I’m really excited to say I have the wonderfully talented and incredibly prolific (Nora Roberts – watch out!) Elise K Ackers as a guest on my blog tonight. Elise and I met earlier on this year as we are both authors with Destiny Romance. I was thrilled to find out that there are quite a few of us based in Melbourne and they had begun a tradition of trying to catch up a few times a year and natter about all things life and writing – which I eagerly joined in with. I’ve also caught up with Elise at a few other functions and the RWA conference and I can tell you that she is not only a brilliant writer, but is also a genuinely lovely person with a fascinating life to boot.
LL: Hi Elise. Thanks for being a guest on my blog. I’ve read all your books to date and I’m a big fan, so it’s really exciting to have you here.
EKA: Thanks Leisl, I’m so happy to be here. You’ve always been such great support.
LL: That’s sweet of you to say. But, seeing you’re here for an interview, I better get on with asking you some questions. Tell us a bit about your new novel, Ask Me For Tomorrow, the hotly awaited third and final instalment of the Homeland series.
EKA: Ask Me For Tomorrow is about Dean, a single dad living in a small country town where everyone either knows everything or has an opinion. He’s getting by – he’s exhausted, he’s stretched thin – his kids are in some kind of trouble and his business is getting too big for him to handle on his own. Enter Alice Jaye, single mum, stoic and the beginning of a new chapter in Dean’s life. Dean and Alice are used to taking on the world and all its complications, but the past still holds a lot of real estate in their lives. This book is about letting go, and daring to embrace a second chance.
LL: I love a good series and I’ve really enjoyed the first two of this one and can’t wait to read the last. What gave you the idea for this story? Did you know you were going to write about each of your main characters before you started the series, or was it something that came to you as you wrote the first one?
EKA: I wrote the first book, Ask Me To Stay, as part of the International 3-Day Novel Contest. Initially I didn’t imagine anything more coming from it, but over that long weekend the secondary characters became so intriguing to me that I knew I would keep going. The series is told predominantly from Ethan, Cal and Dean’s points of view – they were the characters who came through the strongest for me; who demanded their turn, in a way.
LL: Many authors (myself included) talk about where their story ideas come from (I dream mine.) What inspires you to write? Where do your ideas come from?
EKA: My ideas come from everywhere – an overheard sentence, something I see on the street, an inspiring image. I’m never consistent with my muse. Often I’m in the car, thinking about how to solve something real in my life, when my imagination takes me in an unexpected direction. It makes for an interesting commute.
LL: You have had a phenomenal year with this being your 6th book published (5 with Destiny Romance and one with Escape) and you’ve had great success with competitions, the most recent being a RUBY nomination for your romantic suspense, Small Town Storm. Tell us a little about your process. I know you work full time – when do you find time to write? What keeps you going?
EKA: It has been a wonderful year – I’m so proud of those books and that nomination. And I don’t find time to write so much as make time. I have to write or I’d lose my mind, which means I create opportunities whenever possible. I write on the train, sometimes during my lunch break. I carry my laptop everywhere and I try to arrive early when I’m meeting someone – that gives me the chance to knock out a few paragraphs. But life gets in the way, doesn’t it? For me, that means a lot of late nights. But I love it – I never regret the missed hours of sleep, only the unwritten pages.
What keeps me going is the almost manic need to finish a project so I can start the next one.
LL: I’m much the same, Elise. I have an iPad which I take everywhere so I can write at any time. It seems our process is not so different. But onto the next question. You write across multiple genres. Do you have a favourite genre to write? What about to read?
EKA: I have contemporary and romantic suspense titles out in the world so far, but I’m working on a new adult title now and will be writing a fantasy trilogy in the next year or so. I don’t deliberately decide to genre-hop, I just write the stories that come to me, and I love that they’re so different from one another. No particular favourite. To read, I lean towards all four of those genres.
LL: I’m a genre hopper as well – it’s much more interesting that way. Apart from writing, what hobbies do you have? What gets you up in the morning and going every day?
EKA: When my living situation permits, I love to help out with animal foster care – I adore animals. I’m a big reader, a bit of a Pinterest buff and an enthusiastic explorer – I’ve always got a flight booked because I can never get enough of travel.
LL: I’m so jealous, especially of the trip you’ve got planned that you’ve been posting details of on FB. Sounds so exciting (longing sigh.) Sooo, enough of me dreaming about going back to Italy, what’s been the most surprising aspect of your career as a published author so far?
EKA: The writing community. I’d heard it was great, but it’s spectacular. The romance writers, particularly; they’re so fun, supportive, generous and enthusiastic. I hadn’t imagined how important they would become, that was a huge surprise for me.
LL: That’s so lovely to hear. I think they’re pretty special too. On to the last question: What’s up next for you? Any projects on the boil that you’re particularly excited about?
LL: It’s got a fantastic cover – really evocative of the story.
EKA: I think so. And writing-wise, I’m in the middle of a new adult title based in Europe which I hope to have finished by next month. It’s unlike anything I’ve written before, and the characters are really challenging me.
LL: Sounds fascinating. I can’t wait to read that one too. Thank you so much for being a guest on my blog today, Elise. It was fun finding out a little bit more about you and your writing.
EKA: Thanks, Leisl. I had fun answering your questions, thanks for having me on your blog!
You can buy Elise’s new novel, Ask Me For Tomorrow, from:
Elise K. Ackers is a romantic suspense and contemporary romance author based in Melbourne, Australia. She is a 2013 Romantic Book of the Year finalist and a Best Book of 2012 nominee, winner of multiple international writing awards and known to do some pretty strange stuff in the name of research. She is an enthusiastic couch commentator, a laser tag enthusiast and an animal foster carer.
Elise is the author of romantic suspense title Small Town Storm, contemporary romance The Man Plan, and the new Homeland novella series.
You can chat with her on Facebook and Twitter (@EliseKAckers), and find out more at her author website (http://www.elisekackers.net).