Thursday, October 8, 2015

Xpresso Book Tours ~Spotlight on Don't Make Me Beautiful by Elle Casey


A message from Elle about Don’t Make Me Beautiful
                      

A really long time ago, I read an article in a newspaper or a magazine (I haven’t been able to locate the original) about a woman who was so badly beaten over a long period of time, she couldn’t leave her house. I thought about that woman a lot over the years and about what her thoughts might have been, her fears, her reality … and this book was my attempt to both exorcise those thoughts from my brain and also shed some light on a subject —domestic violence— that I feel should never be left in darkness. (October is Domestic Violence Awareness month.)

Don’t Make Me Beautiful by Elle Casey
Publication date: September 9th 2013
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Suspense

Synopsis:
**This story was inspired by true events. If you liked the movie “Sleeping With the Enemy”, then you might like this story too. CONTENT WARNING: Violence, foul language, and adult situations. Not meant for younger readers.**

A ROMANTIC SUSPENSE NOVEL. No one knew a woman lived there or that she even existed. A monster, living in darkness…
At twenty-two, Nicole doesn’t even look human anymore. The beast made sure of that. So she hides. A monster, consigned to a life of fear and solitude. This is all she deserves, she is quite sure of that.

And then one day out of the blue, the autographed baseball caught by Brian Jensen at the latest Marlins game enters her prison and manages to turn her world completely upside down.
Temptation comes in the form of pity at first, and then perhaps something more. Does she dare to believe the things she’s told, that this is not the life she was meant to live? That being a monster is not her forever-fate? And will she be willing to risk everything, to reach out and accept the helping hands around her and share her deepest, darkest secrets? She knows only too well that hands can hurt. Finding out whether they can also heal is a risky proposition, especially when the beast is still out there. Looking for her.



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Excerpt from Don’t Make Me Beautiful by Elle Casey

She sits on the couch, staring out the window as the late afternoon sun tries to make its way through the glass.  Dark beige curtains frame the outside edges of her only access to the outside world, while white sheers fill the middle, making it almost impossible to see what’s going on beyond the shrubs that run underneath.
Those gauzy curtains would also make it impossible for her to see what’s going on inside her house, if she were ever standing on the lawn or the sidewalk looking in.  But that never happens.  She never leaves the house.  Not even at night.  Well, once she did.  But then never again.  The aftermath was not worth the brief taste of freedom.
The clock is ticking.
Ticking … ticking … ticking.                                
It’s her only company for most of the day.  Kitten lived for less than a day before her violent end came and she was put under a blanket of soil in the backyard.  The rat remains hidden in the attic crawl space where he’s safe from the monster, so she rarely sees him.  She hears him though, at night, and it gives her comfort to know she’s not totally alone.
There is no attic space for Nicole, though.  She waits on the couch for the monster to come home.  He’ll be here soon.  An hour.  Maybe a few hours if she’s very, very unlucky.  It’s not that she wants to see him sooner, it’s just that if he’s late, it means he’ll be drunk.  And anything can happen when the monster gets liquored up.  Good, bad, ugly.  It’s all the same.  Nicole wishes that the clock would stop ticking, stop carrying time away from her and just give her a few hours of non-time to gather her brain back together, to think, to find a way out of this mess.
She takes a deep breath and sighs heavily, the familiar ache in her ribs and face reminding her of the reality she lives with day in, and day out.  The clock might as well keep on ticking, because there is no escape from this mess.  This mess is her life until the day she takes her last breath and is placed in the spot next to Kitten in the backyard.  He already has the hole dug.

Elle Casey Q & A
               
1.               When did you first start writing fully developed, complete stories? 2012, with my first novel Wrecked.
2.               Which of your books are you most proud of and why? I’m proud of every single one! They all take a piece of me to put together and they all pull from my life or my history in one way or another. I don’t have any favorites.
3.               Where does your inspiration come from? Life. My past. My future. Things I see on the street or dream about. Sometimes weird stories on Yahoo.com too.
4.               Best and worst thing about being an author (and why). Best: having readers tell me they love my work and it’s changed their lives in a good way; Worst: having people spend a whole lot of time and energy discussing why and how much I suck at writing.
5.               Best and worst thing about interacting with fans on social media. Best: finding out how they took my characters into their minds and felt their emotions and lived with them through their struggles on the page. Worst: Facebook limits who I can interact with, forcing me to pay a lot of money if I want my fans to actually see my posts. I hate that.
6.               First 10 books on your TBR list: My TBR list is not that long. I pretty much only read what my book club has on order for the month or non-fiction on topics that interest me like horses (I’m seriously horse-mad). There are two reasons for this: 1, I don’t have any time to read for pleasure because I write a novel pretty much every month, and 2. I worry that other people’s work will bleed into mine, and I like to remain original!
7.               Most played songs on your ipod? Right now, cello music because it helps block out noise while I write. I can’t listen to anything with words when I write, otherwise I start singing and then can’t write anything at all (except lyrics.) But I have very eclectic taste in music. I don’t listen to much jazz or blues, but lots of rock, pop, country, celtic, and instrumental stuff.
8.               Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? I’m a 46-year-old former lawyer, former veteran of the USAF, former stock broker, former restaurant owner, former CEO, turned writer. I have 1 husband (second one’s a charm), 3 kids, 2 dogs, and 2 horses (I’m angling for a third, though). I’m American, but I live in southern France. I moved here in 2010 for a one-year adventure and never left. I own a small winery that produces kickass red wine (syrah and grenache grapes), and I like to travel both to the US and here in Europe. I also enjoy camping, but I do it with my tiny caravan so I can sleep on a real bed. I love to ride my horse, and I take lessons several times a week; I only started two years ago, so I have a lot to learn and a great fear of dying. I dream of riding across France on horseback someday, and I’m sure I’ll eventually do it. I’ve been married for 12 years to the nicest, most considerate and patient man in the entire world. I kissed a lot of frogs before I found my prince, but he was worth the wait. He taught me that real romance and real love exists and that all us girls deserve to have it. I support women in business and independent women who want to make their lives better through hard work and dedication to good causes. I’m a sucker for baby animal videos or dog or cat videos, so if I’m on my computer and not writing, I’m probably watching those on my Facebook feed. My kids say I’m mean and funny, and my dogs sleep at my feet every night. My favorite fairground snack is cotton candy, and I have a terrible sweet tooth when the fair is not in session. My favorite cookie is the pecan sandie. (Is this enough? Or TMI?  I could go on…)
9.               How did you choose the genre you write in? I write in every single genre that interests me as a reader, so right now that includes romance, paranormal, fantasy, science fiction, action/adventure, thriller, suspense … I might even try mystery one of these days (I’ve been binging on Castle re-runs).
10.         When writing a book, what is your favorite part of the creative process(outline, plot, character names, editing, etc)? I don’t outline, so I can’t speak about that. Character names I just pull out of a hat or off my Facebook page (lots of my readers’ names are in my books), so that’s fun, but it only lasts a moment. I suppose the plot is the best. Since I don’t know the plot ahead of time, I enjoy watching it unfold under my fingers. Editing? Bleck. Who likes editing?
11.         How did you get your start in writing? By just trying it. You never know until you try if you’ll be good at anything, so you might as well try, right?
12.         Name a favourite book boyfriend (not one of your own). I could never find a book boyfriend I really loved, which is why I wrote the ones I did in my books. They’re different than the average book boyfriend, I think. I guess the guy I’ve found sexiest in the last 15 years has been Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen, but not because he was a very good boyfriend to Bella. I was also quite partial to Eric Northman, even though he was a murderous a-hole most of the time.  Handsome vampires are sexy, so I guess that’s as close as I get to a book boyfriend that’s not one I’ve written (because Mack of Shine Not Burn is the best book boyfriend ever! ha ha!)
13.         If you could spend a month with any of your favorite book boyfriends, which one would it be and why? I’d hang out with Mack from Shine Not Burn because he’s sexy, intelligent, he rides a horse, he’s confident, he knows how to treat a lady, and he comes from an awesome family.
14.         If you could collaborate with any well-known author, who would it be and why? Nora Roberts. I’m a fan from waaaay back. I like how she mixes it up genre-wise, writes a lot, and really respects her readers. I respect her a ton, so if she agreed to write with me, I’d consider that a huuuuge compliment.
15.         Where do you do most of your writing? In my bed with my laptop in my lap.
16.         How long does a typical writing project take you, from idea conception to publication? 3-4 weeks.
17.         What piece of advice would you give to aspiring authors? Write. Don’t just dream about writing, or talk about wanting to write, or read about writing, or do practice exercises designed to help you learn how to write. Just write. And then keep doing that. You can’t have a career as a writer if you can’t finish writing a book. Then, once you’ve done that, edit over and over until it’s the best you can do. Then ask for feedback from trusted, gentle sources. If you have problems with your writing, read a book or two on writing and edit again. You’ll never be a good writer if you don’t WRITE. Also, if you don’t read a lot, you should probably read at least 50 books in your preferred genre before you even start to write in it, because you have to know what readers of that genre will be looking for. Reader expectations must be met always and exceeded whenever possible.
18.         What is the biggest influence/interest that brought you to this genre? I write in many genres, but I’ve been a reader of romance since I was 8. Yes, I was reading Harlequin romances when I was 8!! My parents didn’t care; as long as I was reading something, they were happy. And my grandmother was a frequent visitor and she always had stacks of those things around. Sexy, sexy! (to an 8-year-old, anyway)
19.         When reading a book, what genre do you find most interesting/intriguing? Right now, science fiction. But my tastes change almost with the seasons. I’ve read a little of everything. My first love after romance was fantasy.
20.         Have you always wanted to write or did it come to you "later in life"? I always thought I would try to write a book, but I wouldn’t call it a burning passion at all until I actually tried it. Now it’s an all-consuming, burning passion and addiction.
21.         What books/authors have most influenced your life? Probably the most influential books were the ones I read as a child, that fed my imagination. Madeleine L’Engle was a biggie. The Narnia Chronicles. The Dragonlance series. Stuff like that. Anything that involved kids or independent loners surviving or having adventures without parental guidance. My most favorite all time book as a kid was The Boxcar Children, the first book in the series.
22.         How do you develop your plots and characters? I come up with either the plot first or the main character (usually but not always a female). If it’s the plot, then I try to imagine what character would be involved in such a thing. If it’s a character, I look at their personality and wonder what they’ll get up to, what is driving them toward what thing, and set up a first scene. Then I just kind of sit back and watch a movie in my head of that scene and that character and let them guide me.
23.         You are quite prolific, how do you maintain such a punishing schedule? Do you have issues with procrastination? I set up word count goals for each day that I’ll write. I don’t stop until I reach that required number of words. At least, I try not to. Sometimes life gets in the way. I am a HUGE procrastinator, so having that and a calendar with a strict publishing deadline is the only way I can get anything done. I am a harsh taskmaster, but I remind myself daily that it’s my readers who pay my bills, so I have to do whatever it takes to make them happy. I’m not perfect; I miss deadlines or get sick and can’t write until my sinuses clear, but when that happens, I try really really hard to work double time and make up for it.
24.               What's the strangest question you've ever been asked about your books? I’ve had people ask me why I don’t make all my books free. I guess they don’t realize it’s how I make my living.


Elle Casey is a prolific, NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling American writer who lives in Southern France with her husband, three kids, and several furry friends. She writes in several genres and publishes an average of one full-length novel per month.

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1 comment:

  1. Hi, I'm Noelle, Elle's assistant. Thanks for showcasing Don't Make Me Beautiful. We hope your readers enjoy it! Thanks again, and happy reading!

    ReplyDelete