Introduce yourself, please (name you write under). Is this a pen or personal name? Why did you make the choice to write under that name?
I am Elizabeth Meyette, the author of Love’s Destiny, a historical romance which is due out as an ebook on June 4. Love’s Destiny was an IMC (In My Closet) book for a long time until I retired from teaching to pursue my passion for writing. I will be published under my own name, although I had considered a nom de plume: Evelyn Mercereau. It’s a combination of my mother’s first name and my great-grandmother’s surname, and I think it’s an awesome nom de plume for a romance writer. But, alas, there are other books titled Love’s Destiny and I didn’t want friends and family to order the wrong book, so I decided to use my own name.
Tell us about your family and where you live.
I grew up in upstate New York, the product of a large Irish/Catholic family, and now I live in Michigan with my beloved husband, Rich who is my biggest supporter. We have three grown children who are successful adults off doing their own things. Kate and her husband Todd live in Michigan, Matt and Rachel live in Iowa, and Kristin and Tedd live in Houston and are the parents of our two grandchildren, Tommy and Molly. (There oughta be a law about moving grandchildren out-of-state!)
What have you done other than writing?
In order to pursue my writing career, I retired earlier than I had planned from teaching secondary English and journalism. During my career in education I also did a stint as a school Media Specialist (Librarian), and everyday I could share my love for books and literature with my students. I was constantly surrounded by great writing which, in a way, was frustrating since I wanted to be writing, too, and now I am. Am I blessed or what? I send up prayers of gratitude every day that I can devote my time to writing.
The best part about my writing life is:
The best part of my writing life is that I have so much time to write. Now I can dedicate entire days to my writing, stay up all night if the muse is at work, and work in my pajamas which I have done! Also, I am fascinated by the process. I love to put a couple of characters in a room and just let them start talking. I just record what they say, and often when I reread it to edit or revise it’s like reading it for the first time. Every writer has a her own process; some like to outline the story, some like to tack up photos of people who look like their characters, and some just sit down and write. Someone said do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. I agree, and I am living proof.
The worst part about my writing life is:
The hardest part of my writing life is that I don’t have enough time. I know that sounds like a paradox based on my previous respons, but I am still looking for the most effective and efficient way to structure my day. I can’t believe how hours fly by as I work and suddenly it’s dinner time or I forgot about the laundry and it sat in the washer overnight. I guess if that’s the worst thing about my writing life, I have plenty to be thankful for.
Tell us about one—just one—physical characteristic and one secret passion.
If I had to choose one specific physical characteristic to mention about myself, I would say my voice; more than once people I haven’t seen in years have said they recognize me by my voice. This leads to my secret passion: singing. I love to sing, and I belong to a community chorale, sing at our church, sing when I’m cleaning house, sing in the shower, sing when someone says a phrase which in any way evokes a song I know. Singing a solo on stage at our center for the arts is on my bucket list. Oh, perhaps this isn’t so secret after all now.
Tell us one thing about yourself you’d never change.
One thing about myself that I would never change is my thirst for knowledge. I’ve always said that if I win the lotto, I would become a full-time student studying comparative religions, philosophy and other important-in-life topics.
If you didn’t live where you do, where would you live? Why?
My husband and I love to travel, and I’m not sure I have found the ideal place to live yet. We have a cottage on a Great Lakes that we love in the summer and visit warm places in our timeshares in the winter. But we also love Ireland and Europe and hope to visit there again. I guess it depends on our mood, but I know it would be near a large body of water.
Do you write about where you live or where you’d like to live?
I haven’t set Love’s Destiny in any of places I just mentioned. The story is based in the area around Jamestown and colonial Williamsburg, Virginia because I had just visited there when I started writing the book and I was fascinated by its historical significance. I was captured by the rich history and the stories behind the early days of our nation. I found it romantic in every sense of the word, and I loved researching the architecture, politics, fashion and culture of this time period.
What’s the first creative writing you remember doing outside a class?
My third grade teacher affirmed my writing talent, and I think I was hooked from then on. My first poem, “Song of an Invalid”, was published in my junior year in high school. In college I tended more toward journalism, writing for the college newpaper, but my first love has always been creative writing. I don’t remember specific writing I did outside of school, but I remember that my nose was always in a book. One of my most treasured gifts was the complete set of Sherlock Holmes that my father gave me when I was thirteen. I still have that.
Why do you write romance novels?
I actually wrote Love’s Destiny on a dare. My friend was an avid romance reader and kept encouraging me to read her Kathleen Woodiwiss novels. Finally, I caved, read one, and fell in love with love stories. Not wanting to appear too easy a convert, I jokingly said to her, “I could write a romance novel.” She challenged me with, “Then do it.” Thus the birth of Love’s Destiny. But it’s been a long labor and delivery! I like writing romance because one of the strongest emotions we feel is that crazy, senseless impulse that makes us act like we’re out of our minds when we fall in love. It is a physical pulling of one heart toward another that no one can resist, and that can be revisited on the pages of a romance novel. And I like happy endings because life is complicated, sometimes difficult, sometimes sad, so read a book with hope.
What else do you write?
I also write and have published poetry. Again I think it is the emotion behind the writing that attracts me. I have begun a contemporary novel, but I am not sure what genre it will fall under. When the story came to me I thought it might be paranormal, but I will have to wait until my divine attendant spirit, as Elizabeth Gilbert calls it, inspires me to write more. Also, I recently submitted my first children’s book for publication.
What one thing from your book did you take from personal experience?
One thing in my novel that I took from personal experience was my main character Emily’s willingness to change her point of view when she learned all the facts. I like to think I am open-minded enough to learn and grow and change based on information and experiences that I encounter.
What did you cut from your book that felt like severing a body part?
Even though my manuscript was a little longer than Crimson Romance was asking for, I didn’t have to cut much of it. Nothing that was traumatic. My biggest editing task was revising point of view. I tend to want to write what all my characters are thinking at the same time, so revising for consistent POV was my biggest challenge. No body parts were severed in the publication of this novel.
Do you identify closely with one particular character? How?
While I would like to say that I most identify with Emily, I think I really am more like Joanna, Jonathon’s sister. As my daughter pointed out, she is the voice of reason in the book.
Give us a hint about what the next book’s like.
Friends who have read Love’s Destiny are clamoring for a sequel, and there are enough plot lines to make that possible. Of course Emily and Jonathon’s story will continue along with Deidre’s wicked attempts at reclaiming Jonathon. Since the American Revolution is just beginning, some of the conflict is built right in for many characters. Andrew, Emily’s younger brother is becoming a man, so who knows what might happen in his life… I am in the process of writing Love’s Spirit and hope it will be ready to submit this fall.