The JR Bunnies welcome Author Elaine Cantrell!
My current work out is The Enchanted which is my first romantic fantasy. It’s published by Astraea Press. I had no idea how much fun it is to write fantasy, or I would have tried ages ago.
Tell us a little about what inspired you to write The Enchanted?
Here’s a blurb for The Enchanted which I wrote just to see if I could write fantasy.
Forced by his father into a marriage he didn’t want, Prince Alan soon finds that his bride isn’t the sweet, submissive creature he expected. Morgane has the heart of a dragon and beauty beyond compare, but she isn’t thrilled about the marriage either. When black treachery threatens the kingdom, Morgane and Alan embark on a perilous journey that has an excellent chance of ending in failure and death for them and all of their people.
When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
I know where I want to start and where I want to end up, but my characters dictate what will happen. They always take over and insist on having their own way about everything. Silly characters.
What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?
I started writing contemporary romance, but I read some books in other genres and was curious to see if I could write something besides straight contemporary. My first effort was an inspirational romance which I liked very much. My reviews were good, but more importantly I got a lot of fan mail from people who wanted to tell me how much they liked the story.
My second departure from contemporary romance is my romantic fantasy The Enchanted. Talk about fun to write! No wonder people like to write fantasies. There aren’t any limitations. You can invent a whole new world. In The Enchanted I have two moons, red grass, dragons, and some interesting social customs.
I also have a romantic comedy written which I’m totally in love with. I can’t wait to get it out there.
Do you have a favorite character you have written?
My favorite character is always the one I’m working on, but overall, I’d have to say that I like Richard Lovinggood my hero in Return Engagement best of all. Richard is a synthesis of all the things I’ve ever admired in my heroes. For me, he defines the term hero. Interestingly enough, he’s an Alpha male, and I usually write Beta.
Who was the toughest character for you to “get right” that you have written so far?
Her name is Aria, and she’s my heroine in my current WIP. It doesn’t have a name yet. Aria is competent, efficient, level-headed, and owns a thriving animal clinic. My hero is having trouble worming his way past her competent personality.
Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?
It’s impossible not to draw inspiration from real life. Sometimes I’ve done it without even being aware of it. In the romantic comedy that will soon be looking for a home, my heroine goes to a strawberry patch, and a briar catches her on the back of her legs. Since my hero warned her to watch for snakes, she runs to find him shrieking for him to get the snake off her. She’s so excited he has to chase her down to assure her that no snake is “eating you alive.” That’s a real life story that happened to my cousin.
What do you find the hardest part of writing?
I hate transitioning from one scene to another without a section break. I always put in too much or too little detail. I really have to work on it. The second hardest part is letting go once the book ends. I have a hard time with that, so I started a feature at my blog called Beyond the Book. I post every Tuesday and choose one of my characters to tell what’s going on in his or her life after the end of the book.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
Gosh, my life is pretty much an open book, but maybe people don’t know that I’m a social studies teacher with a love for animals. My house is filled with furry friends.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Yes, I do, and I hate to confess it. For ten years I didn’t drink soft drinks, but last year I picked up a Coke, and now I can’t stop drinking them.
What TV Show are you addicted to?
I like Survivor and wouldn’t miss it. I also like Pit Bulls and Parolees on the Animal Channel. Have you ever watched Love It Or List It on HG TV? It’s fun. I wouldn’t miss Downton Abby either.
What do you need before you start writing? Anything that is just a must have or the creative juice don’t flow?
Oh yeah. I need silence, a glass of cold, cold water, and a tapping straw. What’s a tapping straw? It’s a bendy straw that you can tap when you’re reading what you’ve just written or trying to get the next scene fixed in your mind. My family laughed at me, but I’ve noticed them doing a little tapping too.
Does music influence your writing? If so, do any of your stories have a theme song?
The only way is like if a song gives me an idea for a book, but that’s about it.
If your story was optioned for a movie, who would play your characters?
For Prince Alan, my hero, I think Channing Tatum. For my heroine Princess Morgane, I like Emma Stone. Their nemesis Princess Aili would be played by Megan Fox.
Where were you when you got your first contract? Who did you tell first?
I was at home getting a bowl of ice cream when the phone rang. When the publisher identified herself, I forgot about the ice cream and left the carton sitting on the cabinet. By the time I got off the phone I had a sticky mess to clean up. I didn’t care. My husband was the one I told first, but my son’s reaction was better. He was shocked. I guess he didn’t think good old Mom could do it.
How old were you when you read your first romance book?
Since there was romance in Little Women I guess I was in the fourth grade. Throughout my teen years I read Harlequins because my mother did.
What author causes you to “go fan girl”/ squeal over/anticipate upcoming books?
I like Karen White, but lately I’ve been reading new authors. I figured why not give them a chance. I’ve read things I like by Veronica Scott, Jana DeLeon, and Cherie Waggie to name a few.
If you still have one of those pesky non writing jobs what is it?
Pesky. Good term. I’m a social studies teacher.
Do you have a favorite movie you have seen in the last few months and/or an all time favorite?
My all time favorite movie is one from the late 1980’s called Crazy From the Heart. I don’t even know if it was released in theaters or if it’s a TV movie. Either way it’s fabulous.
What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
Right now I’m writing a story about a lady vet who saves a dog befriended by a convict. She gives the convict a job when he’s released from prison. When I finish that one, I intend to do another fantasy.
If you could co-write with another author who would it be?
Elizabeth Peters. The woman is a genius. Her books combine mystery, romance, and humor. You should try her Amelia Peabody series.
How do you pick your characters names?
I go to a list of the most popular names and pick one from there, or I choose a very traditional name such as Elizabeth or Aimee.
Do you prefer the love at first sight approach or a steady growth throughout?
I prefer the steady growth throughout approach, but when I met my husband, I instantly knew that we had a future together, so I sometimes write both ways.
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 say, “Would you like me to model my next character on you?” My brother-in-law is scared to death of me now.
Where can readers find you?
And for the silly side –
What is your favorite type of chocolate?
Lindt chocolate truffles
Ranger or Morelli (if you know to what this refers please answer with which one and why :) )
Sorry. I know it refers to which guy the heroine will pick, but I can’t choose between them.