Award-winning, contemporary romance author Lyz Kelley lives in a small community in Colorado with her husband and several four-legged family members. Her Elkridge Series consists of 6 stand-alone love stories, with a puzzle interwoven between them. Her latest book, Rescued, brings it all together, and was inspired by a real-life love story. As our Author of the Day, Kelley talks about what makes Thad and Karly such a great couple, chats about the book and reveals some secrets.
Please give us a short introduction to what Rescued is about?
My Elkridge Series is a puzzle. In book 1, BLINDED, Sheriff Sam is murdered. It will take piecing together clues from the 6-book stand-alone love stories to solve the crime. Figuring out who killed the sheriff will not be easy. There are lots of twists and turns and surprises in store. RESCUED the last novel in the series reveals who murdered the sheriff, more importantly, why. If readers like sensual romances, with deep emotional topics, threads of suspense, and a happy-ever-after then they will love each story in the Elkridge Series.
What inspired you to write a story about a couple who realize that they are in love too late?
Sometimes when young, a person doesn't always understand what they have. A small argument can lead to big decisions, that may have unintentional consequences. One of my high school friends had a misunderstanding with her boyfriend the week before prom that separated them for almost 20 years. Years later fate intervened. They met and fell in love again. Hearing bits and pieces of their story inspired a reconciliation story.
What makes Thad and Karly such a great couple.
Thad and Karly are twins, not in DNA terms, more in the way of who they are at their core. They match in their love of animals and nature. They are both introverts who like each other's company. Plus, both are somewhat isolated from their families. They are both searching to find their authentic life, and I'm sure they will help each other find their best selves.
Do you believe love has healing power? Why.
Yes and no. Feeling loved is incredible, but I believe being respected is more powerful. I'm fortunate that I have a loving and supportive husband. But, if I had to choose between having his love and having his respect--I would choose respect. It is freeing having a person in my life that respects who I am.
Tell us more about the book title - why Rescued?
The title becomes apparent in the book when Thad rescues Karly. In my mind, Karly and Thad save each other on multiple levels. They heal each other's past and find a way to move forward.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
Oh, dear. You want secrets. Here are some fun facts. In my teens, I was an athlete and an Olympic Committee representative for synchronized swimming. I retired from the sport when I turned nineteen. This early start of synchronizing my body and mind to work together formed the basis of my creative life. I love trying different things from hiking, knitting, painting, to traveling. I'm curious by nature and love to delve into things I know nothing about.
Animals play an important role in this book - are you an animal lover?
I discovered my connection with animals was unique. I've been in several situations where I've been able to touch and soothe an injured or wounded animal that other people can't get near to. One of my rescues is very shy. When I visited the shelter, he walked right up and said hello. He tolerates my husband and runs from everyone else. Having the ability to connect is a precious gift and one I respect.
Is there an underlying message you wish to relay about basic human nature through your characters?
All people, no matter how confident on the outside have hidden hurts. We're human. We feel. We experience trauma. When someone responds in a way that I find unpredictable, I wonder what past trauma caused them to react in such a negative way. It is these threads that shape our lives that I like to explore.
Do any of your characters take off on their own tangent and refuse to do what you had planned for them?
All the time, that is why I have many deleted scenes. I allow my characters to move in a natural direction. Often I find hidden surprises, and think, "oh, I didn't know that." After the book is on paper, I enable the editing to take care of the unnecessary tangents.
Do you have a favorite line from the book, and can you explain what that line means to you?
My favorite line comes from the book ABANDONED. "Silence had a sound, an attitude." I loved this line because it can have so many different interpretations. Silence shouldn't have a sound, but as humans, we are never alone. We live with our thoughts. The attitude part comes in when we hear the negative self-criticism. We berate ourselves. Our feet are too big. Our nose is too wide. Our hair is too curly. Our internal voices have an attitude that we sometimes can't control.
Do you ever have days when writing is a struggle?
All the time. When I was young, I was diagnosed with Dyslexia. I don't believe I have the condition, but my brain/hand function is challenged. I can see the story in my head, but I just can't get it down on the page. That is so incredibly frustrating. However, I've learned to push harder. My great grandmother, a retired school teacher, would be proud that her life lessons stuck and served me well over the years.
What are you working on right now?
I'm working on the Lonely Ridge books. These books are a spin off of the Elkridge Series. Each novel is set in the same town, with the same characters, but will not have the mystery thread included. Each new book will be a stand-alone love story. I’m hoping to have the first book in this new series out in time for Christmas, 2017.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
On my Facebook Page, I've started posting weekly video updates, and I've just revamped my newsletter. I'm providing more in-depth to my work, releasing deleted scenes, and adding a few surprises. Readers can contact me here:
Newsletter Sign Up: www.LyzKelley.com
Sign up for my newsletter, and you will get the prequel to the Elkridge series free. You can't purchase this book. It's a newsletter exclusive.