Elisabeth Barrett Interview and Giveaway!

Elisabeth Barrett and I are Twitter-buddies. Meeting online is a funny thing. You never know if those you meet and develop friendships with online will turn out to be the same in person as they seem in type. I finally met Elisabeth at RWA Nationals in Los Angeles, and I’m happy to say that Elisabeth is even sweeter and funnier and more engaging in person — and I thought she was pretty darling on Twitter :).

I love having friends on the blog who are also fabulous authors, and Elisabeth is here today to chat about her upcoming release, Blaze of Winter, book two in her Star Harbor series. And she’s giving away a NetGalley Preview copy as well!!

First, a little about Blaze of Winter:

Winter heats up in this hot new Star Harbor romance, as another sexy Grayson brother, a wickedly handsome writer, plots his happily ever after with a sweet stranger.

Frustrated with her job in Boston, social worker Avery Newbridge welcomes the opportunity to reassess her life when family asks her to help manage the Star Harbor Inn. Trying to figure out her future is overwhelming enough, but she doesn’t count on distraction in the form of one Theo Grayson, the gorgeous, green-eyed author who she knows is trouble from the moment he saunters into the inn.

Not only does he have a talent for writing swashbuckling adventures, but Theo also has a soft spot for big-hearted damsels in distress, especially a woman who’s great at helping everyone—except herself. Avery’s demons challenge him, but for desire this hot, he isn’t backing down. With every kiss and heated whisper Theo promises her his heart . . . if only Avery is willing to open up and accept it.

Pick up your copy of Blaze of Winter: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or the iBookstore (Apple)

Now great stuff from Elisabeth!

Elisabeth: Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Joan! I’m very happy to be here! And may I say that you, too, are as awesome in person as you are on Twitter! I know you want to jump right into questions, so let’s get started!

Elisabeth, your heroine in Blaze of Winter, Avery, is a social worker. This field of work fascinates me. How much research did you have to do in this area for the novel?

Elisabeth: Social work and the people who choose a career in this area fascinate me, too, and I did a ton of research in an effort to be as accurate as possible. I read extensively and spoke with several people who work in the field. I was fortunate enough to have a college friend who is a social worker. She was very generous with her time, and also referred me to two of her friends who also were social workers. After hours of interviews and emails, I finally felt like I had enough insight to shape Avery’s character. None of my social worker friends are like Avery, but they provided me with valuable information about the profession in general, and about situations that might or might not arise! It was gold, I tell you! Gold!

Your hero, Theo, is an author. As an author, you obviously have a lot of experience in this field. How is Theo different from you as an author? How is he similar? Does he take on any of your writing quirks? Did he surprise you in any way?

Elisabeth: Well, at the beginning of Blaze of Winter, Theo is struggling with a bout of writer’s block, and he needs inspiration in order to write. For me, writing isn’t so much an inspiration as it’s a compulsion. I don’t wait around for the muse to strike; I simply write. Sure, there are times when I think about a scene a little too much before I start writing, but I always tell myself that I can’t edit a blank page, and then I get cracking! Theo’s books are chock-filled with lore, morality and manliness, and mine … aren’t. Well, maybe lore. Morality and manliness, not so much. As far as similarities go, I think we both want to write the best possible books we can!

I absolutely love the names you chose for your characters: Avery Newbridge and Theo Grayson. How important are character names to you? How do you choose your character’s names?

Elisabeth: Thanks! I love their names, too. Character names are extremely important to me. First off, I want them to be real. Mr. B and I actually considered both Theodore and Avery as names for our children (we ended up choosing different ones), but that meant they passed the first test. Next, the name needs to match the character’s personality. Theo could never have been a Derek or a Kevin or a John. Not that those are bad names –they just didn’t match the character. Same with Avery. I toyed with a bunch of different female names before settling on that one. And here’s a tip: the best resource I’ve found for first names is the Social Security Administration index of baby names (http://www.ssa.gov/oact/babynames/). For surnames, the US Census has some interesting data as well (http://www.census.gov/genealogy/www/data/2000surnames/index.html).

Oooooh, thank you, thank you!! Talk about gold!! Oh, sorry. Got a little excited there…I too, love names! Now…back to you!!

Star Harbor is set in New England, yet you live in the San Francisco Bay Area. How did you get the details of your setting just right?

Elisabeth: I’ve been in the Bay Area for over a decade, but I grew up in Connecticut, and I spent many summers living and working on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. The area is imprinted on my brain, and honestly, I miss it. I channeled some of that longing into the Star Harbor books, which are set around the clearly-defined New England seasons. Readers get to experience the pungent, salty aroma of the water in the harbor in summer, the way the wind blows the leaves from the trees in autumn, the mounds of snow pushed up on the sides of the streets, and the beauty of the first bright green buds of spring.

As native Californian, may I just say…jealous….   What was your favorite scene to write in BLAZE OF WINTER?

Elisabeth: Ooh, that’s tough. I really loved writing all the music scenes, since I’m a musician. I also loved writing the ice skating scene, where Theo teaches Avery how to skate. And there’s one closet scene I really enjoyed writing…but I won’t go into detail here about that. 🙂

Oh, now that’s just mean… Hrrrrumph.  What would you like to tell your readers?

Elisabeth: Thank you for reading my books! And if you’re looking for more, Deep Autumn Heat, the first book in the series, is also available. Books 3 and 4–Long Simmering Spring (Cole’s story) and Slow Summer Burn (Val’s story)–will be released in 2013. I love to connect with readers, and you can follow me on all the usual social media channels, including: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads.

Thanks for being with us, Elisabeth! Best of luck with your upcoming releases. I know they’ll be a big smash…I’m going off to order mine right now! Have to see the closet scene now don’t I???

One reader will be randomly selected to win a NetGalley preview of BLAZE OF WINTER. Contest ends September 16th at midnight (EDT).The only thing you’ll need is a NetGalley account! Enter via Rafflecopter below!

 

Raised in a sleepy little Connecticut town, Elisabeth draws on her upbringing to write small-town romances. Her summers spent living and working on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard were the inspiration for the Star Harbor series, which kicks off with Deep Autumn Heat and continues with Blaze of Winter (coming September 2012). Currently, Elisabeth lives in Northern California with her husband and three children.

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