AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: ELIJANA KINDEL
Author and now self-publisher Elijana has let me interrogate, I mean corner her to ask a few questions the JR Bunnies would like to know….
My most current novel is Emily’s Affair. This year I made a command decision to start my own self-publishing adventure and become an indie romance author. Emily’s Affair was my first novel length story that I published on Amazon, B&N, and All Romance eBooks.
Tell us a little about Emily’s Affair, what inspired you to write Emily’s Affair?
Blurb: Emily Stafford has fallen into heat and needs it bad. Real bad. After one innocent run-in with her neighbor and his sexier-than-homemade-sin voice at the mailroom in her condominium complex, she had a toe curling… you know. When her second encounter with the object of her lust is just as innocent and has the same result, Emily decides to seize the moment and have herself a hot, no strings attached affair.
Jake Grayden has a plan and it doesn’t include ‘wham-bam-thank you-sir’s. He’s made up his mind that Emily is the one for him and he’s willing to take as many long, cold showers as is necessary to make her realize that she wants the same thing. But when she overpowers his self-control and her heart begins to beat for him and only him, the race is on for Jake to break down Emily’s emotional barriers and show her the fine art of loving… and being loved.
What inspired me to write it? LOL. Jake told me all I needed to do the first time we met. It started with the word, Yes, and went straight downhill from there.
When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
Actually, I’m a mix between a plotter and a pantser—lol, suppose that makes me a pantser? Typically, the first thing that happens in my story development is… I hear a character. For example, in Emily’s Affair, the hero of the story (Jake) said to me, “Yes.” Then I got the visuals. And ohmiword, those were some explicit visuals. Typically, after I hear, then see the characters, we work together to give them the best (whacky) plot that we can come up with. It’s an adventure. For all of us. An adventure that I thoroughly enjoy.
What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?
Oooh, that’s a tough one. Tough because I’m not certain I can pinpoint one single thing that inspired me to write romance. I can say that I am and always have been a hopeless romantic. I love “Happily ever after’s” and if there was a way I could rewrite Romeo and Juliet so it’d be happy at the end, then I’d definitely do it.
Events and people who inspired me along the way include my grandmother (who I think single handedly kept Harlequin in business with her massive book collection), my high school English teacher (who handed me the book Katherine by Anya Seton and said read and discuss it for a grade), and a college friend who dared (challenged, taunted, et cetera) me to write a romance novel better than the one I’d just complained about reading.
I started out researching and writing historical romance, then one day found myself writing about contemporary and paranormal characters. So, yeah, I guess you could say that I’ve morphed and changed as a writer through the years.
Do you have a favorite character you have written?
Oooh, that’s not fair. Answering this question is like trying to pick a favorite child.
Unfortunately I have to put in my disclaimer right here (to appease my characters) and say that they are ALL my favorite. (See me patiently enduring the round of boos from the audience, before I say…) Buuuut, if you promise not to tell the darlings in my imagination this, yeah I’ve got a few who are a little nearer and dearer to my heart than the others. The list goes something like this… Emily, Kitiana, Nicholas, Elspeth, Cheia, Tsin, Lucien, Chayos, Lyukyos, Dare, Raph, Grace, Mace Drake,… and at the top of the list are Chassyn (Chase) and Laurel. *sigh* Chase and Laurel have their own story that is emotional and hard to write, but… I love it. Hell, the truth is that when I asked the lineup of characters in my mind which story needed to be told the most among all the others, all the characters (but Laurel) took a giant step backwards. I nearly cried when they did that—it was just beautiful.
So yeah, Laurel is my favorite character. Her story will be coming out in the next few months with the beginning of my next series called the Chronicles of PSST and her book, Laurel’s Honor.
Who was the toughest character for you to “get right” that you have written so far?
Honestly, writing Jake in Emily’s Affair was hard. See, Jake is at heart a fiery, passionate, powerful alpha… with more intelligence than even I could handle. The way he dealt with Emily in her story and how he refused to settle for wham bam thank you sirs when I knew he was more than capable of handling them and having a damn fine time doing it as well… that was excruciating. And then some. I cannot tell you how many times I argued with him about giving in and giving Emily what she wanted.
Argh, it was painful. I hope I never have to do that again. Oh no. I said the never word. Well, fudge ripple. Anyone care to take a bet on how long it’ll be before the muse deigns to get her revenge and sends me another hero who has an annoyingly vast amount of patience? Because now that I’ve said never, it’s soooo gonna happen. FUDGE RIPPLE.
Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?
My life is a movie in the making. Granted it’s a B movie with an all-star cast, but a movie nonetheless. My characters come from my imagination—which probably explains why I have such a hard time naming them. But the insane types of things that happen to them… actually I’ve begun to wonder if it’s not the characters who inspire my life.
Let me give you an example… about 13 years ago, I started working on a marriage of convenience story. A contemporary. Between a boss and his assistant. They have chemistry and they each do a lot of fantasizing about the other, but they’ve got this work ethic thing that keeps them strictly business. Until the hero gets an ultimatum from his manipulative grandfather that basically says, get married or else. The assistant/heroine comes from a loving family who is… well, not normal. She’s just found out from her half-brother that their crazy mother is facing jail time for not paying her taxes through the Reagan Administration and possible money laundering charges for some inventive bookkeeping at the mom’s new age church. So we have a hero who needs to get married in less than two weeks and a heroine who needs to find a huge sum of money in less than two weeks. It’s a match made in heaven—or so the hero thinks.
Here’s where it gets weird. The hero proposes to the heroine in a bar and the first thing the heroine thinks is… ohmiword, he just proposed to me and what do I do? What do I do? So she fires off with the one thing she can think of… I can’t marry you, because… because you don’t have a ring and I promised myself a long time ago that I’d never get married without having a ring—because darn it, I’m worth it.
A few years later… that’s real years, not fictional years… see me over at a friend’s house, I’ve just finished making a kick ass dinner that disappeared in no time flat, when one of the guests—a male—drops to one knee in front of me and asks me to marry him. Ohmiword, what do I do? What do I do? Well, I said the first thing that came to mind. I can’t marry you, because… um, because… you don’t have the right equipment. (Can we say that the room was filled with folks who had a WTF expression on their face? Lol, yeah we can.) I take a deep breath and continue with, you don’t have a ring and I’m Southern and … I promised myself a long time ago that I wouldn’t get married without a ring—because darn it, I’m worth it . Harrumph—so there, that’s been nipped in the bud. (Lol, yeah right.) Ten months later, he came back—this time with a ring. And that as they say, ladies and gents, is the honest to goodness truth.
What do you find the hardest part of writing?
The hardest part of writing for me has to do with setting my mood to write. It’s something that I’ve gotten better about lately, but to write I basically need no distractions. No noise, a calm state of mind, and did I mention the distractions? Yeah, it’s tough finding that happy space to write and still be a coherent functioning part of my family and society. This probably explains why I prefer to write in the middle of the night when everyone is asleep and I can stay focused on what I’m doing.
The second hardest part that has to do with writing… for me… is editing. My muse and characters like to tell me that the first draft is perfect. (see me rolling on the floor laughing my silly ass off at that one) So yeah, negotiating with the muse and characters in the editing stage is… painful and leave it at that.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
That I’m sane. Actually, I’m so sane, that I’m insane.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
*sigh* Daggone, who wrote this interrogation? The script writers for NCIS?
Yes. I do. And now, I’m guessing you want to know what it is, right? Right. Ohmiword, this is so gonna come back to bite me in the ass one day… Harlequin Presents. Yep, you read me right. My guilty pleasure is HQN Presents novels. I love them. They are (for me) hysterical. They revive my muse, because they make me happy and I laugh. I know, that makes no sense whatsoever. Don’t get me wrong, Presents books are wonderful and I am envious of the authors who write those wonderful novels. But as my guilty pleasure… I feel guilty for laughing at them, but I read them for pleasure. And the why has to do with… They remind me of the dream. My dream. And then some.
What do you need before you start writing? Anything that is just a must have or the creative juice don’t flow?
I have to feel the story. Feel the characters. Then I can see them. Then hear them. And no distractions. Once I’ve got that… then I’m golden. Oh and a plot? Yeah, well, that gets hammered out in my brainstorming phase. But to write? All I need is that emotional connection to the characters.
Does music influence your writing? If so, do any of your stories have a theme song?
I love music. It does influence my writing. I have been known to go from Beethoven to Metallica and Nickelback then close it out with some Tom Jones and Freddie Fender. I know, you’re probably thinking… Freddie Fender? WTF? Well, it’s his Wasted Days and Wasted Nights song. LOL, I got an entire story for one of the Chronicles of PSST by listening to that oldie but goodie on You Tube. And Tom Jones’ Delilah inspired me for the first book in my Tales of WOE series that hopefully will be out in the middle of October. I mean, come on, how you can not be inspired to write a story when you have such great lyrics as… she stood there laughing, I felt the knife in my hand and she laughed no more. Ha-ha-ha! Ohmiword and the plot that song inspired is just insanely funny in a bad ass warriors meet the Black Adder sort of way. LOLOLO
If your story was optioned for a movie, who would play your characters?
You know, I never even thought of that. I’ll have to think on it and get back to you.
Where were you when you got your first contract? Who did you tell first?
I actually got my first contract offer last year while sitting on my back porch with the laptop. First person I told was the dog. Second person was the kidlet. Third was… anyone who would answer the phone. LOL
How old were you when you read your first romance book?
What author causes you to “go fan girl”/ squeal over/anticipate upcoming books?
J.R.Ward and her Black Dagger Brotherhood series. I’m such a Zsaidst (me too – says the interviewer) fan it isn’t funny. Although after her last book, I’m starting to develop some interesting feelings for V. I’ll let you know how those go after the next book in the series comes out.
If you still have one of those pesky non writing jobs what is it?
I’m currently writing full time. Woot! Although I’m contemplating taking a job back in my former field—where I worked a research scientist for biopharma.
What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
I’m juggling three manuscripts right now.
A contemporary called Manipulating the Masters—Book One: Lucien (that’s the marriage of convenience story I mentioned earlier in the interrogation chamber.)
A kick ass Regency called The Dragon’s Katana—this one is about a heroine with some mad ninja-like fighting skills and her struggles with duty to her family versus honoring herself and her heart. The hero in this one makes me purr he’s so quietly alpha. Yum.
Third one is a paranormal called, Blood Rank. This is the first book in my Tales of WOE (Warriors of Eros) series. The poor vamp in it (I call him Saint, because he has to be one to put up with the crap I’ve been sending his way) has had a rough life. After being turned to a vamp, he got stuck with a nasty deal with some demons, then found the worst possible female in the world for him to accidentally sleep with and… well, the poor guy is looking at a long, immortal life filled with rage and impotence unless he can get his soul back from the vamp who turned him. And that’s just the beginning.
If you could co-write with another author who would it be?
Ohmiword, IF I could co-write with someone there are too many authors to pick from. Honestly, I am one of the worst people to co-write a book with. But if I had to choose… J.R.Ward. Or Sherrilyn Kenyon. Both of them rock and are awesome!
How do you pick your characters names?
Did you hear that cackling laughter? Yeah, well if you did it was my critique buddies falling out of their chairs laughing at this question and what they know my answer is. I don’t pick character names. Honestly, just about all my characters start out with the same two (sometime three, depending on my mood) names and then by the end of the first draft they tell me what their real names are. It sucks and totally confuses my crit buddies, but that’s the way it goes. LOL
Do you prefer the love at first sight approach or a steady growth throughout?
Love at first site. Love this concept. Love it, love it, love it. First impressions are everything. Second impressions are made for conflict generation and backpedaling. Which I love, love, love—as well. LOL
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”.
Can I cuss in my answers? Cause if I can’t, then this is gonna be hard. Deep breath. I’m better now. Okay, here goes… my immediate response (that hardly ever gets blurted out right away) has four letters in the first word (think here… begins with an F and ends with a K) and three in the second that goes like Y-O-U. I then go on to think of lovely phases that go like… when you mention your career field, did I ask you to grab your ankles and beg for a reach around? No, I didn’t. So who the heck do you think you are and what gives you the right to naysay any literary genre. And somewhere after that I probably actually say out loud, “Indeed”, then deliberately cut them by turning and walking away from them in the middle of their disillusioned diatribe.
I know that was rather harsh of me and I sincerely apologized if I offended anyone’s sensibilities, but that’s how I feel about naysayers to the romance genre industry and romance authors in general. The truth is that this industry is freaking hot. It’s a very lucrative and competitive field to write in. And if ever you want to hear an awesome speaker go off on this subject… listen to J.R.Ward. She sums it up perfectly for me. And I’m more than willing to donate some money to her cuss jar to hear it again and again.
Where can readers find you?
Also, next year, I’ll be at the 1st Annual Futuristic, Fantasy, and Paranormal (RWA Special Interest Chapter) on March 2-4, 2012 in beautiful New Orleans, LA. For more info, check out RWA-FFP Website and the conference info there.
And for the silly side – What is your favorite type of chocolate?
White chocolate. Which when I type it out… looks like a totally oxymoron.
Thanks so much for the interview and until next time… take care and happy reading!