I’m thrilled to be able to bring you another wonderful author, Elaine Grant.

Elaine and I have been friends for over a year. She was president of our local RWA chapter, HeartLA last year and I was vice-president. We went to RWA’s National Conference in Atlanta last year. Elaine drove and I paid for gas! It was a hoot, so when she sold her book, Make-Believe Mom, I knew I wanted to do something special for her.

When Elaine was five years old, she decided she wanted to be a writer who illustrated her own books. Her first short story was published in the local weekly newspaper when she in third grade. There was no turning back after that!

Elaine graduated from Louisiana State University about ten years late with a degree in Computer Science and a minor in Creative Writing. She worked for several years in the chemical industry first in sales then as a computer analyst. When her son was born, she “retired” to start a second and more fun career as a stay-at-home mother–and to indulge her lifelong obsession to write.

Her first novel Roses for Chloe, a ghost romance set in south Louisiana, was released in 1998 by Penguin Putnam/Berkley Jove.

Elaine loves horses, cowboys, gardening, baseball, travel, and eating sushi with her son when he’s home from college. A native of Alabama, Elaine lives in Louisiana with her husband, son, a psycho cat, and a lovely Australian Shepherd, where her family enjoys the food and the unique culture of the area.

Hi, Elaine, and thanks for the opportunity to interview you and share your writing with the readers of my blog.

Your first book, Roses for Chloe, was published in 1998 and your second one came out this month. How did you stay motivated with so many years between books?

I write simply because I must. It’s an obsession I’ve had since I was about five years old. I wrote long, long before I published the first one, and will probably always write no matter what the circumstances. As for the specific period between books, I was incredibly busy during those years. My son was in high school, playing baseball with a very competitive state championship team. My husband and I never missed a game. I was a partner in a small non-fiction publishing company. After a couple of years doing that, I realized that I much preferred to lie–I mean create other worlds–so I “retired” from the publishing company and returned to my first love, fiction. I also finished two manuscripts during that period, one being Make-Believe Mom.

You have one son, yet in Make-Believe Mom the hero has seven children. Did you find it difficult to keep all those children strait and give them distinct personalities?

Actually, no, I had no trouble at all keeping up with them–maybe because they were stuck on paper and not able to get in real trouble. Each of them brought his or her own personality to the character. I did have to write down eye color and hair color, just to be consistent. They were sweet children, and I found myself in restaurants and malls, watching young kids. I often asked mothers how old their children were, to try and make sure mine “acted their age.”

When we were driving to Atlanta in 2006 for RWA’s National Conference, you shared an interesting story about the opening scene in the book. Would you share that with my readers?

Originally Jon called the vet to the ranch because his young calves had scours (a form a digestive upset). I needed to know how this illness would be treated and joined a cattle forum where a lot of ranchers and farmers discussed problems. It didn’t take long to realize that almost without exception ranchers would treat scours themselves with no need for a vet. I’d almost made my hero TDTL (Too Dumb To Live).

When I realized I needed something more complicated than scours I located a lady vet on that same Cattle Forum and she walked me through a cow-C-section, which was one of only a few things a vet would be called out to do. She was very helpful with her minute detail on this and also gave me some insight on the difficulties of being a female large animal vet in a predominately man’s world.

So that’s why Make Believe Mom begins with a cow C-section!

What inspired you to write Make-Believe Mom?

Good question. I don’t know. I’ve always loved cowboys, and this rancher named Jon came to visit in my head one day and brought along all seven kids. He mentioned there was this new lady vet in town and well, he’d like to …. So, I just took it from here.

What is your favorite scene from Make-Believe Mom?

I think probably Jon and Kaycee’s date at the Rainbow Ranch restaurant. Very romantic night, when they actually realized they were in love.

Have you always wanted to write romance?

No. When I was in college I wanted to write literary fiction. The trouble was the eternal manuscript I was working on was historical and had romance in it. So that wouldn’t work. I read a lot of different genres and like to write all kinds of things. My first published book Roses for Chloe was a paranormal Southern Romance. I’m working on a thriller. And I have three historicals gathering dust on a shelf. But the common thing is that they all have a strong love story in them, because I do like to write love stories.

I know you have another book in the pipeline. What can you tell us about that one?

My next Superromance is slated for 2008 and has no title at this point. It’s the story of Sarah James, the independent woman who runs the Little Lobo Café in Make-Believe Mom. She has plans to tear down the old, dilapidated mansion behind the café and build a brand new bed and breakfast–until her double-crossing brother sells his half of the property to stranger Cimarron Cole, who is determined to restore the house for his own use! Sarah and Cimarron battle each other and demons from their respective childhoods. Then four-year-old Wyatt, Cimarron’s orphaned nephew who calls himself Nobody’s Little Boy is dropped on Cimarron’s doorstep and two people who claim to never want kids have to decide this child’s fate.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on Sarah and Cimarron’s story, and the thriller set in Tennessee.

Anything parting words?

Thanks for inviting me! I hope readers enjoy Make-Believe Mom and I’d love from them at elaine@elainegrant.com. I also have a contest going at www.elainegrant.com

Elaine’s Book, Make-Believe Mom, a September 2007 release, is the rollicking story of a widowed Montana rancher who will do whatever he must to keep custody of his seven young children–even fake an engagement with the new lady vet in town.