Today I’m interviewing good friend and fellow Regency author Elf Ahearn about her life and especially about her latest Regency romance.
First. I must say that I love Elf’s name–it’s so whimsical and it’s also the name of one of my favorite Jo Beverley heroines, Elf Malloren. 🙂
But back to the interview. I’ve asked Elf some questions about her book and about her life in general. She’s a very interesting lady!
Tell us a little bit about your new release.
Alas, my “new release” is experiencing an unexpected delay, so I’m going to plug my “already released” novel, A Rogue in Sheep’s Clothing. Bless it’s rootin’ tootin’ heart, in September it hit #1 in its genre on Amazon.com. It’s also garnered about 70 five-star reviews.
There’s this one troll-acious review, however, that’s persisting in the top spot. Strangely, when it was voted down, suddenly 40 people showed up in one day to push it to the top again. When a second wave of clicks on positive reviews overtook it, another 10 negative clicks put it back into the primo spot. What’re ya gonna do, right?
What was your inspiration for this story?
They say, “Write about what you know,” so A Rogue in Sheep’s Clothing is loosely based on my family. We are four blond sisters whose personalities are so vastly different (in a good way), friends have told me they can’t believe we grew up in the same house.
I am a fanatic about my character names. Are the character names special in any way?
With a name like Elf, I should be picky about my character’s names, but in Rogue, there’s only one personality who might be considered to have an odd moniker. Peggity is the eldest of the four sisters. In reality, my older sister’s is Teviot, who was named after a river in Scotland. Legend has it, my parents closed their eyes over a map of Scotland and dropped their pointer fingers. No one remembers whose digit landed on the river, but my sister should consider herself lucky she wasn’t named Peterhead.
What was your process for writing this book? Is this different or the same as other books you’ve written?
Stephen King wrote that he likes to blast through a manuscript, finish it, then work on something unrelated, then come back to the original for rewrites. It takes me forever to find objectivity, but one can’t rewrite successfully without it, ergo, I’ve adopted the Stephen King method.
Do you have plans for a sequel to this book?
I’m about 1/3rd of the way through the fourth book in the series. The second book, His Lordship’s Darkest Secret, will be appearing soon either in an anthology or as a self-publication, whichever comes first. The third book, A Duke in the Rough is rough, rough, rough right now, but it’s marinating. It’ll be released next year.
Who has been the greatest influence on your writing?
Well, basically my little sister, Jenny, who suggested I write romance—specifically Regency romance because that’s what she reads. Her encouragement came at a critical time after I got laid off from a job in corporate communications during the economic collapse starting in 2008.
Stuck at home, I was casting around for something to do other than hopelessly sending out resumes, when Jenny handed me a copy of a Sabrina Jeffries novel. I wish I could remember the title, but suffice it to say, it impressed me. The pages were packed with sexiness, I was swept up by the action and characters, and, despite what literary novelists think of romance writers, the writing was really strong.
Before I became an author, I had been an actor in New York City, slogging through the constant frustration of auditioning and not getting “the call.” The last thing I wanted to do was put myself back on that endless rejection roller coaster, but romances are much easier to get published than literary novels, so I thought, this is something I’d like to.
Now, Lightning Round:
What is your favorite amusement park ride?
I hate to admit this after what I just wrote, but you cannot drag me off a roller coaster. They’re awesome. However, I am terrified of Ferris wheels. Go figure…
Tea or coffee?
Tea, definitely tea. It’s easier on the tummy, and I get to hold my pinky up when I sip it.
French manicure or color (and if color, what color)?
Toes only, and I like a dusky rose.
Beach or mountains?
Beach—I’m a swim baby. Plus, I have this great bathing suit that has a tennis-like skirt on it, which hangs half way down my thighs. My mother doesn’t like it and people stare at me on the beach, but it means I don’t have to shave, so I adore that suit.
Chocolate or vanilla?
Again, the stomach is an issue (I’m a GERD gal), so I ought to say vanilla, but is there really a choice? Chocolate is the food of the gods.
Boxers, briefs or commando?
Personally, I wear panties with the seams cut from the leg holes because I hate being chaffed, but the hubby wears briefs, so I’m going with that.
Blond, brunette or redhead? (preferred men’s hair color)
Never had a preference, and now the ol’ ball and chain is gray, so I guess I love that color best.
Would you rather skydive or scuba dive?
Scuba any day. Heights scare the bejesus out of me.
What is the most exciting/daredevil thing you’ve ever done?
Ridden a Ferris wheel (See above).
Would you rather vacation in Hawaii, Vegas or London?
I’m a Regency writer—guess.
What’s the one thing you would never do?
There is not enough money in the world to make me harm an animal. When I was a kid, we kept a running tab of approximately two to three dogs, four to five cats, two ponies, and about two to three goats. Sprinkled among these pets were chickens, pigeons, 32 tropical fish, 70 odd turtles including a tortoise, rabbits (starting with four and increasing to hundreds), and a monkey.
I’ve always felt a deep connection to animals. They are endlessly amusing, and they bring me peace, whereas people, as much as I love them, and I do, are always a bit troubling.
I’ve had that connection to animals for as long as I can remember. When I was six, in order to earn a pony, my father tested me out on goats (He stayed at a goat farm during summers as a youth, and fell in love with the creatures). We’d had Nancy and Laylie for about a week when I said to my mom, “Nancy’s going to have a baby.”
If I recall correctly, she patted my head, chuckled softly to herself, and got me in the car for a trip to the grocery store. By the time we got home, Nancy had given birth to a tiny spotted kid.
Thank you for sharing such wonderful stories with us, Elf! Now here’s a bit more about A Rogue in Sheep’s Clothing.
In Lord Hugh Davenport’s opinion, women of the ton perpetually hide behind a mask of deception. That’s hard for Ellie Albright, the daughter of an earl, to swallow—especially since she’s disguised herself as a stable hand to get back the prized stallion her father sold to Hugh to pay a debt. If Hugh learns her true identity she’ll lose the horse and her family will go bankrupt. Somehow, though, losing Hugh’s affection is beginning to seem even worse.
Already only a step away from being snagged in her own web of lies, Ellie’s deceit threatens to spin out of control when Hugh’s mother invites Ellie and her sisters to a house party. Now Ellie has to scramble to keep Hugh from knowing she’s the stable girl he wants to marry, while simultaneously trying to win his trust as herself. Can she keep her costumes straight long enough to save her family? And even if she does, will it be worth losing his love?
Ellie eyed the splattered front of her gown. “Now look what you’ve done. I’m a mess.”
The beast yanked a crumpled handkerchief from his pocket. “Use this,” he said, accidentally brushing her breast.
Ellie shied from his touch. “My Heavens, sir, cease and desist! Now, give me your handkerchief, slowly.” As she took the linen square, her hand halted in midair. The sour look she intended for her assailant melted. La, what a handsome man. And then she realized she’d seen him before, but where? Dark eyes, nearly black, met her own, a hooked curl bisected his forehead, meeting the edge of a scar that crossed the ruddy crest of his right cheek.
I’m staring. Quickly she pretended to swab a spot of wine at her waist. Her breath went shallow and her thoughts scattered, but a smile tipped the corners of her lips. She’d had the great good fortune to be trod upon by one of Devon’s most elusive bachelors, Hugh Davenport, Earl of Bruxburton – one of the few gentlemen who’d failed to call at Fairland. A pulse of pain reminded her of her foot. “I … I think I need to sit down,” she told him.
“Ah yes…” said Hugh, looking for an empty chair.
Putting the tiniest bit of weight down, Ellie received a powerful jolt. “I’m afraid I’ll not be dancing again this evening.”
Hugh’s back straightened and a hard look seeped into his eyes. Is he annoyed? she wondered.
“Well, there must be a chair here somewhere.” He moved off on the hunt.
Ellie took a few limping steps after him. “I’ll need your assistance.” He came back and eyed her suspiciously. “Your arm, in fact,” she told him.
His lips hardened, but he looped her arm through his. As they passed a row of seated grande dams, every eye watched with envy.
At an alcove, Hugh stopped to let her pass. “In here,” he said.
“I can’t go in there alone with you.”
“Did you see a free chair on the floor?” he said. “Because what I saw was a row of plump sugar plums, and none of them likely to abandon her seat.”
“People will say I’ve been compromised.”
“Nonsense. I couldn’t possibly compromise anyone in an alcove shielded by a simple palm tree. A young lady compromised in such a manner either wants to be or wants to pretend she was. Which one are you?”
Elf Ahearn, yes that is her real name, lives in New York with her wonderful husband and a pesky cat named Sufie, who believes she’s the inspiration for all of Elf’s books. (However, she is really a charming and persuasive distraction from writing, cooking, cleaning and doing the laundry.) Learn more about Elf at elfahearn.com or on Facebook. Learn more about Sufie by subscribing to The Writer’s Cat—a very infrequent newsletter about writing and apricot tabbies.
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