AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: ELLE D. HAYES
Elle D. Hayes has stopped by to chat with us about Negotiating Love and life in general.
What is your most current work?
That would be Negotiating Love (Beautiful Trouble Publishing)
I actually wrote Negotiating Love in response to a challenge from my publisher for a hostage negotiator story. It was a story I’d already outlined and planned to write later. A short interracial romance it sets the tone for my SWAT Officers series.
When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
Both. I outline my stories but I allow for any detours my characters come up with and they almost always do come up with something. Negotiating Love had a totally different bad guy when I outlined it. It was also going to be longer. The original villain didn’t fit the shorter storyline so I changed course.
What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?
I’m an avid reader and I write what I love to read.
Do you have a favorite character you have written?
In my first novel, Wynter’s Blossom, the character of Pop became my favorite. He’s a fun character because he’s older and just doesn’t give a darn what he says most of the time.
Who was the toughest character for you to “get right” that you have written so far?
That’s a tie between Jayson the hero of Negotiating Love and Sarah the heroine of Wynter’s Blossom. I had to make sure I didn’t make Sarah a perpetual victim. She had to find her inner strength or she would have come across as weak and irritating. With Jayson I had to walk a fine line because I wanted readers to love him but he had to redeem himself after a rocky start.
Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?
I’m a world class people watcher so I’m constantly finding inspiration around me. I love watching the interaction between couples, young and old. It helps when creating believable dynamics between my leads. There’s a scene in Negotiating Love where Jay turns away from Tonya during an argument but she won’t let him get away with dismissing her so she gets in his face. I actually saw that played out in the mall between a young couple.
What do you find the hardest part of writing?
Staying focused and staying on a timeline. I get easily distracted and I’m late for EVERYTHING.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
I love werewolves and vamps but my real passion is big cats, especially lions. I collect lion art and I’m married to a Leo. I’m planning to do a lion shifter story in the near future.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Shopping!!! I love to shop. A good vacation for me involves at least one stop at an outlet mall. My poor husband has yet to figure out what I need with multiple pairs of black shoes.
What do you need before you start writing? Anything that is just a must have or the creative juices don’t flow?
Rest. I don’t write well when I’m tired. A steady supply of green tea also helps.
Does music influence your writing? If so, do any of your stories have a theme song?
Absolutely! I listen to music while I write all the time. It helps drown out background noise that can be distracting for me. Usually I listen to instrumental music so I’m not distracted by lyrics.
If your story was optioned for a movie, who would play your characters?
Sanaa Lathan would play Tonia and Paul Walker would play Jayson. You’re the first person to ask me that but amazingly I didn’t even have to think about it very hard.
Where were you when you got your first contract? Who did you tell first?
I was at home and I told my daughter first. She and my husband took me out to dinner to celebrate. They both complain about the amount of time I spend on my laptop but they are also my biggest cheerleaders.
How old were you when you read your first romance book?
Twelve. My older sister was always reading and I nagged her until she gave me a book to shut me up. She unwittingly planted the seed for a lifelong obsession. I still feel like I owe her for that.
What author causes you to “go fan girl”/ squeal over/anticipate upcoming books?
There are too many to name them all here. I’m an AVID reader. I recently had the pleasure of meeting Yvette Hines, Bridget Midway, Erosa Knowles and Latrivia Nelson. I was a total fan girl but they were all so wonderful and so gracious with their time. I’m also a huge fan of J.R. Ward, Lora Leigh and Sarah McCarty.
If you still have one of those pesky non writing jobs what is it?
I work in higher education.
What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
I’m finishing the follow-up to Negotiating Love. After that I’ll be working on the follow-up to Wynter’s Blossom and I have several other series starters that will be released this year.
If you could co-write with another author who would it be?
Gosh, I’m not sure. I think there has to be a special chemistry present for writing teams to work. I haven’t met someone who felt like the “yin” to my “yang” yet.
How do you pick your characters names?
I keep a word file of names I’ve heard that I really like. I also use variations of regular names and just spell them differently like Jayson instead of Jason.
Do you prefer the love at first sight approach or a steady growth throughout?
Both. It just depends on the story. With Negotiating Love the main characters are already involved in a relationship while Wynter’s Blossom so the characters relationship build slowly over time.
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 would say that I REALLY am published and I REALLY do get royalty checks and romance readers are THE best readers on the planet…Period! Seriously, I try really hard not to let negative people rain on my parade.
Where can readers find you?
My reader friendly blog is here and I post hot new releases by great authors every Friday. I also try to talk about topics that I think are important to readers.
Here are my Facebook and Twitter accounts. I’m very active online so I hope readers will feel free to stay connected via social networking.
And for the silly side – What is your favorite type of chocolate?
That’s not silly at all. Good chocolate is a serious matter in my world. I love creamy milk chocolate especially if it’s covering almonds and/or coconut. Almond Joy is my favorite candy bar.