Friday, January 9, 2009

Interview with Elisabeth Naughton

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Elisabeth Naughton. 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 STOLEN FURY. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Hi Kim, thanks for having me here today! Chocolate and therapy…what a great combo! (We aim to please KW)
STOLEN FURY is a contemporary romantic adventure novel. Lisa Maxwell is an archaeologist who has spent most of her adult life searching for the Three Furies, a priceless set of ancient Greek reliefs. Finally, after fifteen years, she finds the first in a cave in Jamaica. She makes plans to search for the other two relics but is momentarily distracted by a handsome stranger she meets while lecturing in Italy. Unbeknownst to Lisa, that stranger, Rafe Sullivan, is also on the hunt for the Three Furies, and he knows Lisa has found one. He seduces her, drugs her, then steals it from her, but not before a wild attraction he didn’t plan for ignites between the two.

When Lisa wakes the next morning and realizes she’s been duped, she sets off to find Rafe and settle the score. However, other treasure hunters are hot on their trails, and Lisa soon discovers that the only way she’s going to find all the Furies is to partner up with the same sexy scoundrel who swindled her in Italy. Suddenly, she’s not just worried about losing the Furies, she’s afraid if she’s not careful, she may just lose her heart as well.

STOLEN FURY is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

Originally, the book was titled Make Me Believe (the title it finaled under in the 2007 Golden Heart), because the book is really about believing in something other than yourself. However, that title didn’t portray the suspense/adventure angle very well, so my editor and I brainstormed new titles. We wanted something that could carry through all three books in the series, and “Stolen” was the word that really links the three together. Obviously, because the relic they’re searching for is a relief of the three Furies from ancient Greek mythology, that’s where the word “Fury” comes from. The other two books in the series are STOLEN HEAT (summer 2009) and STOLEN SEDUCTION (early 2010).

Would you describe your book as a cozy, mystery, suspense, or thriller?

STOLEN FURY is categorized as a sexy romantic suspense, though it’s more a romantic adventure than anything else. There’s definitely murder and mayhem (as with all romantic suspense novels) but there’s a very clear adventure/treasure hunt angle you don’t find in most romantic suspense novels.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I have loved lighter-variety romantic suspense novels for years. Before I wrote STOLEN FURY, I tried my hand at the dark, gritty RS that was selling at the time and while I finished a good book with characters I loved, I realized I didn’t want to be writing that type of RS. I wanted lighter, more adventure-style RS. And there just wasn’t a lot of it on the shelves at the time. So I put the dark RS away that I had just finished (didn’t even try to sell it) and wrote STOLEN FURY. And when I finished I knew it was the type of story I wanted to continue to write.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

Lisa Maxwell was actually a secondary character in a book I wrote years ago (one that needs major revisions before it’s publishable). From the moment she came on the page, she was a force to be reckoned with. Sassy, smart-mouthed, a real take-no-prisoners woman who wouldn’t put up with much from a man. I never planned to write her story, but then one day as I was writing a scene for that book, she was with the heroine and casually commented that she didn’t believe in love. I remember stopping, rereading that line, which I’d just written (unplanned) and wondering, “Well, why not?” From then on, she wouldn’t get out of my head.
Fast forward a year or so. I’d just finished that dark RS I wrote about earlier, and Lisa popped back into my head. She wouldn’t leave me alone. So I thought long and hard about the type of hero she’d have to be paired with, and it came to me. Lisa is an archaeologist. Who would she NEVER fall for? A treasure hunter! And better yet…let’s make him a thief to top it off! Rafe Sullivan was born. As I have a real love of Greek mythology, it became clear to me that whatever relic they were looking for had to be Greek. And from there the book was born and really took on a life of its own.

Do you have all the key suspense/mystery elements thought out before you begin writing?

Absolutely not. I consider myself a very organic writer. I let the story unfold as I write. Generally I know the inciting incident of a book, most of the major turning points (and often these are more emotional than plot-driven) and the resolution, but everything else is a mystery to me.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book? What are your favorite research books or sites?

Yes. I spent hours searching for archaeological research. I could go on an on about cave formations, caving and cave diving. I also have several books on Greek mythology, which I enjoy reading for fun.

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

Well, obviously Lisa and Rafe – the main characters in STOLEN FURY. But the secondary characters really took on lives of their own. Lisa’s brother, Chicago Detective Shane Maxwell, plays a big roll in the book, as does Billy Sullivan, Rafe’s brother. I love both Shane and Billy for different reasons – Shane because he’s hard and sarcastic and Billy because he’s a real screw up. You can’t help wanting to read more about each one. Rafe’s ex-wife, Hailey Roarke, is also a big part of the book, as is his business partner at the Odyssey Gallery, Pete Kauffman. These characters all pop up in the next two books, and I got to know them very well. They’re like family to me now.

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research affect your character development?

No character sheets, no interviews. I basically live with my characters in my head for months before I start writing. I spend hours thinking about them, their backstories, their lives, their challenges. Sometimes they surprise me during the writing process, but generally I know them well before I type the first chapter because I’ve been living with them for a good chunk of time already.

I have found that the more books I write in a series, the more I have to jot down notes to refer back to when writing, such as who went where and when. By book three I had to make sure I remembered what happened last Christmas when they were all together, and it was easier to look at my cheat sheet than wrack my brain over what they all had for dinner. ;)

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

I love Elizabeth Lowell’s early work, and her Donovan series is one of my all time favorites. I really wish she’d write more! I have also always loved Judith McNaught, and I think I’ve read Perfect at least 20 times. Even though it’s not an adventure novel, it’s the type of romance that holds on tight and doesn’t let the reader go until the very end. Those are the type of books I strive to write.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

I’m not sure yet! My book has only been out for just over a week, but I do know the contest I’m running on my website is getting a lot of attention, and Barbara Vey even blogged about it just before Christmas because she thought it was great fun.

Basically, it’s patterned after those old Madlibs we all used to do as kids. For those of you who are interested, simply go to my website at www.elisabethnaughton.com/fortune.html to play. Embark on your very own quest, partner up with a sexy treasure hunter, and enter to win $100 VISA gift card!

What do we have to look forward next?

STOLEN HEAT is the second book in the Stolen trilogy, and it releases in August 2009.

Antiquities dealer Peter Kauffman walked a fine line between clean and corrupt for years. And then he met the woman who changed his life—Egyptologist Katherine Meyer. Their love affair burned white-hot in Egypt, until the day Pete’s lies and half-truths caught up with him. After that, their relationship imploded, Kat walked out, and before Pete could find her to make things right, he heard she’d died in a car bomb.

Six years later, the woman Pete thought he’d lost for good is suddenly back. The lies this time aren’t just his, though. The only way he and Kat will find the truth and evade a killer out for revenge is to work together—as long as they don’t find themselves burned by the heat each thought was stolen long ago…

Thanks, Elisabeth!

Thanks so much to the gang here at Much Cheaper Than Therapy. It was great fun!
To celebrate her book release, Elisabeth Naughton is offering a free autographed copy of STOLEN FURY 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...(Please make sure we have away to contact you if you win)

Bio.

A previous junior-high science teacher, Elisabeth Naughton now writes full time from her home in western Oregon where she lives with her husband and three children. Her debut release, Stolen Fury, won several awards and was a 2007 Golden Heart Finalist. She’s involved with several writers groups and devotes a large chunk of her time to Romance Writers of America, who she credits with helping to launch her career. 

Visit the author’s Web site at www.elisabethnaughton.com.
Buy STOLEN FURY http://www.amazon.com/Stolen-Fury-Elisabeth-Naughton/dp/0505527936/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1231160069&sr=8-1 .

22 comments:

Karen Duvall said...

I guess I'm up early this morning! Well, it's not that early, I guess. Anyway, great interview, Eli! Can't wait to read the book!

Renee Bashor said...

Nice interview! It sounds like a really good book. I'm looking forward to meeting the characters. Researching the locations must have been really rough, LOL!

Elisabeth Naughton said...

Hey Karen, thanks for stopping by. ;)

Elisabeth Naughton said...

Hi Renee,

I love research, so I had a good time with not only the science but the locations in the book.

Thanks for the comment!

Kerry Blaisdell said...

Wow, sounds really cool. I was almost an archaelogy major - and I love lighter RS. I will have to check it out!

Ladyhawk said...

Great interview! It sounds like it's going to be a fun trilogy. Adding to the TBR list. :-)
~Judy

Elisabeth Naughton said...

Hi Kerry,

One of my closest friends just went back to school to study archaeology, so she's my go-to person when I'm writing.

Thanks for the comment!

Elisabeth Naughton said...

Hi Ladyhawk,

Thanks for adding me to your TBR list! I hope you enjoy STOLEN FURY!

Kim Watters said...

Hi Elisabeth,
Thanks for blogging with us today. I meant to ask you this earlier, but after I posted the blog I tripped and fell and strained my wrist. At least its not broken. Anyway, was there any part of the book that you adored that you had to cut?

Wendy said...

Hi, Elisabeth!

Great interview! I'm looking forward to reading the whole trilogy. :)

Elisabeth Naughton said...

Hi Kim, thanks so much for having me here today. It's been fun so far!

So sorry to hear about your wrist! Ugh...not good for typing. So glad it's not broken. I hope it heals quickly for you.

Before I answer your question I have to ask...is anyone else frustrated with Blogger? I have no idea why it's posting pictures as negative images. For those of you looking at my cover in this post, those are *not* the right colors, and it's not this blog's fault but Blogger in general. It was doing this on my own blog last week when I tried to upload the cover of my August release, STOLEN HEAT. No matter what I did, it kept showing it as a negative image. Very strange. The only way I could finally get it to post correctly was to go through an outside hosting site like Photobucket rather than using Blogger's upload tools. So if you who want to see what the cover is suppsed to look like (and it's gorgeous...I'm still in cover love with STOLEN FURY)...head over to my blog or website for a peek. www.elisabethnaughton.blogspot.com or www.elisabeth naughton.com

Okay...on to your question (which is a good one)...

When my editor went through the book there wasn't any one scene she could see cutting. Which I was thrilled about because, well, I love them all! In revisions, though, she did trim down scenes, and mostly it was cutting sections about secondary characters, which she said she hated to do because she felt the secondary characters really came to life. STOLEN FURY, however, is already a bit longer tha most debuts, so they had to trim somewhere, and this was much less painful than deleting a whole scene.

One scene in particular that had to be trimmed involved an elderly neighbor of Rafe's in the Key's. Lisa shows up in Key West to track Rafe down and has a conversation with his next door neighbor. Originally the scene was very colorful and the woman was a complete hoot. But because she doesn't show up later in the book and isn't important to the overall plot, her scene was one that got trimmed way back.

I love writing about external characters, and I love when they just pop off the page. Recently I got an email asking if so-and-so was going to get their own book, and it was an odd question to me because the character they were asking about was such a minor character overall. But obviously that character popped for this one reader, so I suppose that's a good thing in the grand scheme of things.

Elisabeth Naughton said...

Hi Wendy, thanks for the comment. I'm going through STOLEN HEAT this weekend doing edits. I absolutely love this book, so I hope readers enjoy it as much as STOLEN FURY.

Paty Jager said...

Fun interview, Eli!

Elisabeth Naughton said...

Thanks, Paty! Glad you stopped by.

Piper Lee said...

Hey Eli! Sorry I'm late. :) Totally fun interview!

I just have to say that I think STOLEN FURY is an awesome book and Lisa and Rafe are some of the best characters I've ever had the pleasure of "hanging out" with in a book. You're a fabulous writer! Looking sooo forward to the other books, STOLEN HEAT and STOLEN SEDUCTION when they come out!

Congrats!!

Kim Watters said...

Hi Elisabeth,
Wrist is much better today. At least now I can type with two hands! Bummer about your secondary character. I especially love writing the older ones. I have to be careful though that they don't take over the story. It kind of upsets the main characters:) Happy Saturday. I'll pick the winner on Monday, so keep those posts coming.

Jane said...

Hi Elisabeth,
Congrats on your debut release. Will the Stolen Series end at three books? Is there a possibility there will be more or are you going to work on something different?

Elisabeth Naughton said...

Hey, Piper. Thanks for stopping by! And thanks for the kudos. ;)

Elisabeth Naughton said...

Awesome, Kim. Glad you're feeling better today!

Elisabeth Naughton said...

Hi Jane,

At this point the series will end with STOLEN SEDUCTION, but I've learned never to say never to anything. ;)

Right now I'm putting together a new adventure proposal, and I'm also working on a new paranormal series already under contract. The first two paranormals will release in 2010.

Donna Del Grosso said...

Hi Elisabeth,
You're book sounds exciting. I can't wait to see how Lisa is going to get past the fact that Rafe stole the thing that took her 15 years to find!

Kim Watters said...

Congratulations Kerry Blaisdell, your the winner of Elisabeth's book. Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) hotmail.com so we can get your prise to you. Thanks for stopping by our blog.