Ellen Bard - Romance and Magic, Family and Loyalty
British-born psychologist Ellen Bard is the author of the paranormal romance series The Energetics, and also writes non-fiction under Ellen M Bard. She loves travel, coffee, adventures, productivity hacks, personal growth and romance novels - not necessarily in that order. She lives with her Fox in Thailand where she (almost!) never has to feel the cold. As our Author of the Day, Ellen tells us all about her book, Blaize and the Maven.
Please give us a short introduction to what Blaize and the Maven is about.
Blaize is a powerful but inexperienced energetic. Having just passed her first Chakra Trial, Manipura, fire, she is sent to Canada to an expert Maven to be trained in her second energy: Ajna, or the mind.
Her Maven is the mysterious and reluctant Cuinn, who has problems of his own.
When he discovers that Blaize is part of the prophecy, he knows her training needs accelerating - but he's not prepared for the heat she brings to his normally calm and ordered world.
And Blaize loves a fire...
But both Cuinn and Blaize have secrets of their own, secrets that could destroy their partnership before it's begun - a partnership that has far greater importance than they realize.
Read the book to find out if they’ll trust each other before it's too late!
What inspired you to write about someone who gets caught up in someone else's prophecy?
I’ve been doing yoga for about 15 years, and while I was attending a yoga school on a Thai island I was inspired to use the Chakras, which are a core part of yoga philosophy, as the basis for a magic system and world building. I wanted Blaize to discover the world of Ajna, which includes mind control and dream walking along with the reader.
Blaize and the Maven is the first book in a series. Did you plan from the start to make this into a series? How do the other books in the series tie in with this one?
I always planned a series, yes, of six books - each book has a different hero and heroine (so six couples), and we meet them along the way - book 2, for example, centres on Tierra and Fintan, both friends of Blaize and Cuinn from book 1, and people we’ve met already. I love the idea of a series based on friends and family, and each couple is part of the bigger prophecy - there’s a reason for each person’s involvement. I planned out the characters right from the start, and the series arc and reasons behind the prophecy, as well as the ‘big bad’ are also all sketched out.
According to your bio you are a psychologist and a nomad. How has this influenced your writing?
I am! I think being a psychologist helps with understanding people, and character development. I know a lot about my characters’ personalities and motivations, I use personality questionnaires to dive deep into their personality traits, and I’ve linked these to the chakras. So different chakras also influence different personalities. It’s a lot of fun.
In terms of being a nomad - I live in Bangkok, and travel a great deal, although I’m British originally - this has contributed to the settings in the books. America, Canada, Egypt and Thailand all feature so far, and they’re all places I’ve lived or spent time. I think it gives a richness to the setting as local details I spotted while travelling appear.
What makes Cuinn and Blaize such a great team?
While they have some things in common (they are both Ajna energetics) they also have some core differences (Blaize is Manipura, or fire, and Cuinn is Muladhara, or earth as their auxiliary chakras), and they provide some balance to each other and also challenge each other to get out of their comfort zone.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I’m a freelance management consultant who has worked in 20+ countries with clients from 40+ countries, so I love exploring different cultures and travel. I do yoga, acro yoga (a type of partnered yoga), Krav Maga, and read over 100 books a year. I also write non-fiction, and have a book on self-care which is being published in 11 languages http://ellenbard.com/this-is-for-you/
The plot contains a couple of twists. Did you plan them all out before you started writing?
I plot out all my books, but sometimes as I write fun things come to me and if I can, I’m happy to explore them as I write, whilst knowing where I want to go overall. The characters show me more of themselves as I write, and so it’s lovely to discover them and their quirks as I write deeper into the book.
When did you decide to become a writer?
I’ve always had an interest in writing, but only really since I left my full-time job in the UK 6 years ago to travel, and ended up living in Thailand, did I start exploring it in a more structured way. I wrote a non-fiction blog for a while (that led to my self-care book), and then explored fiction, wrote some books that will never see the light of day (!) and then dove into The Energetics. I love writing, and the discovery of different worlds, and I love the idea of bringing entertainment and fun to people.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
The flexibility and ability to work from anywhere, at any time. The creativity, the discovery, and I love language and using words.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
I’m pretty flexible in how I write, and it varies. I freelance management consulting, so sometimes I’m in a different country (last week I was in Malaysia, the week before, Dubai), and might write a bit in the evening or before work. When I’m at home, I write in the office I share with my partner, which is nice as we can reward each other for a section well done with cuddles! I also write in coffee shops sometimes as I find the atmosphere motivating. Plus, I love coffee.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on book four at the moment, Cara and the Hacker. This book starts to dive deeper into the lore of Atlantis (which is where the energetics originally came from), and I’m loving the mythical aspects.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
I’ve just started a paranormal romance facebook group where you can come talk about any kind of PNR (come and be one of the founder members!): https://www.facebook.com/groups/paranormalromancebooks/
Then you can find out more about each book in the series here on my website: http://ellenbardauthor.com/book-series/the-energetics-series/
All books are available wide on all platforms.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/EllenBardRomance/
Currently, Blaize and the maven is on 99c special (down from $2.99) until 22nd Sept.
I also just launched the collection of the first three books (there is a video trailer here http://ellenbardauthor.com/book-trailer-the-energetics-collection-books-1-3/ ) which is also on special at $3.99 (down from $7.99)