would pick it up, and dive into it without hesitation. I blame this entirely on growing up in the country. In a home where my only choices in books were my brother’s science fiction novels, and my mom’s cozy murder mysteries, I was just happy to have something to read, anything to read.
Then when I was in my late 20s, I walked into my local bookstore and saw a book with a cover depicting a ship at sea. Bold blue skies, sails billowing in the wind, and a lady in a pink dress all seemed to beg me to pick up the book to investigate. It was Johanna Lindsey’s CAPTIVE OF MY DESIRES. That was the day I dove into historical romance novels, and I’ve never looked back.
Amy: When did you realize you wanted to write romance novels?
Elizabeth: I never realized I could write until I was grown. I know many authors began their first novel at age 10, but that wasn’t me. I was actually in my early thirties and I’d just had a baby. I’d been reading romance for a few years at that point. One day while cleaning out our closets my husband stumbled across my stash of romance novels. He turned around to look at me with a look of shock on his face. “You’ve read all of these? Do you realize how much market research you’ve done on this subject?”
Leave it to him to look at reading books in business terms. I’m pretty sure I rolled my eyes. “Market research? Really?”
Then he said, “No, I’m serious. You should try to write a book.”
I could have ignored his suggestion and continued spring cleaning the house. But I’d just closed my interior design business to be a stay-at-home-mom for our son and I was looking for something to work on in my free time. So during naptime for my baby the following afternoon I sat down at the kitchen table and started to write.
That first manuscript is still well hidden beneath my bed even today, but I learned from it. What’s more, I found I had a passion for story telling that I never knew existed. I’m so thankful that my husband wanted to clean out the house that day. It changed my life. And my husband is still my biggest cheerleader on this journey. …Don’t tell him I called him a cheerleader, alright? It’ll be our secret.
Amy: If you could be a character in any movie, which movie and what character would you want to be?
Elizabeth: Without a doubt I would want to be Mia Thermopolis in The Princess Diaries! She gets to learn to be a princess. I mean, twist my arm, right? Torture me with makeovers and learning to properly sip tea any day. I won’t complain even a little. Mia Thermopolis has the bright future of one day ruling Genovia which looks a great deal like one of the countries in Epcot. Again, it would be complete torture to have that to look forward to. ;) And bonus—my grandmother would be Mary Poppins. Not too shabby.
Amy: Who is your favorite musical artist of all time, and why?
Elizabeth: That’s such a tough question! I think I’ve now changed my answer on this 4 times, but in the end I have to go with Dave Matthews. I’ve been to more of his concerts than any other band. I can put on his live album with Tim Reynolds at Radio City Music Hall in the background at my house and be content to leave it on for hours. I like any musical artist that tells a story or paints a picture with lyrics, so for me Dave Matthews Band is the perfect music…even if I did come really close to answering this question with Led Zeppelin.
Amy: Do you listen to music while you write? And if so, what do you listen to?
Elizabeth: I only listen to classical music and theme songs from movies while I’m writing because of the lyrics. If I listen to a song with words, I stop writing to sing along, using the stapler on my desk as a microphone. Yes, I discovered I have this problem the hard way. I do, however, have inspiration music for each book. I listen to it while I’m sipping my coffee or I’m in the car.
For THE WICKED HEIR, I listened to a mix that included the acoustic version of Everlong by the Foo Fighters, Everything Has Changed by Taylor Swift, Someone Like You by Adele, Crash Into Me by Dave Matthews, She Will Be Loved by Maroon 5, and a random selection of songs from Disney movies. I blame my heroine, Isabelle, who is a bit of a princess for that last part.
Amy: If you could go anywhere in the world for a vacation, where would you go?
Elizabeth: London, of course! My house is in the country so I enjoy going to cities on vacation for a change of pace. And what better city is there in the world than London, England? I love London, but I haven’t been able to go in years since I have a little one at home. It seemed like a long flight for a wiggly little boy to sit through, but now that he’s getting older I’m hoping I can take a family vacation there in the coming years. Until then I’ll just have to sip tea at home and dream.
Amy: If you had only one book to read for the rest of your life, what book would it be?
Elizabeth: Only one book?! Forever?! Man, ask me a tougher question, why don’t you, Amy. Geez! I would have to go with the book that will always hold a special place in my heart: the one that hooked me on reading when I was a teenager. There was a long list of acceptable books for summer reading that year. I wasn’t a big reader at the time, so I sighed and looked down the list settling on a title that turned out to be AMAZING! After I read it, I wanted more and began devouring book after book for the first time in my life. But that first one is still my favorite book of all time. The book that changed my life: REBECCA by Daphne Du Maurier.
Amy: What is the strangest way that an idea has come to you for a story?
Elizabeth: LOL I definitely have to go with the plot of my debut novel, MUST LOVE DUKES, for this one. I was in the shower one Saturday afternoon after working in my flower beds all morning.
It went something like this: shampoo, shampoo, shampoo… ENTIRE PLOT OF THE STORY SMASHING ME OVER THE HEAD! I gasped, didn’t even stop to rinse or repeat, and ran for a pen and paper before I could forget the details. I wrote down a summary of the entire book with shampoo bubbles still dripping from my head. And the rest is history.
Amy: Who is a favorite secondary character you’ve written, and why?
Elizabeth: Kelton Brice, Lord Hardaway! I love Kel! I can always count on him to go off on some tangent of complete randomness, and whatever story he tells, it always makes me giggle. He’s one of those people who talks with his hands and is always in danger of accidentally back handing someone who gets too close when he’s mid tale of some adventure. I never know what he’s going to say, but you can bet that it will be slightly inappropriate and at top volume so that everyone on his side of town can hear it. He’s awesome. I want to be his friend.
Amy: If you had to write something other than romance, what would you write?
Elizabeth: Although it would make me sad to step away from romance because of all of the friends I’ve found in the genre, I would shift to writing Women’s Fiction. My books have been called deeply emotional, and I believe that’s a fair statement. Even through the romance and the moments of laughter, there is always a layer of character growth happening in the background. I like people with plenty of flaws. *shrugs and laughs* But for this reason, I think I could write a heartfelt tale of woe for some poor character in a Women’s Fiction novel. ;)
Amy: Who is your celebrity crush?
Elizabeth: What is it with guys named Chris in Hollywood lately, am I right? Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Chris Pine, Chis Pratt… Of the dreamy Chrises, Chris Pratt is my favorite. I love a guy with a great sense of humor. And, let’s be honest, he doesn’t hurt to look at either.
Amy: If you had to choose a favorite love scene you’ve written, which couple is it with, and why?
Elizabeth: Without a doubt, it’s Fallon and Isabelle from THE WICKED HEIR, chapter sixteen to be exact. Isabelle is a true romantic. She turns everything she sees into fantasy and makes up stories, even about Fallon. In my favorite love scene from this, or any, book she spins a tale about being held as his prisoner. Okay, so he *did* kidnap her and lock her in his bedroom, but he had his reasons, and he was a total gentleman about it. But in Isabelle’s version of events, he’s an evil lord…
Isabelle knew her smile must have covered half her face, and she giggled as she clambered to her feet. But a second later, she’d arranged her face to be that of a tortured lady. She squared her shoulders to Fallon, staring him down. “I only came here to save my family from harm. We had a bargain, sir. A bargain.”
He raised a brow in question at the story forming in her mind. Wrapping his hands around her arms, he said, “The terms of our agreement have changed, my lady. You shouldn’t have trusted me. I’m quite the wicked gentleman.”
Isabelle gasped and looked up at him. “What will you do with me? I only ask that you spare my life and release my family from captivity.”
“And if I’m so generous?” he asked, his voice drop- ping to a low rumble as he watched her.
“I’ll stay here forever. I’ll be yours forever.” The raw honesty of her words hung between them for a moment. No matter the parts they played at the moment, at least that much was true.
Things get steamy after that. ☺
Amy: As a reader, which do you prefer: beta or alpha heroes?
Elizabeth: Alphas! I love Alpha Males! I’m married to an alpha male, and I write about alpha males. So when it comes to what I choose to read in my spare time, I’m always going to choose an alpha hero. Give me a take charge, masculine hero with a weakness for only one lady, and I’m a happy reader. I also give bonus points to the hero if he’s scarred in some way, or avoids events where he would have to exhibit good behavior. …I guess I have a type. ;)
Amy: What author has been the greatest influence on your writing?
Elizabeth: There are so many authors I love to read, and authors I admire and for various reasons. My number one favorite author though has to be Lisa Kleypas. Her writing is beautiful! I love her descriptions and the characters she creates are amazing. Every time I finish one of her books I sit there for a second in awe, hoping I can make a reader feel the same way I do in that moment. For me, her books are the light house on the horizon that I steer my little boat toward. I hope I hit land one day and I get to meet her in person. That would be awesome!
Amy: Of the three heroes in The Spare Heirs series, which would you choose that have as your brother, which would you take as a lover, and which would you make your husband?
Elizabeth: Oh, goodness! What a question! LOL I would choose Ethan Moore, Lord Ayton (THE INFAMOUS HEIR) to be my brother. He’s a great brother to his sister, Katie. And I know if something went wrong in my life, he would have my back and would be the first one there throwing punches in my defense.
I would marry Fallon St. James (THE WICKED HEIR) in a heartbeat! He’s a kind, generous, and powerful man in London. He lives in the elegant, flower-filled Headquarters for the Spare Heirs Society. He’s…let’s be honest…the Godfather of the mafia, which is cool. And he would be the one most likely to laugh it off when I do something impulsive and creative around the house.
And that makes Ash Claughbane (THE REBEL HEIR) my lover. Ash is adventurous, and fun. He travels a good bit, so I think he would be a nice wild fling when he comes through town. Of course, I think the heroines of the Spare Heirs series would have a problem with me stealing their men, so I’ll just stick with the husband I have. He’s pretty awesome too.