Elaine Cantrell was born and raised in South Carolina where she obtained a master’s degree in personnel services from Clemson University. She is a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary society for women educators and Romance Writers of America. Her first novel, A New Leaf, was the 2003 winner of the Timeless Love Contest. You can connect with Ms. Cantrell through her, blog, or on Facebook.
Are you a true romantic at heart or not really?
In this case I’d have to say I’m a true romantic with one foot in reality. I mean how can a relationship work long term if everything he does aggravates you? Love can conquer all, but maybe not how to squeeze the toothpaste tube. I explored this very idea in my last book Fortuna. Aimee my heroine is in exactly the situation I described. She loves him, but he drives her crazy.
What is your all-time favorite movie and why?
My all-time favorite movie is one you probably never even heard of. I don’t know if it was ever released to be shown in theaters or not. I saw it on TV. The name of the movie is Crazy From the Heart. It was about a high school principal, a woman, fell in love with a Mexican janitor. She lived in Texas, and nobody wanted her and the janitor to go out together. The movie is about their relationship. I probably loved it partly because I was a teacher for 35 years, but I also loved it because it was both romantic and realistic at the same time. I think you can buy it at Amazon, and I hope you will. It was a wonderful, heartwarming story.
Can you share the top five random facts about you?
Fact 1: I collect vintage Christmas ornaments.
Fact 2: My last book Fortuna is a romantic comedy based on things that happened either to me or to my family.
Fact 3: I hate to shop.
Fact 4: I would love to see Russia.
Fact 5: I’m a slave to our two dogs.
As a writer, how do you persevere and not give up?
I bet you think it’s kind of glamorous being a writer. Writers have a beautiful writing space where they sip their favorite beverage and type as words flow almost as if by magic from their imagination to the paper. Then, they send their book out into an adoring world and sit back raking in money from all their book sales.
I had to disappoint you, but it isn’t that way at all. Writing is hard work, and most writers aren’t rich. We agonize over each and every sentence, meet deadlines, and edit, edit, edit. So, why do we do it? Why not let go of all the pressure and stress a writing career can bring?
Well, let’s think about it. First of all, there’s nothing quite like creative expression. Writers are artists, but we work with words, not paint. There’s absolutely nothing to compare to the satisfaction of seeing a story come together or maybe writing that one sentence that ends up defining a book. Remember Rhett Butler’s final comment to Scarlett as Gone With the Wind ends? Bet you do. (If you don’t remember, Rhett said, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”)
I’m a romance author, which I think is very special. Most people are fighting some kind of battle in their lives. Maybe someone is in a relationship that went bad, and lost the one they love. Whether it was by divorce, death, or just walking away, it tears a huge hole in a person’s heart. Maybe the problem is health-related. She has to accept that there are now limitations placed on her. Have you ever dealt with unemployment? How do you feed your children with no paycheck? My romances always have a happy ending which gives us hope that tomorrow things will be better. We can believe that ‘this too shall pass.’
Remember what happened at the end of Gone With the Wind? Scarlett lost Rhett and collapsed in tears, but then she decided to go home to Tara where she can think of a way to get Rhett back. Human beings are designed to hope.
I also think that romance writers possibly satisfy our craving for justice. In the real world, things don’t always end happily. Children are abused, the missing teen is never found, or we lose our home. In the vast majority of romances you know the bad guys are going to get what’s coming to them. My heroes and heroines sometimes face determined villains, but you can rest easy in the knowledge that the bad guys will never win.
So, that’s why I persevere. I do it for myself, but I also do it because I want my readers to have a pleasant escape from reality and come back to the real world energized, hopeful, and ready to cope with life.
About Elaine's Book, Fortuna
Aimee Sherwood never dreamed that following her fiancé into the witness protection program would land her in a haunted house in a town that’s downright creepy. She’d have laughed if she had been told the guy who lives down the road might be her soul mate, not the man whose ring she’s wearing. Life in West Virginia is nothing like life in Los Angeles, but between bean ball battles with Marilyn Monroe, remodeling a crumbling farmhouse, and starting a new online business, life in the country is anything but boring.
An Excerpt from Fortuna
Aimee rushed to the window and looked out. She saw an outdoor shower with absolutely no way to conceal oneself. Not far away she saw a small, crooked hut. No! It couldn’t be. Her grandmother had told her of such things, but . . . “Is that hut an outhouse?”
Rocky nodded. “Uh-huh. It has two holes and some catalogues from 1955. You won’t even have to take a book with you.” He pursed his lips. “I don’t really know why they needed two holes. Maybe people in the country make communal bathroom visits.”
Aimee tried the deep breathing technique that usually calmed her. It had no effect whatsoever.
Ms. Cantrell's Book Giveaway
Ms. Cantrell is hosting a book giveaway today. Anyone who comments below will be entered into a drawing to win a digital copy of Fortuna.
A special thank you to Ms. Cantrell for guesting today at Pandora's Box and for doing a book giveaway for our readers.