Elise: I was raised by a military base in Texas. My father was in the army and after he finished his enlistment, my parents decided they liked the area so much that they would stay. My life definitely has that homey, small-town vibe. I still live in the place where I grew up with my husband, who is military, and my two children. When I’m not writing I love to cook or watch people cook on TV. I also love singing and am in my church’s choir every Sunday.
Elise: The Second Son is now available at Amazon.com. It is the second in a series entitled ‘Kings of Cardenas’. Even though this book is the second in a series, it could be read and understood on its own. Of course, the first book, The Third Son, is also available at Amazon.
Here is a description of The Second Son:
Princess Isabelle has spent her entire life bending to the will of those who have planned her life out for her. Sent into hiding when she was just an infant to protect her from the rebellion in her own homeland, Barony, she was betrothed to Prince Lionus from the neighboring province Cardenas when she was just an infant. Despite the forced engagement, Isabelle has loved Lionus all of her life. When a devious plot against the royal family results in her husband’s death, Isabelle is left with a broken heart and an uncertain future. Only one year after his brutal murder, she has no choice but to choose a new husband and return to her homeland to take her place as queen and repair the war-torn land.
Prince Serge has secretly loved Princess Isabelle his entire life. The fact that she was promised to his brother has brought him no end of pain and suffering. The second born son of the king, he has resigned himself to a life of living in his brother’s shadow. After a deadly plot against the royal family leaves Serge hovering on the edge of death, he awakens from a coma one year later to find that his older brother has died and his youngest brother has taken the throne in his stead. His future is now uncertain, but Serge is determined to find his own way in the world now that he has been given the gift of new life. When it is suggested that Princess Isabelle take him as her husband, Serge begins to hope that all of his most secret dreams will now come true.
Despite the unexpected spark of desire between them, Isabelle resists the new path her heart is taking as she clings desperately to Lionus’ memory. Can Isabelle let go of her past and learn to love Serge in return, or is she destined to a life tied to one man as she still mourns the other?
Once united as king and queen, Isabelle and Serge face the monumental task of rebuilding her broken homeland and rescuing it from the clutches of those seeking to destroy it. Can the pampered princess find the strength to stand beside her husband and fight for her people? Will the second son of a king finally get the chance to prove his worth? Can either of them learn to let go of the ghosts of the past and find love?
Elise: When I was 12 years old I wrote my very first piece of fiction. It was a novel entitled ‘Tiffany’s Dream’ about a girl who wanted to be an Olympic ice skater. I had always been a lover of books and would read just about anything. I would sit at my little desk with a pencil and a stack of notebook paper and just write. The rest, as they say, is history. I got into romance novels when I was a teenager and decided then that it was what I wanted to write. I’ve been doing it ever since.
A few years ago I had an idea for a love story between a young prince and a Gypsy dancer. After several attempts at writing it, I finally completed it in 2010 and immediately began looking for agents or publishers who might be interested in my work. I got a lot of form letters of rejection. I also received a lot of requests for sample chapters, followed by even more form letters of rejection. I had no idea it would be so hard to get someone to care about what I had written. As much as I loved what I wrote, I couldn’t understand how someone else could be so indifferent to it. In the meantime I continued to write, determined not to let rejection hold me back from my dream. I began working on a sequel to my novel.
After an entire year of trying with no success, I decided to do some research on self-publishing. I self-published my first novel through Amazon in September 2011 and can say with all honesty that it was one of the best decisions I ever made. People are reading and loving my work, and I no longer feel like I need a stamp of approval from a publishing house. I know that they are reluctant to take risks in our current economy. That’s perfectly fine, since taking few risks is what works for them. I have found that for the moment, self-publishing is what works for me.
Elise: My family is actually full of talented writers. I have a cousin who writes beautiful inspirational poetry. My mother also has a talent for writing.
Elise: I usually begin with a very small idea. It usually starts as an inkling of how I want a story to start and how I want it to finish. As I write, the middle parts just kind of fall into place. Most of the time, I start off thinking things will go one way, only to have the story take a turn on its own. I’ve even surprised myself at times with the twists that a story can take when I allow it to do its own thing. Outlining and planning just don’t work for me, which is strange because I am generally a very organized person.
Elise: When I get an idea, and it’s a really good one, it gets stuck in my head. I think about it constantly and as I go throughout the day, the idea begins to grow. Sometimes I am working on multiple projects at one time, because as the ideas grow it becomes impossible to contain them. At some point I have to sit down and start putting it on paper.
Elise: I love the idea of escapism. I like being able to dive into different worlds and finding people in those worlds that I can identify with. I also really love reading a good hero. If an author writes a hero that I can feel love and loyalty for, then that author has a fan in me for life! I love complex characters and warring emotions. What genre brings those things together better than romance? There is so much to choose from as well, so it never gets old. I can go from historical, to fantasy, to paranormal, and still remain within the romance genre.
Elise: My characters definitely live with me. And anyone who knows me could tell you that there is a little bit of me in each of them. As I’m working on a manuscript, they definitely disturb my sleep and my waking hours as well. I find myself pondering their reactions to certain situations and thinking of things that they would do or say. A lot of my best ideas have come in moments like these.
Elise: I would so love to go to London during the 18th or 19th century. I love to read romances set during those times. I would love to experience the glitter and glamour of a season and see firsthand the outrageous overindulgence of the members of the ton. If I could bring three things with me, I would bring my Kindle, my mp3 player, and a case of Coca-Cola.
Elise: I am a huge Julia Quinn fan. I have books of hers that are falling apart because I’ve read them so many times. I love her Bridgerton series as well as ‘The Lost Duke of Wyndham’. I also have quite a collection of Johanna Lindsey books.
I don’t just stick to romance though. Currently I am reading a YA Fantasy book entitled Agartha’s Last Hope by Chrissy Peebles. It is the second in a great series and I am enjoying it so far.
Elise: For me, it’s all about things getting bigger and better. It’s all about reaching milestones. Now I’m published, so the new goal is to become a bestseller. Then maybe the silver screen? I would love to see my books in action and watch the characters come to live in a movie. That is by far the biggest dream.
Elise: I’m really excited about 2012 because I have a lot of projects in the works that I can’t wait to share with my readers. I am currently working on the third installment of my Kings of Cardenas series, as well as the second book in a series of Paranormal novellas. I am really looking to connect more with my readers as well. I just started a twitter account and recently unveiled my new website.
Elise: I like to read discussions in places like Goodreads and see what readers are looking for. What kind of stories would you like to read? What stories do you think need to be told in the world of romance?
Jen: I understand you have a contest for our readers.
Elise: I will be giving away an ebook copy of both books in my Kings of Cardenas series. The Third Son, and The Second Son will go to one lucky winner.
Here is a description of the first book in the series, The Third Son for the person that will be winning it:
Rake. Rogue. Scoundrel. Each of these words has been used to describe Damien Largess, youngest prince of Cardenas, most frequently by his ridiculously somber eldest brother. Damien is perfectly content to spend his days drinking at the card tables, and his nights in the bed of his scheming mistress, especially since doing these things seems to vex his high-handed brother to no end. But when he steps into a glittering ballroom on the night of his twenty-fifth birthday, the roguish young prince’s life will be forever changed.
Beautiful. Graceful. Sensual. When Esmeralda steps into the center of the King’s ballroom to perform for his youngest son’s birthday, every eye in the room is glued to the tall, lithe Gypsy dancer. One pair of eyes seems to burn straight through her, and though she has worked endlessly to shield her heart, she finds her defenses slowly slipping away in the presence of the handsome prince. She cannot resist his devastating charm, nor is she immune to the earth shattering desire in his kiss. As she falls rapidly under his spell, Esmeralda dares to hope for a future she would never have thought possible.
With a deadly plot against the royal family surrounding him in danger and intrigue, Damien will face a decision he never thought he would have to make. Would he step up to claim a responsibility that should never have fallen to the third son? Or will he abandon it to risk all for love?