Today, I'm featuring Elizabeth Kirke, author of Doing it Right.
Is there a genre you haven't written in but you'd really like to try?
Cozy mysteries! I’ve always loved a good cheesy mystery book and it seems like a quirky little genre. From what I can tell they have their own little conventions to follow, so it’s going to be quite different from my current genres. As it happens, I recently started plotting one!
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
A lot is experience. I’ve always jumped from thing to thing and done a lot of little bits. For example in college I did a semester of each: kickboxing, rowing, kendo, and fencing. I was always being told to pick something and stick with it, but I realize now I was just collecting enough information for character development! A lot of my hobbies pop up in books and places are often loosely (or heavily) based on places I’ve been. I worked at a historical site for a number of years, so my paranormal romance series based in an antique shop draws from that.
My story in Wanna Be Bad takes place on the island of Saint Martin/Sint Maarten, which is actually somewhere I’ve been, so the setting is drawn entirely from my experiences there. At the same time, the plot actually came around when I was going through some of my souvenirs from a trip in high school and wishing I had gotten less stupid t-shirts and kitschy stuff you can get anywhere and gotten more cultural stuff instead. That led to thinking about some other stuff I did on the trip that was dumb – like wasting an ENTIRE day wandering a town in France looking for hair dye instead of wandering the TOWN. Which led to wishing I could go re-do the trip and not have regrets 20 years down the road. And voila: the plot.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
When I was very, very young I wanted to be an artist. As soon as I learned how to write that turned into author.
Until she finds her old Saint Martin journal and discovers that her imagination had sugar-coated the trip. Just like her marriage, she spent her vacation following Blake, hoping he’d notice her. The pages were full of regrets of things she hadn’t done, because he hadn’t wanted to.
Instead of wallowing in self-pity, Natalie decides to reclaim the independent woman she used to be. Armed with her journal, Natalie books a trip back to the island. This time, she’s going to do what she wants. She’s going to have the perfect vacation she remembered. She’s going to do it right.
What the hell was I doing?
Wasn’t I here to not have regrets?! How on earth did making out with my high school sweetheart fix that? If things became awkward between us now, so soon after we reconnected, I’d be furious with myself.
It was hard, but I pulled away from him, putting my fingers over my lips. “I’m sorry… I don’t know what came over me…”
“I should go to bed.” Before he could answer, I jumped up and hurried upstairs. I was still wide awake when the others got back. It sounded like they decided to get in the hot tub.
“Is Natalie okay?” Mary’s voice drifted up into my open balcony door.
“She said she wasn’t feeling well,” Darren said. “We may have gone a bit heavy on the rum.” I silently thanked him for not saying anything. “How is she, with the divorce?” he continued. “It’s not really something we’ve talked about.”
“I think she’s handling it really well,” Mary said. “I mean, she’s obviously still upset about it, but I think this trip is good for her.”
“More like she’s realizing what an ass Blake was,” Nate added.
“Nate!” I couldn’t tell if it was Mary or Tanya. Maybe it was both of them.
“Well, that’s half the reason we’re here,” Nate said.
“What do you mean?” Darren asked.
Don’t tell him, don’t tell him. I thought. Knowing Nate he’d keep my secrets… unless he thought telling someone would help.
I listened as Nate explained how finding my journal had ruined the memory of the trip I had held on to for so long. Even though I wished he wasn’t telling anyone, somehow listening to him explain it made me feel better. He got it. And his succinct explanation seemed logical. Like my profound disappointment of reading about the trip wasn’t just emotional and irrational.
“I’m glad you talked her into coming,” Darren said, after Nate filled him in, with some help from Mary.
“Me too,” Mary said.
“I think… I think she might enjoy a girls’ day out tomorrow,” Darren said. “I’m glad we’re all here for her, but I think it’s hard to be stuck with two married couples all the time. Not to mention her ex.”