There's not much to say about me. I'm 5'6" tall. I have brown eyes and curly hair. I'm an author, a wife, a mother, and a daughter. Everything else is subject to change without notice.
After trying my hand at a variety of careers, insurance underwriter, video storeowner, home day care, and domestic goddess for other people, I sat down to write a short contemporary novel. When my heroine turned out to be a winged, telepathic alien, I decided I enjoyed writing stories set in different places, times, and realities. I've published 14 full-length books, ranging from sweet contemporary to sexy sci-fi, as well as numerous short stories.
While living in north east Illinois I helped found the Windy City Chapter of Romance Writers of America, and I'm the only remaining founding member of the Futuristic, Fantasy & Paranormal Chapter. I've taught workshops on writing at writer’s conferences and at community colleges.
Because for "real life" my motto is: Boring is good, excitement is vastly overrated, I save the adventures for the characters in my books.
I love to connect with other writers and readers. When I'm not writing you can find me hanging out on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Elysa-Hendricks-Author/137316289643103 (way too much) or you can check out my books on my web site: http://www.elysahendricks.com
Tell us about your latest release.
My most current release is a contemporary romance with a touch of fantasy.
MUST LOVE CATS - The Nine Lives of Thomas Cash Riley - Book 1
Thomas Cash (TC) Riley is mad, bad and –dead. Killed in a one car wreck the twenty-nine-year old playboy is given one last chance to redeem himself for living a selfish, unfulfilled life and to determine his soul’s final destination.
To help his young daughter recover from the loss of her mother, Daniel Bishop, a widower who dislikes the country and is allergic to anything with fur, has moved back to his wife’s rural hometown to be close to her large family.
Katherine Sinclair, the local veterinarian and the single mother of an adventurous ten-year old son, is wary of the handsome newcomer. Once before she’d given her heart to a wealthy, charming man and she’d ended up pregnant and alone.
With the help of a lonely little girl and a brash young boy, can TC find a way to bring these two damaged people together? Can he remember his past and save his soul in the allotted time?
And can he do it all as a cat?
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 character out of your books? Why?
This is pretty much like asking me which of my human children I like best. I love all my book babies equally, though I do like certain traits that some of them have over others.
If I have to pick a heroine, I'd go with Sianna DiSanti, the empathic healer from my fantasy romance CRYSTAL MOON. She's the person I'd like to be - innocent of evil and empathic. She only sees the good in people. I on the other hand am too much of a realist (though my family truly believes I'm an optimist) to overlook and forgive people for hurting me or my family.
Picking a favorite hero is a bit tougher. I fall in love with each and every one of them. But I think Brandon Alexander Davis from THE SWORD AND THE PEN is closest to my heart. He's a slightly neurotic writer (isn't that redundant?) of sword and sorcery novels. His philosophy for real life is much like mine - Boring is good. Excitement is vastly overrated. Like me, he saves the adventures for the characters in his books. So, of course, I had to give him a heroine with adventure written into her DNA.
What's a man to do when his fantasy woman appears in his life complete with skimpy outfit, mile-long sword, and bad-ass attitude?
2.) What genre do you write? What made you pick that one?
I write romance. The characters and story decide which sub-genre they fall into. Whether the setting is the American Old West, a modern day small town, a star ship hundreds of years in the future or an alternate universe, the growing relationship between the hero and heroine is the focus of the story. I want to write stories about people falling and staying in love, about the creation of a family.
3.)What are you working on now?
I have numerous projects in the works. I love writing short Holiday themed romances, especially those centered around Christmas, so I have several of those in various stages of completion.
For my full length titles I'm working on a sci-fi romance set in the same universe as STAR CRASH and STAR RAIDERS. I also have a sequel planned for MUST LOVE CATS - Book 1 of The Nine Lives of Thomas Cash Riley. Once those are done I have dozens of ideas brewing and characters nagging me to tell their stories.
4.) What got you to start writing?
I really can't remember when I first started making up stories. In grade school I used to make up stories for the other kids at recess. When I was in high school I took a creative writing course and was hooked. But it wasn't until years later that I actually realized that "real" people wrote books, that authors weren't some separate breed of human with super powers. One day I sat down to write a short, contemporary romance. When my heroine turned out to be a winged, telepathic alien who stows away on passing space ship, I realized I liked telling stories set in different places and times. Since then I've written stories set in the Old West, the future, and alternate universes as well as the current world. Writing isn't so much what I do, it's part of who I am.
5.) Where do you get your ideas from?
When a reader asks me where I get my ideas for the books I write, I say something funny like: "Oh, I have an idea tree growing in my backyard. Once a year I harvest the ideas and store them in my attic to ripen." That usually gets a laugh. If I get a deer-in-the-headlights look, I remind them I'm a writer of fiction, a teller of tall tales. So what did they expect me to say? Stephen King tells people he digs his ideas up in the backyard. Of course, he writes horror not romance, so I guess digging things up is appropriate.
The truth is I find ideas for stories everywhere. Everything I see, hear, taste, feel, or smell can spark a story idea. A snatch of conversation overheard while standing in a grocery store checkout line, reading about a new scientific breakthrough, hearing about a love letter delivered fifty years late, the smell of barbeque on a warm summer night, walking hand-in-hand with my husband through our neighborhood, the sight of two strangers kissing on a street corner or arguing over dinner in a fancy restaurant all trigger ‘What If’ in my imagination.
6.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?
I don't know that there's much surprising about me. I consider myself to be pretty average - average height, average weight, average looks, sadly I'm a bit past average age. I like to think my intelligence and writing is slightly above average, but that would be boastful - wouldn't it?
Basically, they'd probably be surprised to find out just how average I am, but I'm of the mind that it's not who the author is that's important, it's whether or not the writing pleases and surprises the reader.
7.) Do you have any special talents?
I tell stories. I create people, places, whole worlds from nothing but my imagination. I make readers laugh and cry. I send them on fabulous adventures to distant stars and the past.
I also possess the most powerful super power of all - Common Sense.
8.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?
The best piece of advice I've received is one I still struggle to follow - WRITE! In order to become proficient at anything whether it's playing a sport or knitting, you have to practice. You have to just do it. In order to hone your skill as a writer you need to write - a LOT!
That said, I don't like writing. It's darned hard work. On the other hand, I love having written. There's nothing as satisfying as writing THE END on a story, seeing something you've created out of nothing.
9.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?
I'm not so interested in talking to famous people, but I'd love to spend some time with loved ones who have passed on. I'd like to be able to tell them how much I love them, what they mean to me, and how much I miss them.
10.) What song would you say describes your life?
It's probably cliché, but I have to say Paperback Writer by the Beatles.
11.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?
Definitely a cat, preferably the pampered pet of some fabulously wealthy, attractive, movie star. Of course, Thomas Cash (TC) Riley from MUST LOVE CATS isn't all that thrilled about being sent back to earth as a cat to play match maker.
Daniel pulled his car into the gravel lot alongside the quaint, white clapboard farmhouse. His gaze focused on the classic lines of the lovingly maintained building, at first he didn't notice the slim woman standing arms akimbo at the base of a ladder propped against the house.
As a successful, commercial architect, he admired and envied those who designed houses, creating warm, welcoming, comfortable homes for people. At one point that had been his dream, but pressure from his father convinced him otherwise.
"The money and prestige is in public buildings. No one remembers who designs houses." His father's words came back to him. At the time, Daniel hadn't had the nerve or the courage to argue, to bring up famous architects who'd designed homes. He was well aware that of those, the public, which included his playboy father and socialite mother, only Frank Lloyd Wright's name was recognizable. As always to avoid conflict, to gain his parent's approval, he'd fallen into line.
Marrying Hannah had been the only time he ever went against his father's wishes. Maybe his parents’ objection had been what drew Daniel to her. Even if his father had forgiven him, that relationship had been doomed. But his parents had died before he could reconcile with them. And now Hannah was gone as well. All that remained was Alana.
"Daddy, look! A bird boy!"
Alana's delighted shout and a child's scream drew his attention to the boy clinging precariously to the steeply slanted roof. A makeshift parachute wrapped around his arms, and tangled around his thrashing legs prevented him from gaining a good grip on the roof's shingles. Another look at the woman confirmed his fears. Her ashen face reflected her terror at what was about to happen. A fall from that height, more than twenty feet, would certainly injure, if not kill, the boy.
"Stay here," he told Alana and bolted out of the car. His gaze went from the boy to the ladder. No help there. The old wood wouldn't hold his weight. What other option did he have?
"TC." He heard Alana call out.
His attention focused on the boy, he ignored the streak of black and white racing past him. With only one chance, he calculated the boy's height, weight and the angle of his fall and positioned himself below.
"Hey, son," he called softly.
The boy turned panicked eyes toward Daniel.
"Everything's going to be fine," he reassured the boy. "Let yourself slide down. I'm going to catch you."
The boy nodded in acceptance. Panic drained from his eyes. Daniel felt a punch of fear mingled with gratitude for the boy's instinctive trust.
He held out his arms. "Let go now."
Without hesitation the boy released his grip on the shingles. He slid down then the cloth wrapped around him snagged. His body twisted sideways. He was coming down head first in a different direction. Too fast. Daniel dove to the side, hoping to at least break the boy's fall. He braced for the impact.
He heard the woman's gasp. At the last moment, as the boy plunged off the edge of the roof, his body jerked to a halt to dangle about fifteen feet above Daniel.
Quickly Daniel righted himself below the boy and looked up. At the edge of the roof the cat stretched spread eagle, its claws clinging to the fabric of the makeshift parachute and the shingles. Though its slight weight was no match for the boy's, it had stopped his headlong plummet for a critical few seconds.
Daniel's eyes met those of the cat. For an instant he could have sworn the cat winked at him. Then with a yowl the cat retracted its claws and the boy dropped neatly into Daniel's outstretched arms. They tumbled together to the ground.