We’re so pleased to welcome author Elyse Springer to TNA today, on the tour for her new novel, Whiteout. Elyse and her friend and fellow author Cass Lennox had a chat about romance and writing and are sharing it with us, so enjoy and then be sure to check out the giveaway details below.
Welcome, Elyse and Cass!
Today I’m excited to have a chance to chat with Riptide Publishing author Cass Lennox about Whiteout, as well as her own amazing “Toronto Connections” series. Cass is a good friend, and I’m so excited that we had a chance to sit down and chat about our favorite romance tropes, mysteries that keep our audiences guessing, and more!
Cass: Hi El! I’m super excited to chat with you about your new book, Whiteout, and about books in general. I’m always down for handsome men stuck together in a small space during inclement weather, so Whiteout looks amazing on that score alone. However, there seems to be a dark puzzle surrounding the heroes, and one of them has to figure it out despite being unable to remember his name and stuck with his apparent boyfriend in a snowbound cabin. What inspired Whiteout?
Elyse: Hey Cass! So great to chat with you again :D. And I hope Whiteout lives up to the “stranded in a cabin in the woods” trope, because it’s definitely one of my favorites too. Whiteout actually came from a dream… I woke up from a dream where I didn’t have any memory, and someone kept telling me things that I knew, somehow, weren’t true. I opened the notepad app on my phone and jotted the idea down, and then went right back to sleep for a few more hours. From the start, I knew this was going to be a story about how things aren’t what they seem. (But I can’t say anything else!)
Cass: *disappointed face* Awwwww. I guess I can live without spoilers. *grumble* That’s such a great plot bunny story though. Speaking of tropes, I’m excited to see amnesia here because it’s been a while since I last read a book that featured it. How was it writing a character who quite literally doesn’t know who he is? And what are other tropes you like to read/would like to write one day?
Elyse: I’m a sucker for romance tropes. Gimme all of the “fake relationships” and “marriage of convenience” and “enemies to lovers” that you can find, I will devour them! Amnesia has been a favorite trope of mine for a while, but I don’t see it often these days… like you said, it’s been a while since I last read one! But writing Noah was actually really easy for me, because he has such a strong personality that shines through even without his memories. What was the last amnesia plot that you read? And what are some of your favorite tropes to read?
Cass: I think the last amnesia story I read was Forgive and Forget by Charlie Cochet. Oh, and A.M. Arthur used an interesting version of it in The World As He Sees It. Before that, nothing for actual years. And I love all the tropes too! “Enemies to lovers” is a particular fave. I think it’s awesome your first ever novel is something a little different. Being your debut, how did it feel to be working on something that’s finally going to be published? Were there any highs and lows of the writing, signing and editing process you want to share?
Elyse: Ooh, yes, The World As He Sees It was such a fantastic and unique amnesia story! *happy sighs* I love tropes, but I love even more when someone takes a common trope and does something very different with it, like A.M. did in that novel.
I wrote Whiteout as a NaNoWriMo novel in 2015. It was the 13th year that I’d done NaNo, and the 13th time I’d finished a novel, so I didn’t expect to do anything with it. It was just another story that I’d written. But I re-read it in February and realized that… maybe it wasn’t too bad. But I’d never thought about publishing before, so it wasn’t until I read a great Q&A session with Sarah Lyons from Riptide that I thought, “Maybe I can do something with this.” And then she called me one afternoon in March and said they wanted to sign me, so basically I screamed a lot and didn’t stop grinning for about a week :D!
Highs and lows? I think getting signed is a high, of course. I also just got the paperback copies of Whiteout last week, and holding a book with my name (well, pen name) on it is… magical. Did you think so too when you got Blank Spaces in the mail? And lows… well, I’m discovering that sometimes it’s difficult to write on a schedule, because *affects her most dramatic Trelawny voice* the muses sometimes just do not speak to me! Is that the same for you, too?
Cass: Oh yeah, I totally squeed my face off when I got copies of Blank Spaces and Finding Your Feet. I actually quite like deadlines, in that I’m forced to Get Things Done and the stress sometimes results in surprisingly great writing (and cruddy writing! But good stuff does get forced out as well), buuuut the stress can be counteractive and paralyse the process. So…. *flail gesture* Nanowrimo is so good for things like this! Because there’s time to write, but also a deadline! So it’s a doable deadline. I love that Whiteout started out as just another project for you, but turned into a deal. Congrats again!
So – and I ask this without any agenda whatsoever *innocent face* – what was the most fun scene to write? Is there anything you’re particularly proud of with Whiteout?
Elyse: My favorite scene to write actually comes in the second half of the book, so I can’t say anything about it because SPOILERS! But there’s one scene from the first part of the book, when Noah is starting to get his memories back, that involves chocolate-covered strawberries and a blowjob, and that was pretty fun to write ;). I think what I’m most proud of in this book is the mystery… Noah is getting his memories back, but he (and, hopefully, the reader) have no idea what’s really going on. What’s real, and what’s a lie? I think I managed to balance everything so that the reader is left guessing right up until the reveal!
You got to do something similar with Blank Spaces, where you had a mystery running through the entire plot. Do you like writing suspense and keeping your characters guessing?
Also, since we both have similar series (set around a city, loosely connected, but with very different plots and emotions), I’m curious to know what your favorite type of plot to write is!
Cass: I’m not sure I did it well in Blank Spaces, but it’s certainly something I want to do well! Keeping the reader guessing is fun from this side 😉 Right now I’m really enjoying character-driven plots, where the characters kind of fumble towards each other in a mess of feelings. However, I wrote nothing but fantasy as a teen, so I’d love to return to that with some kind of magical adventure someday. Frankly, adventure/thriller of any genre would be awesome.
The rest of your series doesn’t seem to have the mystery element that Whiteout does. What are the rest of the books like, plot-wise? Any fun surprises for us that you can share?
Elyse: Oooh you should definitely write a magical adventure/thriller fantasy. That sounds awesome! I find that I can’t read fantasy much, because it’s too heavy with detail and world-building and not focused enough on action, so a magical fast-paced fantasy/mystery would be fun to read!
Whiteout really left itself open to a mystery, because of the amnesia plot. But the other novels are more straight-forward. Thaw and Changing Colors both have a similar theme about opposites-attract, and the idea of changing yourself and the world around you to make love work, which is purposeful because spring and autumn are both seasons of change. Heat Wave is sexy, steamy, and a lot of fun. I tried to subtly align the feelings of each book with the corresponding season.
Cass: Okay, um, the other books also sound amazing and wonderful, and I can’t wait to read them. Matching the book to the season is such a lovely idea. Why are they all so far away from now!??! 2017 is going to be a great reading year. I am so ready for Whiteout and its chocolate-covered strawberries sexytimes 😉
Okay, any parting thoughts? Words of wisdom? In-jokes to look out for? Proven amnesia cures you want to share?
Elyse: 2017 is also going to be a great reading year because there are two more of your Toronto Connections books still to come! I like that our books alternate months release dates, so I get Growing Pains a month before Thaw comes out, and then The Wrong Woman after that!
As for jokes to keep an eye out for? I guess I’ll just say Obliviate!
Thanks so much for chatting with me, Cass!
Cass: HA, my inner Ravenclaw is delighted by that joke. I can’t wait to get my hands on your books. Thank YOU for chatting with me! Always a pleasure.
About the Book
Noah Landers wakes up one day with a headache and no memory of where—or who—he is. Jason, the man taking care of him, tries to fill in some of the blanks: they’re in a cabin in Colorado on vacation, and Noah slipped on ice and hit his head. But even with amnesia, Noah knows Jason is leaving out something important.
Jason O’Reilly is sexy as hell, treats Noah like he’s precious, and seems determined to make this the romantic getaway they’d apparently dreamed of together. But Noah’s more concerned that he’s trapped alone with Jason in the middle of a blizzard while his slowly returning memories bring hints of secrets and betrayal.
Noah’s not sure what’s the truth and what’s a lie. But as he learns who he is—and who Jason is to him—he’s forced to reevaluate everything he believes about himself, about loyalty . . . and about love.
Now available from Riptide Publishing
About the Author
Elyse is an author and world-traveler, whose unique life experiences have helped to shape the stories that she wants to tell. She writes romances with LGBTQ+ characters and relationships, and believes that every person deserves a Happily Ever After. When she’s not staring futilely at her computer screen, El spends her time adding stamps to her passport, catching up on her terrifying TBR list, and learning to be a better adult.
To celebrate the release of Whiteout, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Amazon gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 28, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!