Several years ago, I met Kendra when I spoke at an RWA chapter in Washington. I didn’t know when I met her that I’d judged one of her books in the Daphne contest, but I do remember I loved it. It was edgy and dark and very, very good. It was an opening that had stuck with me. When she sold, I read the entire book and offered a quote because the rest of the book was just as good as the beginning. I don’t remember the old title, but it was published as HIDDEN. Kendra writes thrilling romantic suspense that I love, and I know you will to. And her covers! I love them all, but in particular her latest (see below!)
I’m thrilled that Kendra is our newest regular blogger here at MSW. I hope everyone will give her a big, warm Murder She Writes welcome! ~Allison
I’m so excited to be here! Like many of you, I’ve been a reader and fan of Murder She Writes since its beginning. I’ve followed all the authors that have rotated through here. I’ve read their books, met several at conferences, and listened to their stories and advice on publishing all while pursuing my own writing dreams.
And now I’m here.
I started writing in 2005. I read an article about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and decided to give it a try. I sat down and wrote a horrible story about …I can’t even remember. Honestly! I know part of it took place in Hawaii. While I was writing, I discovered my local Romance Writers of America group. I felt like I had a new group of best friends. A bunch of women on the same path as me, sharing information, giving encouragement, and creating friendships I still have today.
Over the next few years I wrote more manuscripts. After the second book, I realized my contemporary romance characters were always tripping over dead bodies. I knew I loved reading romantic suspense more than anything, so I took the hint to write in that genre.
A writer’s journey is a nightmare of ups and downs. The ups are contest finals, agent requests, conferences, meeting your idols, editor requests, and then the CALL. The call where you find out that someone loves your book and wants to give you money for it. The downs are agent rejections, the never-ending manuscript, editor rejections, plot holes, more rejections, scathing critiques, and did I mention rejections? I spent years in this aspiring author cycle along with my own personal ups and downs involving divorce and a new marriage. I nearly threw in the writing towel many times. In fact, there was a stretch of three years where I didn’t write a word: life got in my way. I doubted that I’d ever write again. I was at absolute bottom.
Then things started happening. A Golden Heart nomination. An agent. A contract for two books. I left my job to write full time. Another contract for two books. Then my first book went on sale last July and sales were fantastic. HIDDEN was a top 100 seller for all of 2012 in Kindle sales. Now my latest high point is joining Murder She Writes.
I cried when I got the invitation to join MSW. It was an unexpected personal and professional milestone in my writing journey. My goals are to get to better know these lethal ladies and to interact with readers who love romantic suspense. One thing I learned early on this journey is that authors and readers LOVE to talk about books. Often for hours. If alcohol is involved, it can last most of the night.
So, I’m pouring you an imaginary drink of your choice…if you’re reading this in the morning, hopefully it’s coffee. Now tell me two things: what do you love to drink when you’re discussing books and what author can you not wait to read in 2013? To make it interesting, don’t list a MSW author…we’ll assume you’ll be reading us! Tell us who we need to add to our TBR piles.
I’ll start with coffee with Bailey’s Irish Cream and Robert Crais. His next release is in less than two weeks!
Kendra Elliot grew up in the lush Pacific Northwest and still lives there with her husband, three daughters, two cats, and a Pomeranian. She left the dental world after sixteen years to write full time in 2012. Her first two books, HIDDEN and CHILLED, spent months on Kindle’s top 100 paid best seller list. HIDDEN was on Kindle’s 2012 overall top 100 bestseller list. Two more Bone Secrets novels will be released in 2013 starting with BURIED in March. She’s always been fascinated with forensics, refuses to eat anything green, and loves a strong Mai Tai on the beach on Kauai.