Welcome to our second day on Romancing September Across the World, today we meet E. L. Lindley and we talk about her book “Family Ties”. Zip over to Georgia USA in a few hours and meet E. L Lindley once more on Stephanie’s blog where they discuss writing romance in today’s society. We had a fantastic start to the tour yesterday, I hope you are all enjoying our guests.
Let’s find out more about our author;
1) Where do you live?
I live in Sheffield, which is in South Yorkshire. It’s actually my home town but, after leaving for university in 1980, I didn’t live here again until about 9 years ago. I always came back regularly for visits though and lots of my friends live in this area so I’m really happy to be back.
2) You’ve written 7 books to date are they all romances?
I suppose they all fit under the umbrella of romance even though they are all very different. I think romantic fiction is in a really exciting transition phase at the moment, mushrooming into lots of different sub-genres. Two of my novels, Family Ties and Don’t Look Back are probably more straight romance whereas the others fall into the romantic thriller category. Four of my books are part of the Georgie Connelly series, which are light hearted crime capers, featuring Georgie and her love interest, James Finn. There are lots of other regular characters as well and they are great fun to write because Georgie gets into all sorts of scrapes. Dare To Lose is a more serious thriller but has lots of romance thrown into the mix as well. I created Nicola Mills, the lead character in Dare To Lose, as something of an homage to older women, after reading an article stating that readers liked their heroines to be no older than 34. Nicola is pushing 50 but I think she is a very likeable, engaging character.
3) “Family Ties” is mainly set in Los Angeles, but where did Beth live before that, what drew her to that place?
Beth grew up in London but went to university in Edinburgh, where she eventually lands a great job as artist in residence. All this is thrown into disarray, however, when her mum dies. Beth had a difficult relationship with her mother, who was a single parent and it’s only after she dies that Beth manages to find the identity of her birth father. He has a successful business based in Los Angeles and, once she makes contact with him, he invites her to stay with him and his family which has life changing consequences for her.
4) How does the title of the book help Beth to move on from the past?
Beth’s mother was a very dysfunctional person and she wasn’t always truthful in how she presented things to Beth. Beth has been emotionally damaged by her mother and it’s only after her mother’s death that she can begin to unravel the ties that bound her to what was basically an unhappy life. Finding her father and allowing herself to become part of his family is a second chance for Beth. The title is born out of the idea that sometimes the ties that bind us to the people we love are not healthy and family doesn’t have to be defined by blood. Beth is tied to her father and half-brother by blood but she is equally connected to her father’s wife, who welcomes her into the family wholeheartedly.
5) Cal is an ex-marine was this a deliberate career choice for a hero?
Creating a romantic hero is possibly one of the most fun parts of writing. I have to fall in love with my leading men or I know I’m not doing my job properly and so basically I create men I want to go out with. I do confess I have a soft spot for men in uniform but, more than this, casting Cal as an ex-marine ensured that he was always going to be tough, capable and dependable.
6) There are many different romance styles, how did you choose the level of intimacy in this book?
That’s a very topical question because the recent emergence of erotica as a sub-genre within romance has perhaps changed readers’ expectations where intimacy is concerned. With Family Ties, I attempted to maybe be more explicit than I am in any of my other novels but I think it’s still pretty tame. I have to admit that as a reader, I prefer it when the sex is less explicit and left more to the reader’s imagination, which is probably reflected in my own writing.
7) Beth has a lot of emotional issues to work through, where do you get your ideas from?
Beth does have a lot of emotional issues to work through but I think we probably all do. Beth’s situation is quite extreme but we all have insecurities and hang-ups that can prevent us from going after what we want in life. I spend a lot of time observing people and wondering what makes them tick and I’m a bit of a magpie with my friends’ lives. I steal all of their experiences and work them into my stories, hopefully embellished enough so that they don’t recognise themselves.
8) Would you ever try writing any other branch of romance such as paranormal romance, historical romance or thriller romance?
I really enjoy reading all kinds of romantic fiction but I think writers are probably just more naturally drawn to specific areas. For me, I tend to stick to thrillers and contemporary issue based romance. Before I even start to plan my stories, I spend a long time thinking about them and my mind seems to naturally head down the same route. I think historical romance is probably quite unique in that it would require a lot of research and I suspect historical writers have a passion for the era in which they set their stories.
9) If you were ever asked to write something steamy like erotica, would you be tempted to publish under a different name?
To be honest, Family Ties is probably as steamy as I’m likely to get. What I didn’t realise before I set about trying to describe the intimate scenes between Beth and Cal was how difficult it is. I think writing erotica is probably a whole skill set that I don’t have. I remember when I was part way through Family Ties, a friend and I went out for lunch and spent the whole time trying to think of euphemisms for having sex. I’m sure the other diners wondered what we were up to as we giggled uproariously like naughty school girls. I have a feeling that if I was to write an erotic novel it would probably turn out to be more squirm inducing than steamy.
10) Will your next book be a romance too?
I’m currently about halfway through a standalone romantic thriller. It’s about a woman called Maggie who is looking for her sister. She retraces her sister’s movements to Texas, where she went to meet a man with whom she’d been corresponding on the internet. Maggie is forced to hire a local private investigator to help with the search and he just happens to be the man of my dreams. Hopefully he’ll feature in lots of other readers’ dreams as well!
Please join me in thanking E. L. for being our guest today and wishing her well with her new book. Don’t forget catch up with over at Stephanie’s blog next.