Thursday, August 15, 2013

Straight From the Mouth of 'The Enchanted' Elaine Cantrell

Elaine Cantrell was born and raised in South Carolina where she obtained a master’s degree in personnel services from Clemson University.  She is a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary society for women educators, Romance Writers of America, and EPIC authors.  Her first novel, A New Leaf, was the 2003 winner of the Timeless Love Contest.  When she’s not writing or teaching, she enjoys movies, quilting, reading, and collecting vintage Christmas ornaments.

Her latest book is the fantasy romance, The Enchanted.

Visit her website at

Thanks for letting us interrogate interview you!  Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?

I’m not sure. I was only five when I wrote my first story, and I can’t remember that far back. It was one good story too.  I dictated it to my father who laughed the entire time he was writing. He didn’t have a typewriter, so he wrote it on notebook paper. As I recall, he showed it to my mother who also laughed. It was wonderful to bring such joy to my family. Obviously, I have a gift for comedy.  (Did I just date myself with the typewriter thing?)

Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be?  I mean what are the perks and what are the demands? 

So far, writing is everything it’s cracked up to be.  I love feeling creative.  I also love threatening to put my brother-in-law in one of my books. He turns pale when I mention it. The downside? Editing. That’s not a whole lot of fun.  Working in the real world is a bummer too.  It takes time away from writing.

Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like? 

I didn’t take either one.  I read about this writing contest, the Timeless Love Contest sponsored by Oak Tree Books, and at the last minute I entered a manuscript.  I forgot about it until months later when I decided to see who won.  My name was at the top of the short list!  A month or so later, the publisher called me to say I’d won, and she’d be sending me a contract.  The story’s great, but I do think my writing has improved since then.  I did some things that editors usually hate including multiple POVS and the omniscient POV.

What’s the snarkiest thing you can say about the publishing industry (e.g. rejections, the long wait, etc.) 

I hate it when a publisher wants something fresh and new, and you give it to them, and they say there’s no market for it.  I’d rather write outside the box, but if I really do, they don’t want it!

Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?

I don’t think they mind very much. The only thing anyone ever said to me was when my son accused me of hiding from everyone upstairs.  So I moved downstairs to work. That seemed to fix the problem.

What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?

I waited patiently for quite some time for the release of one of my books, but it just never happened. I finally sent emails demanding to know what was going on. To my surprise, they said they thought I was seriously ill, maybe even dead. Luckily for me, they were wrong. Hmm. I wonder…

How about the social networks?  Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?

I think both Twitter and Facebook help some, and so does Goodreads.  I used to jump on any bandwagon that came along, but I didn’t have time to write because it took so long to keep up with everything. Nowadays I stick to those three.

Book sales.  Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)?  How are you making the sales happen for you?

One technique that works for me is to advertise and have a review in Romantic Times magazine. I’ve heard people debate if it was worth the money or not, but I think it was for me. I’ve also distributed press releases. Sometimes they work and sometimes not.  Book Blasts are good too, but you need a group of bloggers to post your info on the same day. Some of the authors from Astraea Press did that for The Enchanted, and my Amazon rankings jumped a lot. Virtual book tours are great too. Last, I use my blog and social media sites to pique interest in the book.

What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?

Read new authors!!! A year or so ago I noticed that I was like everybody else. When I wanted a book to read, I reached for one by a well-known author.  Hello!  What was I thinking? There are a lot of good authors from small presses, so why not give them a chance? Since that time, I’ve found some excellent authors whose work I love. I buy their books the minute a new one comes out.

Okay, too much sugar for you today!  Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in.  Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?

I sure can. I love the creative process. When I sit down to write, especially at the beginning of a story, I sometimes have so many ideas bouncing around it’s hard to get them down fast enough. My characters become my friends. I get immersed in their lives and feel resentful when I have to leave my beautiful fantasy world. My house is dusty, my laundry isn’t done, and I have to take my computer with me on vacation, but you’re right; I wouldn’t have it any other way.

1 comment:

Rita said...

I enjoyed the interview, thank you.