Let's start with you telling us a little bit about yourself, Elizabeth.
I’ve been writing for more than half my life. I love characters and when I see them in certain circumstances I’m always so curious about what happens next. How do they react? What do they do to get themselves out of (or into!) various situations. I have an insatiable curiosity and I just love knowing what happens next.
I also love to travel and visit new countries, taste new foods. I spend far too much time plotting my next getaway when I should be working. Daydreaming might be part of the conditions for writing – but that doesn’t always get the books written. I’m as guilty as the next person for procrastinating sometimes!
What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
Hmm, I’m not really sure anything would surprise people to be honest! I’m a sucker for changing into my pyjamas the moment I get home for the day. And I never really feel like I’ve started a day until I’ve had my first cup of hot tea. Not sure either of those are earth-shattering, but they’re not usually the first things I tell people either.
When did you start writing, is it something you've always been interested in, or did it develop later in life?
I’ve always written to some degree. I was quite forcefully told in high school that my talents lay in other directions (I’m too wordy – apparently!) and while that certainly dampened my youthful enthusiasm, various characters and situations still continued to bombard me. I finally got over the hurt of those comments and have never looked back since.
Has it been everything you thought it would be or not?
Oh in so many ways it has exceeded every expectation! I have made many, many life-long friends. I always thought/perceived writing as being so solitary. And yes, you do the actual writing alone much of the time. But there are a million people – many truly wonderful friends – who help at every step. I’d be a mess without my crit partners. Every time I stray too far from the path I have some lovely ladies haul my wayward mind back on track. There are editors (worth their weight in gold – despite the hassle sometimes!) and a million people all as invested in my characters and story just as much as me. From cover artists to FLEs to PR, there are many people who work every bit as hard as me.
And the readers, I LIVE for readers emails and thoughts, opinions and nothing can brighten my day as quickly or as radiantly as hearing from someone who has enjoyed my story and characters. Even the hardest of days can be instantly brightened by that. So yes, being a writer has been much, much more than I ever dreamed possible.
How did it feel when you realized that your very first book was going to be published?
Utterly terrified and thrilled at the same time. I was convinced for ages that it would be a one-shot wonder. Or that I’d get this email a week later saying effectively “so sorry, big mistake, you’re not actually going to be published, terribly sorry”.... Even weeks after it had been published I was convinced someone could somehow take it away from me. I know that sounds crazy, but I was convinced there’s been some huge mistake and someone would realise they’d mixed up a name or some small thing could come to light and they’d take it all back.
What's your favorite part of writing a book?
Oh that’s hard! The first thing that comes to mind is that moment when the characters click into place. It’s usually near the start somewhere and they go from being wispy figments of my imagination and “click” into life. Some gesture or action, or some scene – something makes them really snap into focus and they go from being largely in my head to being strong and vibrant. When that happens I know 1) that I’m on the right track and 2) the book will become a reality. And that is a lovely feeling!
Of course, I also am usually really happy to finish the story too. There are plenty of ups and downs in a story, hard parts and easy. So having it finished and knowing I’ve done my best, being able to mentally write “The End” is always a huge relief at having done it all and worked my best.
Do you get time to read for pleasure? If so, which books do you enjoy?
I read a crazy amount when I am able. I mostly enjoy romance and mystery with a bit of thriller thrown in for good measure. I am addicted to Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child’s Pendergast series and have been for many years. I have also recently found the Victor series by Tom Wood and have eagerly read them all. I’ve been reading Jayne Ann Krentz since my teenage years as well and had quite the awkward moment at my baby brother’s engagement party. I was half way through reading a fantastic scene in the middle of his party and I snuck away into a spare room to finish it and was “caught” by a friend of his. My brother (and now-sister-in-law) know me well enough to have thought it hilarious, but I was quite mortified at the time!
Are there any other genres you'd be interested in writing?
I’ve been really lucky and to date have been able to write any genre I’ve held an interest in. A part of me really wishes I could write an anti-hero style of novel, but the right anti-hero hasn’t quite come along yet. Still, I live in eternal hope.
Please tell us a little about your most recent release.
Melbourne Heat is a story very close to my heart. I love summer and love Australia and I feel this book really brings out the best in both worlds. A few of the scenes are drawn directly from my own memories (and how I imagined certain scenes in my life might have gone) and so this book is very, very special to me. Spencer and Charles are excellent characters and I was sucked into their chemistry. I really hope other readers love them as much as I do.
What can we look forward to in the future from you?
Anything is possible! A part of me would love to revisit Melbourne and the world I’ve created there, but there are so many new books just begging to be written. I’d love another book or two set in my Agency world, as well.
Anything you want to say to your readers?
Thank you so much for all your belief in me. I love hearing from readers, and I’m grateful for each one of you. <3
Elizabeth Lapthorne's most recent release:
In the steamy Melbourne summer nights, two men meet by chance in the Botanical Gardens.
Spencer, against his better judgment, agrees to meet a new client in the Botanical Gardens. While waiting, he bumps into Charles, who is out paintballing with some mates. Spencer agrees to have a quick bite to eat with Charles, not knowing the sequence of events that will unfold from such a simple action.
Charles is a shifter with plenty of secrets and Spencer has unwittingly brought someone else into the mix—another shifter, eager to stake his claim. Even after such a short time, Charles can’t imagine giving Spencer up. He’s willing to fight for what’s his. Spencer has also found himself falling in love with Charles, despite the secrets that surround him. Passion and danger collide and soon both men will have decisions to make. Ones with serious consequences.
Excerpt from Melbourne Heat
It was Charles’ favorite hour of the evening. The sun had just set, but Melbourne’s summer heat still shimmered on the air. The sky was a delicious royal blue that was slowly bleeding toward navy. The first few stars had come out twinkling. All up, it was the perfect night for a game of paintball.
Charles and a few mates had met earlier, just as the sun had begun to sink into the horizon. They’d agreed on which sections of the Royal Botanical Gardens were fair game and which ones were out of bounds. Scheduling a rendezvous at a particular gazebo near the pedestrian exit in three hours, they’d all gone their separate ways.
The rules were well known to them all and simple. Stay in the chosen area and don’t use their shifter talents except sight and smell. Whoever had the least shots at the end of the game was the winner. Lastly, the guy with the most hits bought dinner and drinks for them all.
Checking their watches were in synch, they’d each headed off. Ten minutes in and Charles had only shot a few balls and not been hit at all himself. Walking slowly on the grass next to the pavement, Charles enjoyed the scent of the fresh air, heavily tinged with the smell of leaves, freshly mown grass and fragrant jasmine. Twilight was falling. It wasn’t quite yet dark enough for him to get off the footpath, still light enough that the street lamps hadn’t automatically switched on, but the shadows were growing.
While the pedestrian track had wound between the trees and shrubs, the rolling, hilly lawns were the best chance of catching his friends unaware. But, until the light left, Charles knew his tall body created a shadow—which begged for his friends to catch him instead. Patience was the name of the game, he knew.
He paused at the base of a hill. There was a small stream with large stepping stones to cover it. The water was barely a trickle, and there were four pavers needed to cross it, mostly for the schoolchildren who flocked to the Gardens on field trips. Feeling whimsical, Charles jumped up onto the first rock and balanced on it. Not too slippery, there was barely enough water to cause concern should he fall. Charles sprang to the second stone and a rustling in the bushes snapped him to attention.
Raising his paintball gun, Charles instinctively leaped across the rest of the stream and landed in a crouch. He listened intently, his gaze sharp as he surveyed the bushes and trees in front of him. Caught in a bend at the base of the hill, the area was a perfect hiding spot, already in full darkness.
Charles twitched his finger, kept it hovering just above the trigger of his gun. He only had a set number of balls and he was loath to use them carelessly this early in the match. After the first sound there was nothing but silence, and the seconds dragged by with excruciating slowness.
When there was no further sound and no explosions of pain from being hit, Charles crept forward a step. Even with his extraordinary sight, Charles couldn’t see through the thick shrubbery. He sensed someone was hidden within. But if so, why weren’t his friends taking this opportunity to shoot him?
Perhaps it was a field mouse, a feral cat or a possum.
A twig snapped and Charles revised that thought. A stray animal would have frozen, then scurried away as fast as it could. That sound was from someone moving nervously. He would have thought his shifter mates could remain patient and not wriggle, but maybe they didn’t have a clear shot of him and were aiming for a better angle?
“Ashton? Hugo?” Charles called. He strained to catch even a glimpse of movement to indicate that he’d caught one of his friends by surprise. “Darren?”
Not a sound.
Feeling faintly ridiculous now, Charles growled in frustration. He raced toward the bushes and crashed through the leaves, ignoring the twigs that scraped at his face and neck. His eyes were already adjusted to the gathering darkness, so when he came through to the small nook he was astonished to find a young man cowering on the grass.
This wasn’t one of his mates.