I’m delighted to be welcoming Elizabeth McKenna to Jera’s Jamboree today.
Elizabeth McKenna works as a full-time technical writer/editor for a large software company. Though her love of books reaches back to her childhood, she had never read romance novels until one Christmas when her sister gave her the latest bestseller by Nora Roberts. She was hooked from page one (actually, she admits it was the first love scene). She had always wanted to write fiction, so when a psychic told her she would write a book, she felt obligated to give it a try. She combined her love of history, romance and a happy ending to write her debut novel Cera’s Place. Her short story, The Gypsy Casts a Spell, is available for free on her website http://elizabethmckenna.com/. She hopes you will enjoy her latest novel, Venice in the Moonlight, as much as others have enjoyed her previous works.
Elizabeth lives in Wisconsin with her understanding husband, two beautiful daughters, and sassy Labrador. When she isn’t writing, working, or being a mom, she’s sleeping.
Please summarise Venice in the Moonlight in 20 words or less.
A young widow discovers her father’s murderer is related to her lover and must decide between vengeance, forgiveness and love.
If you could choose to be one of your characters in your books which would you be? and why?
I would be Cera in my first novel. She’s a strong and feisty woman who gets to love a rugged cowboy/soldier type of a guy. I had Viggo Mortensen’s character in Lord of the Rings in my head while I wrote it. Yummy…
Did you do any research for your book? What resources did you use?
I have done extensive research for both of my books (Cera’s Place and Venice in the Moonlight). Usually, it is info off of the internet (historical sites, etc). I study maps of the setting and old photos or paintings. For my latest novel, I read Casanova’s memoirs and the book A Venetian Affair by Andrea Di Robilant. I also use an etymology dictionary to ensure I use words available during the time period.
Did you travel to any places?
So far, I have picked settings that I have traveled to and found romantic. I think it helped inspire me
Are you a panster or a plotter?
For my first book, Cera’s Place, I was a pantser. I just wrote and let the characters lead me. Before I wrote my second novel, Venice in the Moonlight, I studied story structure and plotted almost everything out. I liked that method better. I still changed things around – added and subtracted scenes – but I always knew where the building blocks needed to be.
Are there any tips you could share with new writers that have worked well for you?
I think having multiple people who aren’t close friends/relatives critique your novel is essential. Professional editing is the key to growing and improving as a writer. I consider the editors that I’ve used worth every penny. I learned so much from them. I am a technical writer/editor during the day and I know you cannot edit your own work.
Have you done any creative writing/writing courses that you would recommend to others?
I learned a lot about story structure from the book Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. The author also has a blog www.storyfix.com.
What has been the best part of your writing journey so far?
The best part has definitely been connecting with readers and writers around the world. Sometimes, I get so caught up in the horrible things happening in the news, but then someone I’ve never met in person will do something nice for me and it will restore my faith in people.
I agree with you Elizabeth … about the news AND how others we’ve never met can enrich our lives!
Thank you for sharing with us today.
Considered useless by his cold-hearted father, Nico Foscari, eldest son of one of the founding families in Venice, hides his pain behind gambling, drinking and womanizing.
After her husband’s untimely demise, Marietta Gatti returns to her hometown of Venice in hopes of starting a new life and finding the happiness that was missing in her forced marriage.
When Fate throws them together, friendship begins to grow into love until Marietta learns a Foscari family secret that may have cost her father his life. Now, she must choose between vengeance, forgiveness, and love.
Elizabeth McKenna’s latest novel takes you back to eighteenth century Carnival, where lovers meet discreetly, and masks make everyone equal.
The Gypsy Casts a Spell (short story): Available for free