Author Spotlight: Elle Keaton
April 11, 2022 • News
CJC: How did you get started as an author and what made you want to pursue that field?
EK: Like many authors, I’ve always been a storyteller, I’m also an only child so I spent a lot of time making stories up to entertain myself. My family is basically artists everywhere, lol, I went to a lot of alternative schools. But storytelling never felt like art and society told me that what I liked to read (romance and fantasy) was fringe. Plus I would have to learn how to submit to a *real* publisher and I felt that wasn’t a path I wouldn’t successfully forge (now I know this was anxiety and ADD talking but, live and learn.)
Then the 2010s hit and self-publishing shifted from vanity publishing to a legitimate way to make money. I had a partially written manuscript for an MM romantic suspense I’d been noodling on when I was laid off from a job I hated. Hate it or not, being laid off was devastating. As a single mom with two older teens and me an older worker who hadn’t spent much time in the corporate world anyway, I had no clue where to turn.
So long story short I’ve always wanted to write and tell my stories but I didn’t pursue it until I felt I had nowhere to turn. And look at me now, over five years later and 25 or so books/novellas published.
CJC: What do you find to be the most rewarding and challenging part of being an author and what hurdles have you overcome while striving towards your goals?
EK:I think the most rewarding thing is when a reader *gets* what I was aiming for in a particular book. Once a story goes out into the world it isn’t my baby anymore and I realize that but it’s so rewarding when a reader (or readers) are like I love this because of a, b, c, and a,b,c was my intention. The biggest hurdles have been my own self-doubt and learning to network. I am so bad at networking and writing is naturally solitary so how do you take a solitary person and get them to network. It’s hard. I worry people think I’m unfriendly but really, I’m a little shy and I like to meet people in person which of course over the last two years has been impossible.
CJC: Which novel has been your favorite to write and why?
EK: Tough question! But… Not a Boy and Real Risk (both coming out in the next ten days) were a lot of fun. Not a Boy because I love setting tropes on their heads and Ben and Henry were just fun. Novellas can be hard because of the page number limitation but I had a lot of fun. And Real Risk, because I got to bring two characters together who had been kind of circling each other for a few books, and the banter, was fun and different for me to write.
CJC: For first time readers of your work, which book would you recommend?
EK: Gah! Okay so if you like romantic suspense which is most of my catalog I recommend starting with Storm Season because Shielded Hearts, Veiled Intentions and West Coast Forensics has evolved into a shared world and Adam Klay is the place to start if you like to know everything about a world. If you like low angst sweet reads, check out Love in Hollyridge, which originally was four novellas but I’ve combined them into a five novella set.
CJC: If one of your books were made into a movie, which would you select and who would you like to star in it?
EK: Lol. Conspiracy Theory (but it is the beginning of a true 3-book series that follows a single couple). For Niall Hamarsson I’d choose Jeffery Dean Morgan and for Mat Demspey it would be Mark Ruffalo.
CJC: For those looking to become an author, what advice would you give them?
EK: Plan plan plan. MM romance is more crowded of a field than it was in 2017 when I finally pushed the button. Even if you are a slow writer, maybe especially if you are a slow writer, have three books done before you pub your first. It’s all about series, readers love them they love the worlds we invent. Write three, see how long it takes you and plan your releases accordingly. Don’t let people tell you ‘you should do this or that’, it’s important to do what is right for you and maybe that’s no rapid release or whatever the cool thing is that month.
CJC: If you could co-write a book with any author, who would it be and why?
EK: Oh boy… I don’t know if I’d be a good co-author. But the first person I think of is EM Lindsey. I love the small town worlds they set up with their beautiful diverse characters and I feel I’d learn a lot about my own writing if I wrote with them. Also, it would be fun to write with Layla Reyne I think since we both write suspense and set our work on the west coast.
CJC: Favorite motto?
EK: Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing – Helen Keller
CJC: What do you do to overcome writer’s block?
EK: Writers’ block is a complex beast and every writer experiences it differently. To be honest I am not sure I’ve ever had a full-blown case. But when it feels hard to write I go watch Becca Syme’s videos on youtube, she is amazing (she’s the author of Dear Writer you need to Quit). If that doesn’t work, I talk to my beta reader who is also a development editor and she often has ideas that get me going again. If this doesn’t work, I’ll brainstorm in longhand or write a short story that is totally out of genre and when I’m done, I often find I can focus on whatever the other work I was avoiding.
CJC: In one word, how would you describe your writing style?
CJC: Which do you find harder to do… writing the blurb for your story or selecting the cover?
EK: Neither! I love both! Blurb writing used to be hard but the way my brain works I’ve learned to write my blurb BEFORE I write the book and then it acts as a sort of outline for me.
CJC: Do you have authors who inspire you? And if so, who and why?
EK: I’m inspired by so many writers, too many to name.
CJC: What is your writing process like?
EK: I like to think I write 3,000 words a day but in reality, I write 25 one day and 5,000 the next. Generally, I write in the morning until noon and then I start doing admin and promo stuff.
CJC: What new projects are you currently working on and what are your goals for the remainder of the year?
EK: I’m working on an M/F romantic suspense series under a new pen name, Pepper Bordeaux, I hope to have three books out under that name by the end of the year. In between writing those I am working on the next in the West Coast Forensics series, Real Hazard, which is slated for the end of September. And I have a yet to be named Rockstar romance in the Road to Rocktoberfest series– that will come out in late October. I’ve never written a rockstar romance before so I’m super excited. Sooo that’s five more books by the end of the year. *she’s laughs madly*. Maybe I can squeeze in a holiday novella. Hahahaha.
CJC: Any final thoughts you would like to share with the CJC Photography readers?
EK: Nope! Thrilled you asked me to be a part of your blog! I love this community 🙂
Stay up to date with all of Elle’s latest releases here.