KENDRA ELLIOT: I NEVER EXPECTED TO MAKE A LIVING AS AN AUTHOR
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
In 2014 Kendra Elliot’s novel Buried won Daphne du Maurier award for best Romantic Suspense. The American author released her new book Bridged on February 10. It’s the second part of well received Callahan&McLane series. We’ve got an exclusive chance to learn more about it in our next interview.
– Kendra, After the great success of Vanished what Bridged will bring up to the readers?
– BRIDGED kicks off with a fascinating crime and investigation. My main characters are assigned to the same case and the reader gets to see the next stage of their growing relationship that began in VANISHED.
– How did you decide to write the story of Callahan&McLane series?
– Mason Callahan appeared in three of my Bone Secrets novels as a secondary character. Readers begged me for his story, and I was determined to create a worthy love interest to butt heads with him. VANISHED was to be the fifth book in that series, but half way through I realized I needed more books to tell their story and it evolved into its own series.
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– The same challenge I have with every book: the discipline to get the entire story plotted and typed up within four months. I’m on a schedule to write a novel every six months. The first two months are spent working with my editors on the book I just turned in, taking a vacation to recover from the previous book, and brainstorming the next. Then I give myself four months to pound out the manuscript and do my own edits, and the cycle starts all over again.
– Tell us something more about your main character Callahan and Mclane? Are they 100% fiction or it’s close to someone from your real life?
– Hmmmm. I don’t think I want to reveal that. 😉 The person I had in mind when I first described Callahan in HIDDEN doesn’t need to know he’s the inspiration.
– How much time you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– My publisher will usually have the book for sale within six to eight months after I send in the first unedited draft.
– The third book of Callahan&McLane series Spiraled is available for pre-sales. Would you unveil something about the story?
– In SPIRALED, Ava McLane is involved in a violent crime that has a history dating back twenty years. Her twin sister, who is a constant thorn in her side, drags Ava into her emotional and mental hell, making Callahan wonder if she’ll ever be the same woman.
– Did you expect your Bone Secrets Series to become such a big hit?
– Heck no. My agent spent a year trying to sell my first book, HIDDEN. It is soul-crushing to receive rejection after rejection. Now that book is about to hit 300K sales. I never expected to make a living as an author; I simply wanted to see my name on the spine of a book. For years I watched my published friends get excited about their first sale, and then realize they still had to work the day job. I was very fortunate to land with a powerful publisher. But selling that first book isn’t enough. I have to continue to produce books to keep the income flowing. The public thinks that selling a book means that you’re set for life—totally untrue. I work more now than I did when I went into an office. The perks are that I can wear yoga pants, sleep in, and don’t have a commute.
– Who are you?
– I am mommy to three girls and an introvert who can barely tolerate social functions. I never start anything that I know I won’t finish. I’m picky about how the dish washer is loaded and I want to live somewhere I can wear flip-flops every day.
– What are your writing habits?
– I don’t write every day. I map out weekly goals for my novels based on their due dates, but I’m a horrible procrastinator. I often leave my word counts until the end of the week and then scramble to catch up. But I never miss a deadline. I spend waaaaay too much time on Facebook and looking at homes for sale in warm climates when I should be writing.
– Do you have plans for your next novel?
– I’m currently writing the fifth Bone Secrets novel. The main character is Chris Jacobs from BURIED. After that will be the fourth Callahan and McLane novel and then two books in a new series.
– What are you doing to promote by the best possible way your book?
– I leave promotion in the hands of my publisher. Nothing I do can match them. I send notifications of my new releases to an email list and post some things on Facebook.
– How did you see your development as a writer during the years?
– I think my writing is more focused. I used to go off topic and write scenes that didn’t add to the story, but now I’m aware when I start to do that. I’ve had the same developmental editor for all my books and working with her has taught me a lot. I hear her voice in my head when I’m writing. She’s great about asking the right questions about my characters and making certain there is motivation for every action.
– What is the secret of organizing your time and to stay focused on writing with three daughters around you?
– Thank goodness they go to school five days a week. I keep a calendar on my desk and phone so I know everything that needs to happen each week. I use headphones a lot and when my kids are home, they know mom means it when she says, “Don’t talk to me until 3PM unless someone is bleeding heavily or the house is on fire.”
– Ask yourself a question (And don’t forget to answer!)
– If you weren’t making a living as an author, would you still write? Writing a novel is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I think if I stopped, I’d always wonder if the next idea would have been the novel to push me into “working author” land. Simply for that reason alone, I’d probably keep doing it.
Take a look at her books:
Callahan & McLane
Bone Secrets Series