Elaine was born and raised in South Carolina where she obtained a master’s degree in personnel services from Clemson University. She is a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary society for women educators, Romance Writers of America, and EPIC authors. Her first novel, A New Leaf, was the 2003 winner of the Timeless Love Contest. When she’s not writing or teaching, she enjoys movies, quilting, reading, and collecting vintage Christmas ornaments.
Her latest book is the fantasy romance, The Enchanted.
Visit her website at www.elainecantrell.com.
Socialize with Elaine!
ABOUT THE ENCHANTED
Forced by his father into a marriage he didn’t want, Prince Alan soon finds that his bride isn’t the sweet, submissive creature he expected. Morgane has the heart of a dragon and beauty beyond compare, but she isn’t thrilled about the marriage either. When black treachery threatens the kingdom, Morgane and Alan embark on a perilous journey that has an excellent chance of ending in failure and death for them and all of their people.
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Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life! Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process. Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning? Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?
By day I’m a social studies teacher at the local high school. (By night I have adventures my students wouldn’t believe as my characters and I make our way through my newly created worlds.) Not too long ago I was teaching a lesson on the Middle Ages, a time when arranged dynastic marriages were all too common. After lecturing all day, I decided to write a novel about an arranged marriage.I started flipping the pages in my history book to find the best country and date to use as a setting for the novel, but to my surprise, I didn’t like any of them. Obviously, I didn’t truly want to write a historical novel. Okay, why not set it in the modern world? Easy. I’ve already written a similar book. (A New Leaf) It wasn’t an arranged marriage, but the bride and groom were reluctant to say the least. So, why not do a fantasy? I wanted to branch out and try something new anyway, so this story of an arranged marriage could be a fantasy.
Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?
It wasn’t hard at all! It was fun. I created a world of my own choosing and peopled it with characters loosely based on the European Medieval period. I threw in some castles, dragons, deceptions, and quests, and for good measure, I added both evil and good enchanters. No knight in shining armor ever fought more bravely than my Prince Alan. No Medieval princess ever possessed the courage and beauty of my Princess Morgane. I actually had tears in my eyes when the false princess wounded Morgane.The best tip I can offer other writers is to write something you like. The Enchanted practically wrote itself because I was having so much fun. I wasn’t worried about publication or reviews. I was writing for the sheer joy of it which naturally made the book more entertaining.
Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?
Astraea Press published The Enchanted. One of the Yahoo groups I belong to is called Sweeter Romantic Notions. Periodically, they invite publishers to come in and look at author pitches. Astraea was brand new at the time, and they asked to look at A New Dream. They took it, and I’ve been with them ever since.
Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?
Not really. I didn’t know enough about the publishing world to be surprised. At the time, I didn’t realize how difficult it can be to get a book published. Since it was my first book, my friends and family all bought it so I was pleased with my sales.
Q: Can you describe the feeling when you saw your published book for the first time?
I felt almost reverent about it. I held that book in my hands and traced my name on the cover, wishing with all my heart that my mother was still alive. She taught my sister and me to love books as much as she did. It would have made her so proud to know I had a book published.Just a note here, my mother loved Harlequin romances. I just thought she liked the romance genre until my sister told me that Mama said she read them because they were easy to hold. (Note to self: keep books the right size for easy holding.)
Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?
Blue 52, a sci-fi/fantasy is due out in December of 2013. It’s a sequel to Return Engagement and will be published by Whiskey Creek Press. My current WIP is called Rest Thy Head. The book is set in a haunted inn owned by a scarred ex-soldier who was burned in Afghanistan.
Q: Fun question: How does your book contribute to making this world a better place?
I don’t think The Enchanted will bring about world peace or end crime, but I do write about good things. My heroes and heroines are brave, caring, honest, and loving. They’re good role models, but don’t think they’re stuffy. I loathe flat, stereotyped, Pollyannaish characters. My characters have warts and scars. They’re real people who don’t always make the right choice.
Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?
Oh, I often have a message. In A New Dream, for example, I showed that life can be full and rewarding even if you are handicapped. The Enchanted illustrates something I learned twenty years ago. Simply put, embrace life’s unexpected gifts. Don’t find fault with the process that made them or the path they took to reach you. Just accept them for the treasures that they are.
Q: Thank you again for this interview! Do you have any final words?
My cover artist Elaina Lee gave me one of the most beautiful covers ever for The Enchanted, and then we sent the book out into the world where I hope it mesmerizes and delights readers as much as it did me.It was my pleasure to be here. Thanks so much for having me.