Today's guest is Elyssa Patrick, whose fun, sexy contemporary romance, AS YOU WISH, is out now. This is Elyssa's debut, and it's a good one. I'm halfway through it right now and I can't wait to get to the end! (Also - rock star hero, just like our own Lizbeth's book!)
This Christmas, Portia Jackson needs a miracle to save her family’s generations-old florist shop. What she gets instead is a car that breaks down during a blizzard. Help arrives unexpectedly when the infamous Aubry Riley pulls over. She only expects him to drive her to the gas station . . . she never expects that kiss. But Portia lives in the real world—she knows this is only a holiday fling for Aubry. Except it doesn’t feel so temporary, and the last thing she wants is a broken heart.
Sometimes you have to sing some different notes . . .
Rock star Aubry Riley has no secrets. Thanks to the media, everyone knows about his troubled past. Six years have gone by since his world crashed, and now he’s ready for a comeback. But first he needs to reconcile with his family—starting with his six-year-old daughter. A month-long vacation at a Vermont lake house affords him the perfect opportunity to take a step in the right direction. He doesn’t need any other emotional entanglements, especially not with the bright-eyed florist he can’t stop thinking about. But no matter how hard he tries to resist her, he can’t. Now all he has to do is to convince Portia that there is nothing temporary when it comes to love.
Simone - Tell us a little about AS YOU WISH and how you came to write it.
Elyssa - Thanks, Simone, for having me on!
In a nutshell, AS YOU WISH is about a jaded rock star who goes to Vermont for a month-long holiday to reconnect and reconcile with his estranged family, especially with his six-year-old daughter, but things get complicated when he falls for the bright-eyed florist.
I wrote this during October 2008 – March 2009, but I had wanted to write a rock star for a while. I had read SEP’s NATURAL BORN CHARMER, and in that book, there’s a secondary romance involving an aging rock star and his former wife. After I had read that book, I wanted to read more books where the rock star was the main hero but was having a hard time. I kept hearing that rock star heroes didn’t sell, and, in fact, when I started writing AYW, I was cautioned against it by a few authors, but I didn’t listen because I can be too damn stubborn at times, lol.
So I wrote the book because I really wanted to read a rock star romance, but I wouldn’t have been able to write a rock star hero if I never had a really good idea. And I’m still so grateful that Aubry came to me, and the idea was “born.”
Simone - The title is from The Princess Bride, right?
Elyssa - Yes, it is! THE PRINCESS BRIDE is one of my favorite movies, and I love the line Wesley says to Princess Buttercup. Funnily enough, I named another hero “Wes” after Wesley from THE PRINCESS BRIDE. I have a bit of an addiction, I guess. :)
Simone - What authors were your biggest inspirations and influences for the book?
Elyssa - Three of my main authors who inspire and who I look up to are: Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Nora Roberts, and Lisa Kleypas. I love their books.
I also love Nalini Singh, Maya Banks, Julie James, Shannon Stacey, Meljean Brook, Tammara Webber, Kristan Higgins, Jill Shalvis, Molly O’Keefe, and the list goes on and on and on.
When I was writing AS YOU WISH, I was concerned about a few things: dealing with grief (I really did not want to make Aubry’s first wife an “evil” woman or have Aubry’s love for first wife disavowed or lessened in any way); the secondary romance; making sure all the characters felt “alive.” I’d never written a secondary romance or had a character who’d dealt with an addiction before, and I wanted to make sure I got it right.
So, these are the books that I mainly read during the time of writing AS YOU WISH:
1. DREAM A LITTLE DREAM by Susan Elizabeth Phillips—for how SEP handled Gabe’s grief and to also study the secondary romance.
2. AGAIN THE MAGIC by Lisa Kleypas—for how LK handled the secondary romance and Gideon’s alcoholism.
3. THE BRIDAL SEASON by Connie Brockway—for the cast of characters, etc.
Each of these books also had the same “feel” I was writing: light, funny, emotional, sexy. Plus, I often reread these books so I wanted to see what was about those books that I kept coming back to—I think any writer might feel the same in that sometimes the best way to learn craft is by studying other books.
Simone - It's a great way to learn craft - I do it all the time. Where is your favorite place to read?
Elyssa - In bed. I’ll usually sneak books in right before I go to sleep.
Simone - What surprised you the most about self-publishing?
Elyssa - I knew self-publishing was going to be a lot of work, and I put a lot of pressure on myself in making sure I was doing things right. I wanted to make sure I put out the best product to readers, and I hope I did that.
Simone - What are the three best books you've read lately?
Elyssa - Only three?!!! Talk about Sophie’s Choice!
2. KAT, INCORRIGIBLE by Stephanie Burgis. This is a middle grade book. It’s Harry Potter meets Jane Austen but with a girl protagonist and it is SO SO SO good.
3. SLOW SUMMER KISSES by Shannon Stacey. I was reading a few novellas because I’m writing my first novella ever, and Shannon Stacey is a master at them.
Simone - What's next for you?
Elyssa - A novella called ONE HIT WONDER, which I’m currently working on. I’m having a lot of fun with this one. It’s basically about when a personal assistant hands in her notice, this once famous pop star will do anything to make her stay. Think Music & Lyrics meets Two Weeks Notice—but the hero in OHW does not look like Hugh Grant at all. I’m trying to get this out sooner than what I had said originally, but if not, it’ll be out in Spring 2013.
Thanks again, Simone! I’d love to giveaway three digital copies (Kindle only) of AS YOU WISH! (If you read on something other than Kindle, say so in comments! You can still enter the giveaway—if you win, I’ll just send you the book directly.)
Thank you Elyssa! Okay, I'm going to make today's question a fun one. If you could put any real rock star in a romance novel, who would you choose? (Or country star, or jazz star, or r&b star... you get the idea.) Make sure you leave your email address in your comment to win!
Elyssa Patrick is a former high school English teacher who left the classroom to write fun, sexy, and emotional contemporary romances. Besides being slightly addicted to chocolate, she loves cupcakes, classic movies, and Shakespeare. She is a member of RWA. Elyssa lives in New York, where she is currently working on her next novel.
Elyssa's Twitter: @elyssapatrick
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