Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Krystal Shannan Interviews - Elizabeth Finn - Devil's Pawn

Please help me welcome Elizabeth Finn to the blog today!

Without further ado.... tell us a little about yourself.

            I’m a full time Human Resources Specialist at a rather large company. I have a son, and I’m also a Junior in a business management program, thanks in large part to nice tuition assistance through my employer… Oh yeah, I find time to write too!

Did you always want to be an author?

            Not really. I was always better than average with my writing, and with every compliment from a teacher, professor, work associate, that desire to write more built slowly.

What is your favorite part of being a writer/author?

            The freedom to create the exact story you want to hear. I may watch a movie or read a book, but my mind always takes the characters down a different path than the author or writer – even if only subtle plot changes, and there is nothing better or worse about my angle than their own. Writing just gives you the option to completely make the story your own. That’s a very powerful feeling in my opinion.

What book have you most recently released?

            The Devil’s Pawn released on 9/17/2012, and Brother’s Keeper released 10/22/2012… They’re pretty close together, and I’m equally excited to be sharing both! I also have Restoring Jordan releasing on 12/17/2012.

What was your favorite part of the book?

            Oh gosh, let’s just focus on The Devil’s Pawn. The very first sexual encounter of Derek and Ashton and the “morning after.” Derek is a reluctant hero at best, and he really put her through hell to begin with, but there are subtle moments where his compassion show through his cold hard exterior, and it is seeing that in the midst of Ashton’s fear and pain and absolute trepidation that just get under my skin.

Tell us a little about your book.

            I have a few upcoming releases, but the release that is available right now is The Devil’s Pawn. Here goes!

When Ashton is left orphaned after her parents are murdered, her life becomes a hell she could never have imagined. Left to fend for herself, and responsible for a debt she doesn’t owe, she is swept into a life as a gentleman’s escort at a private men’s gaming hall. Her new manager makes it abundantly clear he doesn’t appreciate her inexperience, innocence, and shyness. On the contrary, he despises everything about her.
Derek can be “difficult,” she’s been told. And however dark and handsome he may be, he terrifies her in a way that chills her to the bone, but leaves her begging to understand him. As they are pulled along together, more secrets and threats than either one could ever conceive are revealed, and a common enemy emerges. This enemy will stop at nothing to bring Derek to his knees while using Ashton as the greatest pawn in his torturous game.
Will Derek be able to let down his shield of cold, harsh emotion before it’s too late? Will he be able to sacrifice himself to save Ashton, or will they both be destroyed by the secrets of their pasts?

Once in the fitting room, Derek takes the chair again while I start to remove my clothes. I intentionally wore ugly, stretched-out, white cotton underwear that is entirely too big on me in the event he should be here. My mouth isn’t the only thing that can get me into trouble—my sarcasm knows no bounds when I’m unhappy.
As he sees the appalling excuse for an undergarment, his eyes move up to mine, narrowing darkly at my obvious defiance. I look coolly back at him before looking away dismissively. My anger and resentment of him from the humiliation he subjected me to the previous morning, not to mention his treatment of me over the past two weeks, have charged me into a bold, fiery bitch that no longer cares what retribution I might face. While my tongue usually gets me in trouble, today I decided to let my underwear do the talking.
Jacob enters with an armful of dresses for me to try on, and he cringes as he takes in my defiant granny panties, hated the world over by men, including, apparently, gay men.
He turns to Derek, and with a scrunched-up face, he worries out loud. “The dresses aren’t going to lay right over those…” He tosses a nod in my general direction.
Derek wastes no time at all reassuring Jacob and striking back at me. “No worries. Ashton was just taking them off. She won’t be wearing underwear anymore.”
I glare defiantly back at him as I drop the loose fabric to the floor. He returns the glare for a moment before letting his gaze travel down my body to my sex, and as it lands there, smoldering with heat, I turn abruptly from him, intentionally showing him my backside instead. I look to the mirror in front of me, and I catch his eyes flit away from me in annoyance. He worries his lip with his thumb and index finger as he contemplates, and the slightest of smirks crosses over his mouth. Jacob is standing by looking from one to the other of us, obviously wondering just exactly what he’s gotten himself in the middle of.
Derek finally looks back to Jacob. “Get on with it.”
I try on one after the other of the dresses. Some are perfect; Jacob pins in additional alterations in others. Derek sits by bored, only glancing up from his cell phone occasionally. One such occasion is when Jacob remarks that I’m “just not curvy enough for this one.”
Derek looks up to Jacob, but he shifts his eyes to mine before commenting, “Yes, well, if you can figure out some way of making her look female, you let me know.”
Jacob again lets his eyes pass between us, seeming to wonder all the while what he’s missing. As I hold Derek’s eyes with my own, my anger falters, and the pain that is behind my fury pushes through. I try to wrangle my tears into submission, but it’s no use. In defeat, first one, and then another spills from my eyes and slides down my cheeks. Jacob regards my state and excuses himself from the room.
I stand on the hemming block in the center of the room, refusing to look at Derek. But he’s looking at me, and as my hurt continues to work through my entire body, I let my tongue do what it does best. “Why do you hate me so much?”
He says nothing, but stands and moves to me. Reaching around behind me, he pulls the zipper of the dress down, and then, returning his hands to my shoulders, he pulls the straps down, exposing first my small breasts, and then the rest of my naked body as it falls to the floor.
He leans in to my ear and speaks. “You don’t know anything about me.” He then takes me by the hand and pulls me to stand in front of the mirror, and leaning to my ear once more as I watch him in the mirror, he speaks gently. “Lean forward and put your palms on the mirror.”

When did you start writing and when did you finish your first book?

            Hah! I actually started writing my upcoming release, Brother’s Keeper, five year ago. I got about a third of the way through, and that was it. I put it away, buried it, started a family, went back to school, you name it. I did everything but finish it. This past summer, after finally pushing myself to get back in to writing, I finished my first manuscript, The Devil’s Pawn, and I decided to dust off Brother’s Keeper and see if there was anything that still spoke to me about it. I fell in love with the characters all over again, ended up finishing it, subbing it after The Devil’s Pawn was contracted, and it will now be coming out on October 22, 2012!

Where do you get your inspiration?

            No idea. Truly, I’d likely need a shrink to answer that one. I’ve invented and developed stories in my head for as long as I can remember, and frankly, I was shocked with I found out that everyone else in the world did not do the same thing! The stories are just floating around all the time, waiting to be written. They’re my sanctuary, they’re how I de-stress and sometimes how I compensate and cope with the shortcomings of life. But where does the actual plot come from, I’m clueless.

Do you plot and outline or do you just write?  Plotter or Pantser?

Plotter to a degree. I have a general idea of how the story will play out, but it is very loose on the details. I may not go in knowing what the black moment will be, but I know the general conflicts and flow. 

Can you tell us a little about the process of getting your first book published?

            Truthfully, far easier than I imagined. I love working with Liquid Silver Books, and I have found confidence, and knowledge and just the nudge needed to push me in the right direction more than I can tell you from LSB. The run down: I submitted, I received a response in less than two weeks, I worked through a few quick revisions, was assigned an editor and cover artist, moved on to the final line editor after the content edits were done, and now it’s done! It was work, but it was not as overwhelming as you might think.

Rate your story in terms steaminess?
            Hmmm. It’s steamy. It broke some rules, had the editor saying “I’m not sure you can do that… I’m going to check with the publisher…” So yeah, steamy… super heated steam. But also grounded in very realistic gritty life. It’s not gratuitous for the sake of being gratuitous – there’s a very emotionally compelling story beneath the steam.

Do you have another book in the works?
            As I mentioned, I have Brother’s Keeper releasing on 10/22/2012, and that will be followed by Restoring Jordan on 12/17/2012.

What advice would you give new authors?  What have you learned about the business?
            Just try it. Don’t get discouraged. Just write for the sake of writing and nothing else. Listen to feedback from editors and people in the industry, but don’t stop writing. Writing can be daunting. You look at this story and you wonder, how the heck am I gonna capture that whole story, but you just don’t realize that you can do it until you put fingers to keys and go for it. And there is no better feeling than finalizing a manuscript and hitting the send key as you send it off to the publisher.

Boxers or Briefs?
Boxer briefs all the way. There is no one or the other – they struck pay-dirt when they invented the boxer brief.

Pizza or hamburger?
Pizza… but only in moderation… darn carbs.

Beer, Wine, or mixed drink?
Wine, and not just wine, Chianti. I love Chianti.

If you could spend a week anywhere in the world, where would it be?  Would you write or read there, or do something else?
            A secluded cabin in the mountains. Any mountains. I would be alone, the weather would be oh…. Sixty degrees; it would be foggy and/or overcast, and I would write. There would have to be a spider free porch and a comfortable chair with a footrest, so my laptop and I could do our thing.

(Character Questions)
What were your first impressions of each other?
            Derek – I hated her innocence, her shyness. She looks nothing like a prostitute, and now I’m responsible for her. In truth, I hate that she makes me worry about her. Life is easier when you don’t have to worry or care about anyone but yourself. Damn her for disrupting my life.
            Ashton – I was terrified of him. He was beautiful, but his eyes showed his loathing for me. Everything about this new life was terrifying, and he was no exception … but he was so incredibly beautiful—just harsh, cruel, and God how he hates me.

What’s your favorite characteristic of each other?
            Derek – As much as I want to push her away, my hands want to touch her curls. They’re wild and crazy curls that cascade long down her back and leave my hands wanting to twine and twist their way through her hair.
            Ashton – his eyes. They’re intense and penetrating. His every emotion, the ones he fights so hard to hide, are seen in the dark depths of his eyes so clearly.

Find more about Elizabeth Finn @

Elizabeth Finn is an Iowa native, where she lives with her husband and son. By day, Elizabeth is a Human Resources Specialist, but by night, she checks her professionalism at the door and immerses herself in the world of writing erotic romance. Look for more to come from Elizabeth Finn.

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