Please extend a warm welcome for my guest, Elysa Hendricks. Elysa has a sense of humor, both on the page, and in person. I asked for a short bio and she send this: Elysa is 5'6" tall. She has brown eyes and curly hair. She's an author, a wife, a mother, and a daughter. Everything else is subject to change without notice.
Anne - Love it! Okay, Elysa, let’s get down to business and talk writing. Tell us about Counterfeit Love.
Elysa - Ten years ago a student's unfounded accusation of sexual misconduct drove Jared Blake out of his hometown, forced him to give up teaching, and destroyed his marriage. Now he's back in town to raise his daughter and return to the classroom. The last thing he expects - or needs - is an attraction to a stunningly pretty student in his algebra class, Maggie McCade.
To ferret out a computer hacker and further her dream of starting a high tech security firm of her own, twenty-nine-year-old Maggie McCade descends into high school hell by posing as a math-challenged senior. The last thing she expects - or needs - is to fall in love with her teacher.
Anne – Great premise. Would you share an excerpt of Counterfeit Love with us?
Elysa – Yes. This is from the first chapter:
In the normal order of things Maggie McCade would be hot on the scent of the hunk standing at the front her high school math class. But in this incarnation he was off limits. Not only was Jared Blake a high school teacher - he was her teacher and her prime suspect.
As if her first time through high school hadn't been bad enough, at twenty-nine being undercover as a high school student was pure hell for more reasons than one.
She peered into the classroom. Good, his back was turned. She tried to ease into the room without being noticed.
"I'm glad you could join us Miss McCade." He never even turned around. Under that thick blanket of shiny black hair the man had eyes in the back of his head.
She groaned in defeat and dropped into her chair. Her bag slipped off her arm and crashed to the floor. The class tittered in amusement.
Then Jared Blake did turn around. Again she considered how unfair life was. High school math teachers should be fussy middle-aged men, with thinning hair, myopic eyes, and pocket protectors. This man was gorgeous, tall and well built, with movie-star good looks.
Somehow she made it through class without drawing further attention.
"Homework is on the board. Page 29, problems 25 through 50. Class dismissed."
She grabbed her bag and started to leave.
"Ms. McCade could you stay a few minutes?"
The bag slid with a thump back to the floor. What now? Was he getting suspicious? After four weeks, she thought she had this high school senior role nailed. "Yeah, what you need?"
Jared – she had a hard time thinking of this hunk as Mr. Blake – leaned back against his desk at the front of the room, crossed his arms and gazed at her. His white shirt pulled taut over his broad chest revealing hard muscles he hadn't gotten by pushing chalk across a blackboard.
Maggie felt her insides going liquid. Looks like his should be declared illegal. Nonsense. After over two years of celibacy, any man would look good. Then why wasn't she drooling over Mr. Hoffman, her squirrelly English teacher?
She could count on one hand without using up all the fingers the number of men she'd been with, none of them memorable. So why did this man turn on the libido she thought dead and buried?
She couldn't help track Jared as he walked over to her desk. The man moved like an athlete, his body sleek and toned. She could picture him dressed in an Armani suit controlling a corporate boardroom or better yet, dressed in a leather loincloth holding an equally scantily clad woman, preferably her. Why would a man with his looks, intelligence and innate charisma choose to teach a bunch of disinterested teenagers a plus b equals c?
Leaning toward her he laid a sheaf of papers on her desk. The subtle piney scent of his cologne wafted over her. His face was so close to hers she could make out each whisker on his cheek. Her mouth dried up. Why did the sight of this man's five o'clock shadow stir her?
"You seem to be having some trouble with your assignments. You know I'm available for extra help before and after school as well as during some study periods."
Available. God, the images his words conjured up in her mind drove out the rest of his speech. How she wished he were available to her. Then the teacher would become the student.
Anne - What one how-to write book is a must on your bookshelf? Why?
Elysa - Despite the fact that I'm a panster rather than a plotter, I re-read Debra Dixon's GMC - Goal, Motivation, Conflict before I start writing. Have to feed those Plot Fairies I have imprisoned in my subconscious.
Anne – Like you, I find that book a keeper for so many reasons. And like you, I’m also a pantser, but until I can put into words the character’s GMC I’m lost! How long does it take you to write a book?
Elysa - Each book I write has taken me all my life to create. How long it takes to actually type the words into my computer varies depending on how rebellious my bitchy muse and the Plot Fairies are being, and what else is going on in life. I wrote the last 60,000 words of my book STAR CRASH in less than three months, but the first 30,000 words took me over a year. On a good day, I can write maybe 5,000 words, so if I could manage that every day I could write an 80,000 word book in 16 days. Hey, I can do math, too. Of course, most of my days aren't good ones - at least not writing wise. And that would only be the first draft, which are usually pretty bad.
The other problem I have is I don't start one book and write it straight through. I'll start and stop a story then let it sit for weeks, months, sometimes years while I start and finish several other projects. If I had to guess, I'd say an average book will take me about six months of work, but since I'm not very disciplined I spread that work time out over years.
Anne – That is one of the most honest answers I’ve ever gotten for that question. Thank you! What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Elysa - Finishing the darned book. Since I'm a panster not a plotter I always have trouble at the end of the book. Also, I think there's a subconscious fear of finishing the writing portion, because then comes the submission process, which I find totally terrifying.
Anne - What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself from your writing?
Elysa - I don't know that I've learned anything about myself, but I do know that I've become a stronger person because of my writing. I've discovered that I have a talent with words, that I can string them together in a way that takes people out of the real world into a world of my creation. And as a result of my writing I've been asked to teach writing workshops and give talks, so I've been able to overcome my fear of public speaking. Now I'm perfectly happy to get up in front of people and make a fool of myself.
Anne - Are you a glass half-empty or half-full kind of person?
Elysa - I'm a "Look there's room for Tequila, Triple Sec and lime juice in this glass" kind of person.
Anne – Okay, then. Guess that makes me a Chardonnay kind of gal! Outside of writing, what accomplishment are you most proud?
Elysa - I don't know if I'd call them accomplishments, but I'm most proud of my two, beautiful sons and my loving, ever patient, and supportive husband.
Anne - How do you balance writing with online promotion and marketing?
Elysa - Balance? What's that? I can't even ride a bicycle. Unfortunately, I don't seem to possess the ability to balance promotion and marketing with writing. I can either do one or the other a day. I can't manage both. For the last several months, I've been focusing on promotion and my writing time has dwindled to practically nil. Now, I'm forcing myself to cut back on interviews, blogs and Facebook time so I can get busy and finish up some long stalled projects.
Anne – Speaking of promotion, complete this sentence: I will do everything to promote my books except...
Elysa - Can't think of much I wouldn't do, except maybe harm myself, another person, an animal or the environment. I keep trying to come up with some kind of scandal (that wouldn't hurt anyone) to get my name out there. Any ideas?
Anne – No, but perhaps a reader does. Where can they find you online?
Anne – Thank you for dropping by today, Elysa. It’s been a blast, and although I haven’t yet had an opportunity to read Counterfeit Love, it's on my Kindle and my TBR list. I can't wait!
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