"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
Esri Rose resides in Boulder, Colorado, where elves could walk the streets without undue attention. She lives with her husband, Angel Joe, and her cat, Musette La Plume, only one of whom has pointy ears.
Bound to Love Her is the first of two contracted books about elves in Boulder, published by Zebra Books in their Debut Author Progam. It’s the story of Erin, who owns a New Age shop but doesn't believe in the supernatural, and Galan, an elf who knows that humans are destroying his race. When Erin accidentally saves Galan's life, the two are bound to each other in a mysterious way. Can they defeat the dark elf Fellseth, who wants to finish Galan off and turn Erin into a mindless slave? Probably they can, but you'll have to read the book to know for sure. You can read the beginning of Bound to Love Her here.
An Interview with Esri Rose
PNR: Can you tell us a little about how you started writing; was it something you have always wanted to do?
Esri Rose: I think I wrote my first short story in third grade. It was a creepy little horror story with a spider theme, and I gave it a black, construction-paper cover with a butterfly decoration (the butterfly died). I still have that, if it hasn’t crumbled to dust. I think my parents were more disturbed than proud, at that point. It wasn’t until I tried a whole bunch of jobs, both corporate and non, that I decided to try writing as a career. I won’t say “writing as a job,” because jobs usually pay more. My fingers are crossed on the money part.
PNR: Are you able to write as much as you would like? Could you tell us about your writing schedule? What do you enjoy doing when not writing?
Esri Rose: I am super fortunate in that, when I ran through the money from the sale of my skin-care biz, my husband told me I should keep writing. He’s tremendously supportive, and I’m thankful for him every minute. I’m at the point in my career when promotion takes a lot of my attention, so I don’t really have a writing schedule. I love to work on my career, and usually put in eight to ten hours a day. Sometimes that means four blog entries and a ton of email, sometimes it means five pages and struggling with the plot, sometimes it means 15-20 pages, in terror of missing a deadline. There’s no schedule to it. If I had a day job or kids, I’m sure there would be.
When I’m not working on some aspect of books, I read (of course), watch movies, surf the Net, sing with my husband in a community chorale, go to live theater or music with him, and play with my cat, Musette. I should have listed Musette first, because she’s extra cute and demands a lot of my time.
PNR: Being a new author, who or what has been the biggest influence on your writing? Who has been your biggest support?
Esri Rose: As a writer of relationships, I’ve been influenced mostly by real life. Writers are observers and analyzers. In restaurants, my husband knows to let me sit in the seat that’s closest to an interesting-looking couple, because I eavesdrop.
My sense of humor has been influenced by a lot of guys. (I don’t think men are funnier than women. I think they get recognized more.) Dave Barry and Terry Pratchett, Jerry Seinfeld and Matt Groening. I’ve watched a lot of British TV and film, which is why you’ll see a lot of character-driven humor in my books. I also love Marion Chesney, in several of her incarnations. She writes the Hamish Macbeth series as M.C. Beaton, and she wrote all those giggly historical romances as Jennie Tremaine.
My husband is definitely my biggest supporter, in every way, followed closely by my parents, who are also excellent proofreaders. Not such good critics, but they try. They love that I write, because it gives them something to read that’s exactly to their taste. Go figure.
PNR: Most authors are avid readers; what is your favorite genre to read? What titles would we see in your TBR pile?
Esri Rose: When I read fiction, it’s about an equal split between romance and mystery. Cozy mysteries, and historical romance, mostly. I also read a lot of biographies, histories, humorous essays (Sedaris, Bryson) and special-interest books. I love books on magicians. There are no books in my TBR pile, because I read at a tremendous pace. And I’m cheap.
PNR: What do you feel are the essential elements of a great story?
Esri Rose: What a great question! 1) Characters that fascinate you. They may fascinate you because they’re so broken, or outrageous, or so deserving yet downtrodden. 2) A conflict that has big emotional stakes. If you can do those two things, you’ll have a hit. Now, I also enjoy a story with a lot of laughs, but I don’t think you can call humor an essential element, because it’s so subjective and a lot of people don’t care for funny stuff.
PNR: Congratulations, readers and reviewers are excited about the May 2008 release of your debut novel, BOUND TO HER LOVE from Zebra. Could you tell us what inspired this magical fantasy and a little about your vision for the project? What direction will the series be taking?
Esri Rose: I have such an easy answer to what inspired Bound to Love Her – Orlando Bloom as Legolas. He was hot and droll, and I couldn’t get enough of him. But a funny thing happened on the way to writing a love story, and that’s that the ElvesAmongUs universe, as I call it, became very fascinating to me. In this world, humans are driving elves to extinction without most humans knowing it. It’s essentially the story of what happens to a native population when they’re invaded, however unintentional that invasion is. Now, I don’t believe stasis is possible, although it might seem desirable. Things change and life demands compromise all the time (as do relationships). The elves are trying to steer the course their compromise takes, but challenges crop up from their own people, and support often comes from where they least expect it. The short answer to where the series is going is that the second book, Bound to Want Him (May 2009) has a new romantic couple, with a human male and elven female, and many of the characters from the first book are integral to the plot. It’s very cross-genre, kind of like Charlaine Harris, who is one of my favorite authors.
PNR: Your story takes place in present day Boulder, CO. Could you tell us about the challenges you face in world building with paranormal elements in a contemporary setting and making it work with the ideas you have in mind for the progression of your characters and their stories? How much research is involved?
Esri Rose: What was it I researched the other day? Whether the Boston Zoo had bears. It doesn’t, so crazy Grandpa Nino had to teach little Tommy to spit at the tapirs, instead. Putting elves in Boulder was easy-peasy, because Boulder is…unusual. We have a Buddhist temple, one of the big tofu factories…we have mountain unicyclers, for crying out loud. The only risk I run is of people saying, “I know some elves, and they’re nothing like this.” As for researching elven mythology, I stay well away from that. I have enough cultural consciousness of elven basics to keep me from straying too far from what people would associate with them. The rest I want to be fresh. The magic part is pretty low-key right now. Kind of like how Deep Space 9 was all about aliens, but you sometimes forgot that, because they had similar problems to us. Their differences let you look at those problems in a new light.
PNR: Could you give us some insight into the mythology of your Elves that is the thread to connect your stories?
Esri Rose: The key with my elves is that they are hugely reduced in number, because they have a symbiotic relationship with wilderness areas, and those areas are disappearing. They’re isolated, and they’ve lost a lot of their culture and self-knowledge. But as these elves in Boulder start interacting with humans, the results of that interaction reveal things about the elves that they didn’t know. At the same time, they’re making huge compromises and losing abilities in exchange for love.
When an elf hooks up with a human, the elf undergoes some pretty profound changes, like losing their ability to merge with and travel through land. In the first book, Galan (male elf) discovers that elves can get enough energy to survive from bonding to a human, rather than the land. But it comes at a price. In the second book, Adlia (female elf) learns that even more compromise and effort is needed to be with a human, but she also finds the family and acceptance she never had with elves. If there’s a third book (I started with a two-book contract), there’s going to be a conflict between the Boulder elves, who accept compromise as a means to survival, and another group of elves who would rather eschew humans and remain pure, even if it means their destruction. There’s a delicious irony in that this second group wouldn’t exist if they didn’t have the Internet to communicate.
PNR: Do you feel your writing is character driven or plot driven? How do you balance these two elements?
Esri Rose: I start out with two main characters in an adventure story, complete with villain. It’s always a “what if” with me, so I guess you’d say I’m plot driven.
PNR: Erin is a strong and wonderfully witty character that readers really connect to; could you tell us about her development?
Esri Rose: Hey, thanks! Bound to Love Her was only the second of five books I’d written when I’d sold (all in different genres), so Erin is a lot like me. She cries more, because I rarely cry and apparently I’d like to cry more. And her temper isn’t as bad as mine. As for the humor, that’s all me. “I’m a tart for a laugh,” as Hugh Grant once said. Later on, I learned to write outside my own character, and Adlia (book 2) is nothing like me. Well, maybe her humor is.
PNR: And we can’t forget your irresistible hero, Galan; what was your inspiration for his character? Who has been your favorite character to write?
Esri Rose: Legolas was definitely the seed for Galan, but as always, the character strays from the original inspiration. Anyway, it’s hard to tell what Legolas is really like from the movie. He’s mostly eye candy and comic relief. I guess Legolas’s hair was really the inspiration for Galan.
In the past, my elves had great romantic experiences that were the subject of story and song, but that knowledge has been lost, and hard times have restricted their emotions. Now they marry to merge lands and survive. Emotionally, Galan makes a journey to the past of all elves. He starts out resigned to his own death, keeping his emotions at arm’s length with humor and philosophy, but if ever there was a man who wanted to love with his whole self, it’s Galan. Erin, who is very emotionally available, is the trigger that brings all that to the surface. She gives him true hope, for the first time, and together they start the change that could save elves.
As for my favorite character, it’s probably Kutara, the female leader of the Boulder elves. She’s snotty, and that’s a lot of fun to write. Kutara starts out tremendously bigoted toward humans, and boy, does that change over the projected course of the series. Kutara is a survivor, and she’s a true leader in that she wants what’s best for her people, regardless of personal consequences. I resemble Erin, but I admire Kutara.
PNR: Folklore of the Elves and Fae has long captured the imagination of readers. Why do you feel it is such a popular theme in the paranormal romance genre? What is it about this genre that captures your imagination?
Esri Rose: Personally, I like that Elves are a more accomplished, arty version of us. Unlike vampires, where there’s a predator/prey relationship, elves are probably a divergent evolutionary arm. Also, there’s a nobility and purity that’s fun to break through. What’s sexier than a cool and unavailable elf, transformed into a passionate lover? Nothing, in my mind, which is why I’m writing elf romance.
PNR: How would you describe the sensuality level in your books? Do you find it difficult to write love scenes?
Esri Rose: Romantic Times BOOKreviews described it as mild (and gave me four stars), and I think that description is apt. When you’re looking to read a lot of hot sex, that’s not the time to pick up my books. When you’re looking for romantic-adventure, quirky characters, and some laughs, I’m your girl. Sex scenes aren’t difficult per se, because I’ve had a lot of sex and I’m very sex-positive. But I mostly write about people, because that’s what’s fun for me.
PNR: Could you tell us about your current projects, what can readers expect to see in the coming months? Will we see more of Erin and Galan?
Esri Rose: You will definitely see more of Erin and Galan. They’re in real trouble in the second book, and Adlia and her human lover, Mark Speranzi, have to help them, as well as all elvenkind. (Echo effect on those last two words.) I’ll be getting the second book back for revisions any day now. In the meantime I’m revising the first book in a mystery series, in preparation for showing it to my agent. Then I’ll probably write a third elf book, in case they want it, and a second mystery, in case the first one sells. I think I’d enjoy writing two series at once.
PNR: Thank you, Esri, for taking time out to talk to us. Where can readers find out what’s new and how can they contact you?
Esri Rose: Thank you, Dee! Readers can visit my huge and enormous website, http://elvesamongus.com. I love to hear from readers, so give me a shout, if only to tell me what you had for breakfast. I had yoghurt and tea.
May 6, 2008
Elves Among Us: Book 1
Love May Be Just Around The Corner …
When Erin Chandler takes her neighbor’s dog for a late-night walk through the Colorado woods, armed with flashlight and pepper spray, she’s prepared for anything—almost. The last thing Erin expects to encounter along the trail is an elf, not to mention an incredibly sexy one…
Or Under A Rock…
Attacked by a rival who wants to steal his land and end his life, Galan of Longtail Rock was nearly dead until Erin saved his life by giving him her energy, binding them to each other with mysterious force. Now Galan has no idea how to break their link without paying the ultimate price. But Erin doesn’t mind sharing such close quarters with Galan. Ever since she’s met him, she can’t stop fantasizing what it would be like to feel his lingering kisses on her lips and his warm caresses grazing her skin. As Erin learns more about Galan and his intriguing world, she finds herself falling deeper and deeper in love with him…
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