If you’ve read my reviews, you probably know that I am a HUGE fan of Elizabeth’s and her Elemental Mysteries/Elemental World series. I’d like to think I am someone who stays cool, calm and collected when talking to people I admire, but I’ll be honest – I have full blown fan girl moments every time I talk to Elizabeth. This time was no different. After finishing BLOOD & SAND, I had some lingering questions so Elizabeth graciously agreed to an interview. I got way more that I expected and I am honored to share this with you. ENJOY!
*NOTE: THIS INTERVIEW HAS SPOILERS. IF YOU HAVE NOT READ BLOOD & SAND, YOU MAY WANT TO STOP HERE.*
Purchase BLOOD & SAND > http://amzn.to/17ehwUJ
My Review of BLOOD & SAND > http://bit.ly/18I4lLB
I know you are working on other books while you continue the Elemental World series. Is it challenging for you at all to leave the Elemental World and then jump back into it?
I wouldn’t say it’s too challenging. Writing in the Elemental World at this point is like hanging out with old friends. Even if I’ve gone a while without seeing them, things seem to slip into place once I get into a project.
What made you choose to write Baojia’s story as the next installment in the Elemental World? How do you choose which character to focus on next? Do you have any idea as to whose book you will be writing next?
I had the idea for BLOOD AND SAND almost immediately after finishing The Force of Wind. I knew that there would be consequences to Baojia defying Ernesto, so I wanted to explore that. But I also knew that I needed to write Building From Ashes first. So the idea for Baojia’s story has been hanging around my brain for a while.
And the progression of the expanded series is pretty organic. Usually, when I’m done with one story, the next presents itself. And they all feed into the larger plot picture. Right now, I haven’t decided which character will be next. The most likely are either Lucien or Murphy, but that could change.
You’ve said that the characters “speak” to you. Is it hard to push those characters aside and out of your head once you are done with their story? For example, did Gio and B or Carwyn and Brigid every try to bother you while you were writing Blood & Sand?
No. I can’t really explain why, but that’s usually not a problem. I try to keep my books very focused. BLOOD AND SAND, even though it had many of the characters from other books in it, was Baojia and Natalie’s story, so I tried to keep it very focused on them. Otherwise, a book feels messy to me.
You write the most enthralling, action packed fight scenes I have ever read before. What do you do to get in that “fight scene writing zone”? Do you watch action movies in preparation?
First off, thank you! I feel like action scenes are some of the hardest to write, so I appreciate that. I do watch martial arts movies sometimes. I also watch documentaries, and my son has been involved in martial arts for some time, so I’ve seen a lot in person. I think so much of writing great action is getting in the characters’ heads and experiencing a scene as they do, so it’s not all about the mechanics. A lot of it is perception and emotion.
After Baojia realizes that Rory must be the one working with Ivan, he leaves for a while and comes back smelling like smoke. Where did he go? Did he spar with Gio? Will we ever get to see the scene where he went?
Ha! Hmmm. I think you could assume that he and Gio had a run-in at some point. Will you ever get to see that scene? Maybe. I might write an extra about that for the website. It could be cathartic for everyone.
Let’s talk the ending of the book and Natalie’s pregnancy. This is the first baby that we see that does not have two human parents. Should readers infer that since Baojia is a vampire that the baby’s biological father is a random human donor?
You are correct that vampires cannot father children in my world, but I don’t think you should assume that anything Baojia does is random. He’s a very thoughtful and deliberate person. (Sorry, that’s as specific as I will get.)
Is this the end of Baojia and Natalie’s story? Will they be getting another book?
It’s not the end of their story, but I don’t know if they’ll be main characters in another book. Possibly a novella or short? I think they’ll definitely show up again, like all my characters tend to do. Besides, Natalie’s kind of an adrenaline junkie, no matter how Baojia tries to hold her back.
As a huge fan of the Elemental Mysteries series, I was thrilled to see more of Gio and B. However, the interactions between B and Baojia make me wonder – what was the extent of their feelings for one another back in Elemental Mysteries? I thought I had it figured out in The Force of Wind, but after this book I was left wondering if I interpreted it all wrong and that their feelings were deeper than I had once thought.
I think it’s possible to be attracted to the idea of a person, but not the reality. It’s also possible that, if history had taken one turn instead of another, outcomes could be very different. COULD Beatrice and Baojia have been a great couple if things had been different? Possibly. But that’s not what DID happen, and I don’t think anything can diminish the love and commitment between Beatrice and Giovanni. I think, at the end of the day, B and Baojia will remain good friends, and they’ve both found their best match in their partners.
Baojia leaving Ernesto’s aegis was a BIG deal. How come Ernesto let him go so easily? Was he still that angry about Baojia’s actions in China?
I don’t see that as Ernesto letting Baojia go easily at all. But Ernesto isn’t a monster, and he wouldn’t keep Baojia under his aegis by force. That’s not something acceptable for sires to do in my world. In the end, it was Baojia’s choice to leave. And yes, Ernesto was still very upset about China. From his perspective, Baojia had one job, to keep Beatrice safe, and he failed. Remember, it’s all about perspective.
What was your favorite scene to write? Hardest scene?
Is it too weird to say that I loved the intimate scenes between Baojia and Natalie in this book? I really did. I think, because he’s a character who is very reserved, seeing Baojia’s more passionate side, and writing that, was really wonderful. He loves Natalie so much.
As for the hardest scene, I’m not sure. Writing the scene where Natalie first learns about vampires was really difficult, because I tried to imagine and express how mind-bending that would really be. She’s a very rational, skeptical person, so she fought accepting it. And I think that was very genuine for her character. How would you react? I think she handled it better than I would have!
So by saying you enjoyed writing the intimate scenes between Natalie and Baojia, you opened up the door to this question. I believe, and I’ve been told by other fans of your writing, that you write beautiful intimate scenes between your characters. They have a great balance between tenderness, intimacy and steaminess. Do you have an approach to writing these scenes? How do you find that perfect balance that makes the scenes beautiful but not over the top?
I don’t mind talking about writing sex! I’m glad people feel like my scenes are balanced. To be honest, I approach writing action and sex in very similar ways. Both are very important ways of “showing” who a character is without “telling.” Actions speak louder than words, right? So for both action and sex, I write enough of the scene to let readers know what is going on physically, but then focus on emotion and perspective. Connecting action to emotion is what makes a scene really “steam” for me, so I try to do that for my readers, too.
A sex scene should fit the couple. There’s no formula. Terry and Gemma had a very different dynamic than Baojia and Natalie or Gio and Beatrice. I try to use those scenes to reveal things that go unsaid, whether it’s tenderness, vulnerability, or even anger or frustration. I don’t ever intend to be gratuitous. Those scenes are important. But I also feel like I can leave things to readers’ imaginations. You guys are smart; not everything needs to be spelled out.
Oh, and I never forget foreplay. 😉 That can be the hottest part.
What’s your next project going to be about? What does your writing calendar look like for the rest of the year?
Right now, I’m about halfway through the first book in a new trilogy I’m very excited about. The book is called The Scribe. (You read it here first.) And the series will be called the Irin Chronicles. I’ll probably start posting teasers on my blog fairly soon.
I’m actually going to Istanbul later this month to research the new series. No vampires, but it is Contemporary Fantasy/Paranormal Romance, with a heavier emphasis on magic, which is something I haven’t really done before. It’s still very character driven, so if you liked the Elemental Mysteries, I think you’ll like this one, too. I have three books planned, and I’ll be working on the first (maybe the second) this summer.
I’m also planning a short story in the Cambio Springs series about Ted (Teodora) and Alex, and I’ll be writing their full novel in the fall. After that? I have no idea! Whatever idea won’t leave me alone the most.
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