Saturday, August 14, 2010
Interview With Author Elaine Cantrell
EC: I grew up in a small town in upstate South Carolina. If I ever got in trouble my parents would know about it before I even got home! I have one sister who now lives in Alaska. Growing up, I’d have to say I was a bit of a tomboy. My heroes all rode horses, so I hounded Mama and Daddy night and day until they bought me a palomino mare by the name of Stardust. My goodness, didn’t I have fun! I’d saddle up and go riding for hours at a time. But when I discovered boys, I didn’t have so much time for the horses.
After I graduated from high school I attended Clemson University (Go Tigers!) and later married a young man whom I met when I was working a summer job between semesters at school. We’re still married even after a lot of years have gone by. We have two fine sons, three exceptional grandchildren, and a host of pets who think they are people.
When I’m not writing I enjoy reading, collecting vintage Christmas ornaments, going to flea markets, eating out, and getting together with my friends.
EC: One of my favorite authors is Elizabeth Peters who also writes as Barbara Michaels. I love the way she combines romance, adventure, and humor. I also like Larry McMurtry, Karen White, Karen Kingsbury, Stephenie Meyer, and the list goes on and on. As far as genres go, I read just about anything.
CC: How many books do you read a month? What are you reading now?
EC: If I’m working, maybe two; but if I’m on vacation I can do as many as four. Right now, I’m reading LANCELOT’S LADY by Cherish D’Angelo.
CC: Would you like to share any guilty pleasures that feed your muse?
EC: Can we count vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup? When I get stuck, a bowl of ice cream sure helps.
CC: They certainly count with me! How long have you been writing?
EC: I started writing in 2001. I looked at that darn computer screen for fifteen minutes before I could type a word, but once I got started I couldn’t stop. I still can’t.
CC: Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?
EC: I used to write in my office on my PC, but the computer died and couldn’t be resurrected, so my husband bought me a laptop. I can write anywhere with that thing, but I have a favorite recliner that gets a lot of use. It has to be quiet though. If there’s any noise I can’t concentrate.
CC: Are you a plotter or a panzer?
EC: I have a starting point, and I know where I want to end up, but everything in between I make it up as I go.
CC: Do you use real events or persons in your stories?
EC: No, usually not, although I have done it a few times. I did it in a manuscript called Turnaround Farm. Turnaround Farm doesn’t have a home yet, but I’m looking. My hero was called Dan, and when my husband read some of the manuscript, he really liked Dan. He liked Dan better than he did my Richard, my hero in RETURN ENGAGEMENT, and Richard was always my favorite. I later realized why. Dan is my husband with a different name!
CC: Do you do your research before you begin a new project, or as you go along?
EC: Most of it I do before I start the project, but as I write I usually find there’s something else I need to know, so it’s back to research mode. I do the research mostly on the internet.
CC: Tell us about your writing schedule. Do you set goals? Do you write daily?
EC: I do write daily, but I don’t set goals. I know when it’s time to quit or push on. I like to get up and have breakfast, then check my email. After that I write until lunch time. I take the afternoon off, and after dinner I’ll proof what I wrote that morning.
CC: Oh, you’re a morning person. I envy you. Do you write full time or do you have a day job. If you have a day job, what is it?
EC: I do have a day job. I teach high school social studies, so the writing schedule I gave you is for the summertime. During the school year I write anytime I can grab a spare minute for myself.
CC: What do you hope your writing brings to readers?
EC: I’d like for them to feel as if they’ve experienced the story right along with the heroine (or hero). I’d like them to sigh when the book ends because it was such a good story they hate to let it go.
CC: What advice would you give to pre-published authors?
EC: Simple. Don’t give up. There are a lot of options out there today, and one of them will be a good fit.
CC: I agree, Elaine. I think of Winston Churchill saying, “Never, never, never give up.” Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself?
EC: I’d like to ask them to send me a friend request on My Space and Facebook. You can never have too many friends.
CC: That’s a great idea, but I’m still learning how to use those tools. Tell us about your latest release.
EC: I was hoping you’d ask! LOL. My new release is titled RETURN ENGAGEMENT, and I’ve been writing it in my head for years. Once I finally got it on paper I bet I rewrote that thing ten different times, but it was worth it in the end. I love the way it turned out. My hero, Richard is a compilation of all the heroic traits I admire. He’d be too good to be true if not for his faults. He’s awfully quick tempered, and he doesn’t stop to think things through. It gets him in hot water sometimes, but it’s impossible to stay mad with him.
My heroine is a woman who’s had to cope with a lot in her lifetime. She faced all of her challenges with grace, and now she’s in a good place. If she pursues a relationship with Richard she’ll jeopardize everything she’s worked so hard for.
Elizabeth Lane has heard the call of the four most seductive words in the entire English language: what might have been. Would you risk everything you hold dear to find out what might have been? That’s the choice which Elizabeth has to make.
Elizabeth is lucky, for she has it all, money, fame, a satisfying career and a devoted fiancé. Her humble beginnings are all but obscured, but she isn’t the kind of woman Senator Henry Lovinggood wants for his son, Richard. Senator Lovinggood plans to make Richard the President of the United States; he’ll need a woman from a wealthy, powerful family by his side. Ten years ago he broke Richard and Elizabeth up, but this time it won’t be so easy, for Elizabeth wants to know what might have been. This time she’ll fight back, a struggle which ultimately leads to kidnapping and attempted murder and alienates her from the man of her dreams.
Excerpt of RETURN ENGAGEMENT:
This excerpt is PG. It takes place when Richard and Elizabeth meet on the beach after a ten year separation. They go to a beach front carnival, and now they are walking back to their cars.
“Look at the moon, Richard. Have you ever seen anything so big and beautiful? Isn’t it lovely the way it’s reflecting off the water?”
“Yes, but not as lovely as you are.” Richard made a sound of disgust. “That is so trite. You’d think I could do better, but all evening I’ve had trouble saying what I mean.”
Elizabeth laughed. “Maybe it’s because you’re trying too hard, but for the record, I think you’re doing just fine.” She shivered and hunched her shoulders as she hugged herself. “That wind is cold.”
Richard immediately removed his jacket and handed it to her. “Here, put this on.”
“Won’t you be cold?”
“I’m fine. I’ve got on long sleeves and that’s enough.” His eyes twinkled in the moonlight. “In fact, I kind of like the idea of you wearing my clothes. Sounds like high school, huh?”
The chilly wind that blew across the moon-drenched water snatched Elizabeth’s laughter away. “Who cares? Sometimes it’s nice to be as irresponsible as a teenager.”
Richard tugged on her hand. “Let’s sit down and watch the moon awhile.”
Elizabeth willingly sank into the damp sand and cuddled close beside him. My gosh the man had muscles she hadn’t known even existed!
“Richard, about this evening….”
“Elizabeth, about Alex….”
“You go first,” Elizabeth urged. Her shoulders marginally relaxed. She wasn’t looking forward to telling him she couldn’t see him again.
“All right, I will.” Richard turned slightly, an almost angry look on his face. “What the hell do you think you’re doing getting yourself engaged to Alex Crawford? It’s obvious to a blind man that you don’t love him. You’ve been teasing me and flirting with me all evening. You’ve even kissed me.” He stirred up the butterflies in her stomach when he gently caressed her shoulder. “Right now your body language makes me think if I wanted to take this snuggling any further you’d be willing.”
“Wha…” Elizabeth sputtered.
“You don’t strike me as the type of woman who’d pick a man for a night of sex and then go back to her fiancé like nothing had happened. If that’s true I don’t think you love Alex as much as you think you do. The question is: what are you going to do about it?”
Elizabeth moaned and hid her face in her hands. Richard expected this surprise meeting to lead to something more that a hot dog on the beach, a casual meeting between two old…friends. I’ve done enough damage for one evening; I’m going home before I cause any more trouble. I’ve betrayed Alex and given Richard hope for a relationship with me when there is no hope.
She tried to jump up, but Richard grabbed her and held her close. “The wind is cold, and you can think just as well, no better, in my arms.”
Elizabeth gave up the effort to get away from him. There was no way she could argue with those hard, muscled arms. “Yeah, right. Being in your arms clarifies everything! I’m so confused I don’t know if I’m coming or going,” she cried. “I do love Alex. I do! That’s why I agreed to marry him, but with you I feel like a different person.
“I know I shouldn’t have flirted with you and kissed you, but I couldn’t help myself.” Her eyes misted with tears. “I didn’t want to help myself. It’s like it was ten years ago only better because now nobody can accuse me of corrupting a minor. You asked me what I’m going to do, but to tell you the truth, I don’t know. The only thing I’m sure of is that I don’t think I can stand it if you walk away again.”
Elizabeth threw her hands over her burning face again. “What kind of woman am I? I haven’t seen you in ten years, yet here I am leading you on and encouraging you to… What’s wrong with me!”
Richard jerked her hands away from her face and kissed them. “From my point of view things have finally taken a turn for the better.” Satisfaction oozed from his voice.
“You’re willing to admit you don’t want to lose me. It’s taken ten years, but we’re back where we belong-together. Everything I ever felt for you came back the minute you spoke to me.” His voice lowered and became husky and persuasive. “Don’t tell me you didn’t feel it too.”
“I…” Elizabeth fell silent. After all; what could she say?
“Let me help you make up your mind about what to do.” Richard pushed her back into the sand and kissed her, a delicate, brushing of lips that deepened as hearts caught fire.
CC: Great excerpt! Makes me want to buy the book. Where can readers find your books?
EC: RETURN ENGAGEMENT is available at
You can find out about my other books at my web site http://www.elainecantrell.com
CC: How can readers learn more about you?
EC: My web site is http://www.elainecantrell.com
My blog is http://www.elainepcantrell.blogspot.com
My My Space page is http://www.myspace.com/elainecantrell
My Facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/profile.php?id=100000153041486
CC: Thanks for coming, Elaine.
EC: Thanks for letting me come, Caroline. I’ve enjoyed the interview very much.
Comments will enter you in my weekly drawing. I'll leave Elaine's interview up two days, so I'll announce this week's winner on Monday. The prize is a PDF file of one of my books.
Especially comment each Wednesday in August to be entered in the prize drawing for the Wild Roses Blog Tour. This coming Wednesday, Maya Blake will be my guest here while I'm a guest at Lilly Gayle's blog.