We are talking today about a book I cannot wait to jump into. If I wasn't a little OCD about finishing a book I'm reading before starting a new one I'd be deep into all the deliciousness of Elizabeth's latest release by now.
Thanks for stopping by and chatting with me a bit today Elizabeth!
Hi Kelli!! I’m excited to be here, and thanks for having me.
A mistake made long ago…
Pain buried so deep...
When Bailey Trent returns home to her small little Ozark mountain town after being away for nearly six years, she knows she’ll face the ghosts of her past. It does not mean she’s prepared to come face to face with the cruelest of those memories.
Darren Cory’s life is a shell of what it once was, and when he’s forced to endure the cause of his agony, hatred abounds quickly. But hating Bailey destroys him too.
Can Darren find a way to move past the pain and forgive the woman he once cared so much for before his anger consumes them both? Or will he drag them into the hell of an unforgiven past.
So tell me, what inspired your to write this particular story? Where their parts that came easier to write than others?
I can’t say I have a particular inspiration for this book. It is just one of many stories floating around in my head. That said, I feel passionate about the subject matter. This particular plot was actually part of the Brother’s Keeper plot line at one point in time, but it was just far too big for Brother’s Keeper, and frankly, Rowan had enough on her plate and didn’t need this added story line!! My Brother’s Keeper fans might be shocked to know that Jess was once Sara… I know, how dare I?!?! Anyway, there are always ups and downs in my writing. Sometimes it flows like water, other times it’s more like concrete through a sieve. This was actually a fairly quick write for me—about two months if I’m not mistaken, and for 100k words, that’s pretty decent on my schedule.
What about Darren and Bailey do you think readers will connect with the most?
They’re very real, honest, and flawed, and I think I’ve done a good job of writing that authentically and emotionally. At the same time, they’re loveable. They may not be perfect, and God knows they’re not, but you still want to fight for them and believe in them. I love writing those characters—imperfect, but worthy.
I have to say you're really very talented at writing perfectly flawed, yet redeemable characters. Are you a plotter or a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pantster when it comes to writing? What's your process in developing a story?
Somewhere between the two. My plots are beyond loose when I sit down to write, but I do have a general plot. It might be safer to say I have a setting and certain elements. I find I’m very much inventing and creating the story as I go, and I have to admit, it stalls me sometimes when I get to part of the story, and I can’t figure out what path to take them down. I don’t do anything to prepare to write at all except sit down at my computer and start typing. I research along the way as needed, and I develop the ins and outs of my story as it flows and as I’m writing. I’m sure some would say I’m going about it the wrong way, but it works for me. I’m a loosey-goosey when it comes to my process.
Psst. Same here...
And I know this is such an unfair question but ... Which of your books is your favorite?
Unforgiven … and not because it’s my newest release. I truly do love all of my stories and all of my characters, but this one has really stuck with me. I’m obsessed with this storyline and these characters right now.
That just makes me about a million times more excited to get into this book! What authors do you think have had the greatest influence on your own writing? Who is your automatic-buy author?
I’m a huge Iris Johansen fan, which is odd since I write contemporary romance, but she kind of started it all for me. I fell in love with reading romance from a stack of Iris Johansen books a friend gave me years ago.
Do you have a favorite "fan moment" you could tell us about?
Not really… Sad really, isn’t it? Maybe I’ve had a fan moment, and I didn’t even know it. That would be like me. OH!! How about being interviewed by the illustrious and talented Kelli Evans??? Does that count?
You get a point for flattery ;)
You get a point for flattery ;)
Who is your book boyfriend?
Derek from The Devil’s Pawn. I’ve been in love with him since the moment I wrote him. I love his brooding, dark and mysterious persona. He was terrifying, but amazing, and I LOVE THAT!!
Oh I love Derek! Loved every dark mysterious ornery thing about him. *sigh*
So what's next for you?
So glad you asked. I have two more contracted books that are both in the early stages of edits. The first, Conflicting Interests, is contracted with Ellora’s Cave. It is a detective/victim scenario. Still loaded with emotion, but there are some great sarcastic secondary characters I had fun writing. And second, The Innocent Liar, is contracted with Musa Publishing. It is a boss/employee set-up with lots of secrets and enemies. The backstory and secrets are revealed throughout the story, so it’s hard to go into too much detail on the plot for that one.
Go you. You are one busy lady! I'm so glad you had the time to stop by here and chat it up with me. I've had such a blast.
Thanks so much for letting me crash your blog today, Kelli!! It was fun, and I can’t wait to hear what you think of Unforgiven!!
I hope you'll stop by again soon. Good luck with everything you've got on your plate.
Here's a little taste of Unforgiven for all you readers.
It was a week after Bailey had told him she was leaving, and he was sitting in his car outside her home, staring at his steering wheel. He didn’t know how to do this, and he wasn’t even sure why he was doing it. But he was absolutely going to fucking do it.
He knocked, and he waited. He could hear her feet padding to the door, and his heart pounded. When she pulled the door open, he watched as her lips parted, and her chest instantly stilled as she held her breath.
“Stay.” She stared dumbfounded. “Don’t leave.”
She shook her head as though she could make sense of what he said if she could rattle her gears back into place. “What? Why?”
“I need you here!” His lips trembled as he spoke. “Because I know if you leave then this is the place I’m going to be for the rest of my life.” His hands were trembling and his chest was tight. He felt as though he were breaking apart.
“Savoy?” She didn’t understand.
“No. This.” He shook his head in frustration. “This! Us. I need to deal with this. I have to, or … or I swear to God, it’s going to kill me.” He could feel his eyes tearing. “I hate you. I really and truly hate you.” He looked over her shoulder, seeking understanding that he just couldn’t wrap his head around. “But… I still… Stay. Convince me not to hate you, because… because hating you is the end of me.”
She started crying then, and he stood forcing his diaphragm to work, trying to calm his emotions—the emotions that had been running rampant since he’d heard her say she was leaving and his heart had lodged in his throat. It made no sense at all. He’d been prepared to leave, and yet, hearing her say she was leaving was painful.
“Darren, I…” She was going to say no, and that damn panic hit again. He grabbed her, pushing her against the wall. She gripped his waist, and he groaned quietly. She had to stay. He meant every word of what he said. He could feel it in his core, though he couldn’t rationalize it to save his life.
He dropped his forehead to hers. He was so close to her, and it soothed him in a way he didn’t want to admit—in a way he recognized from another lifetime. “Please stay. Please.” He was almost whispering, but he could feel her head nodding even though he couldn’t see her. He relaxed for the first time in days, and he sighed. Her fingers were still gripping the sides of his waist, and he could feel their tension release as he relaxed, but she didn’t pull her hands away, and he was so infinitely glad she didn’t.
She held her place, and she let him keep her against the wall. It was far too intimate, but everything they did, even what they did in anger, seemed to feel intimate—always had. He needed to walk away, but he couldn’t. He also couldn’t give her more than this. He wanted to. He wanted to collapse against her, pull her into his arms, crumble to the floor with her in his lap, but he wasn’t lying when he said he hated her. Or maybe he was. He didn’t have a fucking clue anymore. He wanted to hate her. That much he knew. He wanted to hate her because it felt right, and it felt powerful even through the helplessness. But he was no longer sure he was capable of hating her.
He still couldn’t figure out why he needed her to stay, but the words he’d said to her were the God’s honest truth. He knew he had to deal with this if there was ever a hope for him. When he was planning on moving away, he was secure in the knowledge that she would be here in Savoy. He could find her when he needed to, when he was ready to. But her leaving, that was intolerable. She could disappear forever, and he wasn’t ready for that. It felt as though his very last chance at redemption and sanity was dissolving, and he just couldn’t handle that.
“What am I supposed to do here? My mom needs to go to Memphis, and I’m not going to ask her to stay. But I have nothing here.” Her voice cracked for a moment.
“I can’t help you with that. Your life is your own. What you do with it is too. Just don’t run away. That’s all I’m asking. I promise I won’t run either.” She nodded. Her eyes were wide, terrified if he were guessing, and he didn’t quite know what that meant. Was she really afraid of him? Was she afraid of what would happen between them? If she was, then she wasn’t the only one. He was afraid too. There was something so incredibly tantalizing about her. To him, she’d always been the most captivating creature in the world. She still was.
“What does this mean for us?”
“Nothing.” He focused on her eyes, studying her reaction. He knew it hurt her feelings to hear him say it, but it was the truth. He didn’t know what to expect from any of this, and he certainly didn’t intend to make up and place nice with her.
“Then why should I stay?”
He leaned to her ear. He could smell her incredible scent. She smelled of subtle shower wash. Not flowery or fruity but warm and sweet like oatmeal and honey. He was guessing it was something like that. He almost stayed there too long, just inhaling against her neck. “Don’t you at least want a chance at redemption?” He pulled back from her.
“Yes.” She nodded, and he finally backed away from her.
“Well, this should be interesting, shouldn’t it?” He could feel his lips pulling up in a smirk. Then he turned and walked away, out her door, and down to his car. He sat for moment, a bit stunned at what he’d done and infinitely relieved that he’d had the balls to do it. He was right. This promised to be interesting.
Go out. Get the book. Devour it. Don't forget to leave some reviews, especially if you love it. And for God's sake let's give this girl a fan moment! ;) Thanks everyone for stopping by! See you again soon!
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