Welcome to the August 22, 2010 edition of The Fox Hole. Today my guest is the delightful Elaine Cantrell. So folks lets grab a cup of Joe, something sweet and sticky, pull up a seat and give her a lovely welcome!
Welcome to ‘The Fox Hole’ Elaine. Thank you for joining us, it’s a delight to have you. Could you start by telling the readers a little bit about yourself?
I’d be delighted to. I’m a Southern girl who was born and raised in South Carolina. I hold a Master’s Degree in Personnel Services from Clemson University and am a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary sorority for women educators. I’m also a member of Romance Writer’s of America and EPIC authors. My first novel, A New Leaf, was the 2003 winner of the Timeless Love Contest and was published in 2004 by Oak Tree Books. At present I teach high school social studies. I spend my spare time collecting vintage Christmas ornaments, reading, and playing with my grandchildren. (I never get to be Spider Man. I have to be the bad guy.)
My mother would have loved you. She collected Christmas ornaments when I was growing up. Being a high school teacher must be rewarding, but I’m sure it’s far more fun playing with the grandkids! 😉 Have you always wanted to be a writer? If so when did you start writing?
Oh, gosh, I always wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t think I could. I got motivated when my son came home and told me he’d written a book. I admired him tremendously, but I didn’t decide to try it for myself until he told me that since he’d always made up stories in his head to amuse himself, he thought he’d write them down. Glory be! I had always made up stories in my head too. I sat down in front of my computer and gave it a shot. I now have six books to my name with a seventh coming soon. I could have more if I didn’t have to work!
That’s a wonderful story. We usually think of us inspiring our children not the other way around, but kids can be the greatest. I don’t have any of my own, but my best friend’s son (almost 14) is the biggest boost to my ego as a writer despite having never read my stuff. He’s still a bit young for that. 😀 And speaking of inspiration–as a writer what inspires you?
Anything and everything. Once I read a book about the German secret code used in World War II, and it started me to thinking about codes in general. While I was in the shower, a hazy outline for a new book presented itself with a secret code as a vital element. That book, Blue 52, is the sequel to my new release Return Engagement.
I think most writer’s are the same. We’re observers of human nature and sponges that just suck everything up. Now most writers I’ve interviewed seem to be voracious readers as well. Do you have any favorite writers?
I sure do. Lots of them. I particularly enjoy Heather Graham. I like the way she blends the paranormal with the contemporary. I also love Elizabeth Peters who is also Barbara Michaels. If you haven’t read Peters’ Amelia Peabody series you’re missing something really wonderful. It’s a mixture of comedy, romance, and suspense that’s almost irresistible. I just finished reading On Folly Beach by Karen White. I enjoyed it too, partly because Folly Beach is in South Carolina, and I’ve been there many times.
Barbara Michaels is one of my favorite writers. As a matter of fact I was just trying to turn a friend of mine to her work. I’ve even read a few of the Amelia Peabody books. She has a flair that I admire and the worlds she creates are exquisite. Speaking of worlds…if you could live in any time or place–where and when would you choose?
Can I be rich? If so it might be nice to live in Russia during the time of the czars. From what I’ve read the Russian court was a glittering, cosmopolitan place. Or maybe I’d live in England in Robin Hood’s time and give Maid Marion a run for her money.
That’s a wonderful idea and I have no doubt you’d give Marion a run for her money. 😉 Now here’s one of my favorite questions. It’s my belief that food can give an insight into a person and being a professional cook at one time, I have to ask this one. Do you have a favorite food?
Okay, now you’ve impressed me. When I got married I had no idea how to cook. I taught myself everything I know. I’ve forgotten a lot of it because I decided last year that I had cooked enough meals in my life. I haven’t cooked very much since then. In fact, this past Christmas I had my entire Christmas breakfast (which is a big deal for my family) catered. You want the name of my caterer? Sam’s Club. As far as a favorite food goes, give me chocolate. Here’s my recipe for Wet Chocolate Cake.
Wet Chocolate Cake
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 stick butter
½ cup cooking oil
1 cup water
4 TBSP cocoa
½ cup buttermilk
1 tsp soda
1 tsp vanilla
Sift flour and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Place butter, oil, water, and cocoa into a saucepan and bring to a rapid boil. When mixture boils, remove from heat and pour over sugar and flour mixture. Mix well with spoon and add buttermilk, soda, eggs and vanilla. Beat lightly and pour into greased and floured 13 X 9 X 1 ½ inch pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.
Wet Chocolate Frosting
1 stick butter
4 TBSP cocoa
6 TBSP evaporated milk
1 box powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Place butter, cocoa, and milk in saucepan. When mixture comes to a boil remove from heat and add 1 box powdered sugar and 1 tsp vanilla. Pour over cake while hot.
OMG! I think I’ll love you forever for sharing this recipe. I can’t wait to try this one out. Back to more important things though! Now that I’ve picked your brain, can you tell us about your latest work? Don’t hold back.
Oh, good. I get to talk about Return Engagement. This book is by far my most favorite of all that I’ve written. I wanted it to be perfect so I worked on it until I could just about recite the darn thing in my sleep. I’ve tried to think why I like it so much better than my others, and I think it’s because of my hero Richard Lovinggood. The man is so drool-worthy! He’s blonde and blue eyed, stands around 6 feet 2 inches, and has shoulders to die for. (I do love a man with good shoulders. That was the first thing I noticed about my husband-he had good shoulders.) Besides that he’s a one woman man (sorry, but I couldn’t share), he’s charming, and a little bit dangerous. He also has a few faults to temper his perfection. He has a temper and is way too impulsive which can land him in trouble.
Here’s a blurb and a short excerpt from Return Engagement.
Elizabeth Lane has heard the call of the four most seductive words in the entire English language: what might have been. Would you risk everything you hold dear to find out what might have been? That’s the choice which Elizabeth has to make.
Elizabeth is lucky, for she has it all, money, fame, a satisfying career and a devoted fiancé. Her humble beginnings are all but obscured, but she isn’t the kind of woman Senator Henry Lovinggood wants for his son, Richard. Senator Lovinggood plans to make Richard the President of the United States; he’ll need a woman from a wealthy, powerful family by his side. Ten years ago he broke Richard and Elizabeth up, but this time it won’t be so easy, for Elizabeth wants to know what might have been. This time she’ll fight back, a struggle which ultimately leads to kidnapping and attempted murder and alienates her from the man of her dreams.
In this excerpt Richard and Elizabeth have met after a ten year separation and decided to go to a beach front carnival. They’re on their way back to their cars now.
“Look at the moon, Richard. Have you ever seen anything so big and beautiful? Isn’t it lovely the way it’s reflecting off the water?”
“Yes, but not as lovely as you are.” Richard made a sound of disgust. “That is so trite. You’d think I could do better, but all evening I’ve had trouble saying what I mean.”
Elizabeth laughed. “Maybe it’s because you’re trying too hard, but for the record, I think you’re doing just fine.” She shivered and hunched her shoulders as she hugged herself. “That wind is cold.”
Richard immediately removed his jacket and handed it to her. “Here, put this on.”
“Won’t you be cold?”
“I’m fine. I’ve got on long sleeves and that’s enough.” His eyes twinkled in the moonlight. “In fact, I kind of like the idea of you wearing my clothes. Sounds like high school, huh?”
The chilly wind that blew across the moon-drenched water snatched Elizabeth’s laughter away. “Who cares? Sometimes it’s nice to be as irresponsible as a teenager.”
Richard tugged on her hand. “Let’s sit down and watch the moon awhile.”
Elizabeth willingly sank into the damp sand and cuddled close beside him. My gosh the man had muscles she hadn’t known even existed!
“Richard, about this evening….”
“Elizabeth, about Alex….”
“You go first,” Elizabeth urged. Her shoulders marginally relaxed. She wasn’t looking forward to telling him she couldn’t see him again.
“All right, I will.” Richard turned slightly, an almost angry look on his face. “What the hell do you think you’re doing getting yourself engaged to Alex Crawford? It’s obvious to a blind man that you don’t love him. You’ve been teasing me and flirting with me all evening. You’ve even kissed me.” He stirred up the butterflies in her stomach when he gently caressed her shoulder. “Right now your body language makes me think if I wanted to take this snuggling any further you’d be willing.”
“Wha…” Elizabeth sputtered.
“You don’t strike me as the type of woman who’d pick a man for a night of sex and then go back to her fiancé like nothing had happened. If that’s true I don’t think you love Alex as much as you think you do. The question is: what are you going to do about it?”
Elizabeth moaned and hid her face in her hands. Richard expected this surprise meeting to lead to something more that a hot dog on the beach, a casual meeting between two old…friends. I’ve done enough damage for one evening; I’m going home before I cause any more trouble. I’ve betrayed Alex and given Richard hope for a relationship with me when there is no hope.
She tried to jump up, but Richard grabbed her and held her close. “The wind is cold, and you can think just as well, no better, in my arms.”
Elizabeth gave up the effort to get away from him. There was no way she could argue with those hard, muscled arms. “Yeah, right. Being in your arms clarifies everything! I’m so confused I don’t know if I’m coming or going,” she cried. “I do love Alex. I do! That’s why I agreed to marry him, but with you I feel like a different person.
“I know I shouldn’t have flirted with you and kissed you, but I couldn’t help myself.” Her eyes misted with tears. “I didn’t want to help myself. It’s like it was ten years ago only better because now nobody can accuse me of corrupting a minor. You asked me what I’m going to do, but to tell you the truth, I don’t know. The only thing I’m sure of is that I don’t think I can stand it if you walk away again.”
Elizabeth threw her hands over her burning face again. “What kind of woman am I? I haven’t seen you in ten years, yet here I am leading you on and encouraging you to… What’s wrong with me!”
Richard jerked her hands away from her face and kissed them. “From my point of view things have finally taken a turn for the better.” Satisfaction oozed from his voice.
“You’re willing to admit you don’t want to lose me. It’s taken ten years, but we’re back where we belong-together. Everything I ever felt for you came back the minute you spoke to me.” His voice lowered and became husky and persuasive. “Don’t tell me you didn’t feel it too.”
“I…” Elizabeth fell silent. After all; what could she say?
“Let me help you make up your mind about what to do.” Richard pushed her back into the sand and kissed her, a delicate, brushing of lips that deepened as hearts caught fire.
This looks fabulous, Elaine.Thank you so much for sharing of yourself and your work with us today.
Jesse, thank you so much for having me today. I’ve enjoyed the chance to talk with you and your friends.
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