When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?
I don’t remember the exact moment, but I do remember getting a typewriter for my ninth birthday. I started reading romance at twelve, and wrote my first book that same year. Until recently, I wasn’t interested in writing another genre.
Why did you pick the setting you did?
When I started researching the book, I wanted to know a popular place for jazz music in the 50’s and 60’s. Chicago jumped out at me, but when I saw the beautiful buildings, including the house I imagined in the story, everything fell into place.
Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people?
I made them up or rather they jumped into my brain and decided to take over.
Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
Oh, a great question, but no. The characters were adamant about who they were.
Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret?
The biggest writing block was trying to make six months pass quickly while keeping the urgency of the suspense. I made time pass in 1-3 week increments throughout the chapters by working them around scenes about the renovations or at the beginning of a scene with a big event so readers didn’t feel shorted that nothing exciting happened during the time that passed.
What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
My characters were the biggest surprise, especially the ghosts who were supposed to be part of the back story, but insisted on being included in the scenes. I was skeptical, but they were right. LOL! Even with all the edits and changes I made before and after the book went to the publishers, I still wanted to make more when I saw it in print. I read scenes and thought “Ugh, this is crap! I should have done this instead.” Thank goodness for deadlines or we’d never finish editing our books.
What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world, publishing; about ghosts and restoration projects?
I learned I didn’t know anything about the publishing industry (still don’t, LOL) and that no matter how you tweak your writing process, it’s different for each book, is in fact an ongoing process. I learned what wonderful, supportive friends I have both in the writing world and my personal life. I never imagined ghosts could capture my and readers’ hearts. That people would consider my book as much a paranormal as suspense. That restoration projects are easier to write than to do in real life. Last and most important, I learned I still have a lot to learn.
What are you working on now?
My current book is called Deadly Bloodlines. It's book 1 in a 3 book series I’ve yet to name. I’m excited about this book because it’s the first one set in Grand Cayman where I live. The most surprising thing about the book so far is how much I love my villain. He’s truly devious and is speaking to me more than my other characters. Another surprise is my heroine is more flawed than any other I’ve written. This book and series is going to be my biggest writing challenge yet as it’s teetering on the edge of a thriller, a genre I never thought would appeal to me. I’m about half way through and looking forward to the challenges that lay ahead.
If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
I’d love to be a fulltime writer, but I’m blessed to enjoy the job I’m in. My day job is operation/project manager which I enjoy because it’s challenging, interesting, and I love the people I work with. It’s a lot like my writing career. LOL!
About Elke: Elke lives in Grand Cayman with her husband and two kids. Reading, spending time with her family, traveling, and meeting people is her joy. Writing is her passion.
She stumbled into writing suspense, and to her surprise found she enjoyed it, along with writing about serial killers. Elke is fascinated by them, and what motivates them to kill. She writes time travel, historical, and contemporary novels to even out her dark side.
Connect with Elke at: