AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: EA WEST
Inspirational adult romance author EA West has stopped by to chat with the JR Bunnies….
My newest release is Battlefield of the Heart, an inspirational romance published by Astraea Press.
Tell us a little Battlefield of the Heart:
I started writing the book after several years of the media bombarding the American public with scenes and stories of the military, the War on Terror, and returning veterans. All of that information piqued my interest and started my imagination churning with ideas. After a couple of years of writing and research, Battlefield of the Heart was born.
Here’s the back cover blurb:
What started out as a bit of research for a sociology paper quickly turns into much more than Cindy ever expected. But can she survive Danny’s PTSD long enough to form a relationship with him?
Cindy Waymire, a college senior in search for a topic for an upcoming sociology paper, finds more than a topic when she meets Army veteran and college freshman Danny Flynn outside the student union. An undeniable attraction to this troubled veteran leads her on a difficult and winding path that brings her to a crossroads — get into a relationship with a man who has serious mental health problems or turn her back on one of the best men she’s ever met.
Can Cindy set her fears aside and follow her heart, or will the ghosts haunting Danny’s mind end their relationship before it begins?
When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
I rarely know where the story is going past the first chapter, although sometimes a scene will pop into my mind that happens later in the story and gives me clues about the earlier chapters. My writing process is fairly simple. I start with an idea for a character or two and a “what if” question that sets up the plot, then I let my imagination run. The characters tend to take over after a while, which can make the writing interesting when they throw something unexpected into the story.
What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?
Oddly enough, I kind of fell into writing romance. I started out thinking I’d write young adult novels, but I’ve always been a sucker for happy endings and that warm fuzzy feeling a good romance gives you. My first romance was the result of being frustrated over receiving yet another rejection on a YA manuscript, but it opened a whole new genre to me. After writing that first short romance, all of my story ideas seemed to revolve around romance, and it turned out that people liked what I wrote. So now instead of focusing on YA fiction like I’d intended at the beginning, I write sweet and inspirational romance, and I love every minute of it.
Do you have a favorite character you have written?
This is always such a difficult question to answer! I love all of my characters in one way or another, even the villains. However, I’d have to say Danny Flynn, the hero in Battlefield of the Heart, is one of my all-time favorites. Writing him was such an emotional journey, but the research for developing his character and the process of writing him taught me a lot and gave me a greater admiration for the men and women who have served in combat. They are some amazing people who deserve everyone’s thanks.
Who was the toughest character for you to “get right” that you have written so far?
I’d have to say Danny and the other veterans in Battlefield of the Heart. Without having served in the military, it was difficult to write their actions and reactions in a way that would accurately portray combat veterans. It’s a challenge I’m glad I undertook, however, because it gave me insight into a growing segment of the population and helped me understand some of the sacrifices our country has asked these brave men and women, and their families, to make.
Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?
The inspiration for my characters comes from everywhere. Real life, books, movies, news reports, conversations, etc. One sunny summer afternoon, I was relaxing on my front porch and watching traffic go by. A man riding a motorcycle went past, and an idea for a character sprang to mind. I didn’t know much about this character other than he had a Southern accent and a motorcycle, but the idea for him wouldn’t let me go until I started writing. You know that saying about everything being fodder for a writer? In my case, that saying couldn’t be more true.
What do you find the hardest part of writing?
Writing descriptions. I love getting into my characters’ heads and exploring their personalities and feelings, but writing a description of the room they’re in can be challenging. It can be difficult to know how much description a reader needs to “see” the setting without adding so much that it’s overwhelming or boring. Descriptions are a balancing act I’m still learning.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
I can write fictional conversations with no problem, but when it comes to real life, I’m a terrible conversationalist. It’s so difficult to know what to say!
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Aside from chocolate? LOL I’d have to say adding to my ‘To Read’ list. I have so many books on it now, that it will probably take me a couple of years to read them all. And since the list grows almost daily, I’ll never reach the end. It’s a great problem to have, however.
What TV Show are you addicted to?
Wait. I’m only supposed to be addicted to one? Well, I guess I’m an overachiever in this case…or maybe television studios are just putting out too many awesome shows! Currently, I’m addicted to Once Upon a Time, Chicago Fire, and Revolution.
What do you need before you start writing? Anything that is just a must have or the creative juice don’t flow?
I need a comfortable place to sit where no one will bother me until I finish the scene I have in mind. If I know I’m going to be interrupted, say, fifteen or twenty minutes into my writing time, my characters go on strike and refuse to tell me where the story goes next.
Does music influence your writing? If so, do any of your stories have a theme song?
Most of the time I don’t think about connecting music to my stories, but I listened to two songs frequently while working on rewrites of Battlefield of the Heart — “Indestructible” by Disturbed and “Moving On” by Decyfer Down.
If your story was optioned for a movie, who would play your characters?
That would be an awesome situation! I think Stephen Amell would make a good Danny Flynn. For Cindy Waymire, I think Saoirse Ronan would be great. The only problem there is that she’d have to perfect her American accent for the role. LOL
Where were you when you got your first contract? Who did you tell first?
I was at home when I received the email offering me my first contract. That was one of the most exciting messages I’ve ever received! In between happy dancing and pinching myself to be sure I wasn’t dreaming, the first person I shared the exciting news with was my mom. She’s always been one of my biggest supporters.
How old were you when you read your first romance book?
I was around eighteen or nineteen the first time I read a romance. Before that, I thought I wouldn’t like romances since I was more of a suspense and mystery type of girl. Boy, was I wrong! I love reading sweet and inspirational romances in a variety of subgenres.
What author causes you to “go fan girl”/ squeal over/anticipate upcoming books?
That’s a tough one. I was thrilled when I heard Dee Henderson had a new book coming out, and I always love hearing about Terri Blackstock’s and Sigmund Brouwer’s newest projects.
If you still have one of those pesky non writing jobs what is it?
I pick up a few freelance editing and proofreading jobs now and then, so even when I’m not working at writing, I’m still working in the publishing business. This industry is addicting!
Do you have a favorite movie you have seen in the last few months and/or an all time favorite?
One of my all-time favorite movies is Disney’s Cinderella. I also love the Chronicles of Narnia movies (and the books!).
What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
I always have a few projects I’m working on. Right now, I’m writing two different stories and revising another.
If you could co-write with another author who would it be?
Honestly, I’ve never thought about co-writing a book. With my seat-of-the-pants writing method, I’m not sure how it would work.
How do you pick your characters names?
I generally go with the first name that comes to mind. If for some reason that name doesn’t fit the character or I just plain hate it, I’ll think of another one. If I can’t think of a good surname, I’ll flip through the phone book and place a finger on the page without looking. Whatever name I land on becomes the character’s last name. If I need help coming up with a first name, I’ll either do a Google search or ask someone to suggest a name.
Do you prefer the love at first sight approach or a steady growth throughout?
Either one works for me, as long as it makes sense. What drives me crazy is if the hero and heroine fall madly in love and start planning their future life together without ever saying a word to each other. On the flip side, it’s just as irritating to have the hero and heroine hate each other for half the book and then suddenly, for no apparent reason, find each other unbelievably attractive and irresistible. The suspension of disbelief is essential to any work of fiction, and can help make some pretty unrealistic situations seem plausible (take sci-fi, for example). But if the romance is too unbelievable, it kills the story for me.
What is your reaction to people who say one of the following…”Oh you write romance, I thought you were a real writer”, “Romance isn’t a real writing career” or the ever popular “Oh, one of those books”.
I’ve actually been pretty lucky in terms of the things people say when they find out I write romance. Aside from a brother who loves to make fun of my choice of genre, the worst I’ve heard is, “Oh, you write romance? I don’t read that.”
I do have to explain from time to time that not all romances include sex scenes and that they can be very deep books, but for the most part people seem impressed that they’re talking to a multi-published author.
Where can readers find you?
Amazon Author Page: http://amazon.com/author/eawest
And for the silly side –
What is your favorite type of chocolate?
All chocolate is good, but I think my absolute favorite would have to be Dove Dark Chocolate. That smooth, rich creaminess is to die for.