A Front Porch Chat with Elizabeth Lennox!

USA Today (c) bestselling author Elizabeth Lennox writes contemporary romance novels featuring sheiks, business tycoons, royalty, and other sexy rich men. Her male lead characters are smart, driven and determined, but can still be sensitive and vulnerable. Elizabeth's female lead characters come from a variety of backgrounds. They are strong, intelligent and independent, while still feminine and caring. 

Although Elizabeth wanted to be a romance novelist since the eighth grade, that dream only became a (paid) reality for her in 2009 and a full-time job in 2012. Along the way, she received a BS in History and held different jobs in the real estate, government consulting, and financial industries. All during that time, though, she was always writing, using her personal experiences, dreams, and travels throughout the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean as backdrops for her stories.

USA Today (c) bestselling author Elizabeth Lennox

Liz: Welcome, Elizabeth. Thank you so much for sitting down with me today. I can't tell you how thrilled and honored I am to be able to interview one of my author crushes. I don't remember the title, but I do remember reading my first Elizabeth Lennox book years ago, loving it and then needing to download your entire catalog of stories. It took me a rather long time to do so, I think at the time you had around fifty published books. 
Elizabeth: Thank you for the invitation, and for your kind comment about my books. You have a beautiful and peaceful place here. I can imagine sitting on this porch, looking out over the lake often. What an inspirational setting you have here.

(Liz pours them both a Mason jar of  sweet tea, and offers Elizabeth a selection of freshly baked cookies - still warm from the oven.)
Liz: By the way, Elizabeth. This is decaffeinated tea. I know you have issues with that.
Elizabeth: Why thank you Liz. That's so thoughtful!

Liz: How many titles do you currently have released?
Elizabeth: Including the titles that have been translated into Spanish, 108.
Liz: That is an extremely awe inspiring accomplishment.

Liz: Do you ever have time to read just for fun?
Elizabeth: I carve out a bit of time here and there. Especially to unwind and relax.
Liz: Who are some of your favorite authors?
Elizabeth: I have a long list of favorites; Linda Howard, Vince Flynn, Psychology Today, Scientific American, Lynn Graham, Liz Scott, National Geographic, R.L. Mathewson.
Liz: That's quite an impressive and eclectic list. And just so you know, I didn't pay her to say my name. 
Elizabeth: You are correct, that was all me. 
Liz: Scientific American? Really?
Elizabeth: (Laughs) Reading things like Scientific American and National Geographic has fascinating articles that spur my imagination. Psychology Today helps me to put new twists on my character development.

Liz: When you were a little girl, did you dream about growing up and writing romance books?  
Elizabeth: Not specifically writing a book.  It wasn’t until the 8th grade that I fully formed that dream.  But even then, no one believed I could do it.  Everyone told me to make sure I had a backup plan. 
Liz: So writing is something you've always done.
Elizabeth: Yes. Except for after my babies were born, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing or didn’t want to write. 

Liz: What was your backup career?
Elizabeth:  I was a finance manager for an IT company.  I managed about $750M in project revenue, analyzed the gross and net contribution and all the other stuff – it really was fascinating (no sarcasm – loved the job).  
Liz: How did your business career evolve into a writing career? 
Elizabeth: My business career didn’t evolve into my writing career, they happened in parallel universes. 
Liz: So  you worked a full-time job and wrote in your off time. I know from experience how hard that can be.
Elizabeth: Yes, definitely. But on my own time, I allowed my alter ego to come out.  As soon as I walked in the door at night, the heels came off, the silk blouses got put away and the slippers came on (yoga pants too) and I wrote until I couldn’t see the computer any longer.  That still happens when I get a really good idea in my head. 

Liz: When was the defining moment for you when you knew you were ready to go full-time into authordom.
Elizabeth: The defining moment was when my book sales matched my corporate salary. At that point, both my husband and I knew that it would be a better use of my time to write full time than to work at a corporate job and write part time. I knew that writing would be a more productive use of my time. 
Liz: As a fan, I'd like to thank you and your husband for making that decision.
Elizabeth: You're very welcome. (Chuckles and picks up her Mason jar of sweet tea and takes a refreshing sip.)

Liz: Did you hit it out of the ballpark with your first published book? 
Elizabeth: Oh goodness, no way!  It took me years…a lifetime…before I was able to do this full time.  I was rejected by the traditional publishing houses so often, I actually had a collection of those rejection letters.  Ironically, the stories that were rejected all those times are also some of my best sellers! 
Liz: What were they thinking! I bet they regret that decision now.
Elizabeth: I wonder. I would hope so.

Liz: Have you ever felt like giving up?   
Elizabeth: Oh yeah!  There were times when I would be snuggled up to my husband, promising him that I wouldn’t write anymore, I’d focus on my corporate career and he would never come to bed and find me with my laptop on my blankets.  He never believed me.  (Smart man!)

(The interview is temporarily interrupted as the ladies enjoy a gaggle of geese flying over the lake in a perfect "V" formation.)

Liz: Did you have a business/promotional plan with your first book? 
Elizabeth: No way – no plan!  After finishing my first book, my only plan was to start the next one.  That’s still the plan today.  All the tedious stuff that comes with being a writer annoys me.  All I want to do is sit in my big, comfy chair and write the next scene, start the next book, read my other stories once again. 

Liz: Describe your writing process from inception to publication. 
Elizabeth: Goodness, if only I had a formal process.  I don’t.  Sometimes, I have a niggle in my head and I just start writing.  Other times, I sit down and write out the entire series in summary format on paper and follow that outline.  And other times, I will sort of combine those two processes.  
Liz: Do you ever have times when you get into the story and something just isn't working or it doesn't feel right?
Elizabeth: Sometimes a story works and other times, I’m starting over so many times that I have to just give up on that plot for a while.  It is heart-breaking to start over, to toss out the work I’ve been building, but if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.  My sister is an English professor and she said that is one of the hardest lessons for students to learn – letting go of something that isn’t working.  So if you want to be a writer – get used to it!  Story lines just don’t always “work”. 

Liz: What's your tried and true method of getting out of a sticky situation you've written yourself into? 
Elizabeth: Laying on the floor, staring up at the ceiling and relaxing my brain.  It works every time.  My kids say I look dead – but hey, if it works, why mess with success?  There has to be silence though.  Otherwise, I get distracted.  That method has the added bonus of freaking them out. 
Liz: I would say that's a win-win!
Elizabeth: Anytime I can play with their minds I feel I've accomplishment my goal as a parent.

Liz: Do you write one story at a time or do you have multiple stories going at once?  
Elizabeth: Right now, I am in the process of editing 14 different books.  Each story is in a different stage of completion.  Also, I have another book that is in summary format, and another that is dancing around in my mind.  So definitely multiple story lines. 
Liz: How do you keep them all straight?
Elizabeth: As I'm writing the stories, the characters are real to me. They are like my friends, the people I hang out with all day long. They make me laugh and cry, surprise me with their humor or their foibles (yeah - I'm often surprised by what I write - sounds strange but it is true), so all these "people" are in my head. But I'll admit, when I start the next series, I'm completely absorbed into those characters' lives, their thinking and their struggles. So in answer to how I keep them straight - I don't. I completely immerse myself into the new characters. It is hard to get out of that world and into previous worlds I've created.
Liz: With so many titles how are you able to keep your stories fresh and non-repetitive?
Elizabeth: I read and I get out into the world to experience life as much as possible. Getting into the world gives me new ideas and reading magazine articles helps me create different scenarios. Volunteering at my church helps me to connect with others and I get to talk to people, hear different stories and different perspectives. Vacations take me (and my family) to new environments, helps me to add texture to my writing. (At least, I hope this is all happening!) And reading other authors makes me want to write better.

Liz: What's one thing you wish you'd have known when you started writing? 
Elizabeth: The hardest thing that I didn't anticipate? The marketing aspect of getting books out there. There's a technical aspect to this world that I struggle with all the time. I'm very un-technical so having to deal with software and systems is daunting. I'm getting there - with the help of lots of friends and my husband, but it is still a struggle.
Liz: Technology and Crock-pots are not your friends?
Elizabeth: (Laughs and then gives Liz the eye) Oh Liz, now you're mocking me?
Liz: Never. I just know that little secret about you. I told you I was a fan. I read your Facebook posts and I know that you struggle with that particular piece of equipment.
Elizabeth: Sad but true. Someday I am going to produce an edible meal from that evil contraption. 

(Liz's dog Moxie joins us on the porch, greets Elizabeth with a leg sniffing, and then she settles by Liz's feet for a nap.)

Liz: Do you have any advice for new writers?  
Elizabeth: I am contacted by many aspiring writers, all of them asking me for advice.  I’ll say the same thing here that I tell everyone; don’t give up and keep on writing.  When you release one book, don’t look at the reviews- just start writing the next one.  Get that one finished and then go back and look at the reviews.  Don’t let those reviews get you down – learn from them.  
Liz: That's really hard to do sometimes.
Elizabeth: If you love writing, don’t let the mean reviewers take your soul. Absorb them into your mind, but not into your heart.

Liz: What is your proudest accomplishment as an author?  
Elizabeth: A very beautiful woman sent me an e-mail telling me that one of my stories helped her figure out how to stand up to a bully.  I don’t know what scene it was, or where this wonderful lady lives, but the idea that I might have helped someone in that way brought tears to my eyes.  Several other readers have e-mailed me to tell me that my stories have gotten them through cancer, death of a spouse or child, depression or other illness and all of those stories make me feel like I’m a part of their lives in some small way, that my characters have lifted them up and given them courage or power.  I write to help people to escape from their daily lives, to remember that there is hope in the world.  Hearing from actual people that I’ve accomplished my goal is more than enough reason to start the next book, to write better, to inspire others. 
Liz: I know from personal experience that your readers are very important to you. I never imagined growing a friendship with you. Thank you for that.
Elizabeth: My pleasure. I've formed many valuable friendships over the years. I have the best readers!

Liz: I can't believe we've been chatting for almost two hours! Before we close, is there anything else you'd like to say? 
Elizabeth: To all the other men and women who want to write, go for it!  Writing takes me out of my life, it transports me to a different world.  Even if you never release a story to the world, go ahead and find your own fantasy and escape to your dreams. 

Liz: Thank you again, Elizabeth for stopping by for chat. I appreciate you helping me to kick off my Front Porch Chats. I've admired your books and your writing style for a long time and this has been a surreal moment for me. You've touched my life in so many ways and I thank you for that.
Elizabeth: Oh, that's so sweet. You're very welcome. Of course, I could sit here all day it's so peaceful and serene. Do I have to leave now?
Liz: Of course not. We'll just end the interview and then gab a while. Would you like another cookie?

(Liz offers the almost empty plate to Elizabeth who takes her third chocolate chunk cookie.)

Elizabeth: These are delicious. I can't decide which is my favorite!
Liz: I love the oatmeal raisin, but one cookie is plenty for me. I'm glad you've enjoyed them so much. Now that we're off the record tell me when am I getting another Sheik book and will a secret baby involved?
Elizabeth: Oh no you don't, I'm zipped up tight until I get Mary. But I can tell you...

*Upcoming Releases*
Retreating to their mountains, these four men rule their individual empires - but from a distance. Despite all of their efforts though, love still finds them. Meet Creek, Saeger, Knox and Tucker - four men who have moved to Alaska - and the ladies they fall in love with.

Pre-order The Billionaire's Beautiful Mistake (July 15th, 2016)
Pre-order The Billionaire's Challenging Beauty (August 12th, 2016)
Pre-order The Billionaire's Adventurous Mistress (September 16th, 2016)
Pre-order The Billionaire's Courageous Lover (October 14th, 2016)

Connect with Elizabeth Lennox!

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  1. Great interview! It's wonderful to get a peek into the head of another creative! :)

    1. Good morning Michael - this is Elizabeth. Great to hear from you! And you don't want to peek into my head - it is a crazy place. Just ask my husband.

  2. Hi, Liz and Elizabeth. Thanks, Liz, for this post. Nice to read more about you and your books, Elizabeth. I followed you on Twitter.

    1. Thank you! I really enjoyed chatting with Elizabeth.

  3. Good morning RedSapphire! This is Elizabeth - good to hear from you.

    And thank you for following me!