As anyone who might be following this Word Slinger Project might have taken note I have had to take a short break while I suffered a never ending bout of the flu. The bug pretty well took my hiney down. Luckily, both Elizabeth and follow Slinger, Khalid Muhammad stuck with me while their reviews, interviews and profiles literally hung in virtual cyberspace. Thanks oodles Elizabeth for being a complete trooper through my weakened state… I was just becoming a lycan. =)
Weekly Indie Word Slinger: Elizabeth Kelly
Elizabeth Kelly was born and raised in Ontario, Canada. She moved west as a teenager and now lives in Alberta with her husband Ben and her cat Murray. She’s been writing stories in her head since childhood, but only realized ten years ago that the voices quieted down if she wrote them down. A romantic at heart, it makes sense that she writes romance. Her stories tend to feature strong female characters who are challenged by the alpha males who love them.
She spends most of her days in her home office writing and pushing Murray off her computer keyboard. She firmly believes that a human can survive solely on sushi, Starbucks and Pop Tarts, and only her husband’s mad cooking skills stops her from proving that theory.
She loves hearing from readers, and will happily accept offers to send her Pop Tarts.
Elizabeth Kelly’s Thoughts:
In Red Moon you create this phenomenal world of lycans and other paranormal creatures that live within this futuristic dystopian society. For the most part humans have been subjugated to slaves; leeches and faeries are monsters, and lycans fall within the boundaries of the good and bad that might have at one time been a descriptor of the human counterparts prior to the fall of humanity. What is it about this new societal hierarchy and power balance that makes this new world so treacherous, yet seductive? What is the place of the Williams Family within the construct of all this?
What makes this new world so treacherous for humans in particular, is the presence of supernaturals. The Great War and the subsequent loss of lives as well as the technology that allowed them to rule, pushed humans to the bottom of the food chain, so to speak. Before the Great War, the existence of supernaturals was only hinted at. Now, their existence is intrinsically connected with that of the humans. Although some supernaturals were adversely affected by the Great War (Lycans as an example, lost many of their own kind), others, like the leeches and the faeries, have thrived in the new world. Humans have been forced to not only acknowledge the existence of supernaturals, but they’ve also been forced to co-exist with them. In some cases this proves detrimental to the humans, but in other ways it’s helped them to survive. Often these survival relationships involve honorable, powerful, and protective heroes who are both dangerous and exciting to the human characters and readers alike.
The Williams family are pioneers within their kind. They see what the future is and understand that relationships with the humans are a necessity. They realize that Lycans and humans can co-exist and have a better chance of surviving against a resurging leech population. Humans and Lycans divided are easier to conquer than humans and Lycans unified.
In Red Moon Rising (Red Moon Rising Second Generation) you introduce James. He is the first son of Avery and Tristan, who are the main characters of Red Moon–the book that Red Moon Rising branches off of. James and Tristan are phenomenal, hot, sexy, tasty, dreamy, yummy… I need more adjectives… They are extremely strong alpha characters, but you crafted them to be compellingly distinct. What did you know about James as you wrote him that allowed you to make him have all the powerful and dominant characteristics of Tristan but keep him uniquely individual?
When I first got the idea of writing a story about James, I knew immediately that I wanted him to be a unique blend of Avery and Tristan. James is obviously very similar to his father, but there’s a sweetness to him that is purely his mother. Tristan is kind but I wouldn’t describe him as particularly sweet. James is an alpha male, no doubt about that, but he has a gentleness to him that most Lycans do not have. That gentleness is apparent in the way he interacts with Bree. He recognizes her fragility and responds accordingly.
When Avery met Tristan she was extremely balanced and assured despite having been a slave. She had a great deal of self confidence and inner strength and her purpose was to care for her sister, Maya–good or bad. It was a great character point that she would always carry her own problems and Maya or Tristan’s on her shoulders to protect either of them. She works especially hard to keep Tristan from learning about anything untoward happening in his home. Why is it that Avery’s sacrifices always feels like loyalty instead of martyrdom? Why is it that from very early on, while they are still traveling even, Avery begins to develop this sense of devotion? What is it about her character that draws her to protect even those who can protect themselves?
In Red Moon, Avery’s driven to protect Maya at all costs. She had already lost her father and her younger siblings, and her mother had betrayed them in an incredibly horrifying way. I believe her sacrifices come across as loyalty and not martyrdom because readers get a sense very early on that Avery loves Maya fiercely, and will do whatever she has to in order to keep Maya safe. As well, she never regrets the choices she makes despite the potential for suffering. Avery may not be Lycan but she has the same need to protect her family the way Lycans do.
In the beginning, she keeps her treatment by the other slaves a secret from Tristan because she’s worried that it will adversely affect Maya. Even after she falls in love with Tristan, she’s so accustomed to being loathed by others and thought of as a witch because of her red hair, she doesn’t even consider the possibility that Tristan would choose to believe her word over the word of Mrs. Lanning. Avery feels the need to protect others partly because of her personality and partly because she has been given this gift of healing that allows her to protect the ones she loves.
It didn’t strike me until the second book that the collection of more and more people into the family of Marshall and Maya and Tristan and Avery was making it more and more pack like. Was this intentional or just through default of happy families growing larger and larger?
A little bit of both, actually. When we first meet Tristan, he has been basically been without a pack for the last five years. Other than his adopted brother Marshall, he has no family members around him. Now, suddenly he finds himself not only reunited with his child but he’s taken in a baby as well. With the arrival of Sophia and Nicky he begins to rebuild his pack by immediately convincing his mother to come live with him and by, subconsciously at first, thinking of both Avery and Maya as belonging within his pack. Maya, because of Marshall’s love for her, and Avery, because of Tristan’s growing feelings for her. In Red Moon Rising, the pack has grown substantially because, as you mentioned, happy families grow larger!
I am always on the fence about whether or not the couples in the Red Moon books are fated mates or not. There does to be a certain amount of instantaneous attraction but is that just two compatible beings who “could” be mates or is there a sense of fate coming into play?
That’s a really interesting question. I think it falls to the individual reader to decide for themselves whether it is fate or not that these couples meet and fall in love.
Bree is a character that I really loved because she is really one of those souls that goes through darkness and misery and has to search to find herself. Her journey is very difficult and her reward is hard won but precious to her because she has given herself to her love, surrendered to it completely. You wrote her to be so thirsty for love and affection throughout the story but so terrified to let herself to have a taste. What was the first draft of Bree like compared to your final draft? How did that affect how James and his family interaction with her developed?
Interestingly enough, Bree was one of the first characters I’ve written who was fully fleshed-out in my head before I even wrote a word down. Because of that, her character changed very little from the first to the final draft. I knew I wanted her to be fragile and a little damaged by the life she’s been forced to live but, as she learns to trust James and his family, begins to find her courage. She’s searched her entire life for the type of love and affection that Avery bestows freely upon her children. Yes, she’s attracted to James, but ultimately it’s Avery who convinces her that Lycans can not only be trusted, but give her the love she’s so desperately seeking.
Throughout the two books we are looking at human/lycan relationships producing more and more diminished lycan bloodlines. Will you be addressing this in later books? I would hate for there to be a time when the lycans have cubs that can’t shift.
We’ve already seen this happen in Red Moon Rising with Maya and Marshall’s daughter Dani. Her twin brother Doran has the ability to shift but Dani does not. That being said, although it is a natural evolution of Lycans and humans mating to have diminished Lycan bloodlines, the combination of genes necessary for shifting is still very common in half-Lycans.
You have so many family members now on each side of the families: who has been your favorite character to develop? Whose character has surprised you the most? Which character speaks the loudest to you when you are writing, leaving you only to edit out a great deal of their parts later on?
My favourite character to develop has definitely been Leta (pronounced with a long e sound like “Leeta”). Her lack of a filter, her strong personality and her childish innocence makes her just plain fun to write! Sophia’s character has surprised me the most. I assumed she would be an adult version of Leta (at least her bossiness as a child suggested she would be) but as I was writing she naturally became one of the quieter, more reserved members of the Williams’ family. Thanks to Avery, she has very strong opinions on how humans should be treated, and she’s also inherited her father’s habit of believing that what she wants, she should get! Surprisingly enough, Tristan’s mother Vivian is the character who speaks loudest to me but ultimately gets most of her scenes edited out.
How far do you want to go with this series? Do you have an idea for which characters might have their own stories? Will there be a series story arc or will the books each be able to be read as standalones?
My plan for this series is to tell individual stories for James, Sophia and Nicholas. The next book in the series “Dark Moon” focuses on Sophia and Kaden, and the third and final book, “Pale Moon”, will give readers the story of Nicky. I strive to make each book in the series a standalone in that a person can read the book and see the characters meet, fall in love, and find their happily ever after.
For example, Red Moon Rising gives us the entire story of James and Bree. You don’t have to read the next book to know what happens to them. However, each subsequent book will reveal a little more about what their relationship is like after their “happily ever after”. While “Dark Moon” is about Sophia and Kaden, readers who have fallen in love with James and Bree will be happy to see that they’re fully integrated into this book as well.
What is your favorite genre to write in?
Paranormal romance. Although I enjoy writing contemporary romance, paranormal gives me the opportunity to build new worlds and create strange and interesting characters. Pale Moon will reveal more of the post apocalyptic world created in Red Moon. Without revealing too much, the story will move away from the home of the Lycans and new supernaturals will be introduced.
If someone who had never read any of your stories was to ask you to recommend them a book from each genre you have written what would be the list you would give them and why would you choose those books?
For my contemporary genre, I`d recommend reading “Healing Gabriel”. The hero isn’t your typical hero and the heroine is strong, confident and a wee bit klutzy. The story starts with them being friends and I love the idea of a friendship blossoming into love. It’s the sweetest kind of love I think. For my paranormal genre, it’s a toss-up between the Red Moon series and “The Recruit”. I love the Red Moon series because it’s given me the opportunity to create a brand new world that’s different from anything else out there. I love “The Recruit” because it’s about a woman who suffers a terrible tragedy and uses that tragedy to become a more powerful and confident person. Plus it has a super-hot, super alpha male Lycan in it, and who doesn’t love that?
If you were to review your own book what would you have to say about it? Tell me what you feel are the strong part and the weak parts about your novel and in hindsight is there anything that you might have changed.
For me, the strongest part of both Red Moon and Red Moon Rising are the relationships that develop. Avery and Tristan have this instant connection based on lust and need, while James and Bree’s connection is slower to build and ultimately is gentler and sweeter. On the other side of things, I think I need to improve on the world building in the novels. In both Dark Moon and Pale Moon, I’m working hard to expand and describe the new world in greater detail. I think it’s important because a better and clearer understanding of the world in the Red Moon series will allow readers to really submerge themselves in the books.
As a self-publishing author how do you feel about book pirating? Do you think that indie authors are more strongly impacted by illegal book downloading than publishing companies? Would you be willing to make your books free and request donations if you found that was a better earning model as a self-publisher?
Book pirating both saddens and frustrates me. Authors put so much time and effort into creating a book and to have others giving it away is terribly disappointing. Indie authors are definitely more strongly impacted by illegal downloading. Many indie authors have neither the time nor the resources to fight this practice and the illegal downloaders know this. No I wouldn’t, even if it was a better earning model. I believe that indie authors can earn the same type of respect and acknowledgement as traditional authors. However, for this to happen, indie authors need to model the business practices of traditional authors.
What does being an indie author mean to you? What would you wish to change about it?
Being an indie author means the world to me. I’ve lost track of how many times Red Moon was rejected by traditional publishers. Having the ability to publish it and have such a positive reaction from readers has been the best feeling in the world. There really isn’t anything I would change about it. Being an indie author means I have the final say in everything from the story to the cover art, the publication date and the price.
Are there an opportunities that you would like to find out about or network with that you don’t have available to you currently that would help you become a more accomplished writer, increase your fanbase or help establish your work publicly that you would be interested in having someone contact you about? (Writing workshops, online writing jobs, printing press companies, beta readers, reviewers, editors, illustrators, photographers, web designers, etc.)
I’m always open to the idea of writing workshops. I strongly believe there’s always room for improvement in an author’s writing and I’m continually striving to perfect my craft. I’m definitely looking for a web designer who can help create a website that’s informative, fun and helps me to interact with my readers on a more personal level. Talking with people who read my books is, and always will be, my favourite part of being an indie author!
Thanks for being a Word Slinger!
Elizabeth Kelly’s Web Tracks:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page
Elizabeth Kelly on All The Things In Between:
Book It – In News Today: Elizabeth Kelly Reveals Dark Moon Cover
Tongue Wagger – Red Moon Rising by Elizabeth Kelly
Book Boyfriend Report – Red Moon by Elizabeth Kelly
Elizabeth Kelly’s Books:
Red Moon Synopsis:
Many years have passed since the Great War that destroyed over three quarters of the world’s population. Now, humans and supernaturals alike have learned how to survive in the new world. For Avery Hendrin, the eldest daughter of the man who brought light back to the world, life has taken a turn for the worse. Sold into slavery after her father’s death, Avery’s only concern is keeping her younger sister safe. Branded as a witch and rejected by her own kind because of her red hair, Avery resigns herself to a life in the slave house until a chance meeting with a powerful Lycan named Tristan Williams.
Although Tristan does not believe the human’s tales of the Reds being witches, he has no need for Avery. He’s in search of a nanny for his young children and after an impassioned plea from the redhead, agrees to hire her younger sister as his nanny. However, his beloved daughter Sophia has an immediate connection with Avery and Tristan cannot deny her request to purchase Avery as well, despite the discord it will bring to his household.
Struggling to accept her new life as a slave and to ignore her almost immediate attraction to Tristan, Avery tries to hide her healing powers from him but exposes her gift when she saves Tristan’s adopted brother from death.
Tristan believes his obsession with Avery is nothing more than lust. Determined to bed her despite her strange powers, will he convince her to accept her new life or give her the freedom she craves?
Purchase Red Moon:
Red Moon Rising Synopsis:
Bree has spent her entire life struggling to survive in the world built from the ashes of the Great War. Captured and forced into slavery by the Lycans, her worst fear comes true when she is chosen as the prey for their monthly hunt. She is released into the woods and the hunt begins.
Wounded and dying, Bree is rescued by a half-Lycan named James. Unique not only for his red hair but also his ability to heal, James is horrified to realize her wounds have been caused by his own kind.
Healed by James and taken in by his family, Bree slowly begins to realize that not all Lycans are cruel. Confused by her attraction to the Lycan who saved her life, she must learn to trust James and his family in order to save her enslaved brother.
Purchase Red Moon Rising:
Amazon | B&N | Smashwords | Diesel Ebooks
Dark Moon Synopsis:
Sophia Williams, a powerful and strong-willed Lycan, never thought she would fall for a human. Yet, she cannot deny the instant attraction she feels for Bree’s brother, Kaden. Used to getting what she wants, Sophia pursues him, determined to prove that she can be trusted.
Beaten and enslaved by Lycans, Kaden wants nothing to do with the family of Lycans his sister is marrying into. His lust for Sophia, the eldest daughter of Tristan and Avery, is undeniable. As lust turns to something deeper he begins to question everything he believes about the Lycans.
When a mutual enemy threatens to destroy their growing relationship, Kaden must put aside his distrust of Sophia’s family to save her.
Purchase Dark Moon:
Amazon | B&N
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