Welcome back to Ruthie’s Reality, chickens! Today author Elise Sax agreed to chat with me about her debut novel, An Affair To Dismember, which releases on January 29. If you like Janet Evanovich or are generally a fan of first-person heroines who struggle to keep their act together but nonetheless manage to attract the attention of various hunky men–and let’s face it, the appeal of this particular scenario is difficult to resist–you’ll want to check out this book.
Welcome, Elise! Okay, let’s start off with a tough question: the heroine of your Matchmaker Series, Gladie Burger, has been compared to Stephanie Plum — but I can’t help but note the similarities between hapless, disorganized Gladie and the official Elise Sax author photo. (Also, the presence of ice cream and Cheez Puffs.) Care to comment?
I love Stephanie Plum, and I’m a big Janet Evanovich fan, but it’s true, I’m pretty similar to my heroine, Gladie Burger. Recently I was at lunch with my editor and publisher, and they told me that I spoke exactly like I wrote. I didn’t know how to take that since I write pretty wacky characters and scenes….And yes, I eat a large amount of garbage while I write, unfortunately. It’s cosmically unfair that I write better when eating chips, peanut M&Ms, and Sour Patch Kids. Come to think of it, pizza would be great for breakfast this morning! No, I didn’t say that. Forget I mentioned carbs. (I’m trying to learn to love egg whites.)
As for Gladie’s mishaps, no, I’ve never been caught up a telephone pole, but I’ve gotten close. Just last week, I almost severed my big toe with my high heel while dancing tango. And there was the time when I waved hello to a man I had a crush on and just at that moment, a wind came and blew my dress up over my head. And then there was the time I was on a date with a man in Paris and while he walked me home, I slipped in dog poop and went flying. Oh, I could go on and on…
And I’ll hold you to that next time I see you at a conference.
You sold your first novel at auction to a Big Six publisher. This is basically every aspiring writer’s dream–to have the scions of New York publishing tripping all over themselves to outbid each other for your work of genius. Do you feel as though someone ought to stick a pin in you and pop the bubble of your euphoria, or has the experience so far come with noticeable downsides?
I had always thought book auctions were an urban myth, but then it happened to me. It has given me an almost uncontrollable desire to walk around à la Sally Field at the Oscars saying, “You like me! You really like me!” It helps to know that so many had confidence in me during those times when I’m alone in my office at one in the morning trying to make a scene work, sure I have no talent. The only downside is now I believe in urban myths, which has got me worried about mole people and spiders nesting in my hair.
Let’s talk about covers featuring a girl sandwiched between two shirtless hunks. The first Matchmaker book features a love triangle between Gladie’s grandma’s new neighbor (the Hottie Next Door) and the new police chief, who she keeps inconveniencing with her insistence on solving a murder that’s really none of her business (let’s call him the Hottie On the Force). I’m guessing based on covers alone that the suspense continues in book 2. What do you like about writing love triangles? And do you think, at some point, the tension loses its fizzle? (I’ll confess, I think it’s high time Stephanie Plum made up her mind, already.)
Oh, yes tension does fizzle after awhile. Writing a love triangle has made me realize that I’m a serial monogamist, even in my writing. So, between you and me, I KNOW who Gladie winds up with. But it’s going to take her a while. And book two (Matchpoint) ends in a big cliffhanger and a lot will get resolved. Well, pseudo-resolved. And then in book three (Match and Release), I make Gladie’s life complicated again but in a different way. It won’t progress like Stephanie Plum’s relationships. Gladie goes on a different journey. By the way, I do love men, and I’m so grateful these nice young men on my cover decided to take their shirts off. In fact, I don’t think they should ever wear clothes, do you?
Well, maybe if they get chilly . . . actually, no. You’re right. They can always plunk a hat on their heads. You know, the top one, and if they’re really cold . . . Sorry. I’ll just . . . no. Next question.
Do you see the Matchmaker series continuing? What other authorial plans have you got for us?
Yes, I see the series continuing! I have a contract for the first three books, and hopefully they will ask for more. The first book takes place in August, the second in September, the third in October and so on. I would like to see Gladie stick it out in the same job for a year and see her develop. And she will get better as a matchmaker, and her love life will improve, too! My next book to hopefully see the light of day is a romantic adventure called BOUNTY, about a journalist who gets kidnapped by a mercenary with a sublime body. It’s funny and sexy, and yes they have hot sweaty snugglebunnies in it (oh, is that a spoiler?). I’m also starting a young adult trilogy that has some humor in it but will also make readers cry. Cry in a good way.
Sounds excellent! I am totally on board for mercenary romance. I was just asking myself the other day, “Why don’t we see more mercenaries in romance? Such scope for heroism! I mean, there’s the whole “paid soldier” thing, which some might see as a turnoff, but I’m sure you’ll come up with a good way to explain that all away. And also, can we have some mud? And cargo pants? Thank you!
Thank you so much for this interview! What great questions. I really appreciate it.
You’re so welcome! And I have one more great question for readers: Ranger or Joe?
No, wait, that wasn’t the question. The question was . . . ah, hell. That’s the question. Ranger or Joe? Fight it out in the comments! Tell me which one Plum should have picked and how long ago she should’ve done it. Include your email address in your comment, and I’ll pick one random commenter to win a copy of Elise’s An Affair To Dismember when it releases. Contest open until the end of the day on Thursday, January 24, CST. I’ll announce the winner on Friday morning!