Roseann Brooks, you’re Elsa’s winner! She’ll be in touch to send you your e-copy of Kissing Charlie! Enjoy!!
Last week, fellow Tule author, Elsa Winckler invited me to her blog for a glass of wine and a chat, and I had so much fun, I thought I’d return the favor today.
Elsa has been reading love stories for as long as she can remember and when she “met” the classic authors like Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, Henry James The Brontë sisters, etc. during her Honors studies, she was hooked for life.
She married her college boyfriend and they are fortunate to live in the picturesque little seaside village of Betty’s Bay, South Africa.
She adores writing kissing books with strong, beautiful, feisty, independent and headstrong heroines and dashing Alpha heroes who loves fiercely and protects the ones they love. Her stories typically incorporate the family background of the characters to better understand where they come from and who they are when we meet them in the story.
She’s here today to tell us about her new book, Protecting Lindsay, which released in April with Inkspell Publishing.
N: Welcome to the blog, Elsa. I’m so delighted to have you with us today. So, first question, what comes first—characters or plot?
A: Thanks for the opportunity, Nan.
When I begin with a story, I have a vague idea of where I’m going, but I’m not a plotter. For me, the characters have to come alive before I can start. The first thing I do is to decide who they are, where they come from, what their goals are and why they can’t kiss and make out on page one J It’s a magical process each time – you have to get to know your characters, their flaws and strengths and for me, that knowledge only develops as the story progresses.
N: You’ve brought your South African roots to your new book, from Inkspell, Protecting Lindsay. What is the most surprising thing you discovered about yourself while writing Protecting Lindsay?
A: The previous stories I’ve written are all set in South Africa. I didn’t think I’d be able to write something set against a background I know nothing about. Write what you know, right? But doing research is so inspiring, I’ve discovered. Exploring an unknown country and state and conjuring up the small town of Alisson have been such fun.
N: Protecting Lindsay released in April this year. Can you share with us something about this new story that isn’t in the blurb?
A: Lindsay Johnson has moved to Alisson, Montana when her sister, Charlie inherited their aunt’s home and business in the small town. Charlie has her Bowen rooms on the one side and Lindsay sells essential oils and creams she makes herself on the other side of the building. Life is good, if uneventful. But then her ex sends her a threatening message, setting a whole series of events in motion. On Charlie’s insistence, she takes up self-defense classes again but she finds the owner of the dojo, Blake Davidson overwhelming and quits the classes. But when her life is threatened yet again, Blake is the one who insists on moving in with her. Ex-FBI agent, Blake Davidson’s biggest problem is to protect his heart while protecting Lindsay. He’s never been able to save the people he loves, he needs to keep his distance – something that becomes increasingly difficult the more time he spends around Lindsay.
N: Give me three words to describe your heroine Lindsay and three to describe your hero Blake.
A: Lyndsay: nurturer, carer, introvert
B: Blake: protector, warrior, loyal
N: Lindsay sells her handmade creams and essential oils in her shop in Montana. Is this an interest of yours?
A: I’ve only recently discovered the healing powers of essential oils and love using it. We sleep with a diffuser every night, I believe the oils boosts the immune system. In our kitchen is a small bottle filled with lavender, frankincense, geranium and peppermint for when I burn myself – something that seems to happen often J And bonus – the right mixture of oils in the diffuser even tones down hubby’s snoring!
N: What is the most difficult part about writing for you?
A: Making sure the conflict is strong. I’ll happily have them kiss on the very first page! Another problem is staying focused. Fortunately, at this stage of my life, our kids have left home and I have the wonderful privilege to write whenever I want to. The problem is of course, the many distractions – social media, washing, cooking, cleaning! I’m very strict with myself though, and try to write from nine in the morning till about four in the afternoon.
N: What is the toughest criticism you’ve received as a writer? The best compliment?
A: The worst criticism is when a reader says she couldn’t get into the story. That’s hard to swallow.
The best compliment for me is to hear a reader has read and re-read the story many times. Love hearing that!
N: I know Protecting Lindsay is book 2 in this series for Inkspell. Is there another one coming along or would you share a little about book 1, Kissing Charlie?
A: There is a third book releasing on October 11, Loving Brooke, a friends-to-lovers story. The hero in the story is Lindsay’s brother Gavin and Eleanor’s daughter, Brooke.
Widow Brooke Johnson is quite content with her life. Her focus is her son and her art. Her late husband looked after the day-to-day admin in their lives so that she could paint. Problem was, when he died she had no clue what was going on with their finances. She is determined not to ever allow anyone to take over her life again.
She is well-known for the landscapes she paints, so why is she painting blurry kissing figures all of a sudden? Surely it couldn’t have anything to do with Gavin Wilson, her new brother-in-law? They’re just friends.
When both families keep trying to get them together, she and Gavin decide to fake a relationship for the next two weeks to get them off their backs. But then Gavin’s kisses mange to blur the lines between real and fake. When a creepy gallery manager makes her life unpleasant, Gavin wants to take control of the situation and red lights flicker, making her afraid to open her heart again.
But in the small town of Alisson, Montana, love will find a way.
N: Writing can be an emotional, stressful pursuit. Any tips for aspiring writers?
A: Make sure writing is that one thing you’re passionate about. It’s a lonely job so you have to want to write – when you’re feeling down, when you’re ill, weekends, holidays. But if writing lights you up, there is nothing more rewarding. The best advice I’ve ever received is if you want to be a writer, write. 😉
N: What did you want to be when you grew up?
A: An air hostess! It looked so glamorous J I ended up doing a teaching diploma, got a BA degree and an Honors later in life before I began writing.
N: Favorite book when you were a kid?
A: I loved the fairy tales, the dashing prince, the beautiful princess and the happy ending. Probably the reason why I’m writing fairy tales for grown-ups today. 🙂
N: And here is my signature question that everyone loves: If you could choose three people, living or dead, to invite to a dinner party, who would they be and why?
A: Agatha Christie – I’d love to know where she got her inspiration from and how, without the internet, she learned how the kill off the baddies!
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson better known as Lewis Carroll who wrote Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking Glass. I’d like to ask him about his inspiration to write Alice’s story.
And Nora Roberts. I would ply her with wine and beg her to write another series like the Bride Quartet.
***Be sure to comment below for a chance to win an e-copy of Kissing Charlie, book 1 in the Unexpected Love series.***
Lindsay Wilson simply wants to concentrate on her shop where she sells her own mixtures of creams and essential oils. What she doesn’t want is the seriously sexy Blake Davidson hell-bent on protecting her from the abusive boyfriend who followed her to Montana all the way from South Africa. To add to her frustration, he makes her feel things she’s never felt before but she’s made a mistake in the past, can she trust her instincts this time?
Blake lost two people before because he couldn’t protect them, so what’s different this time with Lindsay? From the moment he’s laid eyes on her, all his instincts have been telling him to make sure nothing happens to her so he has no choice but to move into her place and keep her safe. But what about his own heart?
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