Please join me in welcoming Elisabeth Naughton to Debbie's Book Bag today. Elisabeth is her to talk about her latest release, Tempted, the third book in the Eternal Guardians series. The publisher has offered two copies of Tempted for giveaway, see details at the end of the post.
EN: Thanks for inviting me to stop by during my Tempted blog tour! I’m thrilled to be here.
I get asked this question a lot, and unfortunately, my life isn’t anywhere near as exciting as the lives of my characters (I know, hard to believe, right?), so apologies to readers right from the start. (Don’t worry, we’ll talk about my characters in a bit.) I taught middle school science for nine years before leaving teaching to try my hand at writing. I was the hard ass teacher every kid didn’t want (but had to have), and I was the teacher the principal was worried would blow up the school. (I know, even harder to believe, right?) I actually got my teaching position when the guy before me had a nervous breakdown and was later found to be purchasing supplies through the school to make bombs at home. Understandably, my principal was a tad bit nervous the next science teacher would turn out to be unstable as well (especially when she could never remember where she left her keys), but really…do I look like a menace to society?
Okay, don’t answer that question.
After leaving teaching I began writing, and while my first few books were horrendously bad, the good news is I improved…a lot. (You’re relieved, aren’t you?) I was hooked from that first book though and decided writing was the career for me. I still miss teaching, but I know watching all those hormonal middle schoolers is where I got my fascination with romance. Drama, mystery, emotional angst…middle school is romance research to the max.
DEB: Tell us a little about your latest book, Tempted?
EN: I LOVE talking about Tempted! Tempted is the third book in the Eternal Guardians series but if you’re new to the series you don’t have to read the other two to figure out what’s going on. The Eternal Guardians are seven warriors descended from the seven greatest heroes in all of Ancient Greece. They were slated—by Zeus—to protect the mortal realm from one vengeful goddess intent on annihilation. Tempted is Demetrius’s book. He’s a descendent of Jason, the famed hero who gathered the Argonauts on the Argos and sailed in search of the Golden Fleece. During that voyage, Jason fell in love with a sorceress—Medea—and Demetrius can trace his roots back to both. In Tempted, the princess of Argolea is kidnapped and Demetrius is sent to save her. But he’s not what everyone thinks he is and things do not go as planned. There’s witchcraft, daemons, mythological monsters, deadly secrets and a smokin’ hot romance in this book. A little of something for everyone!
DEB: What was your inspiration for this book? How did the Eternal Guardians series come about?
EN: I have loved Greek mythology from the time I was a kid. I love reading about the different stories, the tragedies, the romances, the lies and betrayals. I mean, today’s soap operas can’t even compare to the ancient myths! When I was researching Stolen Fury—my debut book—I spent a lot of time studying different myths as there was a Greek artifact in that book that all the major players were searching for. Midway through that research I knew I wanted to write a series linked to that mythology, and I had a really cool idea about this otherworldly warrior who has to find a human woman who will complete a prophecy to save his world but who will die in the process. The problem? I was writing romantic suspense at the time and I wasn’t quite sure how to make that awesome idea work.
Then one day I was perusing blogs, and an author asked what type of paranormal creatures readers would like to read more of. Someone suggested the heroes from Greek mythology and suddenly…everything clicked. The idea for the Eternal Guardians hit me and made perfect sense. So I wrote the book, sent it to my agent, and it eventually became Marked, book one in the Eternal Guardians Series.
DEB: What type of research did you do for your books?
EN: I do a lot of research for each book. Research totally sucks me in. Before a book is “born”, I spend hours researching myths, locations, characters. I like to keep the mythology in my books as accurate as possible. For example, in Tempted, I mentioned that Demetrius is the descendent of Jason and Medea. In Greek mythology, Jason used Medea while he was searching for the Golden Fleece and was tricked into falling in love with her by Hera. Later, he dumped Medea in favor of a Corinthian princess, and to spite him for leaving her, Medea killed the children she had with Jason and fled. In my book, Demetrius tells this story to the heroine, but I twisted the myth so that one child survived Medea’s wrath and Demetrius descends from that line. Still keeping with the original myth, but twisting it just enough so the story works. For me, that’s a big part of the fun of writing this series. The myths are just that—myths. They aren’t historically accurate, so it’s fun (and easy) to mix them up and shape them into something that fits the world I’ve created.
DEB: What is your normal writing day like? Do you have things that have to be in place to write comfortably?
EN: I like to have my email cleaned up and all correspondences done before I sit and write. Because I’m on the West Coast, I really only have until 2pm my time to get in touch with editors. I try to get that (and promo) done in the mornings, then write in the afternoons. (And I say “try” because it doesn’t always work out that way.)
DEB: What was it like when you got the word that your first novel would be published?
EN: I was elated. Stolen Fury was a total thrill ride to write. And to this day it remains one of my favorite books, partly because there were no expectations and I wasn’t under a time crunch to get it done. The hero in that is a thief, so redeeming him wasn’t easy, but I totally fell in love with him. Readers must have, too, because it was a double RITA nominee in 2010.
DEB: Do have any advice for new writers?
EN: The best advice I can give is don’t give up. I consider myself an organic writer. I don’t follow the “rules” writing groups say you have to follow to be successful—I never did. I wrote my first book before I even know there were such things as writers’ groups and/or organizations. That doesn’t mean I was great at it (I said before that first book sucked big green donkey whompers) but I didn’t quit. I kept writing, I improved my craft, I figured out pacing and didn’t let others’ opinions of my work sway me away from my goal. Of course, I listened to constructive criticism, but I was smart enough to know that not everyone is going to love everything you write. And that hasn’t changed today. But staying true to yourself and your goals is important in this business. If you have a passion for storytelling—and you can get the story across—everything else…the grammar, the wording, the pacing, the character development…it can all be improved upon.
DEB: When you’re not writing, what kinds of books do you like to read? Do you have a favorite author?
EN: I love a good romance with suspense elements. I fell in love with the romance genre after reading Judith McNaught’s Perfect. To this day it’s still one of my favorite books even though it breaks every “writing rule” out there. I also love a good historical now and then and Galen Foley is a writer who always succeeds in making me fall in love with her characters. When I’m writing my paranormal series I can’t read paranormal books because I don’t want to be swayed by what other authors are doing, but some of my favorite paranormal authors (when I’m not writing) are Cynthia Eden, Juliana Stone, Larissa Ione and Christina Dodd.
DEB: What are you working on right now?
EN: Right now I’m working on book 5 in the Eternal Guardians Series—tentatively titled Unchained. It’s dark, it’s dangerous, it’s super sexy…basically it’s another awesome Eternal Guardians novel.
DEB: Tell us one thing that people may not know about you?
EN: Oh, always a hard question! Let’s see…
I have a serious brown thumb. Every plant in my house dies. I’ve finally given up and keep fake plants on the bookshelves (they take way less water). You won’t likely read any gardening tips in my books!
Sourcebooks has offered two copies of Tempted by Elisabeth Naughton to two lucky winners from Debbie's Book Bag!
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~ US and Canadian addresses only! (Publisher Request)
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST September 29th.
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