Elizabeth Finn is our SPOTLIGHT this week. See what she had to say to our 20 questions!!!
Between the two of us, Jenn and I have read most of her books and have LOVED what we’ve read. If you haven’t tried her books, give them a try…you will not be disappointed!!! Be sure to check out her new release of INAPPROPRIATE which released yesterday (2/22/15).
- Have you always wanted to be a writer?
No… I didn’t grow up with a love for writing. I fretted about papers in high school and procrastinated by butt off just like most kids. It really wasn’t until I was an adult that I seemed to develop a taste for the written word, and at first it was just a realization that I was better than most at writing a convincing research paper in college, a few shout outs from professors, etc. It really wasn’t until about eight or nine years ago that I decided to sit down and try to write a book and see what happened. I’d become addicted to historical romance novels, so I knew I wanted to write romance. I ended up gravitating toward contemporary. And when I set out on this little adventure, I ended up writing half of what eventually became Brother’s Keeper. But then I got pregnant, and life became hectic, and I put my writing away. When my son was a few years old, I pulled out that dusty old manuscript and finished it. I wasn’t really planning on submitting it for publication initially, but when I turned around and very quickly wrote The Devil’s Pawn… I decided, why not?!
- Are you a full time writer? If so, what did you do in your “previous life?”
I probably write as much as I work at my full time job, but I do, in fact, work full time. I’m a senior benefits specialist in my company’s HR department. Essentially, I administer some of our benefit plans (flexible spending, dental/vision) as well as payroll, turnover reporting, etc. I actually love my day job, and it keeps me incredibly busy. But I’m often seen hiding away to write while I eat some lunch, and don’t get me started on the time commitment writing requires of my evening and weekend hours. I don’t mind, though. I love to stay busy, and I’m a happier person when my time is filled.
- If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self?
I know most people say things like “don’t sweat the small stuff,” and “relax and enjoy yourself,” but honestly … my response is this: the decisions you make today will in fact affect you for the rest of your life. That’s not just some blanket statement adults are required to tell you. They know what they’re talking about. Life is real, and you need to know that now and think about the future. Be decisive, be driven, take risks. Oh… and spend some time learning to like yourself. Liking yourself is the best assurance you have that you’ll always look out for your own best interests.
- Do you work on one storyline at a time or do you have multiple storylines in the pipeline?
One at a time. When I’m writing a book, I’m fully immersed in it. I don’t think I could write two simultaneously. I live and breathe what I happen to be writing, and it requires an enormous emotional commitment.
- UNFORGIVEN is one of my all time favorites. It was very emotional for me. Do you get emotional when you are writing your books?
Sometimes, and yes, Unforgiven was definitely one of those times. If I’m crying when I write, then I’m happy. I usually do cry when I write a book—at least a few times. That’s not a bad thing in my opinion! I love creating emotional stories. I’m all about the emotion.
- Where do you hope your writing career is in 10 years?
I would love to one day be successful enough and financially secure enough to do this full time. I’m a single mother, who is fully and completely financially responsible for my child, and I like the security and benefits of a full time job … But I would love the freedom of doing this full time.
- What are your biggest distractions?
What isn’t a distraction!?!? I have a six year old little boy who requires and deserves my undivided attention, I have a job that can be consuming at times, I have family, I have friends, I have responsibilities, I have to eat!! When I write, the world fades away. I can go hours without eating, drinking, or even taking a potty break, but while distractions are often ignored, they never go away!! NEVER! Nor should they. They’re life, and they’re my life.
- What is your least favorite part of the writing or publishing process?
Finishing a book. When I type THE END, it is at once exciting and completely stress inducing, because it means I have to let this story go and embark on a new one. That’s kind of like standing on the edge of a cliff and making yourself jump.
- Do you find it difficult, or challenging to write from the male POV?
I find difficulties writing from both POVs based more on the subject matter and the emotional state of the character—not so much male vs. female. There are certain scenes I simply want to tell from a certain perspective, and yet… the storyline needs it to be told from the alternate POV. There are also certain scenes I’m terrified to tell from a certain perspective, because I don’t want to go there, but again, the storyline needs the scene to be told from a particular view. I find my hang ups are less related to the gender of the character and are far more related to the emotional undercurrent of the scene.
- What activities do you enjoy outside of writing?
I love spending time with family and friends, I love a good bottle of wine, I love movies, I love to travel, I love happy hour with my co-workers, I love immersing myself in a project and problem solving my way to the end of that project. And I love a good Excel spreadsheet with long functions and a few pivot tables. I’m kind of a nerd.
- Do you have a favorite author or book?
I rarely find time to read… Yeah, I just admitted that. I don’t know where to find the time to actually sit down and read a book, and when I try, I end up stressing out because I know I should be writing something. Keep in mind I completed my BA less than a year ago, so I was also a college student in addition to being a mama, working full time and writing. I actually rated some of my text books on Goodreads… Yeah… BUT, I have become addicted to Audible. And a couple recent faves of mine are The Help by Kathryn Stockett and Black Sunshine by Ninie Hammon.
- Ever think you have a great idea for a book, only to find out someone released the same storyline already?
I’m not sure I would ever know!! I know most writers love to read as much as they love to write, but I devote all of my time to my writing. I don’t mean that narcistically, but when I try to jump into someone else’s book, all I can think about is what I’m not accomplishing on my own work. I tend to be obsessive in that way, and I don’t like not being productive with my work. So… I read far less than I write. I’m not really ever up to speed on what books are out there, what’s popular, what storylines are getting attention.
- Have you ever had writer’s block?
Oh yes… Very painful experience. Short bouts of it here and there are normal, but I had one particular spell that lasted nearly two months. It was completely related to things going on in my personal life, but for that period of time I just couldn’t create anything. It was awful.
- I just read the ARC of INAPPROPRIATE and I really liked it. How many books do you plan to have in the Bristol Island Books?
Inappropriate is the second (the first being The Fight for Us). There might be a third book for Caleb. I love Caleb. LOVE Caleb.
- What does your writing workspace look like?
Ummm… my couch with my laptop on my lap. There’s usually a mess of Legos surrounding me on the floor.
- Sharing your baby with the public has to be scary. How do you respond to negative reviews?
I don’t mind negative reviews nearly as much as I’m bothered by the delivery of some. If, at the end of the day, I can read a negative review and say… “Yeah, I wouldn’t change a thing,” then what do I have to complain about? I’m okay with the fact that someone may not love my work or a particular book I’ve written. That, in fact, doesn’t bother me in the least. But I’m constantly taken aback by how some, I stress the some, reviews are written. If you wouldn’t speak to someone face to face in the way you write a review, then there’s something wrong with how you’re choosing to convey your thoughts. I equate it to work. This is an author’s work. If you would lose your job for speaking to a co-worker in the way you’re unloading your opinions of their work in a review, well … that should be a lightbulb moment. There’s little else in the world more important than the way people treat each other. I tell my son that regularly, and I believe it. It’s just unfortunate the anonymity of the internet has made it easy for us to forget people really are still people. But like I said, this applies to only SOME reviewers out there and not the majority by a long shot.
- Do you picture your characters before you write them? I would love to know who you would cast for Adeline and Jordan in Restoring Jordan if you had the choice.
I do!! Just ask my beta readers. They get manuscripts from me that literally have my casting pictures pasted into the first page. Like… “Don’t bother using your own imagination. THESE are your characters!” But my casting also changes over time too. I wrote Restoring Jordan so long ago, and I’m honestly not sure who I imagined those characters were at the time. I’m open to your interpretation!!!
- Can you tell us what you are working on next?
I’m actually working on a darker story right now that is currently titled Kane’s Hell. It’s about half written. I’m in love with this story, but it might be a tough read for some. The characters are lovable, they’re honest, decent, amazing characters, but they’ve endured some nightmares that have broken them. The darkness comes from outside of them. I’m not trying to convince the reader to love a sadist or anything like that. I’m just trying to convey a very gritty painful story, and some of those gritty scenes may be difficult. But these are two characters I adore and who deserve their resolution. That’s pretty cryptic, huh?
- What is in your purse right now?
Goodness… I don’t want to look. It’s heavy. I see some paper. I see some toys. I hope there’s a wallet. And it would be awesome if I found my grandmother’s ring at the bottom of it that I lost a couple months ago. It’s a bottomless pit…
- Which one of your books is your favorite and why?
In the moment, each of them is my favorite. Truly, honestly. I have a very soft spot for Unforgiven and for Bailey and Darren in particular. BUT… I love the Bristol Island series, too. The Rules Regarding Gray is … so intensely hot to me, so it’s got its own shelf in my heart too. I love the book I’m currently writing, Kane’s Hell, and I can’t say I don’t get emotionally pulled into each story I’ve created! That’s impossible for me to answer!! They’re all my babies.
CLICK ON THE BOOKS BELOW TO PURCHASE
THE BRISTOL ISLAND SERIES
THE UNFORGIVEN SERIES
THE IMMORTALS SERIES