I absolutely loved Elissa's debut novel, THE SPEED OF LIGHT, and when I heard she had a new novel out, I had to ask her to join us - this is a fab summer read!
Tell us about your latest book.
My second novel, Iris in the Dark, released June 7, 2022, from Lake Union Publishing. Here’s the back cover copy:
Iris Jenkins knows that bad things happen. She’s tried to escape these things for years. So when Iris is entrusted to house-sit at a lodge on the South Dakota prairie, she thinks she’s prepared for anything.
But one surprise is Sawyer Jones, the property’s neighbor and caretaker. He’s a caring, reassuring presence who’s making her feel safe and alive again. Then late one night, Iris hears a chilling cry for help coming from a walkie-talkie buried in a box of toys. As the calls get more desperate, personal, and menacing, Iris realizes the person on the other end isn’t reaching out for help. They’re reaching out to terrorize her.
Now the only way for Iris to move forward in life is to confront the past she’s been running from…a threat that has now followed her into the dark.
What's your writing process?
Once I have a story idea, I’ll work on the plot in my head long before I ever get a word on the page, letting the characters reveal themselves. Next, I might write down a scene or two, trying to find where the story begins. But then I use a beat sheet to plot out the general story before finally sitting down to really dive into writing it. Then it’s a matter of finding time on evenings and weekends to get a draft down. Finally, I usually try to step away from the story for a little bit before coming back to tackle revisions!
Are there themes you like to explore in your books?
I find that my stories are almost always about a woman finding her inner strength, and realizing it was there all along. Other themes include the importance and power of supportive friendships as well as romantic love—the acknowledgement that it’s okay to trust and lean on your partner and friends. All of these themes were a part of Iris in the Dark, as well as my debut, The Speed of Light.
Do you listen to music while you write?
Yes! I usually like to listen to an artist or playlist that fits the mood of the story I’m working on, but ultimately I just like listening to my favorite artists (Adele, Celine Dion, The Cranberries, etc.).
What's your favorite genre to read?
Women’s fiction and suspense are my favorites, which is probably why my stories are a blend of the two!
What are you reading right now?
I’m reading The Taste of Ginger by Mansi Shah—it’s a wonderful women’s fiction debut that everyone should read!
What's the next project and when can we expect it?
I’m working on another project with elements of women’s fiction and suspense that I can hopefully talk more about soon, so stay tuned!