Chandra: What do you love about Cera’s Place?
Elizabeth: I love that Cera is a strong woman who protects her friends, but isn’t perfect. She still has some emotional growing to do. She isn’t stunningly gorgeous in a physical sense, yet people find her beautiful. She shines from within. I also love Jake – he’s rugged, yet sensitive. Life has beaten him down, but he isn’t ready to quit just yet.
Chandra: Tell us about the book genre that you have chosen to write.
Elizabeth: It’s historical romance, though readers tell me Cera’s Place isn’t like the typical historical romance. It’s been compared to a modern crime/mystery/thriller, which pleases me. I tried to write a story that was strong in both romance and plot.
Chandra: Have you ever gotten stuck while writing a book and had to call on other published authors for assistance?
Elizabeth: No, though I bounced several scenes for Cera’s Place off my husband during our daily walks. I couldn’t always follow his advice, though, since he wasn’t the target audience. (He kept insisting I should add even more sex – now with the success of Fifty Shades of Grey – maybe he was right!)
Chandra: What makes you feel inspired to write?
Elizabeth: My daughters inspire me. A few years ago, they asked why I wasn’t writing fiction, as they knew I wanted to. I replied, “Technical writing pays the bills.” I decided to write Cera’s Place to show them it is never too late to follow your dreams (there was also a scary psychic involved, but that’s another story). As a parent, I am always pushing them to do their best and not give up when something gets too hard. So, when I am discouraged, I put on my big girl boots and keep going, because you have to lead by example.
Chandra: What do you like to do when you are not tapping away at the keyboard writing your next book?
Elizabeth: My daughters take up the majority of my free time. They are very active in school activities and sports (I get to watch a lot of volleyball, basketball, and softball). We live near a lake, so if there is a free afternoon, we boat or swim.
Chandra: Where are some places that you have traveled around the globe and have any of your travels ever inspired your writing?
Elizabeth: Cera’s Place is set in San Francisco and I’ve vacationed there with my husband. I’ve been very fortunate to see a lot of the world: England, Wales, Ireland, Italy, Austria, Spain, Jamaica, Canada, and Germany. My next story is set in Venice. I seem to be picking favorite spots and then researching the history to see if something inspires me.
Chandra: What is the highest goal that you desire to meet as an author?
Elizabeth: I want to write stories that readers can escape into and enjoy. When I’m reading a great book, I ignore everything else in my life and I hate when the book ends. I want to be known for writing those kinds of stories. If a reader told me, she stayed up all night reading one of my stories – I would feel I have reached my ultimate goal.
Chandra: Can you share a little of your current project with us?
Elizabeth: I’m working on Venice in the Moonlight, which is set in 1753. Here’s the description I’ve been using: After her husband’s untimely death, Marietta Gatti is forced to leave the family’s villa by her spiteful mother-in-law. With nowhere to go, she returns to Venice only to find her estranged father has also passed away. According to his friends, the once esteemed painter died distraught, drunk, and penniless. Upset by the gossip, Marietta retraces her father’s last days and discovers someone may have wanted him dead. When the prime suspect turns out to be the father of the man she may be falling in love with, Marietta faces a heart-breaking decision. Should she risk her future happiness to avenge the death of a man she has hated for the past five years? Elizabeth McKenna’s latest novel takes you back to the days of Carnival and Casanova, where lovers meet discreetly, and masks make everyone equal.
Chandra: Will social networking help you reach your goals as an author?
Elizabeth: This is a loaded question for me and my answer may be too blunt and not politically correct. “They” say it will, but I just don’t know. What I see is authors connecting via social media with other authors but not reaching the readers. Obviously, connecting with other authors is not bad – I’ve learned a tremendous amount from authors who were kind enough to share their knowledge. However, I feel at times that we are all running around in circles, chasing our tails, promoting to each other and not the readers. On the flip side, I ran an ad recently on Facebook and quickly got almost 1,000 likes, mainly from Mexico and India. I literally could see the ad go viral as a few teenage girls liked it and then their friends liked it, etc. The problem is, due to the sex in the book, I don’t see the 13-17 age group as my target audience. They may want to read the book, but I wanted to contact their mothers! I also didn’t see any huge sales impact from these 1,000 likes – which according to all the social networking advice – I should have. What I have found helpful is connecting with new readers via Goodreads and various romance blogs. But either way, I will keep plugging along, tweeting and facebooking and google plussing, when I’d rather be writing. Big Sigh.
Chandra: What is your usual writing routine?
Elizabeth: I get up early so that I can put in my 8 hours at my day job. I work from home, so my schedule is a bit flexible. Then I try to write for a while before my girls get home from school. I’m usually able to get more time in on the weekends than during the week. I don’t like being holed up in my office, so I often edit in front of the TV so that I’m at least in the same room as my family. I write slowly and research everything, so sometimes it gets frustrating.
Chandra: Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Elizabeth: I’d like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to visit today. As an indie author, I’m always looking for new friends! I really hope the readers like my story. I tried to make it both historically accurate and entertaining. Feel free to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any comments or questions!
You can also find Elizabeth here:
Elizabeth McKenna FaceBook
Cera's Place FaceBook