SPOTLIGHT: Elodie Colt

Welcome to Spotlight Saturday! We have the lovely Elodie Colt joining us today. She writes romantic suspense. Let’s find out more…

Your debut novel, In Blood We Trust, has some scifi, suspense, and romance. It’s also set in the future, 2078. Describe your future for us. What drew you to write a story in the future?

I always had a thing for futuristic/dystopian stories like “Divergent” by Veronica Roth, “Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins, or movies like “I Robot” or “Eagle Eye”. All these stories tell about a perfect world that’s not so perfect in the end. I wanted to create something similar but tried to stay as realistic as possible.

One of the futuristic aspects in my book is the universal “Key”—similar to an iPhone. People depend on it. It’s not just a phone but functions as a house key, a wallet, and contains every sort of document like driver’s license, passport, medical consultation history, and so on. I also added little things I imagined could exist in the future, like fast magnetic levitation trains instead of subways, cars powered by solar engine and equipped with software chips to prevent speeding, and drones buzzing around the city delivering goods. Additionally, I created futuristic weapons like guns with a corner shot function or the “Blaster”—a weapon shooting off shockwaves.

There are more cancer patients in the future as, with time, the world’s ozone layer started to crumble. Since then, the outside temperature increased so it’s hot all the time, the fertile land became rarer, and the rate of miscarriages became alarmingly high, causing the world’s population to decimate drastically.

In Blood We Trust, there’s been a cure for cancer, but with a side effect. Where did this idea come from? What is the cure itself? Where do your ideas, in general, come from? 

I guess my father inspired me. He was diagnosed with cancer years ago and has to go through chemotherapy every three weeks. Imagine a world where there’s a remedy for cancer!

The Cure is a liquid medicine that comes in biotubes. People who want to receive this Cure need to register at the SDCT—the Scientific Department for Cancer Treatment. The Cure is dependent on the indication, meaning: There’s a different Cure for leukemia, breast cancer, etc. The worse the cancer, the stronger the Cure. The “Recipients”, as I call them, need to pay a lot of money for that, so there are always people who can’t afford it.

The side effect is that the Cure is such a strong substance it kills the blood cells which results in internal blood loss. Therefore, the Recipients need to consume human blood from the same blood type which is why there are also “Donors”—the healthy people who are obliged to donate the blood.

I got inspired by the movie “Daybreakers” with Ethan Hawke where a virus makes everyone a vampire and blood becomes a rare good. I wanted to avoid writing a vampire story so I chose a different approach.

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SPOTLIGHT: R.L. Jackson

Time for Spotlight Saturday again! Joining us today is R.L. Jackson. She writes contemporary romance. Let’s find out more…

Thanks for joining us on Love Indie Romance, R.L.! Please tell us a little about yourself.

Well, I’m from Florida, the very hot state of Florida where we wear flip flops and shorts year round and pray for Christmas weather every year to no avail lol. I’ve been writing since I was 12, starting with short stories which then turned into screenplays later on and now I’m diving into the novel writing world. I love my family fiercely and there’s very little I wouldn’t do for them.

Your debut novel, Crashing Into Me, has a headstrong nurse, Lana, and a wealthy, handsome guy, Kayden. Kayden’s dealing with the death of his brother. Death is never easy. Describe how difficult it was to portray that kind of character.

I think everyone has had to deal with death in some way or another, so for me, it was pulling from my own life experiences that helped me be able to express what he was going through. It, of course, brings up those experiences I’ve had which was tough at times, but I think having an outlet in any form helps you deal.

Crashing Into Me is book one. How many more books can we expect in this series? Will each be considered a standalone? When is the next book due out?

My plan is wrap up the story in Book 2 unless my characters have different plans by the time I’m done with it. This will be a continuation. Book 2 is due out in June.

When Crashing Into Me debuted (On Valentine’s Day) it was still ranking really great a few days later, especially in Books>Romance>Multicultural at #102. Congrats! Describe what kind of multicultural aspects a reader can expect. Would you say it was more difficult or easier to write? Why?

Thank you, I thought that was so awesome!!! For Multicultural, shes’s a Caribbean-born black female, he’s an American born white male. Other characters in the story share similar backgrounds as well. The differences of their skin and origins aren’t the central storyline, it’s more of a matter-of-fact thing.

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SPOTLIGHT: Alyssa Drake

Time for Spotlight Saturday again! Joining us today is Alyssa Drake. She writes historical romantic suspense. Let’s find out more…

You write historical romantic suspense. Tell us how you gravitated towards that genre. What’s your favorite part about writing in that genre?

I have been reading romance novels for years. Harlequin was my first exposure to historical romance (Scottish highland stories). Eventually I found Julia Quinn (my favorite historical romance author of all time). However, when I attempted my first novel, I found elements of suspense crept into the writing. I adore mysteries and decided to combine the two genres together into historical romantic suspense.

The best part about writing historical romance is the social constraint. Manners (and the subtle insults which flow along underneath them) are the driving forces behind my characters’ actions. They are obligated to behave in a certain fashion, yet their desires are completely opposite of what they are required to do. It creates some amusing situations. Plus, I adore how someone can tell you “Have a nice day” and what they really mean is “F*$% you.”

Writing historical romances I imagine requires lots of research. The time period in your novels is set around 1850s England. Tell us your writing process, including how/where you research. Have you ever been to England? If so, what was your experience like?

I research in the middle of writing, which means that instead of flying through thousands of words a day, I spend hours studying lighting (electric lights were not common yet), ice cubes (that was an interesting subject), clothing, manners, mealtimes and the food consumed. Sometime I only manage one paragraph, but I would rather be historically accurate, then accidentally have a telephone show up in Merry Ol’ England. I have not been to England yet, but I would love to visit London. I have seen a myriad of pictures and studied a lot of history though; I have always been fascinated with Europe.

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SPOTLIGHT: Amalie Coles

Another beautiful Saturday with another great author. This week we have Amalie Coles. She writes contemporary romance and chick lit. Let’s find out more…

Welcome to Love Indie Romance, Amalie! Tell us about yourself.

Hi! Thank you so much for having me here! I’m a stay-at-home mom/freelancer/indie writer with a geeky side. I love all things related to archaeology and learning, and my favorite form of therapy is a trip to a museum or a bookstore. On a good day, you’ll find me inside Starbucks or Second Cup penning ideas for my next novel, or the one meant to come after. When I’m not writing, I like spending time with my family and friends.

Part of your book, My Journey, is set in Israel. Have you ever been to Israel? If so, describe your experience there. If not, what kind of research involved depicting the scenery?

Yes, I travelled to Israel twice, both as part of an archaeology dig and as a tourist. Many places I’d visited, including Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and sites in the Galilee, serve as part of the setting of my novel. Although I haven’t visited Ashkelon yet, I was able to get a good sense of what this place may look or feel like thanks to Google Earth. When researching about Becky’s excavation project, I used a lot of scholarly articles and field reports to discover more about the dig. For the most part, however, my novel is based on my past travels and personal experience with Israeli culture.

You’re an archaeology enthusiast. Have you ever been on an archaeology dig? If so, describe in detail what it was like. What would be your favorite archaeology dig to go on?

I was part of Bethsaida Excavations Project back in 2013. This site is mentioned briefly at the end of My Journey, when Becky recounts the last road trip she and Jason took before returning home. Becky’s daughter, Julia, gets named after this site that was also known as Julias (after a Roman empress Julia).

For me, the digging experience at Bethsaida was phenomenal. I got to meet lots of fellow archaeology geeks from around the world, practice Hebrew with the locals, and even give a small presentation. The people at the cozy village of Ginosar, where our group stayed, were hospitable and charming.

Regardless of all its amazing aspects, digging wasn’t always easy. We would get up at five in the morning, have a bus take us to the site, and work on the ground until noon. Lots of times, I’d spend hours and hours filling up buckets with earth and hauling them to the sifter just to discover one tiny shard or even nothing. I often wondered where all the coins and ancient amulets were hiding, lol. In the afternoons we had a bit of downtime, during which I usually tried catching up with homework (I was taking a distance education course at that time), but normally I would just cave in and hit the beach. The last activity we would have before dinner was pottery reading, which involved sorting through shards and trying to figure out where they belonged in terms of the archaeological timeline. Overall, the excavation season was pretty busy, but also fun and inspiring. I think without my experience at Bethsaida, I wouldn’t be able to write this novel.

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SPOTLIGHT: Lana Campbell

Time for Spotlight Saturday again! Joining us today is Lana Campbell. She writes paranormal romance. Let’s find out more…

Welcome, Lana, to Love Indie Romance. Please tell us a little about yourself.

I’m Lana Campbell author of the Forever and a Night series, which is vampire romance. I’ve always enjoyed reading romance and eventually started writing it as a hobby. I got serious in 2014 and soon after published Forever and a Night. January 16th, 2017 I self published Forever and a Night Dark Experiments. I live in Avoca, AR with my husband, oldest daughter and a precocious cat named Felix.

You write paranormal romance. Describe your favorite part about writing in that genre. Least favorite? What was the hardest part of writing Forever and a Night Dark Experiments?

I love the fantasy aspect. I can write whatever world I want. That’s fun. I really don’t have a least favorite part but sometimes it’s hard to write believable science pertaining to vampires like I had to do in book two Forever and a Night Dark Experiments. The research that went in to explaining why my vampires have a blood disease called vampire myodysplasia. In order to survive they need blood from their sire species, humans to help them regenerate their own blood cells. I also had to do a lot of research on poisons used on Christian’s patients and then explain why the effects were different on the vampire body than the human one. My vampires evolved from humans, thus they are mammals and even though they live longer than humans they eventually die. They also possess psychic and telekinetic powers. Yes, they are a little larger than life but very much humanlike. And loveable.

Forever and a Night features vampires. Many stories have been written about vampires, some with interesting characteristics of a vampire. What makes your vampires unique from other vampire stories?

They are mammals, evolved from humans. They do have greater strength than humans plus psychic and telekinetic powers, but they grow old and die just like humans and can die from most of the same things we die from. My vampires are spiritual beings who believe in a God. All of my Forever and a Night books have a spiritual basis and characters that bring that across in some way.

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SPOTLIGHT: Courtney Hunt

Another beautiful Saturday with another great author. Today we have Courtney Hunt joining us. She writes contemporary romance. Let’s find out more…

Welcome to Love Indie Romance. So glad you’re joining us today, Courtney. Tell us a little about yourself.

Thank you so much for letting me visit Love Indie Romance today. I’m so happy to join you. My name is Courtney Hunt. I write small town contemporary romances with smart heroines and the sexy heroes who love them.

I’ve read the first book in the Cupid’s Coffeeshop series, Java Frost. (Great story, by the way.) You have twelve books in this series. What made you decide on writing novellas for this series? How long did it take you to write each story, then publish it?

I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed Java Frost. Thank you! I love to write in coffeeshops and decided that it would be the perfect setting to write a series of romances. I initially intended to write a trilogy but, when I started jotting down ideas, I had twelve different couples to choose between. Since I was a new indie author at the time, I wanted to publish a lot quickly and decided to release one book a month over the course of a year. In order to make that work, they needed to be short stories. I write pretty fast so each story took just a few weeks.

The story starts out with a scene on how Joe, Patrick, and Zooey Lockhart need to make Cupid’s Coffee shop a successful coffee shop within one year. Why did you decide to start with a different couple (Ben and Amy) as the first story? We don’t see a story for one of them until book 6, Berries and Cream Chai, (Joe’s Book). Please describe the reasoning by the story order.

When I designed the series, I based it on episodic television. The three Lockharts- Joe, Patrick, and Zooey–became the main characters that appear in each episode. Through the course of the year, they each get their own special story. I wanted Patrick to have the final story as I knew his heroine was Joy who would be opening a bakery next door. I did consider giving Joe or Zooey the first story but I ultimately liked starting it with a different couple so we have Java Frost.

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SPOTLIGHT: A Shiloh

Another Saturday, another great spotlight interview! We have the lovely A Shiloh with us today. She also goes by Ally. Let’s find out more…

Your debut novel, Writer’s Block: An Unexpected Love Story has such a great title. Did you ever experience any writer’s block while writing it? Is there a specific significance with the title and the story?

Yes, I did experience writer’s block while writing this book. For a few days, I stopped completely, not knowing what to do next. I finally started to tell my fiance about the story line and where I was stuck. He simply gave me an idea without much thought and bam, I went with it! I was on a roll after that. The significance of the title is because the main female character, Stacey, is a romance author and her writing keeps coming to a halt because of unexpected, and some unfortunate, events happening in her life. I thought it’d be fun to add the meaning of writer’s block to her own life in itself.

Is Writer’s Block a standalone novel, or will there be a book two? Where did the story idea come from?

As of right now, Writer’s Block is just a single novel, but if readers respond well to it and want it to continue, I’ll definitely take it into consideration. As for the idea of the story — I thought it’d be interesting to have the female lead be in a similar situation to me — wanting to keep her identity a secret by using a pseudonym, in order to keep her life as normal as possible. My own reasoning is slightly different, but the concept is similar.  As for some of the obstacles within the story, I’ve worked in a few agencies that dealt with victims of crimes, so I used my experience with that to portray the situations in the novel as accurate as possible. As for the other aspects of it, I just really let my mind wonder and remained open-minded whenever any ideas would hit me. I’d literally take out a notebook and jot down any ideas that suddenly came to mind.

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