Please say hi to my friend, Elizabeth St. Michel! She and I met about a year ago and I’m honored to have her here today!
Tell us a little about yourself. How long have you been writing?
Elizabeth: Always. Whether in my head or on paper there has always a story to unfold. As a young girl, indoctrinated into several family businesses, I relieved the boredom of daily tasks by daydreaming. Suddenly every customer who marched into our stores became a larger than life hero or heroine with an adventuresome past, present and future.
Yet I was handicapped as a storyteller. Storytelling and writing are two different things. I had to learn the craft of writing, and that process was cultivated over twenty-six years.
Fast forward. My first book, The Winds of Fate won numerous Romance Writer of America writing awards, and then out of ten thousand worldwide authors seized the quarter-finalist position for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. The Winds of Fate went on to become a number-one hit on the Amazon bestseller lists. So all those isolated years of writing proved I must have been doing something right.
My second novel, Surrender the Wind, won “the Catherine” and “the Marlene,” the respective Romance Writer’s Awards of Toronto and Washington, DC. I am also the recipient of the prestigious Holt Medallion Award in honor of literary excellence in romance writing. Born and raised in western New York, I am the mother of five wonderful children.
E: In the southern tier of New York, the rail lines were the highways that led captured Confederate prisoners to Elmira Prisoner of War Camp. Known as ‘Hellmira’ this camp housed thousands of prisoners under brutal conditions and existed the North’s answer to Andersonville. A local news story told the tale of a dead Confederate drummer boy’s body thrown from the train. Of course some Christian people gave him a burial. So I thought, what if…
Tell us about Surrender the Wind.
E: When Confederate General John Daniel Rourke is severely wounded at the Battle of the Wilderness, he’s captured and sent to a prison camp. On his way there, Union soldiers mistake him for dead and toss him from the train into the New York countryside, where he lands at the feet of Catherine Fitzgerald, a schoolmistress.
Rourke wakes to find the mysterious and strong-spirited beauty nursing him back to health. He’s intrigued but unaware of her true identity as the heiress to the Union’s ammunitions manufacturer, and their fiery battle of wits and wills commences.
Yet when outside forces begin to envelop them in a larger conspiracy, their own war begins. Torn between family loyalties and manipulated by a powerful leader from the Irish underworld, Catherine and Rourke will have to fight on both sides of the secession line to win the most significant battle of all: the fight for their love. http://hyperurl.co/qnu96k
E: London 1685 To thwart her uncle’s plans to marry her to a repugnant duke and secure her independence, Claire Hamilton marries condemned felon, Devon Blackmon, making a wicked promise. The man is scheduled to hang, so what is wrong with a little white lie that would be a balm for his soul?
Beyond her wildest imagination, he escapes, emerging as the Black Devil; leader among pirates, commanding his Caribbean kingdom and seeking revenge against the beauty who betrayed him.
The Winds of Fate is a swashbuckling adventure and emotionally fulfilling tale of love lost and retribution. myBook.to/TheWindsofFate
The Winds of Fate “…captivating romance that takes us to the world of seventeenth-century London…Sexual tension and legal and familial intrigue ensue with the reader cheering on the lovely pair.” –Publisher’s Weekly
What manuscript are you working on now?
E: I’m happily immersed on a series, introducing the powerful Duke of Rutland, a widower and his strong-willed offspring. The Duke has formidable enemies determined to destroy his family.
My first installment sweeps from the glittering salons of London across the Caribbean Sea to the Colonies during the American Revolution. This captivating tale centers on the Duke’s rebellious daughter, Abigail past marriageable age and yearning for adventure. One black night the fortunes of the Rutland family are changed forever…
Kidnapped, Abigail awakens to find her father’s enemy has cut off her hair; bound her breasts, dressed her like a boy and locked her in a hold of a ship. When her ship is captured by notorious American Privateer, Captain Jacob Thorne her troubles really begin. Falling in love with an enemy of her country is a thing she cannot do.
Captain Jacob Thorne is set on revenge against England and it aristocracy. He raids the British coasts, plundering any quarry ripe for his choosing, stunned to discover his new cabin boy is a ravishing beauty. From that first stolen sensuous kiss, a wild fire is ignited and he swears to possess her… When he learns she is none other than the Duke of Rutland’s daughter and cousin to the King will he really be able to give her up or will his newfound love for her rule?
How do you get your ideas?
E: Concepts and inspiration come far and wide. Sometimes hiking in the mountains behind my home, and listening to the east wind call to the west wind. Sometimes walks beneath undulating palms, listening to the rhythmic sounds of gentle surf beat upon a golden crescent of sand. Sometimes sipping coffee while my family gathers or sitting in a crowded airport. As often as not, I feel the total of life’s experiences becomes a bridge to ideas.
Do you find it a challenge to put your ideas into a novel?
E: With every book I write, I challenge myself with a situation I have never written about before, and that’s when I have to do a lot of planning and dreaming. That’s the most fun part of the job. The difficult part follows. Standing on the edge of an abyss, I hold my breath to get those initial words flowing in order to cross the divide. Over time, I have discovered the real essence of writing a completed novel is concentration and self-discipline.
What inspires your writing muse?
E: I wish I knew. I would bottle the formula and sell it for a good price.
If your book was turned into a movie, what actor and actress would you choose to play your hero and heroine?
E: I don’t know, but for my director, I would like to clone a hybrid of James Cameron, (Titanic) J.J. Abrams, (Star Trek Into Darkness), Nick Cassavetes, (The Notebook), and Joe Wright, (Pride and Prejudice).
Are you a plotter or a panster?
E: I’m a big time plotter. I research and prewrite, diagraming all my scenes then analyze and create character charts. I review both feminine and masculine journeys, detailing various goals, conflicts and motivations. By the time I’m ready to start writing, I have a pretty steady roadmap, yet sometimes I surprise myself with some delightful detours.
When did you first get interested in the historical romance genre?
E: Growing up, I spent part of my summers with a dear aunt who was a bit of a hoarder. Literally, she had books stacked from the floor to the ceiling and it was a miracle her home did not collapse from the weight. She inspired my love of reading, first introducing me to the Classic Comic Books, chucked full of fairy tales then acquainted me with my first historical romance novel, The Black Moth by Georgette Heyer. How could I not be hooked forever?
Why do you like to write Historical Romance?
E: As an avid fan of history, I love painting on the larger canvas that a historical allows. I enjoy, creating strong heroes and heroines that I drag through the bowels of hell. They come up fighting because they are made for each other.
Mainly, I love to make my readers happy.