13 Dec 2015

Interview with author Elly Arden

Hi Elly! When did you first start writing? And when were you first published?I started writing as a child. I always kept a diary or journal. I had a pen pal. I wrote persuasive essays and slipped them to my mother whenever I wanted something so badly verbal requests didn’t seem to get the job done. And then one day, I became a mother, and that gave me all kinds of things to write about, so I ended up freelance writing non-fiction parenting articles. That parlayed into a career, where I was once a senior editor for Pregnancy Magazine, and then I ended up an editor for the Walt Disney Company. All non-fiction. But with every new romance novel I read, I dreamed of writing fiction. Fortunately, that dream became a reality in March 2013 with the publication of my first romance novel, Save My Soul.

What is it about 'chick lit' / 'romance' that appeals to you the most? Do you read other genres?
I must have a happy ending. That’s first and foremost. I also like the emotions involved with attraction and falling in love. It’s a special sort of rush, and the most talented writers can literally take my breath away with their ability to allow me to feel vicariously through their characters. That being said, I do read non-fiction, especially historical (royal) non-fiction, and any other fiction that catches my eye. Never horror or suspense, though. I’m very funny about protecting my headspace.

Can you tell us a little about your latest release?

Keeping Score is the final book in my groundbreaking Cleveland Clash women’s football series. Not only does the series focus on elite women athletes (and the men who love them), but it’s also multicultural, featuring an African-American heroine (and hero), a Caucasian heroine, and a Korean-American heroine. That’s Jade. She rules this last book, which stands alone and can be read without reading the first two. (Of course, I’d love for you to read them all!) In Keeping Score, Jade is out to prove she can make her own decisions without repeating her mother’s mistakes, especially when it comes to men. But when she meets sports radio shock jock Rome Rizzelli, everything—from her job to her social life—starts to unravel. It’s a fun battle of the sexes with a strong message of gender equality mixed in with happily ever after.

What inspired you to write it?
I’ve been a fan of sports radio for many years, and it has always struck me as odd and sad that women are so underrepresented on the local airwaves. Television has embraced female sports reporters, so why not radio? That’s exactly the question that led me to write Keeping Score.

If it was made into a film, who would you cast as the main characters?I’d like to see Arden Cho as Jade and Bradley Cooper as Rome.

What is your favourite book that made it to the big screen?
Pride and Prejudice. I will see any movie adaption of that book. It’s timeless and inspirational.

What was the last book you read and would you recommend it?
I just finished The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand. I would definitely recommend it. A fun, light, excellent read!

Where do you currently write? And where would be your dream writing location?
I’m a transient writer. After having an office separate from the living spaces in my house, I realized I don’t like being cut off like that. I spent more time at the dining table writing than I did in that office. Now, I have a writing nook in the corner of my formal living room. I have a big window, a pretty little desk, two gorgeous book shelves, and a chandelier hanging over my head. It’s not a bad set up—and I still have my office-office when all the kids are home (and loud). As far as my dream writing location goes, I live in an almost 100-year-old house with an unfinished attic. I think of finishing that off from time to time, but then I’d be cut off again. So, I always go back to transforming my quaint, single-car garage into a writing studio. We’ll see. I need to top a few bestseller lists before I can justify that.

Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I have psoriatic arthritis and wish I was wearing it and handling it as well as pro golfer Phil Mickelson.

Tell us an interesting fact about where you live.
Pittsburgh has a thriving movie business. Every year, several major motion pictures are filmed here, and that brings in Hollywood A-listers on a regular basis.

What inspires you as an author?
Music inspires me. A good book inspires me—not to copy it, but to create a similar reading experience for my readers.

Do you have a muse?
I don’t have a muse. Writing is habitual for me. When it falls out of habit, nothing but time and consistency will get my groove back.

Who would play you in the movie about your life?
Geez. That’s a hard one. Maybe Catherine Zeta Jones. Maybe Rachel Bilson. Honestly, I would stay out of that casting decision.

What are your (writing) plans for the future?
I’m working on a brand new baseball series, which will release in 2016. The first book is called The Change Up.

Tell us one thing that's on your bucket list.
I want to see a great white shark from the safety of a boat—better yet, from the safety of a pier or land.

What do you listen to whilst writing?
I’m a big fan of Apple Music, so I usually find an editor curated playlist and roll with that until I get bored. As I find songs that are particularly fitting for the manuscript I’m working on, I add those to their own playlist, and before long, I have a collection of songs that truly inspires my current project.

Name one of your all time favourite songs.
Sister Golden Hair by America

Elley Arden is a born and bred Pennsylvanian who has lived as far west as Utah and as far north as Wisconsin. She drinks wine like it’s water (a slight exaggeration), prefers a night at the ballpark to a night on the town, and believes almond English toffee is the key to happiness. Elley writes books with charming characters, emotional stories, and sexy romance. For a complete list of Elley’s books, visit her website.

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