Thursday, June 5, 2014

Elle James Speaks!

Elle James is an amazing writer who specializes in romances featuring alpha hero cowboys.  And who doesn't like a cowboy?  Here's what she had to say during a recent interview.

What am I working on now?

I just finished writing a Harlequin Intrigue due out in June of 2015 and sent it off to my editor. I hope she likes it! It's the next in my COVERT COWBOYS INC series and crosses into my next series that will be about SEALs. I just started a Myla Jackson (my other pen name) book to continue my UGLY STICK SALOON series. I hope to finish it quickly so that I can get to work on my next Harlequin Romantic Suspense book. 

What makes my books different than others in this genre?

My books are filled with edge-of-the-seat suspense and mystery. My hero and heroine don't always know who their enemy is and have to follow the clues while dodging bullets and danger. I'm a little heavier on the suspense than the romance, but I do get some sexy scenes in there, so hold on to your fans!

Why do I write what I write?

I love writing action and adventure. I love putting my hero and heroine in a position that tests their strengths and weaknesses. They usually have some growth involved and learn something about themselves along the way while they are saving the world. I like to read exciting stories and I want the emotions to grip me and my readers. Whether humor, fear, sadness or love, my reader should feel something.

What is my writing process?

1. I like to start my story with a high concept idea. It usually begins with the hero, heroine and the big bad they will overcome - the external conflict

2. Once I have that high concept, I dig a little deeper and learn who my hero and heroine are and what makes them who they are. That requires knowing their background, how they grew up, family environment, adult relationships, marriages, divorces, etc. This helps me to know what my hero and heroine have to prove to themselves or others and why they will have difficulty committing to a love relationship. The internal conflict.

3. I list out all the conflicts that could happen to keep the hero and heroine from achieving their goals. This gives me the guts of what they will go through in the story.

4. Once I have the guts, I draw out a synopsis from my list of conflicts and come up with a satisfactory conclusion. This is how we get to the Happily-ever-after.

5. Then the real work begins. I sit down and write. And write. And write.

6. When I get stuck, or feel like I don't know where I'm going in the story, I joke about the fact that I need to blow something up. Only it's not really a joke. Remember, I write suspense. I either blow something up in the story, or have something blow up in my hero or heroine's face. And I make certain I have the hero and heroine's goals and motivations in mind when I do. It has to impact them in a big way.

7. When I get through to the very end, I go back through in a round of edits and flash out the emotions, fix the typos that I can "see" and enhance the descriptions to ground my reader in the setting.

8. Then it goes to my mother for beta reading and the bullshit factoring.

9. When I've added her suggestions, I send it to my editor.

10. My editors work magic with my stories and make them cleaner and find the logic errors and timing issues. You can' find a body before you kill it. Hmmm. Timing is everything!

11. After 2-3 rounds of edits by my editor, the story goes to production.

12. I fill out my art fact sheet identifying scenes in the story that make a big impact. The publisher chooses to use my input or ignore it come up with cover art to please the readers.

13. Once the book is complete, I get to promote and let folks when it will be available. Either I or my publisher will farm it out to reviewers so that when it goes "live" it will have reviews already.

14. Then I wait and pray it sells well so that I can afford to keep writing as my day job and I don't have to go back to the corporate world.

I love my job and I hope to continue writing into my very old age. I plan to live to at least 100, so that's a long time from now!

Check out my Cover Cowboy Series by clicking HERE.

You can find out more about my Ugly Stick Saloon Series by clicking HERE.

Next week, you get to visit three more authors to compare their writing process to mine. They are:

Delilah Devlin— NYT and USA/Today Author Delilah Devlin whose personal journey has taken her through one war, many countries, cultures, jobs and relationships to bring her to the place she travels now--writing sexy novels that hold more than a kernel of autobiography and often share a common thread of self-discovery and transformation.

Cynthia D'Alba - Cynthia D'Alba started writing on a challenge from her husband in 2006 and discovered having imaginary sex with lots of hunky men was fun.

Brenna Zinn— In between grade school and now, Brenna's journey through life has taken her all over the United States, as well as many places throughout the world. Using her travel experience as a guide and peppering in interesting characters she's met along the way, she loves nothing better than weaving tales of romance and leaving readers yearning for adventures of their own

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