Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Interview with Elaine Cantrell, FORTUNA

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
Fortuna is an 18th century home built by a Revolutionary War general. The general named his home after the Roman goddess of luck, fate, and fortune, but by the 21st century Fortuna is all but falling down. It’s lucky for the house that a WWE style wrestler Rocky Stone decided to buy the place and fix it up. Rocky was very popular, but he saw a drug deal take place, and after he testified against one of the franchise’s leading promoters, he had to fake his death and enter the witness protection program. He just happens to be engaged to Aimee Sherwood who’ll have to drop out of sight too if she wants to marry him. The vast majority of the book is about their adventures in West Virginia, and trust me, there are some really wild things going on. This is a comedy, so don’t expect too much seriousness.

Fortuna isn’t part of a series. It’s a stand alone book.

Do you have a favorite character?
Oh, I sure do. Aimee Sherwood is my favorite. Aimee is high strung, beautiful, and is always taking deep breaths to calm herself. She sees reality while Rocky lives partly in a fantasy world. She also has a lot of funny things happen to her, and makes both friends and enemies wherever she goes.

Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?
This pretty much happened in Fortuna. June, the realtor who sold Fortuna to Rocky, was only supposed to be a minor character, but she was so intriguing I gave her a bigger role in the story. You really should meet June. Just the description of her makes me smile. She and Aimee didn’t get along in the beginning, and there’s a good reason for it, but I don’t think I can tell you what it is. That would be giving too much away.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
Yes, I did. When I starting writing, very few people self-published. In fact, there was a stigma associated with self-publishing. People assumed if you published the book yourself, it must not be any good, so of course I went the traditional route.

How long before you got your offer of representation/your first contract? Was it for your first novel?
It wasn’t for my first novel, and I’m not sure how many manuscripts I had before I wrote my first published book. I think it was maybe two years after I started writing when I won a writing contest whose prize was publication of your novel.

What factors influenced your decision to go with a particular agent or publisher?
At the time I entered the writing contest I just wanted a book published. I didn’t really give some pretty important issues any consideration at all. Since then, the majority of my books have been published by Clean Reads. My writing is clean so it fits in with their philosophy. They are also responsive to their authors, friendly, and supportive.

Are you currently under a traditional publishing contract for future books or do you have manuscripts that you will self-publish? Are you doing both?
I have one book ready to go later this year. Start Publishing has first right of refusal on that one. I don’t know if I want to self publish or not. I’ve thought about it, but I haven’t come to any firm decision at the moment.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
I live in a really small down, and while I do know a few local authors, we haven’t formed a group. One of my friends is a published author, and we read each other’s work and bounce ideas around. Other people can usually see things in your writing that you missed, so I’ve found her input to be very helpful.

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
I can write anywhere if I have to, but I prefer it to be quiet. Give me a cup of coffee, a computer, and a nice quiet room, and I can write for hours.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Sometimes. I retired last year so I thought I’d have plenty of time to do both. Instead, I get distracted by so many things. For one thing I’m learning to be a good baker. I’ve always baked, but I want to do better. We love our dogs so I spend a lot of time with them. It’s also fun to get up and decide to take a little day trip. Like I said, so many distractions.

Aimee Sherwood never dreamed that following her fiancĂ© into the witness protection pro-gram would land her in a haunted house in a town that’s downright creepy. She’d have laughed if she had been told the guy who lives down the road might be her soul mate, not the man whose ring she’s wearing. Life in West Virginia is nothing like life in Los Angeles, but between bean ball battles with Marilyn Monroe, remodeling a crumbling farmhouse, and starting a new online business, life in the country is anything but boring.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Elaine Cantrell was born and raised in South Carolina where she obtained a master’s degree in personnel services from Clemson University.  She is a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary society for women educators and Romance Writers of America.  Her first novel, A New Leaf, was the 2003 winner of the Timeless Love Contest.  When she’s not writing or teaching, she enjoys movies, quilting, reading, and collecting vintage Christmas ornaments. 

Find Elaine at the following locations:

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