It’s holiday book time with Romancing the Genres, and I chose to interview my friend Elizabeth Allyn-Dean, who has written two holiday romances. The first, A Kiss for Solstice, is available now, and I have the honor of revealing its new cover!
Here’s my interview with Elizabeth:
I know your books have awesome detailed worlds. How do you build a unique setting?
In the case of my Midnight Sun Supernaturals series, the stories thus far have been set in Alaska, specifically the Anchorage area. What I like about this area is that it's already unique--the largest city in Alaska, but small compared to large cities in the Lower 48; an urban-ish area where it's not unusual to see bears or moose moving along busy streets, shopping centers, or downtown/outside office buildings. I always thought that if I were a shifter of some sort, this is where I'd want to be--on the edge of wilderness. One doesn't have to go far to be away from people, off the road system and outside cell reception. But you've still easy access to all the modern amenities.
What do you like about creating paranormal or fantasy characters?
I think what I like best is creating a character that has a specific supernatural characteristic (like the ability to talk to the dead or shift into an animal form), then making them relatable. While I'm guessing none of us can relate to turning into a wolf when we get mad, we can relate to losing our temper or fighting to control impulses that we know will be harmful to act on. And really, who doesn't love the idea of being able to grow wings and fly, or disappear into the woods and forget the real world for a few hours, or reach out to a loved one who has passed on. Besides, it's fun to dream up a character, someone who's about to go through something big, and ask "what if"--how would that life experience be different if the character shifted into an animal form whenever they became too emotional or had the spirits of the dead pestering them all the time?
What was the inspiration for your holiday novels?
In the case of A Kiss for Solstice, my initial inspiration came from the song "Like Real People Do" by Hozier. The first time I heard the song, I imagined a kind of reverse and twisted Sleeping Beauty scenario in which a man is killed by werewolves but brought back to life by a witch's magical kiss only to find he's now infected with the werewolf curse. Around the same time, an author friend asked if I wanted to contribute a novella-length story to an anthology called Once Upon a Midnight Solstice. This story seemed like a great fit. Especially when considering pagan lore in which the winter solstice is a celebration of the return of light, the rebirth of the Sun King, Giver of Life. The inspiration for A Heart for My Valentine was a combination of what seemed like a natural progression from the first book and my warped sense of humor. We say we're giving our heart to our beloved, gift innocent heart-shaped tokens, but what happens if someone takes that literally?
What do you like about writing around a specific time of year?
I think season can be a character in a story, much like setting. Alaskans are a bit obsessed with seasons, focused on how much daylight we're getting, its ebb and flows. In the case of winter solstice, it's the shortest day/longest night of the year, the temperatures are often bitterly cold, and there's frequently the stress of preparing for the holidays and time with family. Everything seems to be amplified, full of expectations for good or ill. A holiday can be a great cause of conflict. And for a new couple, experiencing their first holidays together, it can be especially stressful--picking the perfect gift that shows affection without going overboard, meeting the family, navigating the minefield of who's family to spend the holiday with, learning the baggage each person carries in regards to that holiday.
You can learn more about Elizabeth Allyn-Dean at:
Here’s the Amazon link for A Kiss for Solstice:
And here’s the cover of A Heart for My Valentine, to be released in a few weeks!
Happy holiday reading, whichever ones you celebrate! Lynn Lovegreen
Lynn Lovegreen has lived in Alaska for almost fifty years. She taught for twenty years before retiring to make more time for writing. She enjoys her friends and family, reading, and volunteering at her local library. Her young adult/new adult historical romances are set in Alaska, a great place for drama, romance, and independent characters. See her website at www.lynnlovegreen.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest.