Welcome Elaine to Genuine Jenn! We are excited to have you on our Author Spotlight this week. Let's get started.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and why/what inspired you to write? When did you start writing?
Hi, thanks for having me here. I’m Elaine Calloway and I write paranormal/suspense ghost stories with romantic elements, as well as urban fantasy/good vs. evil tales.
When I started writing…hmm…well, there’s a photo on the Bio tab of my website that shows me sitting at a typewriter at the age of two. I like to think that was my beginning, because I do feel as if I’ve been writing all my life.
So many teen girls keep diaries, but I dove headfirst into the diary/journal concept and found how much I loved it. Writing things down helped me sort out my thoughts. Playing with toys for me was always about creating new stories for the “characters” of my toys :)
For most of my life, I wrote short stories or did a few pieces as a hobby. When I entered my mid-30s, I knew it was now or never, so I took the plunge into writing novels and have been going like the Energizer Bunny ever since!
What was your inspiration for ‘No Grits No Glory'?
An apartment. One of my husband’s family members owned rental property, and over many years, had rented it out to everyone in the family who needed a temporary place to stay. Grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, sons and daughters all lived there at one point or another.
The “spark” that first ignited that book idea is when I thought, “What would those walls say if they could talk? All those multi-generations having lived in one place over the years.”
That seed grew, then I travelled to the haunted city of Savannah where the book takes place, and the rest of the story grew from there!
What three words would you use to best describe No Grits No Glory?
Intriguing ghost story.
But, if I’m allowed to cheat on this rule and do a sentence, I’d say, “Yankee moves down South to find her home haunted by Southern ghosts and everything goes awry.”
Can you tell us if you’re working on anything else at the moment?
Oh, yes! I’m always working on something or another. I just completed the final edits on Krewe of Souls, which is the third ghost book in the series. That book releases on 11/18 and can be pre-ordered now on my website from the vendor of your choice:
I’m also writing the fifth and final book of my other series, The Elemental Clans, which is called Penance and will release in Feb 2016.
After I finish that, I will return to the Southern Ghosts Series and focus on more books there. There are ten total planned books for that series.
What was your very first book that you wrote?
I wrote a women’s fiction book that is still under my bed. Actually, it needs major editing and I want to break it into four separate books so there is a series. My brain hasn’t been up to that task yet, so I’m hoping later in 2016 I will start on that.
Other than your own, what are your favorite books?
I like a wide variety of genres to read in. Anything by Dennis Lehane – I really loved the Kenzie/Gennaro series. Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart Series is wonderful; I love the way she makes the words sound like music on the page.
Jennifer Weiner’s Good in Bed is one of my favorites (and nope, it is not a sex manual, but a fantastic women’s fiction story!)
There are others – JR Ward, Pat Conroy, Jennifer Estep, but it’s a long list!
When you are writing do you like to listen to music? What is on your playlist?
Definitely! Some writers prefer quiet but I must have music to write by. I create a playlist for every book, sometimes every character. For No Grits No Glory, with its haunted and Irish themes, I had a lot of Irish bands including The Saw Doctors, The Pogues, The Cranberries, and a band I saw play at the Savannah Irish Festival called Roger Drawdy & The Firestarters. They were amazing; their albums pretty much consumed my playlist!
I put links to iTunes playlist songs for each book on my website – the one for No Grits No Glory is here:
Who is your favorite character in your books?
Wow, this is a hard one. I get attached to all my characters, and writing the villains is so much fun for me :) I suppose, if forced, I like Declan (Brianna’s older brother in No Grits No Glory) who makes appearances in the next few books.
I also really like my fallen angel character Cristos, who is getting his own book (Penance) in February 2016.
Do you ever take characteristics or nuances from close friends or family when working on character development and if so has that friend or family member noticed and what was their response to it?
Not so much nuances or characteristics, but if someone whom I’m close to makes an observation about something that is spot-on-perfect, I will ask them if I can use that in the book. But that doesn’t happen too often.
I definitely take from life, and the characters are an amalgam of many I’ve known over the years, but it’s always best to not have someone very identifiable in fiction works.
What’s your favorite treat?
Not sure if this question means for an activity or a food/drink, so I’ll answer for both :)
For activities, I love curling up inside on a rainy day and reading a great book or watching The Walking Dead or similar show/movie. It’s my chance to unwind and focus on another type of story other than my writing or my daily life.
For food/beverages, I am utterly in love with Twix bars and have to keep them to a minimum or I’d eat them constantly. I also love a cold glass of Michelob Ultra or Pinot Grigio wine. And if it’s daytime, I love iced coffee!
What’s your Favorite place to read/write?
To read, I love the recliner in my den. I can see out the windows and curl up under a blanket.
To write, even though I have an ergonomic chair and a great desk area, I find I get more words written if I am outside of the house. There are several cafes and sandwich shops nearby and I frequent all of them to get some writing done. I like being able to put on my headphones, listento music, and yet be out amongst the living even though I don’t have to interact with them consistently in order to get my word count done.
For editing what’s already written, my desk is the best option because I have a big monitor :)
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
That’s a toughie because there are so many places! Probably Ireland and/or Scotland. I have family roots there and the landscape is beautiful. But I would definitely enjoy being on the beach as well, or in the Pacific Northwest of the USA – Portland is one of my favorite cities.
Too many to choose, but I’d say Ireland is my top vote.
About Elaine Calloway
Elaine Calloway grew up in New Orleans with a love of cemeteries and all things paranormal. Even though she no longer lives there, she can still do a Cajun accent upon request and often sets her books there so she and feel closer to her home. She writes paranormal and fantasy books with romantic elements. When she isn’t writing or reading, she enjoys photography, binge watching The Walking Dead, and spending time with family and friends. To learn more about her books and connect with her online, visit www.elainecalloway.com
~*Disclaimer: This post was written by Genuine Jenn. All opinions are honest and my own.*~