Today, I present an interview with Kendra Elliot.
1. First, tell me a bit about yourself. What would you like readers to know about you?
I consider myself a mom before anything else. I only started writing about ten years ago; I’ve been a mom for nineteen. I consider myself very fortunate to make a good living while writing. I know plenty of hardworking, talented writers who haven’t received the success they deserve. Luck and timing are elements in the complicated formula to success in this business.
2. Can you tell me about your current project?
Right now I’m working on the third novel in my Mercy Kilpatrick series. This will be my twelfth novel in addition to five novellas.
3. Your work brings together the genres of suspense and romance. What attracted you to writing in those areas?
I write what I like to read. The actual romance is pretty light (and growing lighter) in my novels, but I’m a big fan of writing characters for my audience to root for. Nothing makes my readers more satisfied than when a favorite character finds a deep and lasting relationship. Emotions give depth and complexity to characters. I’ve read dozens of mystery and suspense novels where I wanted to beg the author to spend more time on the relationships and emotions of a favorite character. Blending those aspects with edge-of-the-seat action and suspense makes for a satisfying read.
4. What drew you to using the Pacific Northwest as a setting for your novels?
I believe in write what you know. I’ve lived here all my life and know how the people think and talk. I’ve found that readers around the world are slightly fascinated with our corner of the US. There’s a deep appreciation of the land and the rugged beauty of the mountains and coast.
5. I’m a fan of strong female protagonists. Where did you get the inspiration for Mercy Kilpatrick?
I can’t say I had a specific inspiration for her. I’m fond of smart and logical heroines who are skilled in their professions. They might stumble in the relationships with the people closest to them, but they will fight for what they want.
6. What was it like to collaborate with Melinda Leigh on the Rogue River Novella Series? How is it different than working on a project by yourself?
It’s such a great partnership. Our publisher was the first to suggest we work on a project together. We didn’t see how it was possible because neither of us liked the idea of another author messing with our voices and our writing. When we figured out that we could plot the novellas together, but do the actual writing on our own, we knew it would work. We plot the year’s series in-depth at a getaway in Seattle (we live on opposite coasts) and then each write a novella on our own, only checking each other’s work for continuity. She’s a much better brainstormer than I am, so I milk that for all it’s worth during our plotting sessions.
7. How did you discover your love of writing?
Love of writing? What’s that? I have a love/hate relationship with writing. It’s freaking hard work and I’m notoriously lazy. I love the writing when it’s finished. It’s the getting to the finish line that I hate. But I do it because the reward is incredibly satisfying.
8. What is your favorite part of being a writer?
Working from home. Being available whenever my kids need me. Scheduling a vacation when I please. Attending conferences all over the US and calling them business expenses. Hanging out with my tribe: other writers who know the ups and downs of this crazy business and harbor a deep passion for books.
9. What is your greatest challenge as a writer?
Staying on task and keeping the books fresh. Each book is harder than the last. It’s incredibly difficult to come up with new ways to kill people, find new character motivations, and write clever dialog. I’m also easily distracted. Working from home, I find that I need to do laundry, scrub a toilet, or procrastinate on Facebook when the words aren’t coming. I’m more efficient when I go write in a coffee shop.
10. How do you find inspiration and motivation to write when you feel stuck?
I read. Nothing is more inspiring than reading a book I wish I’d written.
11. What’s your favorite way to take a break from writing?
A vacation. It doesn’t matter if it’s two days at the coast or two weeks in Italy. A change in my environment makes me feel like I’ve broken away from the daily grind of getting words on the page.
12. What’s one piece of advice that you would give to aspiring or new authors?
Keep going. Writing life is filled with highs and lows. Sometimes it feels like you’ve encountered low after low after low. The highs will come. They may not balance out the lows, but they’ll renew your vigor to push ahead. Write for yourself, not for others. Don’t get into this business for the money. Take lots of classes to improve your craft and study the business side of writing. There is always something to learn. Listen to advice from others, but only take the advice once you’ve studied it from every angle.
Stay tuned for more author interviews soon.