1. Please start by telling us a little bit about yourself.
I’ve been married to the love of my life for 22 years. I’m a stay at home mom of two kids and an exchange student. I’ve never lived anywhere but Southern California so I hate the cold!
2. When did you know that you wanted to write professionally and how did you take the leap to get into the business?
I didn’t know until after I finished Breathe. I never intended to show it to anyone. I just wrote it. A friend read it and liked it and then I told my husband I wrote it. He had no idea I wrote a book until the first draft was done. I showed it to a few more people and then decided to pursue publication. After some research I decided self publishing was the best plan for me. I’m a bit of a control freak and even though it means more work I think it’s the best plan for now.
3. Can you tell me a little bit about your book and what inspired it?
It’s about a sixteen year old girl who two years before the story starts her sister is murdered by a serial killer. When the story starts the family has decided to move because of the pressure of staying in the same town where everyone stares and talks behind their backs. Also the killer hasn’t been caught and they feel vulnerable so they decide to move to the South and start over. It’s about her journey starting over and of course there is the suspense element. Has the killer followed them or?
I was inspired by the thought of what happens to a family after a tragedy like this when the cameras go away and they have to continue on without their loved one. What are the ramifications of such an event specifically on the siblings? Of course there will be grief but it has to be a lot more complex than that. What does it do to the family dynamic? And of course there has to be a romance. =)
4. What do you hope that readers take away with them after reading your book?
I guess the point or moral was that with love comes sacrifice. If you love someone you put them before yourself.
5. I find it interesting to know what environment authors find most productive…. Do you use a pen and paper or a laptop? Quiet room at home or bustling cafe? Basically, what gets your creative juices flowing?
I have a home office and I use my laptop with software called Scrivener made especially for writers. I am pretty ADD so I could not possibly write in a place where there was noise or that many distractions. I have no idea how people do that. I have to have quiet. I can’t even have music playing. I do listen to classical music when I am plotting though. It makes my brain work better but I can’t do it when I’m writing because the mood of the music affects what I write.
6. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
It is really early in my career and I am lucky to have not gotten too much criticism yet. I know it is coming and in all honesty I’m fine with it. If it helps me improve as a writer I’m good. I know it will sting but it is all part of the process.
I think the best one I got was from an author I admire who doesn’t give compliments easily. She said she stayed up late to finish it and couldn’t put it down. I actually gave it to her to proof for errors and she said there were times she forgot to look because she was into the story. That was nice.
7. What book is currently on your nightstand? And who are some of your favorite authors?
I am reading the Game of Thrones series and I feel like I’m going to be reading it forever. It’s really great but I can’t believe how long it is! I’m also reading “Slammed “ by Colleen Hoover.
I have really enjoyed Easy by Tammara Webber, Almost by Anne Eliott and Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry this year. I’m a huge Harry Potter nerd, have read all of those books numerous times and know way more than I should about the characters.
8. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Read, spend time with my family and I am more than a little addicted to social media.
9. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Well as I am a new to this whole professional thing I’m not sure I have anything of value to contribute but I would say if you want to write you have to make it a priority. Like anything in your life if it’s important you’ll make time for it even if it’s an hour a day or a week.
10. What can we expect from you next?
I have finished my second book it’s in revisions right now. It’s also a Young Adult Romantic Suspense. It doesn’t have a title yet but I plan on publishing it in March.
11. Do any animals share your life? Please tell us about them?
Well he doesn’t think he is an animal but our English Bulldog, Brutus, is my writing companion. He keeps me company in my office while I write and he has quite the personality. I write about him occasionally on my blog but we don’t want him to get anymore stuck up than he is so I have to keep it to a minimum. We pretty much all cater to him at all times and that’s the way he likes it. He’s the only dog I’ve ever had that gets physically ill when we leave him to go on vacation even though the house sitter jump through hoops to keep him happy. If you look up “High Maintenance” in the dictionary you will see his picture.
And now for a little bit of fun :)
This or That?
Coffee or Tea? Tea
Sweet or Salty? Sweet for sure! I am a sugar addict.
Beach or Lake? Beach. I love the sound of the ocean.
Winter or Summer? Summer. As mentioned above I hate being cold. Like with the fire of a thousand suns, hate it. Really.
Cats or Dogs? Do I have to choose? I love them both. I don’t have a cat right now because my 14 year old cat passed a few years ago and Brutus does not play well with others but I love cats too!
Zombies or Vampires? Uhh. Do I have to decide whether I would rather be killed by Zombies or Vampires or whether I think Zombies or Vampires are cuter? Zombies kind of gross me out so I guess for either answer I would go with Vampires. Sparkly or Non Sparkly. I’m not particular.
Country or City? City, city, city. I lived in the country for 13 years surrounded by snakes, spiders, bobcats, coyotes, and mice. I am happy to be near civilization now. I am not a fan of anything that scurries. ICK!
Shower or Bath? Baths are the best!!!
Morning or Evening? I am a lark for sure. The rest of my family are owls and find my chipper attitude in the morning highly irritating.
M&M’s or Skittles? Skittles! Allergic to M&M’s
Trains or Planes? This is a tough one. I love the feeling of flying but commercial airlines have made the experience wholly unpleasant. It used to be an “experience” to fly but now it’s like herding cattle. Trains are too slow for me. After the first 15 minutes I’m bored. So I guess it’s still planes.
Comedy or Drama? Both. It depends on my mood.
Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: December 14th 2012
Jasmine’s life wasn’t normal for a 16 year old girl. It hadn’t been normal since the murder of her older sister, Daisy, two years ago. Her life had been changed forever. The monster that murdered Daisy was never caught. That was the reason her family decided to move away from their hometown in Southern California, to start over. Hopefully in a place where the last name Rourke wouldn’t bring on staring or judgment or morbid curiosity.
In Lafayette, Louisiana things are quite a bit different but in a good way. Good manners, Cajun accents and a whole lot of Southern Hospitality all make her think things are going in the right direction. On top of that the most gorgeous boy she has ever met is interested in her. Her new friends are better than she could have hoped for even if she is worried about what they might think when they find out who she is. Life would be perfect if odd things didn’t keep happening. Creepy phone calls, texts, and flowers in her locker start adding up quickly to something terrifying. Could the Monster have followed them to Lafayette? Was he coming after her this time? Maybe she was just worrying unnecessarily…or not.
Most days I can almost forget someone murdered my sister. I try to go through every day like a normal sixteen-year-old. I can eat breakfast, go to school, do homework, but then something will remind me that my family will never be the same. I’ll see my mom looking out the kitchen window—she has this blank look and her clothes are hanging on her. I worry she doesn’t eat enough to stay alive. Or I catch a glimpse of the picture on the coffee table we took three Halloweens ago, when Daisy and I dressed up like crayons, and Caedan and Lily were Skittles. It seems like a long time ago, and then, again, I remember it like it just happened.
We finally moved two weeks ago. Mom decided we couldn’t continue to live in Burbank. Besides the obvious reason that Daisy’s murderer was never caught, someone was always staring at us with that look that said, “Isn’t it so sad what happened to the Rourke family?” But you know in their hearts they are thinking how glad they are it didn’t happen to them. It’s obvious they’re thinking my mom must have done something wrong. She wasn’t a good enough parent, didn’t supervise Daisy enough, didn’t call the police soon enough. They wanted to believe the murder of a teenage girl happened for a reason and they could avoid it, if they just did everything right. The thing is, I think the exact opposite is probably true.
So, three months ago, we had a family meeting. We got out a map of the US and each chose a city and state. Mom and I did research on ours, Caedan picked his based on name only, and Lily did the spin-around-and-wherever-your-finger-lands routine. Thankfully, we pulled mine out of the hat. I don’t know how I would have felt living in Smackover, Arkansas. Caedan thought it was hilarious. He is so twelve.
Elena lives and writes in a suburb North of Los Angeles. She has never lived anywhere besides California which is probably a good thing since she hates being cold and is terrified to drive in the snow. She loves being a wife and a mother to her three kids and three dogs, although really the bulldog is the fourth child who has never matured beyond the toddler stage.
A self-proclaimed nerd, she has been writing since she was a child. She has only recently, however, come out of the closet about this to her family and friends. They now understand better, but not completely, why she talks about characters in stories as if they are real people.