Today I’m truly excited to have Elizabeth Meyette here at Return to Rio, talking about her brand new release, The Cavanaugh House. Elizabeth also writes historical fiction and promised to give readers some insight into her personal journey along This Writer’s Road.
Elizabeth, before we talk about your books and your new release, The Cavanaugh House, please tell us a little about yourself:
Leslie, it’s so nice to visit with you and your readers today. My husband, Rich, and our kids are very supportive of my quirky writerly ways. The kids are on their own now, but Rich puts up with my dazed condition on writing days when all brain power is focused on my work. When I retired from teaching a few years early to pursue my writing career, I dusted off my manuscript for Love’s Destiny which had languished on my closet shelf for all those years. Crimson Romance picked it up and published it to my delight! I had written it as a stand-alone, but my readers clamored for more, so I wrote Love’s Spirit and have plans for a another book in the series. I have just published my third book, The Cavanaugh House, which is a cozy mystery with a strong romantic element.
When I was checking out Love’s Destiny and Love’s Spirit, two things came to mind—I have to read them, because I love the Revolutionary period, and they’re epic. How important is history to you, and how do you research particular time periods?
I’m so glad that you’re going to read them! I love history, and the Revolutionary period is my favorite. My research is very thorough—I’m a bit of a perfectionist (did I just hear Rich chuckle in the background??) Research for Love’s Destiny was pre-Google; that’s right I actually went to the library and pored over books and primary documents! I read an entire book on ships to make sure my description of Jonathon’s ship, the Destiny, was accurate. Having the Internet at my fingertips as I was revising it was so wonderful! Love’s Spirit was much easier since I could access great websites such as the Colonial Williamsburg website and find remarkable resources. One of my favorite compliments was from my big brother, a career Army man, who said my history was “spot on.”
I know that The Cavanaugh House is not, in your words, “purely romance.” The cover strikes me as intriguing and a little brooding—maybe a little dark. Tell me about the tone of The Cavanaugh House, and maybe what inspired it.
I’m so pleased to hear you say that the cover struck you that way. Yes, the story is dark; my protagonist, Jesse, is recovering from a very public broken engagement and wants anonymity and peace. What she ends up with is the opposite when she moves into the Cavanaugh House in a small town. This house that she inherited from an aunt she never knew becomes a place of danger rather than a safe haven. But her BFF Maggie (aka Sister Angelina), Officer Marty D’Amato and Joe Riley support her and her risky investigation of her aunt’s death. Sparks fly between Joe and Jesse, but stung by her recent breakup, she fights their mutual attraction. My characters’ interactions and dialogue provide comic relief as well, and I enjoy their banter.
The cover of The Cavanaugh House is a photo that my husband Rich took. When the inspiration for the story came to me, a very distinct image of the house came to me. We were visiting family out of state and as we travelled a two-lane state road, we came upon an abandoned old house that was the house in my mind. I couldn’t believe it. I yelled, “Rich, that’s my house!” So we stopped and took a bunch of photos. Other pieces of the story fell together in a rather supernatural way (I discuss these on my blog Meyette’s Musings – “The Cavanaugh House Has Arrived!) and voila, my book was born.
It’s amazing to me that you should find the cover shot in such a chance encounter–and fascinating. Elizabeth, Love’s Destiny and Love’s Spirit capture the story of Emily Wentworth and Jonathan Brentwood, and their fight to love each other in spite of conflicting allegiances and the horrors of war. Which characters in The Cavanaugh House are most like Emily and Jonathan, and will we see any characters from The Cavanaugh House in future works?
What an insightful question, Leslie. You must be an author! A friend just told me she likes that my female characters are strong, and yes, Jesse is another strong female protagonist. I see many similarities between Jesse and Emily, but I think Jesse is more independent. That could be the influence of society at the times of each book. While Emily has broken through some of the restrictions colonial America has placed on her, Jesse is riding the wave of the new Women’s Liberation movement. Joe and Jonathon are quite different though. Joe is laid back and unthreatened by Jesse’s quest for equality; Jonathon is used to shaping his world and those around him. Both, however, deeply love and support their women.
Yes, my Cavanaugh House characters are still talking to me, and a sequel will very likely appear.
I love the differences you see among your characters. And I’m not surprised there may be a sequel–characters we love are just hard to let go. On another note, I read that your husband is really and truly supportive—even prohibiting you from cooking on ‘writing’ days, which I imagine must be most days. How important is it to have that kind of support, and could you give advice to writers who lack that honest and enthusiastic support?
Rich is amazing! I am very blessed to have the love and support of my family, and my heart breaks when I hear of writers who are not as lucky. At first it was hard for me to identify myself as a writer, because as all of us know, people don’t always take that seriously. But the more I said it, the more I convinced myself it was true. And then the challenge was to carve time out of my other responsibilities to make time for writing. I actually put my writing time on my calendar as I would any other important meeting, appointment or activity. Then I make it sacrosanct—nothing else trumps it. I think the major thing for all writers is to take themselves seriously or no one else will. Whether you have another full-time job, small children, aging parents or other important responsibilities, you are important, too. I think of the advice we always get when we fly: put your own oxygen mask on first or you’ll be no good to anyone else. I don’t think of this as selfish—I think of it as self-ful.
Wow, Elizabeth–as a writer who doesn’t always manage time wisely, your advice gave me goose bumps. Especially the analogy to the flight instructions! What can readers look for as The Cavanaugh House launches? Do you have blog visits you’d like to mention, or other opportunities for readers to learn more about you and your books?
My original launch date was April, but my husband had unexpected, and very serious, surgery in April, so I put my book off so I could focus only on Rich. He is recuperating well, so I am gearing up for some blog visits and I am talking about the Cavanaugh House on my blog, Meyette’s Musings http://elizabethmeyette.blogspot.com/ I have a book signing, class at a local university and keynote & workshop at a writers’ conference coming up in the near future. Keep an eye out for a Goodreads giveaway in the near future.
Finally, tell me something you want readers to know—funny, outrageous, serious—just something you’d like to say that I didn’t ask.
I discovered a secret sales weapon at one of my first book signings. Soon after I published Love’s Destiny, Rich was helping me at the author table at a woman’s expo where vendors had all sorts of products including wine. He had listened to me engage people as they walked by and talk to them about my book throughout the afternoon. I left for a few minutes to use the restroom, and when I returned Rich was laughing and talking with two ladies who were standing at the table enjoying their wine. It looked like a cocktail party. When I approached, he introduced me as his wife and the author, and we chatted for a while. They were delightful and one bought my book. When they sauntered off to visit other tables, Rich said, “They were walking by, and I said, ‘Hey, ladies, want a little romance in your life?’” He beamed. “They came right over!” “No doubt!” I laughed. I bring him to all of my events now—my secret sales weapon!
You’re welcome, Elizabeth! Good luck to you and hang on to Rich–a lot of writers are likely to be jealous of that secret weapon of yours. You can find Elizabeth Meyette and her works here:
The Cavanaugh House is available at Amazon.
Visit Elizabeth at