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. When she’s not writing, she enjoys movies, quilting, reading, and collecting vintage Christmas ornaments. You can connect with Ms. Cantrell through her website, blog, or on Facebook and Twitter.
Why did you become a writer? Was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I wrote my first story at age 5. I dictated it to my father who wrote it down in pencil on notebook paper. He passed away a few years ago so that paper is one of my dearest treasures.
What was the inspiration for your latest work of fiction?
Fortuna is the book’s name, and it was easy to write because it was based partly on events that happened wither to me or my family. I never knew how really colorful we were until I started writing the book. Of course, not everything really happened. We never had to hide from drug dealers or go into the witness protection program, but lots of the stuff in the book is like it happened in real life.
Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
My characters are almost exclusively based on my imagination. Fortuna was the exception to that rule. I’m sure I subconsciously take attributes from one person or another, but I wouldn’t want to base a character entirely on someone I knew for fear that person would recognize himself.
Where do you go to do your research?
I mostly use the Internet for research. Sometimes I have to go and actually look at something to get a description correct, but you can find anything you like on the Internet. I wish one of my publishers would beg me to go to Greece or Russia to research a story. I’d love to go both places.
Are you currently working on any new book projects?
Yes, I’m in the process of writing a book tentatively titled Little Pink Trailer. My heroine inherits a trailer park, but when she goes to take possession sparks fly between her and a hunky park resident.
Do you have any advice for beginning writers on how to write a book? Do you have any advice for them regarding promoting that book once published?
Read, read, read. Read your favorite author and pay attention to how he/she does things. How does the author handle transitions? Dialogue, etc? Then, just write your story. Afterward, you can edit until your head is spinning, and trust me, you’ll need to. All authors do. As far as promotion goes, don’t miss a single opportunity. For example, if someone asks you to blog for them, take it. Most of all, though, be genuine. Be yourself. Let the readers get to know you, and maybe they’ll want to see what kind of writer you are.
How have your friends and family received your career as an author? Are they supportive?
For the most part they are supporting. My husband is, and that’s a huge thing for me. Most of my friends are, but, honestly, a few of them have disappointed me.
What’s the most challenging aspect of writing for you? ~ POV issues; using too much passive voice and not enough active voice; trouble creating active and engaging dialogue; using too many similar words in starting sentences; or something else?
I love using adverbs, and current writing styles don’t favor adverbs. I also love to use descriptive verbs instead of the word ‘said’, and that too isn’t in favor at the moment.
Excerpt from Ms. Cantrell's Book, Fortuna
Aimee Sherwood never dreamed that following her fiancé into the witness protection pro-gram 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.
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. Be sure to leave your email address in your comment if you want to enter the giveaway.
A special thank you to Ms. Cantrell for being interviewed today at Pandora's Box and for doing a book giveaway for our readers.