About writing some really good romance – An interview with author Carrie Elks

Do you have a writing routine? Do you write in a special place of a certain time of the day? Do you need music, coffee or just peace and silence to write?

I’m a full time writer, and routine is very important to me. As soon as the children are on their way to school, I take my dog (a small black pug called Plato) out for a walk. While I’m outside in the fresh air I think about what I’m going to write that day, picturing scenes in my mind, working out the dialogue so that as soon as I’m back in the office I can open my laptop and begin to write.

I can’t write with music, but when I edit I use an app called Brain FM, which plays white noise music so that I can concentrate and block out the outside world. And of course, I’m never without a cup of coffee. If you follow me on Twitter you’ll know that coffee is always the first thing I think about in the morning. I couldn’t function without it!

How long have you been writing romance novels? How did you get into it?

I’ve been writing stories ever since I was a child. From the earliest age I was an avid reader, and when I finished a book I’d continue to dream about the characters, making up stories for them in my head, and then on the page. However, I only seriously began writing back in 2012, when I discovered Twilight fanfiction, and started to write stories and post them online. From there I found a fantastic group of readers, editors, and so many friends, so when I made the transition to writing novels, I already had a great team of people surrounding me.

I love writing romance – there’s something wonderful about two people falling in love, and I think it’s a privelege to be able to bring these stories to my readers. I feel very priveleged to be a writer, and to have my books in ebook and print.

How do you manage to fit your writing time in your daily schedule next to other obligations?

I plan a lot! I have a yearly plan, which I break up into monthly targets and weekly tasks. I carry my diary around everywhere. It’s a large, blue hardback book. I haven’t been able to get into using my phone schedule at all – I like to see all my plans written in ink on a white page!

My first task on Monday mornings is to make a list of everything I need to achieve that week, and then fit those tasks around the children’s appointments and activities, as well as cooking, cleaning, and occasionally reading a book! If I didn’t use diaries and lists, I’m sure I’d forget everything, so they’re very important to me.

Your stories are very emotional and always deal with serious life issues. Combined with the steamy scenes, it’s the perfect combination. Where do you get inspiration for your stories?

I find insipiration everywhere I look. I like to watch people (in a non-stalkerish way!) and make stories up about them in my mind. A couple having an argument over dinner can spark something in my imagination where I wonder why they’re arguing and what led them to this, and whether they’ll kiss and make up when they get home!

A few years ago I trained as a counsellor, and from that I learned how to really empathise with somebody else, and put myself in their shoes. Nowadays I find it easy to describe a character’s emotions and really get under their skin to understand their motivation.

And as for the steamy scenes, well, in life as well as in novels it’s nice to have a little fun after a long, emotional day!

How much of your own experiences goes into your books?

They say that a writer’s first novel is autobiographical, and with all my stories I certainly put in elements of my experiences. In Fix You, for example, I describe the change in technology and the music scene of the early 2000s, which was something I definitely experienced for myself. In the Love in London series, all the locations are places I’ve visited. I live very close to London and spend a lot of time there – Shoreditch and Hoxton are two of my favourite locations, and I write about them a lot!

Do you have favourite male character in the LOVE IN LONDON-series? If so, which one and why?

It’s so hard to choose! But if I really had to decide upon one character, it would probably be Alex Cartwright (the lead in Broken Melody, the second in the series). He’s a sexy, tattooed singer, which usually isn’t my type at all, but there’s something strong and vital about him that’s very attractive, and really draws you in. He’s a bad boy with a heart of gold, which I think makes for a great character!

Alex from BROKEN MELODY is a on the verge of becoming something of a rockstar. Did you ever have a rockstar crush that inspired you to have him as a protagonist?

As you know, Alex is one of my very favorite characters, and definitely shares some characteristics with my rock-star crushes. He’s a combination of Adam Levine from Maroon 5 (in looks), and Alex Turner from The Arctic Monkeys (in attitude), both of whom I have a huge crush on! LIke them, he has a lot of charisma, talent and stage presence that draws you in. He’s got that bad boy attitude that makes him interesting, and yet is still fiercely protective of those he loves. I think that’s the perfect combination in a hero!

All your female protagonists are struggling with a part of their life but are very strong-minded  and are okay at the end. Is it important to you to have self-confident female characters who are equals to their male counterparts?

Absolutely! I love writing stories that show the heroines becoming stronger in the face of adversity. They’ve usually suffered from hard times, and have to somehow find that inner strength to fight their problems. But even if they’re struggling, my heroines don’t take anything lying down, and always give as good as they get. For me, the perfect relationship is one where both partners are equals, and neither one is stronger than the other. From a female point of view, there’s nothing sexier than seeing a dominant, bad boy being tamed by a kick-ass woman!

What is your personal favourite romance novel?

Now that’s a good question. As you can imagine, I read A LOT of romance (it’s my favourite genre after all), but one of my favorite stories of the past few years is Dublin Street by Samantha Young. It has a strong yet broken heroine, a sexy hero, and a wonderful setting. All these things combine to make a fabulous book that I found impossible to put down!

Anything else you’d want to share with the readers?

foto-autorinI’m so excited that I get to share my stories with my German readers. I was lucky enough to take part in the LoveLetter convention in Berlin this year, and loved spending time with my fellow attendees, talking about our favourite stories and authors, and sharing our love of romance books. Having my books (both Kiss You and the Love in London series) translated into German makes me very excited, and I can’t wait to share more stories with you.

fadingcolors  brokenchords  fallinghearts

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