Back in November I was asked to review a beautiful college love story by the name of Serpentine Walls. Now I have had the chance to sit down with the author that that lovely tale, CJane Elliot, and talk about stuff and things.
I read Serpentine Walls not too long ago and really enjoyed it. What can you tell my readers about it?
Serpentine Walls is a coming of age story set at the University of Virginia and features Pete Morgan, and his friends and love interests. It’s the beginning of Pete’s junior year, his parents have split up, and he’s angry and cynical about love. During the story, Pete gets involved with three different men to varying degrees: Aidan, Jed, and Matthew. Pete is not your most heroic of main characters; he’s a young guy being clueless about what he really wants and he takes several wrong turns in his journey towards love. But with the help of his friends, he starts to understand himself and life better and has a happy ending with the perfect guy.
I enjoyed setting the story at the University of Virginia where I went as an undergraduate. Pete’s friends come into the story in a major way and have their own adventures and I had fun creating this cast of college students and showing how they support each other.
One thing I really loved about Serpentine Walls is that it didn’t follow your typical romance formula. Pete kisses a lot of toads before he finds Prince Charming, so to speak. Did you worry this break from “traditional” romance would scare off readers?
I don’t even think about that when I write, to be honest. I guess none of my stories could be said to be “traditional” romance. For instance, in my novella Stay Right Here, one of the MCs, Bryan, is unfaithful to his current boyfriend by having a heated make-out session with the other MC, Mark, before he makes things right by breaking up with his original boyfriend. This bugged some readers, especially because the original boyfriend, David, is a nice guy. I’m interested in real characters who have flaws and blind spots and screw things up. I like stories where people make mistakes but through that learn and grow. I love redemption and second chances and that’s what I usually grant my characters, although I may put them through a lot before they get there.
In my review I mentioned wanting to see more from this cast of characters. Specifically, I would love to know more about Aiden’s motivations and see him find his match. Any chance of this happening?
Yes! I also wanted to know why Aidan was the way he was in Serpentine Walls and I’ve finished and submitted the second novel in the Serpentine Series featuring him. It’s not a sequel, per se, but tells the tale of Aidan’s life from childhood on, including the events of Serpentine Walls, and going forward another two years. I’m happy to report that Aidan does redeem himself and find true love, but it’s not an easy road. My Aidan book should be coming out in fall 2014.
What book do you keep by your bed or what book are you currently reading?
I’ve been reading some books by other Dreamspinner authors lately. I just finished Raining Men by Rick Reed, which was great, and I’m about to start Billy’s Bones by Jamie Fessenden. The book I keep near me to re-read is Possession by A.S. Byatt. It’s one of the most amazing and satisfying novels I’ve ever read.
What one story made you lose sleep as a kid?
You’ll think I was a creepy (and advanced) kid. I read In Cold Blood when I was around ten. It freaked me out for years!
If you could be any Disney character who would you be, and why?
I love Giselle in Enchanted. She believes in romance and happy endings.
If there world were going to end tomorrow, how would you spend your last night on earth?
Probably snuggled up with my husband and son eating some great food, drinking some great wine, and talking. I’d probably be calling my extended family, too, to tell them I love them.
If you could have a conversation with any famous author, who would you want to get writing tips from and what skill of theirs would you like to emulate?
If dead authors count, I’d want to talk to Jane Austen to see how she was able to write stories about human nature that were hilarious and still ring true hundreds of years later. For a living author, I’d love to talk to Wally Lamb about his writing process, how he structures his novels, and how he’s able to write from so many diverse points of view.
What is next, what are you working on?
I’ll be having a magical realism short story published by Dreamspinner in September, and the Aidan novel in October or November. I’m working on the third novel in the Serpentine Series which will feature Jed from Serpentine Walls. I also have a YA novel idea that I want to get going on.
Where can readers find more about you on the web?
For the month of March, Serpentine Walls and other great Dreamspinner Press college titles are available for 20% off at ARe through Dreamspinner’s Spring Break Special
CJane Elliot has kindly offered one lucky commenter their own ecopy of Serpentine Walls
Contest ends 13 March 2014 at 11:59pm CST
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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