Grayson "Gray" Wilde
Marji: Okay, can I just say that the guy on your cover bears a striking resemblance to Chris Hemsworth in the Thor movies? Lol! Did you have him in mind when you crafted this hero?
Elizabeth: Ha! No, I sent them the picture of someone else, a different actor. Unfortunately, I didn’t put the name on my art file so I can’t tell you who it is. But I wanted the shaggy hair and I got it. I have always loved the landscape covers but after seeing a guy on my cover, I think I’ve changed my mind. LOL!
Marji: I'd feel the same way! How did this hero come about? Was he a minor character in another book? What has been his evolution from minor character to main character?
Elizabeth: The reader is introduced to Grayson “Gray” Wilde as minor character in the first Wilderness, Inc. book. They learn he’s a federal agent—a special agent with the FWS (Fish and Wildlife Services). Honestly, I wasn’t aware these special agents existed until I started researching. Gray made a quick appearance at the beginning of Targeted for Murder. He and his brother, Cooper Wilde, have some conflict, of course, but they’re also brothers and have each other’s back. Since he’s one of the Wilde siblings he needed his own story.
Marji: When you craft characters, do you develop a full psychological mark-up or maybe use bits and pieces of people you already know?
Elizabeth: I don’t develop a full anything when I start. It all happens as I write. In fact, I might start out with the basics of their background but then as I’m writing the story more pieces to the character’s story emerge and help me to create that dark moment near the end. I think it’s impossible to not draw from your life experiences and people you know.
Marji: Wow! I'm in awe of authors that can develop everything as they go along. I have to plan like crazy. Speaking of planning, how has Grayson Wilde avoided marriage so far? Surely women don’t avoid him, so why is he still available? And what is it about Gemma Rollins that intrigues him?
Marji: Totally understandable. Is there a character in this story that we should look for in a coming book?
Elizabeth: False Security is book three and we are introduced to two new characters—Olivia Kendricks and Zachary Long—but we’ll also spend a lot of time with the Wilde siblings in that story. Alice Wilde gets her story in Wilderness Reunion, which is book four.
Marji: So tell more about WILDERNESS, INC? Is there a set number of books for this series, or could there be more built on when the current works in progress end?
Elizabeth: I just turned in the fourth and last book, Wilderness Reunion. Initially I had planned for six but the editors have decided to limit the number of books in a series to four now for the Love Inspired lines. Personally, I could keep writing stories set in the wilderness forever. But I’ll be moving on to a new series—just as soon as my editor approves my proposal and I hope she does!
Marji: It's so satisfying to read a series from beginning to end but sad, too. Still, how exciting to get to start something brand new and fresh! Hope to hear of your new series soon! Now about you, personally ... winter in the deep north. How does a Texas girl survive? I’m sitting here in a tee shirt and jeans with my back door open to the porch and my dog running around. The only thing slightly cold are my bare toes. I’m guessing that wouldn’t fly where you are?
Elizabeth: Not at all. In fact, we had an ice storm last night. There are three cars stuck right in front of my house on the country road. Yes, I’m a Texas girl but I really got my fill of those three months of blazing Texas sun in the summer, and I crave cold and snow. So I’d say that the Lord has answered my prayer to see snow and plenty of it! Lol!
Marji: Ha! I'll say. And do you still home school? I thought I remembered we had that in common, though I'm about to graduate my final pair.
Elizabeth: My oldest child is about to turn 25. Yes, I have home schooled my four children all these years, but they are in high school now and about to start college. I am more of a resource manager when it comes to their schooling.
Marji: Yes, I've noticed that with my own. What does your day look like and how do you balance life and writing?
Elizabeth: I think I have finally figured out how to juggle writing and life. I just pace myself. I have a calendar and I know how much I need to get done on any day. If I have time, I will do more, but I just hit my mark and then I’m good to do everything else I need to do regarding my life outside of writing.
Marji: You churned out 4 or 5 books last year, right? How in the world do you keep such a demanding pace?
Elizabeth: Yeah. I also write mysteries for Annie’s Mysteries, which is a write-for-hire publisher. I refer back to my previous answer—I pace myself. That said, there are still many times when I feel utterly overwhelmed and sometimes I start to hyperventilate. I always seem to take on too many projects, but then I just take a deep breath and put it all on the calendar. I compartmentalize and work on one thing at a time. Sometimes that means working on one project in the morning and another at night, but I try to avoid that if I can.
Marji: Okay, now you've just proved to me that you're Super-Author! What accompanies you as you write? Snacks, music, pets, drinks? How do they help or hinder?
Elizabeth: I have found as I age that silence is my best writing buddy. So writing in the mornings when the house is quietest works best for me. When my youngest son gets moving and demands my attention, then if I haven’t achieved my goal already, I might be in trouble. When the kids were young and there was much more chaos going on, I could sit in the middle of that and write—not so much anymore.
Marji: I can certainly appreciate that. I couldn't have even tried to write when my kids were little, but then the Lord knew what He was doing to delay that career in my case! Thanks so much for joining me today!
Readers, one of you can win UNDERCOVER PROTECTOR. Leave a comment with your email address (must have an email address!) and share your favorite thing about winter. One comment will be chosen at random on January 26 and that reader will be contacted for his or her choice of a Kindle or print version of the book!