Friday, May 23, 2008

Interview with Elysa Hendricks

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Elysa Hendricks. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a new release out called STAR CRASH. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Though I know I’m dating myself, I was around when Star Trek premiered on TV and Planet of the Apes hit the big screen. The combination of these two shows, along with the People Are Alike All Over episode of the orginal Twilight Zone are what inspired me to write STAR CRASH.

The concept of First Contact with aliens has always fascinated me. I wondered what would happen if when humans came in contact with an intelligent alien species, those aliens considered humans to be animals. When space pilot Cora Daniels crashes on an uncharted world, she soon finds out.

In addition to the alien’s belief that humans are nothing more than animals, Cora’s actions, as a member of the Consortium of Intelligent Life, are bound by strict protocol concerning first contact with aliens. She can’t even attempt to convince the aliens of her intelligence without breaking C.O.I.L. law. Trapped in an alien breeding farm Cora’s determination to escape is challenged when she sees the man the aliens want to breed her with. Is he Alex, her lover who disappeared into space years earlier? And why doesn’t he remember her?

STAR CRASH is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

Actually I didn’t, my editor at Dorchester, Chris Keeslar came up with the title STAR CRASH. My original working title was THE HUMAN BREED, which I still love, but marketing didn’t feel it was “romance” enough. I suggested over three dozen titles, including MENAGE A FOWL, but none of them flew.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book?

My research for STAR CRASH was very different than the research I did for my first book, a western historical RAWHIDE SURRENDER, but yes I did a ton. Since my alien species, the Flock are large bird-like creatures, I read up on bird societies, especially chickens. The Flock run their society much like chickens, lots of hens with a dominant rooster, which is also how they manage their human livestock. It was fun creating their culture and then seeing how because of it they reacted to humans and how humans responded to them. The world building was extensive. I had to create the Consortium of Intelligent Life, the ancient organization of planets that Earth belongs to and my heroine works for, the Flock’s social order, the flora and fauna of the planet, as well as the lifestyle and customs of the free humans on the planet.

What character did you like writing about the most, and why?

Oh, that’s a hard one. Why don’t you ask me which of my children I love more? Still, I have a real soft spot for Cora. She’s been through a lot in her life and managed to survive. Writing about her struggle to overcome her fear of heights and her control issues was therapeutic. I’m not afraid of heights, well, maybe a little, but according to my husband I’m a control freak. Putting Cora in a situation where she had absolutely no control over her life or even her own body was like writing my own worst nightmare. Part of her character arc was having her find the strength to give up control and by doing so find true freedom.

If your book was made into a movie, what actor would you like to fill your hero’s shoes?

Some authors visualize their characters using actors and other entertainers as models. I’m not one of them. When I watch movies or TV the actors become the characters they’re playing. Once they’re out of character I rarely recognize them. My husband kids me about the time years ago that I stood next to Burt Reynolds and Sally Fields and didn’t recognize them. Since I don’t create my characters based on the looks of any particular actor this is a question I can’t answer. I’ll just leave it to the casting director and hope his or her vision matches mine.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

The list is endless, but here are a few. Susan Elizabeth Phillips, her humor makes me laugh out loud. Cathie Linz, her characters are real people. Melody Thomas, her historical detail blows me away. Jayne Ann Krentz, her Jayne Castle futuristics were the first I ever read and I knew then that’s what I wanted to write. Then of course there are the classic science fiction authors I devoured when I was growing up - Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, and Robert Heinlein, they gave me a taste for imagining the future.

What do we have to look forward next?

I have several projects in the works. THE SWORD & THE PEN is a contemporary paranormal. Reclusive and slightly neurotic author Brandon Alexander Davis is having a really bad day. He’s suffering from writer’s block, his agent is hounding him for the final chapter in his latest book and his ex-wife has shown up at his door claiming that because of some legal glitch they’re still technically married. And to top it all off, complete with leather bra and three foot long sword, Serilda Larue, the protagonist of his successful Warrior Woman books has shown up in his living room, demanding that he send her home. I’m also working on another book set in the same universe as STAR CRASH. In this story Earth’s fate rests on the hero’s ability to convince a space smuggler, the woman he loved and betrayed, to work with him in capturing a notorious pirate. And FORBIDDEN MOON, the fourth in my moon series from ImaJinn Books, is due for release sometime this year.

Thanks, Elysa Hendricks!

To celebrate her book release, STAR CRASH is offering a free copy of one of her Moon books to one lucky commenter on today's blog. She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

After trying her hand at a variety of careers: retail sales, insurance underwriter, video store owner, home day care provider, and motherhood, in 1990, Elysa Hendricks, a longtime reader of romance, sat down to write a short contemporary romance. When her heroine turned out to be a winged, telepathic alien, Elysa decided she liked writing stories set in different places and times.

A member of numerous chapters of Romance Writers of America, Elysa helped found the Windy City and the FF&P Chapters and served on the boards of both groups for many years. In addition she enjoys teaching writing workshops at local community colleges.

Long time Midwest residents, Elysa and her hero husband have been happily married for many years and have two sons. She dreams of writing on a laptop while sitting on a tropical beach. In the meantime she keeps warm by creating sizzling love scenes.

Elysa loves to hear from her readers.
Check out author’s website at
Buy STAR CRASH from or


Vern Hendricks said...

Actually, May 21 was 36 years that we've been married. I just wanted to go on record so everyone would know how incredibly proud I am of my young bride, and how much our sons and I love her.

Elysa said...

Ain't he sweet. With a hero like this in my life how could I write anything but romance.

Carol Webb said...

Hi Elysa. Your book, STAR CRASH, sounds fascinating. It's definitely going to be on my TBR list. I’ve always loved Planet of the Apes, the original and the remake. I can’t wait to get a couple.

Thanks for stopping by!

Elysa said...

Thanks Carol. I hope you enjoy the story. I had a blast writing it. Let me know what you think.

Kim Watters said...

Hi Elysa,
Thanks for blogging with us today. I think everyone is already on vacation! I know my brain is even if my body is parked at work:) May 21 is my sister's and a dear friend's anniversary so you're in great company. What a sweetheart hubby you have that stopped by today. Have a great weekend.

Elysa said...

Hi Kim,
Thanks for having me on the site. Though conversation was light, I enjoyed being here. Like you said, everyone must have already driven away on holiday.

Jennifer Ashley/ Allyson James / Ashley Gardner said...

Congrats on the release of Star Crash, Elysa (I know it was several months ago, but congrats anyway *g*). I love futuristics. I remember Bonnie Vanak and I did a contest where people had to name your heroine when the book first came out. Everyone got it right!

The premise of your next book sounds hysterical! Who doesn't think about their characters coming to life?

(No need to draw me for the contest ladies, I just wanted to add my howdy and avoid work.)


Elysa said...

Jennifer, nice to hear from you. I remember the contest you and Bonnie ran. Did I remember to thank you? If not, thanks. I'm not sure I'd really want any of my characters turning up in my life. Most of them are much too young for me and even the heros are prettier than me.

Carolyn Matkowsky/Cara Marsi said...


I'm blown away by your creativity, in making a whole new world and species. I too remember when Star Trek debuted and I saw Planet of the Apes when it came out in theaters. Star Crash sounds fascinating. You build a new world, but the characters are filled with human emotions. Good interview. It's on my buy list too.

Kathryne Kennedy said...

Sorry I'm so late, Elysa, but I don't need to enter the contest anyway because I already bought STAR CRASH. I am really looking forward to reading it! It sounds very different, and very kind of book!
Your fellow Dorch author, who thinks your DH might be just as awesome as mine ;}

Elysa said...

Awesome hair! Must be naturally curly. Nice to hear from you. Hope you enjoy Star Crash.

Tina LaVon said...

Your interview took me back in time. I remember watching Star Trek and Twilight Zone while growing up.

Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

Your book sounds awesome.