Author Interview: ELIZABETH MAXWELL, author of Happily Ever After
In this witty, sexy tale, an erotic novelist meets the fictional hero of her most recent book in real life, and must decide whether she wants to get him back between the pages-or between her sheets.At forty-six, Sadie Fuller’s life isn’t exactly romantic. A divorced, overweight, somewhat sexually frustrated mother of an eleven-year-old, she lives in the suburbs, shops the big box stores, makes small talk with her small-minded neighbors, and generally leads a quiet life. But while her daughter is at school, or when Sadie is up late at night, she writes erotic fiction under the name KT Briggs.
Then, during a routine shopping trip, Sadie runs into someone familiar…too familiar, in fact. She encounters an incredibly handsome man exactly like the one in her imagination-and her latest novel. Is Aidan Hathaway really one of her characters? And if so, what is he doing in Target? As Sadie tries to negotiate this strange new world, her eyes begin to open to romantic possibilities in places she never dreamed of looking… places where Happily Ever After might not be so far-fetched after all.
~ Elizabeth Maxwell Visits Up All Night Book Blog ~
**Please note, if you haven’t read Happily Ever After, there may be a few spoilers here**
UAN: Hi Elizabeth! Thank you for taking the time to stop by Up All Night Book Blog today. Nicole and Dawn both read and loved the genre-bending Happily Ever After!
For someone unfamiliar with your work, can you tell us in a few sentences what makes Happily Ever After different from the typical romance?
EM: From the start, I was going for atypical romance characters: not twenty five years old, not buff, not darkly mysterious, possibly someone you might met at a coffee shop or a school function. And my leading lady, Sadie Fuller, is also solidly mid-forties, which for classic romance is wildly outside the box. The women I know this age are so talented, able, funny and wise, I wonder why they don’t show up on the page more often. It seemed a perfect fit for Sadie.
UAN: That is definitely an age that you don’t see often!
With regard to your characters, how much of you is Sadie and Sadie is you as far as how you write?
EM: Great question! There are bits and pieces of me in Sadie but overall I was going for someone far more bold than myself. I find when writing female characters I make them excel in areas where I personally fall short. I get to live vicariously through their adventures.
UAN: Do you secretly write erotic romance also?
EM: When prepping to write Happily, I binged on erotica. I read everything I could get my hands on. It was fabulous! But when I sat down to write the erotic scenes for Sadie’s work in progress, I was stunned by how hard it was. Good erotica is incredibly difficult to pull off and I have the utmost respect for those who do it well. As for doing an erotic novel straight up, I think I’d have to work on my writing stamina! 🙂
UAN: Stamina is important! 😉 Sadie has boxes with unfinished works stashed away. Is that something you have as well? If so, are there characters in them that are still waiting for you to finish their story?
EM: I have so many unfinished manuscripts lying around I lost count long ago. All works in progress have weakness at which point the question becomes can I make this stronger? If, after multiple drafts, the thing still won’t stand up, it might be time to move on. However, certain characters can be hard to let go of. I miss them. I feel guilty. And occasionally, I resurrect them in disguise in another work. But sometimes they just have to stay under the bed.
UAN: What were the most challenging and most rewarding parts of writing Happily Ever After?
EM: I was outside of my comfort zone on Happily and that proved incredibly energizing. There were days when I’d pick my head up and wonder where the daylight went! Sometimes you stumble into a place where the Muses sit on your shoulder and it all comes easy and fun. Happily was like that for me. Now, if I could only bottle that up and have it with my morning coffee on a regular basis, I’d be in business.
UAN: Every writer seems to have her must-haves nearby while writing. What are yours (drinks, snacks, music?)
EM: Coffee, more coffee and then later, maybe another cup of coffee. I’m an unrepentant addict. And it doesn’t help there is a great coffee shop about ten steps from my office door. I’m doomed. Of course, many authors do regularly go to their local coffee shop to grab a hot drink and spend some time focusing on their book. As I started doing this more regularly, one of my friends suggested that I should consider looking at some other broadband and phone deals to try and get some mobile broadband. She told me that would allow me to access the internet wherever I was, making it easier for me to focus on my book whenever I got some inspiration. She said I could always read a mobile hotspot review online (see more here). After doing that, it did sound ideal. Perhaps I’ll look into that in the future.
UAN: And of course we would love to know, what REALLY happened to Aidan?
EM: In my mind, Aidan returns to the literary dimension where he’s meant to be. He managed in our reality but he was never particularly happy about it whereas Lily saw possibilities here. She chooses to step away from the sometimes restrictive role of the romantic leading lady.
UAN: How is Lily?
EM: She is totally kicking reality’s ass of course 🙂
UAN: And two last questions: what’s the last book that kept you up all night reading?
EM: Funny you should ask – I’m kicking myself this morning because I stayed up half the night reading Where’d You Go, Bernadette? By Maria Semple. I wasn’t sure I’d like it at first but then it got me around the throat. I’d love to ask the author how she decided on the format for her story because it’s so unique.
UAN: Wow, reading the synopsis for that one is simply intriguing! Finally, can you tell us about your latest work in progress?
EM: I’m working on a romantic comedy for the screen called Fifteen Minutes of Fame. It’s about a girl and a boy and Greyhound bus.
UAN: Thank you, Elizabeth! We’ll be watching for that! We loved having you here today talking about Happily Ever After. 🙂
Elizabeth Maxwell lived for a long time in the east until one particularly snowy February when she couldn’t take it anymore, packed up her angry cat and moved west. She’s been hanging out in the Northern California sunshine ever since. (well, except for a decade in San Francisco where it was foggy all the time but the restaurants were really good so there was that.)
Elizabeth currently lives in Davis, CA with her husband, two kids and the same angry cat (who is now 97 cat years old.)
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