Interview with Elizabeth Reyes

Published 2018-07-08.
What is your writing process?
I write by the seat of my pants. No outlines, no planning just write. In most cases I have a point A and point B in my head. This is where we start, the books about this and this is going to be the big twist way down the line. But getting from point A to point B only comes to me as I write. My jaw has been known to drop as my fingers type away and I gasp "No way! Even I didn't see that coming." lol But enjoy every single story I'm writing.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I read LOTS of children's books as a child. Fairy tales, Dr. Seuss,, Beatrix Potter, Disney Golden books etc. But t the first full length "chapter" book I read that had me blazing through the rest of the authors books was Freckle Juice by Judy Blume. I was hooked and then devoured everything else she had out. It's when I knew I was hooked on reading but it also made me want to write. When I discovered Lori Foster and devoured everything she had out, I knew I had a thing for alpha males and it became MY thing . . .
How do you approach cover design?
First of all I've developed this NEED to have the cover made before I really dive into writing it. I usually have a vision the characters or story in my head and what I'd like to see on the cover. I discuss it with my cover artist who is AMAZING about bringing my vision to life. I then write the story using the cover as inspiration and many times details of the cover get written into the story. Like Nine's open dress shirt that show off all his tats. =)
What do you read for pleasure?
Honestly lately I've been reading more mystery suspense stories than I have romance. I think writing romance has sort of ruined the reading romance experience for me. It's impossible for me to turn off my inner critiquer as I'm reading romance. But I really enjoy psychological thrillers/mysteries. I've had one in the works for years. Hopefully I'll get it out eventually.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have two kindles but I'm critiquing for a critique partner I stick to my PC. I usually have lots of notes to add and its just easier for me to it on my PC. Otherwise when I'm reading just for the pleasure I'll stick to my kindle and usually read when traveling.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Free. Whenever I poll my readers about how they discovered me MOST say they read my very first book when it was free and were hooked. By far it's been the most effective but if I'm being honest I've never been really good about promotion. Book Bub is also another big one.
Describe your desk
A mess! lol I have both a stand up and sit down desk thanks to my wonderful husband who put the stand up one together for me when I started complaining about leg pain. The home I live in had a build in office when we bought. It's what made me fall in love with the house and say SOLD. There's a two man back to back writing stations and shelves all around. It really is my cave heaven. I just need to be better about keeping it clean.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born and raised in southern California in a city called Huntington Park. When we first moved in it mostly all white people but as the years went by it became populated by just about all Hispanics. So much so when I married and moved about an hour away then had kids whenever we visited my parents who still live there, they referred to it as Mexico Town because just about all the stores, signs and neighbors are Hispanic and speak Spanish. Even all the billboards and such are written in Spanish. So yes this has effected my writing enormously as most of my characters are Hispanic as well and their culture and upbringing play a big part in all my stories.
When did you first start writing?
I've been making up stories in my head for as long as I can remember. I've always suffered from insomnia so I spent MANY hours at night telling stories in my head until I'd finally doze off. Most stories would continue the next day in the shower or as I walked to school etc. But I didn't actually start writing any of them down until I was in middle school but I never even considered becoming a published author. It was just my secret passion. One I share with no one so NO WAY was I about to send my "babie's" off to be queried, critiqued and rejected. Then the world of self publishing was born and I thought. Hmm why not? I can at the very least say I published something even if it was on my own. I finally finished a story I started to write way back in high school, published Forever Mine and was floored when readers started asking for the next in the series. So I kept writing and the rest is history. I now have 28 published books out and many more to come. =)
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest is Nine. This is part of my Boyle Heights series. This is my second cross over series. Meaning side characters from my other series finally get their story told. In this instance I have Rudy aka Nine is one of those foul mouthed, politically incorrect Hispanics who has a chip on his shoulder about white people. He doesn't think they have enough in common for him to ever have a real friendship much less a romantic relationship. Drew his love interest was the bestie of one of my other books in the 5th Street series. She's Lily white, and I really liked her character even way back when I first wrote Hector (she played the bestie of the female MC in that one) so of course it made perfect sense that she'd be the one to bring Nine to his knees. It was super important that the connection/attraction be WAY more than just physical. So the story is rich in dialogue and time spent connecting on a much deeper level. They also have something in common that really bonds them.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy of writing is hands down the escapism. Just like reading, there's nothing better than sitting down and escaping into another world for a few hours. But especially so when it's a world you're creating. I get so excited when a new epic scene comes to me and I CANNOT wait to get it down in writing. Before I ever decided to publish I wrote for the love of this. It's gotten me through many stressful times when I just escape the reality of what might be going on in my life at the time. There's no better therapy for me really. It's why writing has always been my passion.
What do your fans mean to you?
EVERYTHING. If it weren't for them, I wouldn't be enjoying doing what I love for a living. I used to write for just me. Just my escapism but now I write when them in mind and I can't tell you how often I smile or giggle "They're gonna love this!' or even giggle feeling a little guilty. "Oh, they're gonna want to crucify me!" lol This might be my passion and I do enjoy every minute of writing but at the end of the day it's all about my readers. Every time I write an exciting scene I always think, "I can HARDLY wait to to hear their thoughts!" And they never disappoint with their utter excitement. I'll never say it enough. I have the BEST readers ever! I <3 them!
What are you working on next?
As I stated in one of the previous questions I have several WIP's at the moment but the one I anticipate putting out next is Orlando aka O. He is Nine's roommate in my most recent release and this will be the fourth in my Boyle Heights series. I'm always looking for a fresh and new trope that I haven't already written. The idea of writing something completely different from my last always excites me. In his story, he gets a BIG surprise one morning in a shape of a baby at his doorstep with a note letting him know the baby is his. The mystery of who his love interest is and how she's related to the baby (if at all) is then on. After writing several HEAVY stories prior to Nine, I decided Nine's story would be lighter. Funner with less drama than the previous ones. But with Orlando we're back to the heavy with a big twist. Already having a blast writing this one! =)
Aside from contemporary romance have you ever considered writing in another genre?
I have actually. At the moment I have mostly contemporary romance published. But I do have one YA romance Forever Mine (maybe two if you count Sweet Sofie). Romantic erotica (Remi's Choice) a lot of New Adult and Romantic mystery my Looking Glass series will all have an aspect of mystery but will still be heavy on the romance. But as mentioned previously I do have a psychological thriller in the works. There is SOME romance in it but mostly it's a mystery with a huge twist.
With the amount of books you already have published how do you continue to come up with brand new ideas for books?
My ideas come from everywhere. Real life, movies, other books, songs lyrics even something a side character may say creates a new story idea. You name it. I don't think there will EVER be a shortage of new stories for me. Just about everything sparks an idea. Mostly a twist for a story. Like Lila for example. I wrote this scene about a tough girl in high school who makes an example of her younger sisters bully. As in she beats the bully to a pulp in front of all the other would-be bullies. It was just a scene I decided to have fun with because I'd never had such a tough girl MC. I knew I'd have to pair her up with someone who'd be able to handle her temper and touch exterior. The idea and twist suddenly came to me and before I knew it, I was halfway through writing the full length novel.
How do you deal with bad reviews?
After these many books, I've developed pretty thick skin. In the very beginning bad reviews could REALLY do a number on me. An especially scathing review would have me second guessing everything I was working on and it'd really effect my writing mojo. But after a while I learned that even bad reviews, especially the ANGRY ones are a good thing. Though I don't actively seek out reading them anymore. I just figure If my story has that strong an effect on anyone then I did my job in moving the reader. Of course I prefer the gushing ones but I've actually gotten some good laughs out of the funnier angrier bad ones. it comes with the territory and I accept it now.
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