Happy Friday, Friends! Today I am honored to feature the delightful Elizabeth Barone, prolific author of several new adult novels and series. I have been especially impressed with her online presence and expert campaigns. She’s wonderful to chat with- please welcome Elizabeth!
1. So, what have you written?
When I first started off, I was all over the place. Then I fell in love with writing New Adult romance and suspense. I currently have seven books. I have my Comes in Threes series, which is about a young woman who gains custody of her little sister right before she’s supposed to start college, because their mother has been forcibly committed. Then I have my South of Forever series, which follows the sassy belles of the band as they build their careers and romantic relationships from the ground up.
I also have several standalones, including Playing for You and The Nanny with the Skull Tattoos—both of which tie into the South of Forever series.
2. What subjects & causes are near and dear to your heart?
I tend to write about contemporary social issues, like substance abuse and taking the offbeat path. I think it’s because I’ve watched a lot of people I love struggle with drugs and alcohol—and I don’t think I know anyone who’s taken the “normal” path in life.
Growing up, I was always under this sort of impression that you’re supposed to go to college, settle yourself into a stable career, then maybe get married and have a family. But my post-high school life was nothing like that. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, but I met someone I was crazy about. Then I got sick and had to can my already tentative career plans. My husband and I dated for seven years before we got married, and we’re currently child-free.
Life never turns out the way you plan for or want. I really try to tell people, through all of my books, that it’s okay to do things differently or to roll with the punches.
3. How did you conceive the story of Savannah’s Song?
I knew, when I was writing The Nanny with the Skull Tattoos, that these characters had more in store for them, and that they were definitely going to cross paths with the characters in Playing for You. But I really wanted to focus on Max’s story, because though he loves Savannah very much, he is very much his own person. And vice versa.
I wanted to tell Savannah’s side of things but without literally rehashing The Nanny with the Skull Tattoos. And I knew that I wanted to focus on the belles of the band in the South of Forever series. A lot of rockstar series are all about the guys. Maybe I’m stubborn, but I have this love affair with doing things differently.
The first book in the South of Forever series, Diving Into Him, was told from Jett’s point of view. In Savannah’s Song, the torch is passed to Savannah. I’ve lost a lot of people to addiction. It’s really hard when you’re in a relationship and your significant other is struggling. It might be healthier for your own sake for you to walk away, but there’s a lot of guilt involved. I wanted to explore all of that while continuing Max and Savannah’s love story and, of course, weaving in the band’s growth.
4. How did you conceive the story of The Nanny with the Skull Tattoos?
I feel like, in our society, we’ve become really good at supporting single moms. I’ve seen several of my single mom friends struggle so much while raising their babies alone, but I think now it’s much more accepted in society. We tend to completely ignore the single dads, though. I think anyone who can singlehandedly bring up a tiny human should be commended.
Someone I know unexpectedly became a single dad with very similar circumstances to Max’s. I thought his story was extremely moving. Almost overnight, he went from carefree young man to driven father who would do anything for his little daughter. I think a lot of guys get a bad rap as deadbeat dads when in reality it works both ways.
I was supposed to be writing something else but I kept daydreaming about a young dad trying to make it through college while raising his daughter. He’s relied a lot on his parents, which is helpful but not necessarily healthy. So they give him the boot and his adventure begins. Just when he thinks he’s got it all down, he falls in love.
5. What was the most curious thing you discovered in your research?
I actually just learned this after writing the first three books in the South of Forever series. Somehow I’ve got to incorporate it into the last book. Apparently most musicians name their guitars. I’m a lifelong rock fan and never knew this. I’m ashamed.
6. What music inspires you?
If I’m not plugged into my headphones, I’m busting out in random song. I like pretty much everything, except for country. It actually makes me nauseous. I was born in the ’80s so I was raised on Dio, Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, Prince, and Black Sabbath. In the ’90s I went through a short boy band phase but mostly got hooked on R&B and alt rock, like Aaliyah, TLC, Stone Temple Pilots, and Nirvana. I’m still trying to figure out today’s music, but every once in a while I find some gems.
When I’m writing, I’m almost always listening to something. It usually depends on the mood of the book or particular scene. While writing Crazy Comes in Threes, I listened to a lot of Eagles. I’m writing a much more trope-y romance right now and it’s been fueled by Maxine Ashley and LIGHTS. My go to writing playlist is usually Spotify’s Deep Focus, though. It’s atmospheric rock and really puts me in the zone.
7. How many books did you read last year?
I used to be really good at tracking my reading on Goodreads, but in the last couple of years I’ve really gotten away from adding and reviewing books. According to my account, I only read 12 books last year, but I know it’s closer to 50. I do a lot of beta reading, too, so I’m sure it’s even higher than that.
This year I’m trying really hard to keep track. I’m ahead of schedule; my goal is 25 but I’m already 40% done.
8. Coffee or Tea?
I love tea, but I absolutely cannot function without coffee. I try to keep it to one cup in the morning, but sometimes I can’t resist two or three. I’m a total Starbucks Caffe Verona junkie, but my second choice is Folgers. Mostly I drink water throughout the day, though, with a cup of herbal tea in the evening. Celestial Seasonings’ Lemon Zinger is my favorite.
9. What is your favorite movie?
Hands down, The Crow. If they ever remake it like they’re threatening to, I’m going to get violent. There’s only one Eric Draven.
Lately, though, I’m obsessed with anything Melissa McCarthy or Disney. I could watch St. Vincent and The Lion King over and over. I also saw the Ben Affleck Batman movie recently and loved it. I love dark Batman.
I love movies in general, though. I’ll get together with my best friend or sister-in-law and we’ll just binge movies. Those ladies are my people.
10. Do you have any writing rituals?
If I’ve already had my morning coffee, I’ve got to have some other beverage (usually a nice cold glass of water). And, like I said, I’ve almost always got to have some music on. Then, armed with my outline—which is really just an ultra messy and short first draft—I just go at it. Usually I’ll have a goal for the day that I have to hit. And often I’m interrupted somehow by my cat.
11. Do you have a theme song?
Kind of. Whenever I have to tackle something, I’ll start singing “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” from Mulan: “Let’s get down to business to defeat the Huns…”
12. What is one thing you would tell your younger self?
Get your hair trimmed every two months. Don’t get cocky and let it go. Just because it was super healthy when you were a kid, doesn’t mean you can get away with ignoring it now.
13. Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?
The second book in my South of Forever series, Savannah’s Song, comes out May 6th. I’m throwing a launch party that night. For every 50 people who RSVP as “going,” I release a fun new surprise, like a giveaway or video reading. Click here to RSVP.
Elizabeth Barone writes contemporary New Adult romance and suspense, starring sassy belles who chose a different path in life. She self-published her first novel in 2012 and has since signed with Booktrope. She is the author of the South of Forever series and several other books.
Elizabeth lives in Connecticut with her husband, the artist Michael Campbell. Learn more about her books and read her blog at elizabethbarone.net. You can also connect with her on Twitter and Instagram, @elizabethbarone, and on Facebook at facebook.com/elizabethbaronebooks.
I have to go get my hair trimmed now! See you at the launch party for Savannah’s Song on May 6th!