Well, if you didn’t know by now, I love my sword and sorcery/epic fantasy books, but once in a while, I stop in and check out some romance. Don’t tell my friends. The guys will never let me live it down. Well, a line to a novel by, Caculated Risk, by Elaine Raco Chase grabbed me.
“Lady, I want you to stop seducing my son! Hell, what are you, thirty-two, thirty-four, Rob is seventeen..there’s room for a whole other person!”
I smiled and went on to check out some of her books, and she responded to my request for an interview and wanted to feature one of her other books. So, ladies and gents, I give you Elaine Raco Chase.
Terry C. Simpson: You’re most welcome Elaine. So tell us, what’s is your book about? –
Elaine Raco Chase: First, let me welcome you to the world of contemporary romance novels – romance accounts for nearly 60% of all fiction sold be it print or eBooks. Dare the Devil is set in modern day Montana, at one of the many ranches that still hold property in Glacier National Park. It of course features a pretty steamy love story, along with modern day rustlers, a wacky movie company, a kick-ass stunt woman heroine and a hero who is 99% thrilled to have her in his life. And the nagging 1% is the story.
Terry C. Simpson: What inspired you to write this particular story?
Elaine Raco Chase: This particular book was written in 1987 as part of a 6-book print contract with Dell Publishing for their ‘steamy’ Ecstasy line. It achieved #1 status on the romance bestseller’s list back then and garnered great five star reviews. As I own my rights, this gives me the opportunity to update and increase the sensuality of the books as I put them into eBook format. The basic story is the classic ‘happy ending’ plot, boy-meets-girl, problems entangle, but love conquers all. In this case, the problems that entangle our hero, is that he has found the perfect woman – except …
Terry C. Simpson: What writer influenced you the most?
Elaine Raco Chase: I’ve actually been influenced the most by a wonderful assortment of hard-boiled mystery writers: Bret Halliday, Mickey Spillane, and Erle Stanley Gardner. I know, weird for a romance writer. But I wrote for radio/TV – including lasting just 5 days on the pilot for a show called Saturday Night Live – it’s tuff when you’re the only one not on drugs or alcohol! I come from a background of dialogue writing, and I have to force myself to soften and write description.
Terry C. Simpson: Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?
Elaine Raco Chase: Main characters were fun to create: Luthor Devlin, the hunky cowboy hero – his family held title to the land/ranch since the wild days of Montana. His ranch foreman, Nate Garvin, would be the perfect John Wayne sidekick. Camilla Stirling, the kick-ass heroine. Comes from a family of stunt people, including her grandmothers’ who make an appearance at the end of the book. She has three older brothers, works in a tight movie group, and lives on a ranch herself. One of my favorite characters in this book, was the updating of the ‘movie star’ of the piece – Bridget Lawson. Who hides the fact that she’s got a Ph.D. (actually double-D) has fun exploiting herself and is full of LOL erotic advice for Camilla.
Terry C. Simpson: How long did it take you to write your book?
Elaine Raco Chase: It’s always hard to say – it takes what it takes. For a contemporary romance, running 60,000 words, with research, character set up, etc. it usually takes 6 months.
Terry C. Simpson: How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?
Elaine Raco Chase: I’ve been a creative writing teacher at the college level for over 20 years…and I teach exactly the way I write. I always create the characters first, then see what plot/action/settings will put them into page turning mode.
Terry C. Simpson: What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?
Elaine Raco Chase: I write mass-market fiction…and proudly romance novels. I want people to have a good time, enjoy the characters and feel they are real, and say “wow, I want to read this again and again…it’s a keeper” when they are finished.
Terry C. Simpson: What was the most difficult part about writing the book?
Elaine Raco Chase: Creating Montana. I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting Glacier National Park. But I was able to spend about three hours talking with two great Park Rangers who were delighted to tell me the Native American legends that I included, give me some wonderful word-visions of the land, mountains, and all the five senses.
Terry C. Simpson: What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?
Elaine Raco Chase: I usually work about 5-6 hours at the computer a day…always ending in the middle of a scene. But frankly, the brain never rests. And whether I’m watching TV, reading the paper or a magazine…I’m always on the lookout for information that can make the story I’m writing more real. I love words…and listening to tones/inflections/rhythms…and then strive to get that on paper so it can be turned into ‘eye/ear music’ for a reader.
Terry C. Simpson: What’s been the most surprising part of being a writer?
Elaine Raco Chase: The hard, lonely work. So many people think it just flows right out of the brain (and sometimes it does) but like a recipe it takes ingredients to make the brain begin to cook the characters and the story. It takes research, it takes digging, and it takes, at least for me, blending facts and fiction together to make characters that are real enough that readers try to find them.
Terry C. Simpson: What advice you would give to an aspiring author?
Elaine Raco Chase: Take your time. Know your characters as well or even better than you know yourself. Research the other points of your story. Take whatever time is necessary to blend them all together.
Terry C. Simpson: What advice would you give other novelists about book promotion?
Elaine Raco Chase: Print promotion came easy to me: meet booksellers, set up autographing’s; meet librarians and set up workshops; even easier when the publisher did it. For eBooks – whole different world and I’m just learning.
Terry C. Simpson: How have you marketed and promoted your work?
Elaine Raco Chase: Doing as many interviews, like this, as I can. I’ve enjoyed Indie Author sites, the sites on the Kindle boards, other authors who have blogs have been generous in asking me to do articles.
Terry C. Simpson: What words would you like to leave the world when you are gone?
Elaine Raco Chase: “She wrote great romantic comedies that were read over and over”
Terry C. Simpson: Have you written any other books?
Elaine Raco Chase: Yes, I’ve written quite a few and they are all still in print. Ones that are also on eBooks include: Special Delivery, Designing Woman, Video Vixen, Calculated Risk, Lady Be Bad, Double Occupancy, Dare the Devil…upcoming: Rules of the Game, and Caught in A Trap in the next few months. I also have written a mystery series (print books), and a non-fiction book: Amateur Detectives – HowDunit Series from Writer’s Digest Books that was nominated for the Agatha Christie Award. Along with editing a series of mystery short-stories, and a few essays on women in mystery novels.
Terry C. Simpson: Where can people learn more about your books?
Elaine Raco Chase: My webpage is still under construction, but you can find about me and my books at several places:
Or feel free to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org