It's my turn today (and a real pleasure) to interview fellow Avalon author, Elisabeth Rose. Her latest Avalon romance, The Tangled Web, is being released this month. I live in Pennsylvania, USA and Lis writes her stories "down under" in Australia, proof that the world is smaller than we once thought and that the really important things in life (like love) are universal.
What prompted you to become a writer?
I've always loved words and language and read myself stupid as a child. We didn't have TV until I was thirteen so that would have helped. I remember writing crazy little stories with my best friend, inspired by the Goons (insane British radio comedy full of puns and word play) and the writings of John Lennon ( also full of puns and wordplay). I graduated to angst ridden short stories as a teenager, then became a musician and focussed on that instead until, in about the year 2000, I read something in the paper about a woman with a vast collection of HM&B novels and had the cliche thought "I can do that". Turns out I could, but not for HM&B, for Avalon.
What part of writing do you find most satisfying?
I love writing the last scene, finally getting those two people together. Scenes which flow easily and well are satisfying too, when some plot point or emotional turn slots perfectly into place.
What part do you find most difficult?
When things aren't flowing and I've come to a sticky spot. I need to work on something else for a while sometimes and let my thoughts clear. It doesn't worry me though. It's part of the process.
What comes first for you? Characters? Story? Setting?
All have at various times for various stories and sometimes all at once. For example my October release Instant Family is based on characters I read about in the paper--orphaned siblings (older teenagers) raising themselves after their parents were tragically killed in an accident. That was character and story together. The Tangled Web (June) is purely character inspired. I wanted to write about more members of my fictitious orchestra.
Tell us about your upcoming Avalon release.
As I mentioned I wanted to write more about the City Symphony Orchestra. My first book The Right Chord was about Grace, a second violinist but the action was set at her home and we didn't meet many of the orchestra members apart from her housemate Eric. The Tangled Web is set both in Tess's home and at work in the orchestra. Grace and Eric make a brief appearance and we even go to the Sydney Opera House for a concert.
The Tangled Web
Tess Fuller's plan was simple-take out a loan to buy the Mercedes convertible and find a boarder to cover the repayments. Tess's problem is, no boarder. That is, until handsome David Montgomery arrives to take up his position as Concert Master of the City Symphony, of which Tess is a member. If she can convince David to rent the spare room in the house she inherited from her millionaire father, her problem is solved.
The trouble is, serious minded David hates sharing, doesn't like dogs-- of which Tess has two-- and remembers her as an attractive but wild party girl from their Music School days. Tess remembers David as the frustratingly unsociable heartthrob she adored from afar.
When Tess tries to prove to David she has changed, her efforts create even more problems.
Any previous Avalon books?
Yes. The Right Chord, Coming Home, Stuck, Outback Hero and now The Tangled Web. Instant Family (October) will be my sixth book for Avalon and I'm excited to say that book number seven The Wedding Party has just been accepted.
What other projects are in the works?
I'm dabbling in crime. Two crimes to be precise. I don't know where they're headed but I'm enjoying writing in a different genre. I'm also reworking a paranormal type story which I began many years ago. And of course there is another romance for Avalon nearing completion.
What do you do when you're not writing?
I'm a musician, a classical clarinet player. I play in a wind trio and I have private music students. I also teach Tai Chi for a local Academy. I've been practicing Tai Chi for twenty-three years. I'm in the very fortunate position of being able to earn an income, albeit smallish, from three things I would do anyway... music, tai chi and writing. Tennis is my one non "work" activity. I really enjoy social tennis twice a week at the local club.
I'm also on the committee of the Romance Writers of Australia as the Contest Co-ordinator.
Do you have a schedule for writing or do you squeeze it in when you can?
I have a fair amount of free time during the day because of my teaching schedule. I find I write best in the afternoon. Usually I get right into it an hour or so before a student is due for a lesson or I have to leave to teach a Tai Chi class. LOL
What refreshes you creatively?
Apart from my varied activities which means I mix with completely different groups of people, I think my Tai Chi practice plays an important role here. Tai Chi has a meditation element called Qigong. Clearing and calming the mind is really good for creativity. Often a solution to those sticky plot points I mentioned will pop into my head during a Qigong session.
Reading in a wide variety of genres is also very refreshing. I've just finished a contemporary murder mystery, and have just started a more literary style book, The Fog Garden by Australian author Marion Halligan, with War and Peace simmering in the background for 'between other books' reading.
Thanks, Lis, for telling us about your books and a little bit about yourself. I know you don't particularly like talking about yourself, but it's fun for the rest of us to get to know you. Here’s a photo of Lis at the Washington conference last year.
You can visit Lis's website by clicking on her name in the list on the left side of this page.