3QQ is an ongoing blog feature in which we ask authors who are joining Nora for an upcoming Turn the Page Bookstore signing some questions about their current release, upcoming books and anything else that strikes our fancy.
TTP’s next event is this Saturday, September 14 from noon-2 pm. Joining Nora are the other authors who contributed to the Mirror, Mirror anthology — all of whom are good pals.
Today’s conversation is with Elaine Fox, a newcomer to the JD Robb anthologies, but an author with an impressive list of books that cross romance subgenres from historicals to romantic comedies. A creative soul, Elaine’s varied interests include needlework, jewelry making, wine, and yoga. And writing.
1. All the stories in Mirror, Mirror are loosely linked by an overarching fairy tale theme. You chose a classic in your novella “Beauty, Sleeping.” Were you a fan of fairy tales growing up?
Of course I loved all the Disney versions, and had a book of Grimms’ with some wonderfully gruesome and detailed pictures, but I chose this one in kind of a backwards way. In trying to choose my fairy tale, I joked about how hard it would be to use Sleeping Beauty because one of the main characters is unconscious throughout the nearly whole story. (“Darling, at last I’ve found you!” cried the prince. “ ,” said Beauty.) Talk about a challenge!
But the more I thought about it, the more intrigued I became, and once I decided that the ‘sleep’ could be metaphorical, I hit on the idea of a ghost – ghost stories being right up there with fairy tales in my pantheon of childhood muses.
2. Could you tell us a little about “Beauty, Sleeping?”
Sure. So, the ghost idea. Instead of sleeping, my character would be a ghost – but not a dead-person ghost. No, in keeping with the original fairy tale, my character was cursed by an evil fairy because his parents didn’t invite her to his christening. (Really. Evidently fairies hate not being invited to parties.) But instead of being sentenced to sleep for a number of years he was turned into a ghost.
In a further twist on the tale I made my sleeper the hero, and it isn’t until the heroine buys the house he’s caught in that he has a chance to be made ‘real’ again.
More subtly, I wanted to play with the idea of other beautiful things sleeping too, such as the house – which stood empty for decades – and my heroine, who had never found love before, etc., so the story is about a kind of beauty in general, sleeping.
3. You’ve written romances with a fair amount of history, romantic comedies and romances with dogs as important secondary characters. What compelled you to try different types of stories? And what are you reading now?
I started out writing time travel romances, which can have the benefit of being both contemporary and historical. So for somebody who’s indecisive like me they’re perfect! Which makes the short answer: I just change my mind a lot. But mostly I like variety because it keeps my writing fresh. Time travels offer a writer the challenge of creating a story the reader has to recognize as ‘real’ (because they’re living a contemporary life too), and turning it into the fantasy world of the historical. After that, writing a straight historical – which requires a different kind of voice – was another challenge. Writing a completely contemporary story was for me the final frontier.
The dog books were a way to indulge my love of dogs, and to appeal to people who, like me, love their pets. Using dogs as devices to either get the hero and heroine together or keep them apart also made for great comic opportunities, which I am always looking for (and not just in writing!)
Right now I’m reading Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter, who is so creatively uninhibited it’s inspiring. I also just finished reading Secret Sister, by Emelle Gamble, a book that makes you believe in the magic of love even in the complicated, confusing and messy world of modern life.
And even if you can’t make it to the signing, you can order books now and the marvelous Turn the Page staff will have the authors sign the books before the event is over.