Welcome to Unwritten, Elaine! Please get comfortable and tell us about yourself. What do you do when you're not writing sweet love stories?
Mostly work! I teach high school social studies which does take up a good bit of time. Interestingly enough, two of my students have written romantic short stories which I plan to share on my blog as quickly as I can. Naturally, I like to read and play with my grandchildren, but I do have a new hobby. I've started collecting vintage Christmas ornaments. They're so beautiful and so different! You can see my vintage Christmas tree in my Facebook photos at http://www.facebook.com/elainepcantrell.
Tell us about your latest release, A New Dream. What inspired you to write it?
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This is kind of funny. A New Dream sat on my computer for ten years before I dusted it off and sent it out to find a home. I waited so long because my husband didn't like the book. I realize now why he didn't. It was because he didn't want my hero to lose his pro-football career. I wrote the book to show that losing one dream doesn't mean life is over. Replacement dreams can be every bit as good as the originals, maybe even better.
From the biography on your website, it says you started your writing career as a bit of a challenge from your fellow teachers. What was that process like for you? Did you ever feel frustrated and ready to quit? What advice would you give other writers who are just starting out?
The first time I sat down in front of a computer I froze. What to do? How to start? I finally decided that it didn't matter. I had a delete key, right? From that point on, I wrote every single free minute I could find. I wrote scenes in my head and holed up in my study night and day. I enjoyed myself so much! Of course, later I had to revise like crazy. For new writers, I'd just say to have fun with it. Read a few books in the genre you'd like to write in, and then just do it.
What authors have inspired you over the years?
Too many to count, but some of my favorite are Elizabeth Peters, Karen White, Larry McMurty, Karen Robarts, and Sherryl Woods. As a child I liked Louisa M. Alcott, Elizabeth Marie Pope, and just about anyone I read. I was a voracious reader as a child.
Are you working on anything now, and can you tell us about it?
I just finished a short story for a wedding anthlogy whose proceeds will be donated to Japan relief, and now I'm revising the sequel to Return Engagement. The sequel is about Hank Lovinggood, the son of my characters in Return Engagement. If you've read the first book you'll probably be surprised by the second. It's a sci/fi romance.
Here's another random question (don't you love these?): If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional. with whom would it be?
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This one is easy. I'd be Elizabeth Lane of Return Engagement. Elizabeth is married to Richard Lovinggood who is my all time, to die for hero. I've written blog posts on what I like about the man, so it would be super fun to be his Elizabeth. I wonder, though, if I'd truly like him in real life. He's a slightly dangerous Alpha male with an impulsive streak. He might be hard to live with.
Finally, Ms. Cantrell, could you share a short excerpt of a published work or a work in progress?
I would be delighted to! In this excerpt from A New Dream my heroine Violet finds out that her fiance kissed another woman. A New Dream is available at http://www.astraeapress.com
“You mean Mr. McCallum?”
Stacey nodded. “Yes, I do. Didn’t Violet tell you? Matt’s the
father of my little boy.”
Violet felt a stinging in her palm and forced herself to look
away from Stacey. How about that? She’d closed her hand around
the sharp knife she and Marjorie used to open boxes and was
bleeding like crazy. She grabbed the towel she’d just used to wipe
her hands and wadded it up in her palm.
Marjorie quickly found the rolls and gave them to Stacey
who said, “Well, thanks for helping me. I’ll see you later, Violet.”
The minute Stacey left, Matt’s stockman Tommy Riker
hustled over to the bakery. “What did she want, Violet?” he
demanded. “I saw her walk up when I was stocking pie filling.”
Violet threw her bloody dish towel into the trash can. “She
wanted some rolls, Tommy. Why?”
“Because last night I saw Matt kiss her. I was taking out the
trash, and I saw him come out of her apartment and kiss her.”
Violet’s ears roared. She saw some funny gray spots in front
of her eyes. Her chest hurt, and it was hard to breathe.
She fled the bakery and ran into the restroom where she hid
in a stall. She put her head between her knees until the spots before
her eyes went away.
She wrapped her arms around herself and tried not to moan.
How could he?
Thank you so much for dropping by, Elaine! I wish you much success!
Thanks for having my, Mysti. I've enjoyed meeting you and your readers.