In today's spotlight we have debut romance author Elaine Dodge, talking about her historical novel Harcourt's Mountain.
1. Tell our readers a little bit about yourself.
I was born in Zambia and grew up in Zimbabwe. I currently live in South Africa but have no idea where I’ll end up as I did my first round-the-world cruise when I was just 4 years old. I trained as a designer and worked in that field for a while before setting off on another globe trot. That one lasted two and a half years. I then set up my own design company with my brother – The Artful Dodges. A long stint in advertising followed before I segued into the TV industry where I’ve been for a while winning an odd international award. Looming retrenchment has now opened up a world of possible futures. Very exciting.
2. What number book is this? First? 100th? 200th? (Nora only!)
Harcourt’s Mountain is my first book. And I’ve loved every minute of it. I’m currently deep in writing book 2 – The Device Hunter – and that’s proving to be a different animal altogether. Wrestling it into submission is a challenge but one I am thoroughly enjoying.
3. Everyone who writes knows it's not easy - what methods do you use to keep at it on days when it would be so much easier to go shoe shopping?
Popping out for a gingerbread latte is more my thing. Writing is my passion and I get very jealous of my time, so I limit my coffee expeditions to when I’ve written myself into an exhausted heap.
4. What is your top promo tip for other authors?
Use every available resource to get your name as an author and your book under everyone’s nose as possible. If you’re not out there, your book won’t sell as well as it could. As they say, you’ve got to be in it to win it.
5. How does writing fit into your day? Or does your day fit in around your writing?
If I’m at my full time job then I can only write when I get home at night but as I’m about to leave that job, thanks to downsizing, I will be able to write full time. When I’m not searching for another job that is. I can’t wait to have the whole day free to write. My life makes sense when I write. I get up early, exercise, eat properly, and go to bed, happy, at a reasonable hour. When that happens I write for anywhere between 5 to 10 hours a day.
6. Is there a book you haven't written yet that you're dying to? What genre?
I have a list of books I want to write and I find myself plotting the next one in my down time from the book currently under construction. Harcourt’s Mountain is an historical romance. Book 2,– The Device Hunter, the one I’m currently writing, is a steampunk novel and the third book is a family revenge/mistaken identity plot set in England just after WWII. I’m enjoying exploring different genres all the time.
7. Any craft books you recommend?
Your Creative Writing Masterclass by Jurgen Wolff.
The Breakout Novelist by Donald Maass
The Seven Basic Plots by Christopher Booker
8. In what way is being a published writer different to how you thought it would be?
Keeping up with all the social media aspects of promoting my book is a challenge. Especially when I’d rather be writing. I have to force myself to do it. Otherwise, being a published author still feels a little unreal. Like I’m eating at the grown-ups table!
9. What was the most fun part of writing this book?
Everything was fun. The initial plotting, the research, meeting new people who were so eager to give me information I needed and the actual writing. I loved it all. What wasn’t so fun was searching for a publisher. Thank goodness I found a lovely on - Tirgearr Publishing. The most fun part was discovering how much I enjoyed writing; that it was my passion, the feeling of this is what I’m meant to do.
10. Could you be friends with any of your heroines?
I think so. I like them when I write them.
Spring, 1867 – The western frontier of British Columbia hardly seems a likely place for romance. Filthy, terrified and confused, HOPE BOOKER is waiting to be sold off the ‘bride’ ship. LUKE HARCOURT happens upon the sale. It’s not love at first sight, but he feels compelled to save her from a life of slavery and prostitution. To allay her fears of being raped, Luke promises never to touch her. Being a man of his word, this is a pledge he quickly finds almost impossible to keep.
Battling their growing attraction to each other, they must learn to live together in the forests of the wild and almost unexplored mountains. They face white water, Indians, wolves, and dangerous men.
No longer able to deny their feelings, their ‘happy-ever-after’ is shattered when a corrupt land baron forces Luke’s hand. Enraged at the man’s actions, Luke rides into town—and disappears.
Alone and pregnant, Hope faces the prospect of the worst winter in ten years. The trauma of fighting off a hungry grizzly brings on labor, but the baby is stuck. Luke meanwhile wakes up on a ship bound for South America, captained by a revengeful sadist who plans to murder him. Will Luke survive and make it back to Hope in time?
Harcourt’s mountain is available from Tirgearr Publishing, Amazon, Amazon UK, Smashwords, Apple iTunes, Kobo, Nook, Sony, All Romance Books, and Omnilit.
Readers can connect with Elaine on her blog, or on Facebook.