Elise is a lover books and has a special place in her heart for sweet and sensual romance. Writing about love across all walks of life is her passion, as is reaching people through the written word. The Army wife and stay-at-home mother of two spends most of her time taking care of her children. Her second job includes writing stories about characters that people can fall in love with. When the Texas native isn’t caring for her family or writing, you can usually find her with her nose in a book, singing loudly, or cooking up something new in the kitchen.
How long have you been a published writer, Elise?
I am actually coming up on my 1 year anniversary as an independent author, and it’s been a thrilling ride. My first novel, The Third Son, a Historical/Fantasy, was my baby.
It was my pet project, the book that I thought was going to put me on the map. After years of agent publisher rejection, I discovered the world of ebooks and self-publishing. I decided that I didn’t need an agent to believe in me because I believed in me, and I just knew that my story had a voice, a place in the world.
One year later, I’m up to 8 books (3 novels, 4 novellas, and 1 short story) and counting. I have a small but loyal following of readers that tell me everyday how much they love what I do. I do not make millions of dollars and I am not a NYT or USA Today Bestseller...yet! However, I have found true success in doing something that is my passion and writing books that reflect who I really am.
You've already reviewed one of my books, Elise so how do you split your time for blogging, reviewing books, your own writing and the daily demands of family life?
Let me tell you, that is the hardest part of what I do. Being independent means that I am my own marketing team. I am responsible for finding cover elements for my cover art, hiring editors, and advertising my books in the most effective ways. Aside from that I also blog, review books for that blog, and act as a beta-reader to my author buddies. All that aside from my own work. It is a lot, but I remind myself to take time each day for my family. I do what I can to make sure they know I love them and appreciate all of their support. I have worked hard to manage my time, but I think I’ve finally found the balance between work and play.
I think balance really is the key as well. Tell me something about your latest release The Lady Knights of Barony.
It’s funny, when I wrote my first novel, The Third Son, I intended for it to be a standalone. Then something wonderful happened. Secondary characters started making their voices heard in my head. They begged me to tell their stories and so I did, by creating the Kings of Cardenas series and planning books for those characters that spoke to me.
After the first book came The Second Son, after which I was prepared to move on to book 3, Gypsy Rose. However, after the release of The Second Son in January of 2012, my plans were changed yet again. Within weeks of the second book’s release I started receiving emails, facebook posts and reviews from people who fell in love with a band of lady warrior knights I had introduced in book 2. They loved them, cheered for them, wanted to know more about them. And so, book 2.5 in the series, The Lady Knights of Barony was born. It is a collection of 3 novellas in one and follows the story of 3 strong women finding love.
You really have been busy! What’s the genre/ subgenre of The Lady Knights of Barony.
The entire series is really Historical/Fantasy. It is considered Fantasy because the kingdom I have created is fictional, although it does have a decidedly European flair to it. It is considered Historical because of the time period (late 1800s) and I do include some historical points here and there, more so in this book than the others, as the Lady Knights were written based off real warrior women throughout history.
Were there any triggers which led to the plotline for The lady Knights of Barony?
As I said, this book was created by the fans. They wanted this story and I provided. I started with the first instalment of the three, a story about a rash of kidnappings across the province. The lady knights are charged with finding the criminal responsible for kidnapping women for the purposes of sex slavery. One of them is kidnapped and that makes their mission even more important as they fight to keep their sisterhood together.
I wanted a story that would make these women shine. I wanted to show their toughness because they are as gritty as any Historical Romance hero, but also their softer side.
Who are the main characters in The Lady Knights of Barony?
This story has 3 heroines and 3 heroes.
Ava Longley is the captain of the lady’s regiment of her province. She’s tough, loyal, and a born leader. She fights her battles with twin battle axes which she has named Beowulf and Thor. Julian Vincent is the lucky dog who gets to take this feisty girl on. When he is enlisted to aid in her kidnapping, he has no idea what he’s gotten himself into!
Mudiwa Akua is an African refugee, who has fled from her own country to avoid being sold as a slave. A former wife of the king of Dahomey, Africa, and one of the warrior Amazons of her tribe, Mudiwa has lost her family and the love of her life. She is cold and hardened. Until she meets Isaac Prideux, the French island planter who steels her heart. Isaac is bored to death with his life as a planter and wishes for something more. He definitely gets that when Mudiwa comes into his life.
Hanako Kiyomi is a Japanese fighter, who has also fled her country. Her reason: an unwanted marriage. She is part of the legendary onna bugeisha, the female equivalent of the male Japanese Samurai. This hardcore fighter wants nothing to do with marriage, children, or the domesticated state of woman that is being forced upon the women of her country...at least until she meets Garrick Overton, the dashing lord who has been watching her for some time now. A marriage of convenience will become something more when Hanako realizes that marriage and motherhood might not be so distasteful.
You say you've added some historical facts , so how much research did you have to do?
While the province I’ve created is not based in history, the story of the African and Japanese warriors are based in fact. I read a lot of books and articles about the onna bugeisha (female samurai) of Japan as well as the Dahomey Amazons of Africa. I think it’s amazing that these women existed and that they fought as fiercely as men. It says a lot about the strength of a woman.
What project is on your work table just now?
I have another series that I’m working on, a Paranormal series entitled Angels Among Us. The final installment of that book is in the works and I am hoping for a November release.
Which part of your novel do you get most satisfaction from?
I think that writing a heartwarming, believable ending is the hardest part. You have to tie all your loose strings together without missing anything. You must also ensure that the ending is not too hastily done or too drawn out; both tend to annoy readers. There must also be a happily ever after that is heartwarming without being corny and that is believable based upon the rest of the story. It is tough, but I work really hard to ensure that the endings of my books are satisfying.
Do you have a method for writing the sensual parts, and a preference for the heat level?
I so love a good sex scene, especially one that’s well written. I could go on and on about breasts and cocks and lady parts, but what really seals the deal is the emotional connection. These scenes can tell a story just as vividly as dialogue. I do like to be bold but not raunchy but I also like focusing on the purpose of the moment. Are the hero and heroine coming together for the first time, exploring each other? Is this a couple who knows each other, and themselves, well? Is this a joyous coming together, or a sad farewell? Are these characters struggling with their own feelings? These are all things to take into consideration and I think the mark of a good romance writer is being able to bring the heat without skimping on the emotion.
Great answers, Elise. You've brought us the blurb so we'll have a good look at that too!
Three women. Three stories. One Sisterhood.
With the war in Barony at an end, peace reigns and rebuilding efforts continue beneath the steady vigilance of King Serge and Queen Isabelle. The lady knights have returned home, unchanged by new titles and lands. But with a rash of kidnappings spreading across the province, the lady knights will find themselves torn apart by the machinations of a mad man.
Ava Longley, captain of the lady knights, never expected to become the target of an obsessed murderous madman. When a kidnapper is sent to abduct her, Ava sees it as the perfect opportunity to bring the mastermind to justice. To Julian Vincent, Lady Longley is no more than the means to an end. However, when sparks fly between them, Julian is faced with an impossible decision.
After being sold into slavery by her king and washing up onto the shore of Cardenas, the friendless African Amazon, Mudiwa Akua, was taken in by Barony’s female soldier’s regiment. When her tranquil existence is disturbed and she finds herself on a ship bound for the exotic island of Martinique, Mudiwa faces certain death and possible enslavement for the second time in her life, dredging up ghosts of a past she had long thought forgotten. When planter Isaac Prideux comes upon a mysterious African woman, beaten and half-dead, he takes it upon himself to care for her. He never imagined doing so would shake up his monotonous life so completely.
After the highly honored title of onna bugeisha—the feminine equivalent of a samurai—begins to lose its power in Japan, Hanako Kiyomi sees no choice but to flee. But when her deserted husband comes searching for her, Hanako escapes him the only way she knows how: marriage in name only to a stranger. Lord Garrick Overton has always admired the cool, stoic Hanako from afar. Marriage to the woman he’s desired for years seems like a good idea; until she proposes the marriage be in name only. As he sets out to win her heart, he faces not only a tough task but a begrudged man that will stop at nothing to win back what he has lost.
Their courage will be tried. Their hearts will be put to the test. Can three headstrong women maintain their independent natures while surrendering to love?
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That's been great to find out all those things about you , Elise. I'm really pleased to have had you visit today! Thanks for coming and best wishes with all sales.