I want to welcome, Elizabeth a.k.a E. Ayers. First I’d love you to introduce yourself.
Let me say thanks, Barb, for inviting me. Barb and I can actually share a pot of coffee, except our schedules make that near impossible! I’ll even tattle on her and tell ya’ll that she’s one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet in this business! She’s extremely organized, highly efficient, has a brilliant creative mind, is probably one of the best sci-fi writers today, and has an unbelievably hectic life. I’m honored to call her a friend.
Aww, thanks E! You got me blushing.
I try to live a very boring life, except I’ve never succeeded. I like peace and tranquility, and somehow obtaining it is elusive. I live in a pre-Civil War home that is way too big for just me, but I love this old house. Well, most of the time I do, actually only when everything is working the way it should, which probably means three weeks out of the year – if I’m lucky. The rest of the time I curse it.
I have a computer room that is centrally located and it’s where I stay. It was the large formal dinning room. I can close it off from the rest of the house and hibernate in here. There’s plenty of light from two big windows and a third skinny window on the north side. The room is constantly in severe need of a good cleaning, and it needs re-arranging. The problem is if I’m in here, I’m at the computer writing, editing, making covers, or doing something related to publishing. That doesn’t get the room clean.
I’m widowed with two grown daughters and now grown granddaughters. The youngest grandchild just graduated from high school. I keep telling my oldest daughter that I had her when I was two. She swears I don’t have to lie about being in my forties, because she’s only twenty-nine. Yes, I raised her right!
I’m too young to be a widow and too old to try to train another husband. Besides I had a wonderful, fantastic man who could have been a role model for almost any romance novel complete with a fantastic body. Most people never find such a guy so why would I even think I’d ever find a second one? I’m not sure I subscribe to the theory that you have to be looking to find something, but I haven’t bothered to look.
Tell us about your latest release.
My latest releases all came at once. The Authors of Main Street decided to do a boxed set of wedding themed books. I had an idea for a story and jumped on it. My heroine was going to strike out on her own and have her own bridal design business. The rest of the gang from Main Street thought it was a great idea, too, and they wanted to order bridal dresses from my character. I dove in, typing as quickly as I can (which is quite slow – peck, peck), and when I came up for air, I was in big trouble. I was supposed to be writing a novella of twenty-five thousand words. Oops! I was almost there and nowhere near the end. I didn’t want to cut everything away from my story. I’d have to start over again. That’s when another author from Main Street suggested I use someone from the Main Street Bridal Salon and write the shorter story. I had the perfect person, the daughter of the hero in the first story.
My mistake turned into my writing two books. The first one is a novel, With This Ring. It’s the story of DeeDee Drayden and her dreams of having her own successful bridal business. She was an only child and the product of a broken marriage. She doesn’t really believe in a happily ever after, especially since her only serious relationship ended when she caught her guy cheating.
Cody Montgomery has two failed marriages in his past and a pack of kids from those marriages. He’s sworn off women until he meets DeeDee. But chipping away at her tough exterior isn’t easy. With four teenagers, a pre-teen, and a set of young twin boys, hot dates are near impossible, especially when trying to set a good example for his children.
I Thee Wed is a novella. Julia Montgomery is Cody’s oldest adopted daughter. She was the boy-crazy teen who hated school, but decided she wanted to work for DeeDee in her salon. It was the best decision she’d ever made. She loves working there and working for DeeDee.
Aaron Symons spotted Julia while he was making a delivery to the salon. For him, it was love at first sight. But he was headed back for his final year at the university and his PhD. Long distance relationships aren’t easy, and Julia has no idea who she really is.
I Thee Wed is in the boxed set, Weddings on Main Street by the Authors of Main Street. Each novella has a wedding theme. I Thee Wed is also available as a single title.
On top of those releases, I have a River City novel, Campaign, which released in July. I would have never scheduled all of this together - three books in forty days. Totally unplanned, everything came together at the same time. May was chaos and June - only been a tad better. July finally calmed down-somewhat. August showed me I could still breathe.
Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.
1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?
From the Roadrunner cartoons, Wile E. Coyote! He’s hysterical. He’s an absolute genius, yet nothing goes the way it should. He’s also rather harmless to everyone but himself. It’s the epitome of a thriller. Roadrunner knows exactly who the bad guy is and that the bad guy wants to kill him. Plus you have to admit the dialog is fast paced, beep-beep!
2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?
That’s a tough question, because I have several favorite male characters. But hands down, so far, my favorite female character is Dallas from A New Beginning. She’s had this whole screwed-up childhood, yet she’s super intelligent and a gifted artist. When Rick takes her in, she’s a foul-mouthed teen who is, in her own way, starving for positive attention and respect as a person. She’s got this hello-world-I-am-here way about her, yet she can be quiet and withdrawn, very yin and yang. She was a wonderful, but a difficult character to write. Once she’s with Rick, this huge choking fog lifts from her and she can be herself. Making her believable was tough, and Rick didn’t make my job very easy. He was such a solid rock of a guy that trying to pry the emotion out in him was extremely challenging. But he was exactly what Dallas needed and his love for her grew as she matured.
3.) What do genre do you write? What made you pick that one?
Mostly I write contemporary and occasionally western historical. I’m extremely mainstream but with the happily-ever-after of a romance. What I write is almost biographical. It’s called slice-of-life. I pick up the romantic portion of two lives and write their life, not just the romance. Today, people have jobs and it’s very much a part of who they are. Most can’t take a two-hour lunch. I keep the realism in it.
I’m very comfortable writing it. I look around and there is this endless supply of fodder for it. It’s just there and I use it. I think it’s funny when people say I’ve been sneaking in their kitchen because they totally relate to that scene. The truth is we all do those quirky things, and I add that to my writing.
4.) What are you working on now?
I’ve got two more River City books in the works, a historical western diary, another Creeds Crossing historical, a contemporary (In Wyoming) romance, a sequel to Mariner’s Cove, and another wedding story. I’ve been at such a hectic pace for over three years, with virtually no time off, that I needed to step away. Real life called me to do a few things such as clean my house! It would be totally impossible for me to walk away from the computer for any serious length of time, but for several hours each day I worked on finding my house under the dust and clutter. Unfortunately that time away gave quite a few characters time to play, create stories, and in general bug me to write them.
5.) What got you to start writing?
I’d been writing non-fiction for years. Also I wrote stories for my children to keep them reading. Then I settled into writing YA/Middle Grade fiction with no idea how to publish it.
That’s when my best friend’s daughter, who wrote romance for one of the big NY publishing companies, stepped into the picture. She was also a founder of a successful epub back in the day when no one knew what epubs were. She twisted my arm, and beat me over the head until I acquiesced to write romance. Now I’m glad I did.
6.) Where do you get your ideas from?
Everywhere! Bits and pieces of real life filter into my head and get caught in there. Get enough little pieces and they start jelling together. Suddenly I have characters emerging or a storyline that begins to form.
7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?
A year ago, I would have said nothing, but after writing A Calling in Wyoming, I think people would be shocked to discover that I’m an atheist. People assume it’s a preachy sort of story when it’s not. I wasn’t raised in a vacuum. My family was Christian and I was wed in a Catholic Church. When my husband and I moved to Virginia, we lived with some family members for a few months. The husband was the pastor of a small church. Oh, the stories I could tell. Oh, wait, I did tell some of them as I wrote the book.
But seriously, it’s a hard look at a young man who considered himself to be a good Christian. He’s got a great job, and life is everything he ever wanted. Then he gets asked to take on this small rural church in the middle of nowhere and he’s being asked to do it for paltry pay. How does anyone ever decide to do something like that?
How do any of us ever decide what we should or should not do? I wrote a line and I think it sums up the feeling for so many people when facing a fork in the road and we need to make a decision. He prayed for a sign, a bolt of lightning…four flat tires…something…anything. We all want some sort of road map for our lives and the truth is there is none. Decisions must be made and once made, we just keep going.
8.) Do you have any special talents?
Absolutely nothing that I will admit… No, really nothing. I’ve done some interesting things over years but nothing special. I can’t sing, dance, or play the piano. I can wire, plumb, and shingle a house, change tires and oil, and use most any power tool. (That doesn’t mean I want to do them! Only that I know how.) I can sew, cook, and bake. I love to paint, but usually work in pen and ink. I enjoy photography and canoeing. But there’s no super talent in there anyplace. Everything is a learned skill.
Even writing is a learned skill. I learned to read and write, and write, and write! As a child, I could write my way out of a paper bag and get an A on an essay. Unfortunately I’m cursed with an overactive imagination. When I was little, I never paid attention in school. I got what the teacher was saying the first time. After that, I’d mentally wander off to play with the children in my head. I was always in trouble for daydreaming in school.
9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?
There are two things. One is never give up and the second is to learn everything you can about the business. You have no idea how many times I wanted to throw in the towel and give up publishing books. I doubt I could ever stop my mind from churning out the stories, but getting them out there is not easy. There’s always something new to learn in this business and considering I’m independently publishing, I’ve got to know what is going on because it will affect me and what I do. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but it could make a big difference a year from now and I must be prepared for it.
10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?
I could give you a list a mile long of people from the past. But I’m afraid I might be disappointed that they weren’t as wonderful as history has made them, and the idea of traveling back in time doesn’t hold much appeal.
But, I’d be thrilled to have an afternoon with Laura Bush. I’d love to know what it really was like living in the White House, trying to raise teenagers that were under a microscope, and how she copes even today with the publicity – both good and bad. And I’d love to do the same with Rosalynn Carter. They both seem like such lovely women and yet very different. Do I get to put in a request for both of them?
11.) What song would you say describes your life?
There’s nothing that would cover my life, but when I heard Roberta Flack sing The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, I knew instantly that was my love for my husband. She nailed it. I try not to cry when I hear it.
12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?
A red-faced buzzard aka turkey vulture, they are the ugliest birds, and the thought of eating carrion has no appeal, but I love to watch them soar in the sky. When the red-faced ones spread their wings, they appear to have fingertips on the ends. They just catch a current and ride it seemingly forever. They are so beautiful in flight. There’s not another bird that I am familiar with that flies the way they do. I want to be able to fly like that.
(The black-faced ones don’t have those “fingertip” feathers, and they have to flap their wings more frequently. It’s a fast way of identifying them during flight.)
It’s not that I ever want to be a turkey buzzard; I just would love to be able to fly the way they do. To have nothing better to do in a day than enjoy a long ride on an air current seems so wonderfully peaceful. There’s a tiny airport not far from here that tows gliders up into the air. Think I need to take flying lessons?
“That bitch thinks she’s too good to even talk to anyone. Her and her fancy clothes all cuddled up to Brad Shoemaker. She’s going to rub everyone’s nose into the fact that she’s got the best catch in town.” A breathy female voice could be heard from someplace behind Ryn.
Brad wrapped his arm around Ryn and held her close as the pain of what the woman said chewed at her insides. She curled her fingers around Brad’s hand as she watched Dallas cut her gaze in the direction of the voice.
“Would you like me to set the woman straight?” Brad asked in a whisper.
Ryn shook her head.
“Well, I’m not going to sit here and say nothing.” Dallas frowned. “I won’t tolerate a guest in my house being rude.”
Ryn held up her hand and shook her head. She mouthed. “Please, no.”
Maybe Brad was right and walking around with a placard that said I’m mute would make it easier for both of us. Layers of anger, aggravation, self-pity, denial, and depression wrapped her heart as it pounded in her chest.
She never thought of herself as living a sheltered life, but she realized she had. Wealth had blanketed her, protecting her from the real world. Sitting on a picnic bench with Brad while a jealous female made obnoxious comments was about as far from her world as she could get.
How many times had she told her students that they could do anything they wanted to do and be whatever they wanted to be? Beethoven continued to write music after he was deaf, Marlee Matlin was deaf and won an Oscar, Stevie Wonder and Jose Feliciano became musical superstars, Julliette Gordon Low, the poet Homer... names of famous disabled people who had accomplished great things flowed through her mind.
What a fraud she had become. She wanted to turn tail and run. She didn’t have the guts to stand up to a lone female.