TNA: Hi, Elizabeth, thanks so much for being here with us today. Why don’t we start out by having you tell us a little bit about yourself: hobbies, interests, things we might not know about you but should?
Elizabeth: Thank you so much for having me today!
When I’m not writing I garden, faux paint my house and I’m a huge astronomy buff.
TNA: Have you always written M/M Romance, or is that something that came along later in your writing career? What is it that drew you into wanting to explore gay relationships in your writing?
Elizabeth: I’ve always written stories, ever since I was very young. Before I learned to read and write I told the stories. For many years I wrote mainly scifi for personal enjoyment. Then along came the internet and I discovered fanfic. I wrote a lot of that in both general and M/M categories while participating in a fandom.
The first M/M story I read in fandom I found completely by accident. I thought since there were two character names with that slash between them that meant they were the only people in the story. It was a surprise, but I was sort of hooked from there.
I enjoy writing about gay relationships in part because it is a very different relationship from two women or a man and woman. There is something about the relationship between two men, how they communicate and relate to each other that I find fascinating to explore. And let’s face it, they’re simply plain hot.
TNA: What was your first published M/M title? Do you remember the precise moment you came up with the story idea and knew you wouldn’t rest until it was told? What was that moment of inspiration like?
Elizabeth: My first professionally published M/M title is Marked Yours (book #1 of Sentries series). Yes, I absolutely remember when that plot bunny sunk its teeth into my leg! I was reading through a site where people posted requests for recommendations about books with a variety of plots and in a number of genres. There were two, one right after the other that made me go ‘Ah HA!’ I could write a very cool story by combining those ideas.
It was a great bit of inspiration for me, since I’d been interested in trying my hand at M/M and couldn’t come up with the right plot. I’m currently finishing up book #5 of that series with a planned six books in all.
TNA: If you could go back in time, to the moment you sat down and began writing that first book, what’s the one piece of advice you’d give yourself now that you have the benefit of experience?
Elizabeth: I think the most important thing I’d tell myself would be to stop talking about submitting that manuscript and stop asking my friends if I should submit it and send the darn thing.
TNA: Do you remember the first M/M book you ever read? If so, what was it, and what about it made the most lasting impression upon you?
One of the first I read was Lou Sylvre’s Loving Luki Vasquez. Lou writes mystery/action romance. I think the thing that stood out to me the most was how incredibly well written it was. I’d never been much of a M/F romance fan because often the plot was loose and the writing sloppy and the story cookie-cutter.
I’ve since found that often M/M romance written by my favorite writers tell a good story, there are very strong plots. The romance portion of the books is only one aspect of the story and I love that.
TNA: How would you describe your books to someone who hasn’t read them yet? Do your characters share common qualities? If so, what’s your idea of a great protagonist?
Elizabeth: I’d describe my books as a lot of action/adventure spiced with mystery and romance.
I’m sure many of my characters share traits and qualities. At least one character in every book is a coffee-holic and they all love their dogs and horses.
A great protagonist, like any character, needs to be someone a reader will connect with. The reader has to be interested in their story and want to know what happens to them.
TNA: Electric Candle is the second book in the Sleepless City series, the first, Shades of Sepia by Anne Barwell. Can you tell us a little bit about how you got involved in writing a book in a series with another author, and if there will be other authors contributing to the series too?
Elizabeth: The Sleepless City has an interesting story to it. Anne and I met and became friends via Dreamspinner, we both had our first books published around the same time. We often chatted online, Anne’s in Wellington, New Zealand and I’m in Cleveland, Ohio, USA. Anyway, we’re chatting away about our books, projects we’d like to do and things we have done. Anne also came from a fanfic background, though a different fandom.
We spent some time discussing characters or stories we had that we’d like to see in our original fiction. Anne is a big fantasy fan, I’m more scifi. She was the one who came up with the idea of an urban fantasy series, it was something she wanted to do. I had a character, a vampire, I’d worked on that would be a good fit.
Viola! The Sleepless City was created. The name of the series arose from the idea this city has all sorts of beings and they abound day as well as night. The city’s origins and those of its nickname are touched on in the fourth book, Checkmate.
To date there are no plans to add other authors.
TNA: Tell us a little bit about Flint, Ohio and what makes it an attractive place for vampires.
Elizabeth: We wanted to create a fictional town and agreed on Ohio since I live here and would know lots of smaller details about this area. Flint is on the southern shores of Lake Erie and is named for all the flint stone in the area. It’s based off the part of Cleveland I live in and the suburb I work in, which is Lakewood, Ohio.
What makes it great for vampires? And werewolves for that matter? Ohio was once the great American frontier. Two of our vamps were born before the American Revolution and one was a fur trapper who spent time with the native Americans of the area. They and those like them settled in what would become Flint because it was off the beaten path, a place they could live in peace.
And really, where else would supernatural beings reside than on a lake called Erie?
TNA: What would you say sets your vampires apart from the rest, or did you purposely stick with Bram Stoker’s vampire canon?
Elizabeth: My vampire lore expert is Anne Barwell. This is my first real foray into the world of vamps and I never really got much into Bram Stoker or any of the others. I’m sure I drove Anne absolutely nuts every time she said vampires do this or that and I asked: why?
Our vampires aren’t undead, they’re a different species, but all start as human. They’re ‘changed’ by an infection passed along by another vampire. That infection can only be transmitted during specific times.
Sunlight doesn’t cause them to burst into flames but silver sure does hurt them. We took bits of traditional vampire lore that we liked and created other aspects that we felt were a better fit for our series. We wanted them to be recognized as vampires, but at the same time we had to set them apart from everyone else’s vampires.
I think we did a pretty decent job of doing that.
TNA: If you could describe Forge and Declan in just a few sentences, what would you say about who they are, and why they work together as a couple?
Elizabeth: Forge and Declan have known one another for somewhere around 200 years. They’ve been friends and lovers but they are not destined to be soul mates even though they know each other better than anyone else.
Forge does find his soul mate during Electric Candle, however it’s not a match made in heaven, in fact their start is rather bumpy. Both Forge and Declan have to face the fact their time as lovers is over and preserve their friendship in the process.
TNA: Would you care to share an excerpt from Electric Candle with us?
Elizabeth: Well, since you’ve asked… yes I would:
Excerpt: No one was there, yet Forge couldn’t shake the feeling he wasn’t alone. He wandered down the beach a few yards. Water splashing against the shore and spraying up made him go closer for a better look. The lake’s edge here wasn’t gently sloping sand but a sharp lip of concrete. Hunkering on the ledge, Forge leaned over for a look.
The wall ran a good half mile in either direction. He could see large spots that were darker than the surrounding area. Forge had read about the secret rooms constructed all along Lake Erie during Prohibition. Illegal booze and guns were stashed in them. One could only access the rooms by going under water. At high tide, many of the outer parts of the rooms were completely submerged. He’d never been in one.
More than likely he’d have to get wet to justify the expense of divers. Forge was still contemplated getting a dive team in when he heard shouting.
The voice sounded familiar, but Forge couldn’t place it. That always made him nuts. Turning, he looked up at the top of the stairs. Then he squinted and shook his head. Who belonged to the voice made him stare in a type of horrified wonder, like one looked at a train wreck.
The fact his cock picked then to persistently remind him of its presence and give a few twitches and throbs didn’t help.
It was a man, though the horror Forge was feeling might have been less if it’d been a woman. He wore what appeared to be homemade steampunk goggles with dark lenses, a long sleeved black shirt, and black jeans.
“Sweet mother of God, is that a cape?” Forge muttered and took a few steps forward. “No, stop, don’t—”
It was too late. The oddly dressed man began to run down the steps—the slippery, wet steps, waving his arms. He’d gone about three steps when his feet slid out from under him and his rear hit the stone stairs. The man yelped, and Forge’s cock gave another twitch. He had the fleeting thought of how disturbing on several levels that was.
“What the hell?” Forge ran to the bottom of the stairs.
Bouncing head over heels down the steps, the guy finally flopped to one side and rolled the remainder of the way down, finishing his descent with a hearty splash in the chilly lake water.
Floundering and shouting, the man slapped the lake’s surface, went under, bobbed up, and spit water out of his mouth, and garbled, “Can’t… swim.”
Throwing his arms wide, Forge grumbled, “It’s not as if vampires drown.”
The guy went under, the water churned, but he didn’t come to the surface. Jerking his jacket off and dropping it to the ground, Forge made sure his phone was with the garment.
“This has got to be a joke. A really bad joke.” Forge ran to the edge and dove in. The only thing that prevented him from ejaculating the second his fingers touched the man was the cold water. He shuddered when he pulled the guy against his chest and wrapped one arm around him, using the other to help propel them to the surface.
When he got to the concrete edge, he hefted the guy over and onto the ground. Forge hoisted himself out of the water and hit the guy, who looked to be in his twenties, between the shoulder blades to expel lake water.
A shiver and spark of electricity ran from Forge’s palm and coursed down his spine to settle in his groin.
This couldn’t be his soul mate. Yet even as he finished that thought, he knew, and there was no denying what his body was telling him. The fool dressed as some superhero wannabe in a really bad outfit was Jonas Forge’s mate for eternity.
Forge wondered if other vampires would penalize him for killing his soul mate.
TNA: I know this is sort of like asking you to name your favorite child, but of all the books you’ve written, do you have a favorite? If so, which and why?
Elizabeth: My favorite tends to be whatever I’m working on at the moment. However, one book I’ll go back and read for pleasure is book #4 of Sentries, Collared Souls. That book has all sorts of action, espionage and horses. The characters are an established couple (my favorite type) and have finally hit their stride with one another. The story is a romance, not the start of the romance, but the lifelong sort of romance that I find much more fulfilling. The focus shifted from the couple becoming a couple to the couple solving what the world throws at them together.
TNA: If you could bring one of your characters off the page and into the real world, whom would you most like to spend time with, and what makes him/her someone you think you could be friends with?
Elizabeth: Jonas Forge. The guy is almost 240 years old. He’s lived through all sorts of changes, embraced them, moved with the times and loves all the modern tech of the day. That has got to be an interesting person.
TNA: If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
Elizabeth: Oh, I don’t know. Teleportation because I hate to drive.
TNA: If time travel were possible, to what time period would you most like to travel and why?
Elizabeth: The future, preferably when there is interplanetary travel because I’m nosy and want to know what is going to happen.
TNA: Would you care to share a little bit of information on any of your current WIPs with us?
Elizabeth: I’d be delighted! I have a few in various stages of being written.
There is the next in the Sentries series which involves our favorite shifter hunters posing as a gambler and his slave on a riverboat.
A scifi trilogy that’s an adventure through a portal to another world complete with dinosaurs.
Some more of The Sleepless City. In the final book in our current story arch, which I’ll finish late this year, all the characters Anne and I have created are together and working on tying up all the bits of the mystery begun in the first book, Anne Barwell’s Shades of Sepia. We have been plotting and planning books with the same characters and storylines that will take place after we finish this four book series. Think of The Sleepless City as the first mini-series…lol
TNA: And finally, would you kindly share with us all the places we can find you on the internet?
Flint, Ohio, Homicide Detective Jonas Forge has been a vampire for nearly two hundred years. He’s fought wars, seen life go from the simple but hard colonial days to the modern, high-tech world. He’s evolved with the times, adapting with each new era, blending into each new life. The one constant is his best friend and lover, Declan.
Until Forge’s soul mate tumbles, literally, into his life.
Even though they’re not fated to be together forever, Forge and Declan are perfectly happy. Despite the pheromone attracting him to his soul mate, Forge isn’t thrilled with the guy, and the feeling seems mutual. While trying to adjust to his clumsy soul mate and equally awkward feelings, Forge is on the hunt for the serial killer who’s leaving a trail of bodies, and who witnesses can’t identify. But Forge better watch out. When his work collides with his love life, things really heat up.
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