Today my guest is Elizabeth Belyeu.
Elizabeth Belyeu is 29 years old and lives in Alabama, where she supports herself, her cat, and her steadily growing TBR pile as a library assistant. She graduated from Troy University in 2008 with a bachelorʹs in English (Creative Writing minor). Secondhand Shadow is her first novel, but she has been writing since she could hold a pencil, and plans to continue until she is too senile to type.
Elizabeth was kind enough to answer my crazy interview questions and here are her answers.
Top five favorite movies or books:
I tend to love book series more than individual books, so here’s my top five of those! In no particular order:
(1) The Vorkosigan Novels by Lois McMaster Bujold. Space opera at its wise and witty finest!
(2) The Dresden Files, by Jim Butcher. Urban fantasy with all the humor, action, and deep emotional drama you could hope for.
(3) The Mercy Thompson books by Patricia Briggs. Another urban fantasy series, this one about a female car mechanic who can turn into a coyote.
(4) The Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling. I hope I don’t have to tell anyone what those are.
(5) The Liaden Universe books by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. Where Regency manners and dialogue meet culture shock and spaceships!
In 5 words, please describe your “Romance Writing Style.”
Make ‘em laugh, then cry.
What is your “girlie girl” thing? I.e. getting your hair done? Nails? Shopping? Gossiping? Chick flicks?
Chick flicks, I guess. I never get tired of a really good romantic comedy.
This or That:
~ Wine or Beer? I don’t drink, actually.
~ Sex in the City or Caroline in the City? Never seen either one… wow I’m boring!
~ Perfume or Jewelry? Jewelry. I’ve had too many loved ones who got migraines from being near perfume; I never got in the habit of wearing it, even when they’re not around.
~ Painted nails or Au Natural? I love having pretty painted nails but I’m too lazy to actually do it more than once a year or so.
~ Tall or Dark or Handsome? I can only pick one? Handsome, certainly. I’m flexible on dark versus fair, and tall is actually pretty close to being a defect. I prefer a man who doesn’t tower over me.
~ Romantic Dinner at Home or Out? Out. It’s just more special.
~ Roses or Lilies? Roses. They just smell so nice.
~ Diamond or Emeralds? SAPPHIRES! Or opals.
~ Pirates or Ninjas? Ninjas. They’re more impressive and more honorable. Any greedy brute can be a pirate. (Even though I crush as hard on Jack Sparrow as anyone…)
Do your leading men come from any place in particular? Dreams? Movie stars? Your partner? Past partners?
No, I just try to imagine a character who fits the story, fits with the heroine, and is someone I can fall in love with to some extent. As a writer you have to fall in love with all your characters, or you won’t be able to stand spending months or years inside their head!
If your sweetheart wanted to sweep you off your feet, what would they need to do??
Not much, I am easy to please! Take me somewhere special or just somewhere cute and fun, buy me food, give me cuddles – I am yours.
Do you ever daydream about people you see at the park? Airport? Train station? Mall? And build romance scenes around them while you daydream?
It really strikes me sometimes, on long drives, how every person in every car I pass has their own story in progress. I make up my version of their stories sometimes. Not so much romance scenes, though – I save that for my own characters, or fictional people I think ought to get together. 😉
What do you do in your down time?
I spend a lot of time on Tumblr and/or reading fanfic… a lot of time…
When you go to Starbucks or Jamba Juice, what do you order?
Never been to a Jamba Juice, but I love the various baked goods at Starbucks, and usually get one with a hot chocolate.
When you walk into a book store, where do you head first?
The science fiction & fantasy section!
If we sneaked a peek in your purse right now, what would we find?
Wallet, phone, check book, pen, lip gloss, fingernail clippers, keys, too many old receipts and coupons, tiny notebook, hairclip, ibuprofen!
In 4 words, describe yourself. The shy, bookish sort.
Top ten snacks while writing:
I don’t generally eat while writing, but I do keep a jar of gumdrops on my desk that I’ve been known to reach for when trying to think. More accurately, I have a Honeydukes jar on my desk, an actual Honeydukes jar from actual Honeydukes inside The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and I fill it with whatever candy I can get; right now it’s gumdrops. It makes me so happy just to look at them!
Thanks for answering, Elizabeth! So many of your answers are just like mine! I love the Dresden Files series. In fact, it’s kind of a family thing. Usually my daughter buys the next book, reads it, passes it on to her boyfriend, then gives it to her dad who then gives it to me. I’m waiting for him to bring Skin Game home from his business trip this week! My purse probably looks a lot like yours, and my darling husband has allergies so I don’t wear perfume either!
Let’s find out more about Secondhand Shadow.
It’s supposed to be a symbiotic relationship: the Shadow serves and protects the human Lumi, the Lumi feeds and cares for the Shadow. But when Damon’s Lumi died young and severed the bond between them, he declined to go with her like a good little Shadow. Yes, it hurts. Yes, he’s cold and hungry all the time. And yes, his own people call him an abomination. But for the first time, Damon’s life is his own, and he’s never going back.
Or so he thinks, until he meets Naomi, a pregnant college student… and bonds to her as his new Lumi. Which has never happened to a Shadow before.
Naomi has enough problems on her plate, juggling college and a crappy survival job, preparing for a baby, and getting over her cheating ex-husband. The last thing she needs is a dark, brooding fellow like Damon depending on her physically and emotionally, and hating her for it. But a vigilante among Damon’s people has his sights set on Naomi – and they both know Damon is her only chance for survival.
Here’s an Excerpt for you:
“So, who do I look like?” I said.
He jumped, as if he hadn’t expected me to have the power of speech. “What?”
“Either I look like someone you never wanted to see again, or I smell bad. Since you got in an elevator with me, I’m going with Option A.”
He continued staring a moment, then opened his mouth to speak.
And the elevator shuddered to a halt.
No. I closed my eyes. No, this cannot be. These things don’t really happen. I leaned my head back against the wall with a thunk. Then, to my own dismay, I started to laugh.
“I’m sorry,” I gasped when I saw Damon’s stare turn from mysterious to confused. “It’s just such a cliché. The pregnant lady trapped in the elevator. If I give birth in an elevator—” Confusion became alarm. “Oh, no, I’m fine,” I said quickly. “Still two months to go, thank goodness. It’s just the idea.”
I was able to stop laughing after a minute, because it stopped being funny. There was a help button in the wall, which I would be calm enough to push, eventually. But it could be hours before we got out of here. Hours during which I was supposed to be at work. I fumbled my cell phone out of my bookbag. No signal.
Damon began to pace, which was a nice trick in an elevator that size, especially when he refused to come anywhere close to me. Yeah, well, I wouldn’t touch you with a thirty-nine-and-a-half-foot pole, either.
“I can’t be here,” he muttered under his breath, and ran a hand through his hair, which very unexpectedly made my breath catch. So I have a thing for long-haired guys. Why else would I have the Lord of the Rings movies memorized?
“Hit the help button,” I said. It was on his side.
He paused, looked at the button a moment, then resumed pacing. “You should do it.”
Bossy much? I considered suggesting an anatomically unlikely new location for the help button, but then I remembered that just because he hadn’t pulled a knife on me yet didn’t mean he wouldn’t. I stepped toward the help button, wondering what he’d do when I crossed the orbit of his pacing.
What he did was stop dead with a sharp breath, back up against the wall, and close his eyes.
For the first time, I was truly afraid to turn my back on him. I froze, not breathing, and waited.
He kept his eyes closed, breath coming faster, hands half-raised as if to ward me off. They were shaking.
Seconds passed. A minute. Maybe more. My fear began to ebb, just a bit, to make room for pity. He was in pain. I had no idea why or how, or what I could do to help, but surely I ought to try.
The word was tiny and feather-edged, but it broke something. Suddenly I was pinned between him and the wall, my upraised hands trapped against his chest, too stunned to push him away.
“I won’t hurt you,” he said, pressing his face into my hair. “I won’t hurt you. I hate you too much to ever hurt you. I’m sorry.”
I felt a hand against my cheek.
And I was alone in the elevator.
You can buy Secondhand Shadow at these retailers:
Where to Find Elizabeth to learn mor about her:
My Blog – elizabethbelyeu.wordpress.com