Medieval, paranormal, and contemporary romance author Elizabeth Rose has written more than thirty books, some of which have been seen on the History Channel and Wild Chicago. Today Elizabeth joins us for a round of 20 Questions. Learn more about her and her books at her website.
When did you realize you wanted to write novels?
I’ve been writing my whole life, but actually really started to pursue it back in high school. My friends and I would write stories, then critique each other’s works in class instead of paying attention sometimes - I have to admit.
How long did it take you to realize your dream of publication?
Like many people, I’ve gone through many career changes during the course of my life, but I think it was when I was a stay-at-home mom when my kids were toddlers when I really started to pursue publication.
Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?
I have a little of both. My first book was published in 2000, followed by a few more print books. I have 5 books in print from two different publishers. I also had a big backlog of books that I was trying to get published. Then I had to go back to work to make ends meet and sadly kind of ignored the writing and my dream for years. Recently I lost my job, so I decided to try my hand at indie publishing and totally love it. I have indie published 31 books in the past year and a half. (Granted not all of them were newly written, as I did have full finished manuscripts just sitting there waiting to be born.)
Where do you write?
I have a small office set up in my house.
Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?
I like silence, but can’t always get it. Especially with noisy neighbors and lots of barking dogs in my neighborhood. So my kids got me a set of noise-cancelling headphones for my birthday and it was the best gift I ever got. Now I can leave my windows open to enjoy the summer breeze and still write by putting on my headphones and cranking up the music. I listen to upbeat medieval-type music as well as soothing, relaxing music. Just as long as there is no singing or it would be too distracting because I’d want to sing along.
How much of your plots and characters are drawn from real life? From your life in particular?
Of course when shaping my characters I do draw from myself as well as the mannerisms of people I know. But the series that is really close to my life is my Tarnished Saints Series. It is about twelve brothers who are the sons of a preacher, but far from saints. They are nothing but trouble. And it takes place in a small town and on a lake in Michigan.
My parents live on a lake in Michigan and so did my late grandparents. So I grew up helping to build houses (my father was a builder) and going to the lake. Then when I started having kids, I brought my children there as well. So a lot of what you see in this series is really documentation in code I guess you’d say, of my own life experiences.
For example, you’ll see a Bed and Breakfast in Doubting Thomas that is really my parent’s house from the sun porch to the little brick patio on the channel. And the lake and the blue-gill pond all exist and are not just my vivid imagination. I’ll have to say this makes it easy to write description. I put in instances, such as the old couple who own the Bed and Breakfast playing Canasta, which is something we always did when we went to the lake. Actually, my grandmother taught us the game when my siblings and I were just children.
Then there’s the incident in my newest release, Seducing Zeb, of my character, Cat, dumping the rowboat and the hero, Zeb, falling into the water. Zeb ends up hanging his money from his wet wallet up on a tree to dry and tells her he is laundering money. This was something that really happened to my parents. Each book draws from things in my life mixed with fictional things happening as well, of course. But only I know which things are real and which ones are part of an author’s imagination. Smile.
Describe your process for naming your character?
For my Tarnished Saints Series, it was easy to name all my heroes. Because their preacher father always wanted his own apostles. So he named his twelve sons after the apostles. Of course I had fun with this as well. For example, in Book Two, Luring Levi, my heroes name is Matthew Levi Taylor. Levi was another name of the tax collector apostle in the Bible and I liked that name, so Levi is who he became. And there are twins in the batch of siblings as well. Since there were two apostles named James in the Bible, I had their father name them both James. Just their middle names are different, denoting the father of each ancient James. For example, James Alphaeus and James Zebedee. So I call the brothers, James and Zeb. And one last thing – I have fun with the naming process trying to embarrass my heroes when I can. For example, in Book 3, Judging Judas, Judas’s middle name is Silver, named that by his own father because of the thirty pieces of silver that made Judas a traitor.
Real settings or fictional towns?
The setting is real but the name of the lake and the town is fictional.
What’s the quirkiest quirk one of your characters has?
Well, this isn’t a quirk that my character can control, but my character Onyx of Book 1 of my medieval, Scottish, MadMan MacKeefe Series has the problem of getting anxiety attacks and more or less dying when he gets exited or upset. Yes, like after good sex. He has two different colored eyes and when he has these attacks his heart slows almost to a stop and he barely breathes, and just lies there looking dead with his eyes wide open. It’s a scary sight for those around him. It’s kind of like sleep apnea in a way and he does come out of it, but it scares the daylights out of those around him who don’t know him.
What’s your quirkiest quirk?
I have the quirk of always having to have the last words of my novels also be the title of the book. And believe me, this isn’t always easy.
If you could have written any book (one that someone else has already written,) which one would it be? Why?
Um, Harry Potter? Because I truly do love paranormal things and this is right up my alley. Besides, if I wrote the book I’d be rich and famous and have my novels made into movies and amusement parks with my settings brought to life. Now that is something I would love to have. Actually, I think my Tarnished Saints Series that is a family saga of twelve books would make a great mini-series on the Hallmark or Lifetime channel.
Everyone at some point wishes for a do-over. What’s yours?
I guess I don’t believe in do-overs. I believe that as long as we learn something from every experience in our lives there is no need for regret for anything. Because life is all about experiences and learning, so all that matters is what you take away from each experience in your life.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
I know this sounds weird and is a little OCD, but I don’t like the sound of crunching plastic. It makes my skin crawl, like nails down a chalkboard. So when someone is near me eating something like chips out of the bag or anything that is in plastic and keeps crunching and moving it, the sound about drives me out of my mind. I know – weird.
You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves? Coca-cola & pizza, (I’m counting that as 1), my Kindle fully loaded and with internet access and an everlasting battery, and my digital camera with an everlasting battery as well. Then I’d be fine.
What was the worst job you’ve ever held?
I’ve held many jobs in my life and while I can’t say any of them were bad, I’ll tell you about the most unique job. I once took a job as a magician’s assistant, basically because I wanted to know how he did all those tricks. Face it, I’m nosey. Anyway, it was a little nerve rattling when I was the one he was sawing in half – so see my point?
What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
There have been a lot of good books. But since I’m also into metaphysics and anything out of the ordinary, I’m going to say the I really enjoyed the series of the teachings of Don Juan and the Yaqui way of knowledge by Carlos Castaneda. These books are old – published in the 70’s and 80’s but so full of wisdom and different ways of looking at things in your life that I can read them over and over and never get tired of them.
Ocean or mountains?
Both. I like being in the warmer climate with the sun and breeze in my face but I’m not a water person. As for mountains, I love the beauty and nature, but I’m not a snow person either. Yeah, I know – I’m complicated.
City girl or country girl?
Okay, this is easier. Country girl all the way. I live in the Chicago suburbs but don’t go to the city unless I absolutely have to. I don’t care for crowds as I’m a bit claustrophobic, so all those high buildings and bumper-to-bumper cars don’t do anything for me either.
What’s on the horizon for you?
Funny you should ask, because I’ve just decided to branch out and as well as write romance that is a little steamy, I’m starting a young adult series that is called Gnarled Nursery Rhymes. It is paranormal and deals with a teenaged girl who is researching the origins of nursery rhymes and finds out that they are really written about things that have happened in history and the hidden stories behind the rhymes that are not pretty. She ends up turning into these characters and some of them are a little psychopathic. The first book should be out soon and the title as of now is Mary, Mary, and is structured after the nursery rhyme of Mary, Mary Quite Contrary
Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and/or your books?
Well, I am the author of 31 books right now and have new releases every month or two. Yes, you heard correctly. I am a very fast writer and can write and edit a book in about two weeks time. I also create my own covers and often write the story around the characters on the covers so they will always be accurate depictions. I create my own book trailer videos as well that my readers can see on my Amazon author page or my website.
And I have a new feature on my website – my character recipe page. This is where food that my characters eat in my books are talked about by the characters themselves. They give the recipe and show photos of the dish too. All my recipes are simple and for those who are not chefs or don’t even like to cook, but do like to eat. I create the recipes myself and then take photos of them since I dabble in photography, too. This is an ongoing slow process, but it is fun. My readers can actually see photos of my characters on the recipe page, too. And another new feature I’m working on is under the photos tab on my site. I’ll be taking each of my books and showing photos of scenes or people that appear in the novel.
For example, one book’s photos are already posted. They are from my vampire novel, The Caretaker of Showman’s Hill. You can see the mausoleum my vampire lives in as well as the graveyard where I’ve photoshopped names on the gravestones that had to do with the deaths of the circus performers in the story.
Thomas Taylor is a single father of six young boys, and also the prime suspect in his second wife's murder. All the residents of Thunder Lake believe he is guilty and Thomas has even been called an unfit father. He has prayed for an angel to guide him, and even given up drinking, trying to get his life back in order. Still, things only seem to keep getting worse, especially when a pushy, nosey woman decides to stay at the Bed and Breakfast up the road from him.
Angel DeMitri is a single mother who works for Child Protective Services, and while on vacation decides to go on an unofficial call. And when she arrives at the lake late at night with her daughter to find a little barefooted boy in the middle of the road and a man with a rifle in the shadows, she gets her first look at Thomas Taylor. However, as she gets to know this man as well as his children, she realizes there is more to him than meets the eye.
And when something happens that threatens to take his children from him and put them into foster homes, she steps in to save them, doing something so dangerous and absurd that she wonders if she has just made a horrible mistake.
A tortured man and an angel come together in challenging circumstances to change one's life, in Doubting Thomas.