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Author and fellow podcaster Eliza Peake is this week’s guest! We tackle writing redemption stories, discuss how emotion needs to drive the sex scenes, and dig into using music as inspiration for those steamy bits.

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The Misfits Guide podcast

Grab your copy of Trouble Me, the first book in the Madison Ridge series, on Amazon

Transcript

Elle
Today’s guest is Eliza Peak, an international best selling author of sexy, heartfelt small town contemporary romance. She writes stories with smart, saucy heroines, charming swoon-worthy heroes who love their women in all the right ways, and happily ever afters with all the feels. She also co hosts the Misfits Guide to Writing Indie Romance podcast. In her downtime, she reads all the panty-melting romances she can get her hands on drinks gallons of coffee, and tries to wrangle her addiction to Mexican food. I feel you. She currently resides in North Georgia with her family and dreams of retiring to the beach someday where she will continue writing steamy romance stories to her heart’s content. Eliza, welcome to steam scenes.

Eliza
Thank you. I’m so glad to be here.

Elle
I am so psyched. I kind of feel like I know you. Like we’re friends even though like you’re like, ‘I don’t know who the hell you are, I’ve never met you before today,’ because I listen to your podcast. So I’m like, I’m like we’re buds. Yeah,

Eliza
Yeah absolutely.

Elle
So I guess you know, to start, I just would love to sort of like to give Misfits Guide a little plug. Can you tell everybody what it’s about? Because I enjoy listening to it.

Eliza
Yes we appreciate that. Well, I co host the Misfits Guide podcast with Adrian Bell. And so we just kind of got thrown together a couple of years ago, from a friend a kind of mutual friend from another podcast. So we hit it off. And we do this podcast on indie writing, and primarily romance is what we talk about. But you know, a lot of the information and stuff that we give can be applied to really any genre. So we just talk craft sometimes we have fun little bonus episodes. I think one we ranked our top favorite Chris’s from Hollywood like so Chris Pine, Chris Hemsworth, you know all the Chrises. Yeah, so we have some fun kind of episodes like that. We just do kind of a bunch of different things. mindset, business craft, you know, all that kind of stuff. So yeah. And it’s, we call ourselves the Misfits. because we don’t you know, we’re kind of real. Like, we’ll tell you when we’ve totally bombed on something as well as tell you when we’ve done really good on something. Not afraid to share the epic fails.

Elle
Which I love. What was the one I was listening to one on branding? And  I was dying, because I’m like I epically fail at branding. Cuz it’s like, I’m like, I’m just too all over the place. I was actually reading something about how to brand yourself on Instagram. And it was like, everything needs to when you go to your feed, or like, you know, that little thing you press where you see all your little squares. Everything needs to look the same. And I was like, I looked at mine, I was like, No, and I’m like, I don’t even know how to clean this shit up. So

Eliza
I know, I was the same way. I’m like, well, we’re just not in there. You know? Do well going forward. But…

Elle
My brand is called hot mess.

Eliza
Yes. See, you do have a brand.

Elle
I do have a brand. It’s hot mess.

Eliza
And if you listen, you know, I’m always about the silver lining. Right?

Elle
I am so branded. So Eliza, let’s jump in. I know we’re tight time, this time. So I’m going to just ask, When did you realize that you wanted to be a writer?

Eliza
Um, gosh, I guess I was probably in high school. It was just something that I seem to know how to do. Well, I always made really good grades on papers and my, you know, in when you’re in high school, and you do the literature and stuff, and they make you write poems and all this other stuff. And we actually had a poetry thing that we did in my high school was part of like, the newspaper and stuff. And so I always got, you know, I was always picked to put something in there. I wrote for the school newspaper, you know. And then I actually wrote I wrote a story, and I don’t think I ever finished it. But I wrote a story when I was in high school about me and my friends and you know, kind of in a lost Sweet Valley High sort of, yeah. I’ve always been a huge reader, you know, huge reader since I was a kid. I read Baby Sitters Club when I was younger. Then it was Sweet Valley High. I read some Christopher Pike, you know, and then as I got into high school, it was Jackie Collins and Sam Brown and Danielle Steel. You know, Harlequin stuff and my mom was a reader of romance. So you know, I would, you know, read all of that kind of stuff. So I was introduced to romance very early, probably earlier than was warranted. But anyway, I’ve been in love with romance, especially since I was probably High School, early High School. To write them, like, I just wanted to write those stories. Like I just fell in love stories.

Elle
Okay. So do you remember, like, the first romance book you ever read?

Eliza
Let’s see. I’m thinking, Oh, my gosh. Well, I mean, in a way, Sweet Valley High was sort of romance. So

Elle
Right? I was actually in my head going, could that qualify? Cuz it kind of was it was I mean, I guess it was sort of, like, you know, like, young adult. No, not really young adult. But,

Eliza
You know, it was sweet, obviously, you know,

So I guess I could say that those were probably the first ones that I read. And it’s funny, because these days series are huge, right? I have been a series reader forever. Like, I have always loved the series, always loved a trilogy. Give me more, you know, yeah. So I can always just, you know, especially if I love the characters, I just want them to see more and more and more. So, you know, that, that I fell in love with that? Because there are so many of their sweet Valley High books. Yeah, I

right? Yeah, absolutely. I love that for pretty much anything when I watch TV or books. You know, I just, I want to know when it’s over. Like what? You know, how did they all end up? Yeah, yeah,

Elle
yeah. Yeah. I think that’s kind of part of the reason why I love daytime soaps. They just never end. There’s no ending. They just never I mean, you know, unless the network is like, canceled. But, you know, for the most like General Hospital, I can turn that on, and I am transported back to when I was 12.

And that’s pretty great.

Eliza
Yeah, I was like, That is awesome. So I know exactly. You know, you knew exactly what happened to them. So somebody got closer. Yeah, you do you really got closure on that. And I just I loved that.

Elle
I like that Game of Thrones ending.

Eliza
I actually didn’t watch that. I’m like, the one person.

Elle
So what was it about the romance genre that drew you?

Eliza
Just, you know, I love love. I just love love. And the hope it brings and just you know and let’s be real I do love the sex I can’t. Sweet romance is awesome. You know if it’s well written, but I am a sex girl. I like to have the you know, I think it’s a progression. And I think it’s natural in a relationship. So I like it to be there. It’s like giving me everything about the relationship but I just, you know, I love the dance of the characters before they you know, they reached that point in the slow I love a slow burn. So that was the ones that I read that they were really like that, you know, kind of the push in the pool, and then the coming together and then having that, that hope that they’ve just happy. You know, so that’s, I guess, I guess the happily ever after is probably what I, you know what I like most about romance.

Elle
So for you for the sex scenes, because you do love them, you know what, like, what what is it that makes it like, makes like, the best sex scene for you, you’re just like, yeah, this scene is it?

Eliza
It’s gotta have emotion. I can’t…There’s only so many ways you can do it, right? Mechanically on a page, if it’s too mechanical, and too clinical, it gets boring. So you have to add that emotion in there. Because if you are connecting with somebody in that sort of way, which in a romance you are, be it on the level of lust or you’ve got some sort of emotion going on there. So to me the most important part of a sex scene is not just putting this, you know, in here but adding that emotion that you’re feeling. That’s why we like it because it feels good. That needs to be on the page.

Elle
I was talking to another author, it was interviewing another author. And one of the things that we were talking about was like the how many in a book, you know, you know, sex scenes, like, you know, we were talking about, like, our first books had like, overload. And that you know, so how do you find that sweet spot of sex scenes, because it’s something especially if you if you love them, I don’t know, for you? Are they easy to write,

Eliza
They have become easier to write, I don’t have so much of a problem writing them anymore. When I first started writing them, it was kind of like, one hand was typing, and one hand was ever my eyes, you know, you know, voyeurism here. I’m like, watching through a window, you know, but now I just, um, now, I think I think it just comes with, with the progression of you being comfortable in your writing skin. And, you know, learning craft and putting that emotion in there without making it, you know, seem over the top or, you know, anything like that, or an emotion that doesn’t belong, that kind of thing. I think it’s just the progression of when you write and learning. So it’s easier for me know.

Elle
Can there ever be too many sex scenes?

Eliza
I think that there can be an overload of sex scenes. But, you know, because then you kind of get on the whole gratuitous sort of sex thing. But I think there’s a time and place for those as well. I think my first one had three or four scenes. But they always my scene I like to since I like to add that emotion to them. I don’t you know, I always kind of sort of add them to where it feels like the story is progressing and where the story is going. And you know, sometimes that you know, depending on the couple, you know, I think it depends on your characters. You know if it’s and what they’re going through, so I don’t go,Okay, this book has four and this book has four and this book, you know, I don’t do that. It’s all dependent on the characters.

Elle
So since you had said, like, you know, it was very difficult at first, you know, eyes closed writing the sex scene, like, I guess kind of like what was going through your head when you’re writing your very first one.

Eliza
I kind of sorta like I said, I kind of sort of felt like, I was almost like looking in the window, you know, and so I shouldn’t be watching sort of thing. But I have to say that as I’ve gotten older, and as I’ve written more, and I’ve gotten more comfortable with the whole subject of sex itself, and writing it, and what it means and that kind of thing. I mean, I’m, you know, I’m not a, I’m from the south. I’ve lived all over, but you know,  I’ve never been, you know, like the whole Bible thumping sort of thing, Bible Belt, you hear about the south and stuff like that, but there is a sort of, you know, ingrained sort of thing that you’re, you’re taught, you know, right, or, you know, we’re used to be Anyway, when I was younger, so, I was always kind of fascinated, but yet shied away at the same time. So but as I’ve gotten older, it’s kind of like, you know, we’re all here because of sex. So what’s the big deal? You know, like, why do we make such a big deal out of it? That’s kind of where I am these days.

Elle
Right. Right. If you are of a certain age, you were always taught to keep your legs closed if you’re a girl. Yeah, and like, I like that, you know, we talk about like, taboo romances, like any sex was taboo, when we were when I was growing up.

Eliza
Agreed. Yeah. Agreed.

Elle
Like, you just didn’t have sex until you were married. Right, you know, and that was and that it was to procreate. So yeah, it’s definitely like, I do think like, I bring that to when I write like that weird sort of like, even though it’s been aged, you know, I don’t feel that way. It’s still, that still carries through, you know, that thread carries through.

Eliza
It does. Yeah, it definitely does. And like I said, I don’t feel that way. And you know, the whole, like I said, I’ve never been a big subscriber to that, so to speak, but it is, you know, always kind of in the back of your mind sort. Because that’s just where we were when we were growing. Yeah. But I’m not like that now.

Elle
So do you have a process for writing your steamy scenes? Do sort of like when you go for it, like, there’s like, like, one writer, I thought this was brilliant. She picks sense for her characters. And so when she’d have to write this, you know, steamy scene, she’d pick up the bar of soap or whatever scent, it was for that character, and just sort of, like, use that to kind of get into it. Do you have any? Do you do anything like that?

Eliza
I, I, I’m big into music when I write. So what I like to do is to find a song that just kind of sets the mood, and listen to that song on repeat while I write it. Like, in my first book, one of the scenes that I wrote, it made me think of the scene, the way that I had written it, when I went back and read it, or I was editing and so I had to kind of, you know, add and stuff to it. But when I was had gone back and read it. And I was like, Oh, this reminds me of that one little scene in Dirty Dancing, when she’s walking around him. And so I put on that song that they used in the movie, and that’s how I wrote the rest of that scene.

Elle
Wow,

Eliza
Yeah, to that song? So and then it just, that’s, you know, when I hear songs that make me think of sensuality, and that kind of thing, if I just let you know, hear it on the radio, or on my playlist, or whatever, I will, you know, kind of, like tag it and go, Okay, this might be a good one to use. And then I just listened to it on repeat when I’m writing the song, because I’m actually kind of a visual writer, so to speak, I feel like it’s a movie playing in my head, and then I’m translating it to paper. So so that’s how I kind of think of it.

Elle
So for each does each scene have a different song? Or is it like one set of characters, they’ve got one song?

Eliza
You know, it depends. My first couple of books, I had, like a playlist, like I just had a playlist that I would listen to in different scenes, had different songs, you know, that kind of fit that scene. And then other songs were just kind of things that made me think of their story as a whole that I write. But I actually just wrote this short story. I had one song that I played while I wrote it. And it was just very fitting for the story. So it was, it was the only song that I had that I played when I was writing it. So it just depends. But most of the time though, for my longer novels at all, I will have a playlist because different scenes just made me think of different music. So I will, you know, if I hear a song, I’m like, oh, that would be good for so and so. And I add it to my playlist and then it will just shuffle through as I write. So, I just wrote a short story that I had one song that was extremely fitting to the short story. So I mean, for the whole way through that song fixing everything. Because it was just very fitting to their situation. So and it was only 8000 words. So but I just played it on repeat the whole entire time I wrote it so cool.

Elle
What song was it?

Eliza
Someone to Fix by Kenny Chesney?

Elle
Okay, cool. Yeah, I like it. I’m just curious.

Unknown Speaker
You know, yeah, I’m always looking for songs that will, you know, that will make me think of the scenes. And sometimes I’m listening to the radio going down the road. And now, it’ll like make a scene pop in my head for my characters at that time. So it’s just the feeling, you know, I’m very big on like, the whole like, vibe of it. So,

Elle
Does your inspiration come from music? Would you say? Or is it? Is it more than that? Or are different things or….

Eliza
It’s different things. I do, I do have a lot of inspiration from music, because I like I love the music itself. But I also love the lyrics. And you know, a lot of times they’re telling a little mini flash, you know, short story in those lyrics. So when they give me a certain feeling, it will make me think of certain things. And that’s the inspiration for me. Just going through, you know, life itself, I had some inspiration on a story I’ve yet to write because it’s it will be a little bit complicated. But I was on a flight from New York to Atlanta a couple of years ago, and the pilot was a female, which you don’t see a whole lot of in commercial flying. And it made me think of a story of a female, you know, a female pilot, who, you know, kind of falling from grace sort of thing. And it’s a story that I do want to write one day with, you know, the female pilots sort of thing. haven’t yet but so just certain things like that make me you know, give me inspiration for stories.

Elle
I love that it can sort of strike from anywhere I know. For me, place is a big one. If I see something or if I see you know, abandoned buildings do it for me sometimes.

Eliza
I have had it I have had a story strike me on an abandoned building. I get it I totally get it.

Elle
Like that’s not creepy. Not at all. No. Okay, so I want to talk about your Madison Ridge series. So you write small town romances, what do you love about them?

Eliza
You know, small towns are a double edged sword. You know, small towns can come together when in your time of need. But you know, and again, like I said, I’m from the south. So small towns kind of remind me of, you know, the perception of a southern belle. You No, we can really be there when you need us. But if you do us wrong, you know, we’ll bless your heart. Um, you know, but that’s what I do love that, though about the small towns because the way you know, my characters are definitely not perfect. You know, my first character in Book One is a recovering alcoholic. And my second book is, you know, the guy comes back home after, you know, leaving his love, you know, behind after 10 years and going off to Hollywood. So, you know, they’ve kind of fallen from grace sort of thing. And, you know, the small town will be proud, but they can, you know, they’ll also make you work for, you know, getting back their trust, and they’re grace. But I, the thing I love best about it, though, is that it’s just a little community. And it’s all like a little family, even if they’re not blood related. And that’s how I what I like most about small towns, they drive you nuts, but you love them anyway.

Elle
Well I’m glad you touched upon the first book, and the main character being a recovering alcoholic. Um, was that tricky to write just in terms of the subject matter that you’re tackling? Because that’s pretty weighty stuff. And I know I’m sort of going there and one of my books and I’m, I’m a bit nail bite-y about it.

Eliza
It was I had to, you know, I didn’t want you know, the fact that she is a recovering alcoholic is a big part of the story, because she does end up having to take a job to save her family estate and the only job in this little town that can give her any kind of, you know, real money is in a winery.

Elle
Yeah. Oof.

Eliza
Yeah. So it’s, but at the same time, the story was more about her redemption. And her coming out of that. And it’s not easy. You know, she does have a moment in the book where she’s tested. I mean, she’s, she’s tested a lot, but she’s super tested. And it was more about, you know, I like to think it was more about her second chance and her redemption and her coming back and showing her family that she’s done wrong. That, you know, she’s making her amends, and she is working those steps. So she’s been tested along the whole way. But she was in one particular situation, she was super tested. And so it was more about how she got past that and how she is making her amends to her family and the town and anybody that she did wrong. And, you know, meeting that step. So, um, you know, I tried not to sit too much on that and going down that dark hole. I mean, she’s been there, you know, she’s hit the rock bottom, and she’s come out. So but she’s, she’s still, you know, she’s still pretty new. She’s only two years sober. Which in you know, sobriety years is pretty fresh. So, you know, she, and she’s in situations she hasn’t been in yet. And her, you know, her new life, her sober. So, I kind of I tried to take it from that kind of angle. You know, in the book, she did go to a meeting, but I only did that one time, you know, it’s something that I, you know, wanted to over and over hit upon. And it was more that she goes there and she comes across someone that she recognizes. And she sees God often. So it’s that kind of thing. And I just tried to bring it more of the redemption part of it. Right and focusing so much on you know, all the bad she did wrong because the family knows, you know, right and it’s kind of left unsaid that she kind of you know, she screwed some people over. And that’s why she is where she is. So it was from here out.

Elle
So this because this is a relatively new series. I’m curious, do you do have an idea Do you have a series arc planned out? Or are you just kind of like where the books take you

Eliza
So, I know that there will be at least seven books in this. So Emma is, in Book One, she’s the main character in book one. And she is the cousin to a, they’re all kind of they’re like the founding family of the town. So they have a deep history in the town, there’s a whole lot of a whole bunch of them are related. So she’s a cousin to a family of six siblings. So the first seven is hers. And then the next six are the siblings. But I kind of lumped her with them because she grew up with them like, right, her family life, she was an only child. And because of her family life she comes from, she comes from a line of addiction. So he had a tumultuous sort of childhood. So she was very close to the six siblings who had a very idyllic childhood. And so she pretty much was raised with them. So she’s a cousin, technically, but she’s, you know, like a sibling to them. So the next six books are the siblings. Book Two is the second oldest in the family, his name is Delaney. And he is, you know, one of the sons of that family. And the next book, the one that I’m working on, coming first of the year will be her name is Amelia. And you see, you know, you see these characters, I’ve introduced all of them so far.

Elle
So Book Three is coming at the beginning of the year.

Eliza
It will be probably first quarter of the year.

Elle
Excellent. That’s good news.

Eliza
Yes.

Elle

I love that. I wasn’t sure because I know that book, too, was recently released at the start of the pandemic. How was that?

Eliza
Um, you know, I found ads this summer, so I’ve actually did some rebranding with my covers. And so it’s been much better, but it was, um, I had a slow kind of spring and summer. But it did, uh, it did. Once  I did find the ads and do some rebranding, and some rethinking about, you know, a few things. It’s actually done a whole, it’s, it’s done better, much better, you know, this, I love this business, but it’s hard to get for the discoverability thing. And you just, I just, I just continue to write and put them out. Because, you know, I do have people that are, you know, that are on my, my email list, and they get in my group, and they’re asking when the next one is, and I’m like, it’s coming, as soon as I can. But that keeps me going. So I am And plus, I just I have I do have storylines for each of the characters so far of the first seven. So, you know, it’s really more about lack of time, and anything else?

Elle
I mean, you’re, you sound like your real plotter, here, like you like cuz I am kind of in awe that you are like, yeah, it’s probably going to be seven books that I have, I have, you know, I have plans for every, you know, all the all seven of them. And I’m in awe, because I’m just like, I write series and I’m like, woo, she’d be a fun character to give her own book, too. I’ll do that next.

Eliza
Yeah, I try. When I first started writing, I want I knew I wanted to do a series on everything. But I, I had all these books that were never finished. And I realized that I was, you know, writing to my writing myself into corners, and then I get bored, and then I wouldn’t finish. So I’d move on to something else. And so I read Romancing the Beats. And that kind of changed it for me. And I use that and then I use I have a sort of piecemeal of processes that I use, but it works for me. SoI do plot, I do outline. But what I do in that outline, like inside that outline, I don’t know, you know, like when I, when I’m drafting, I’m following that outline is kind of a map so to speak. But what happens inside that, you know, this particular section, you know, is up for grabs. So, I’m a little bit of both, but I do like to have my outline plus, because I write, I try to write every day, but because I write on the edges of the day at the beginning and the end of the day because the day job. I need to know where I left off. So an outline is good for me. And it’s not set in stone when I write it. When I write this outline I if I have if I come up with a better idea than I then I will work it in there. But I don’t change the overall structure of it, you know, it has to work within the structure. But sometimes I just get better ideas for a scene than what I had originally thought. And just kind of go from there.

Elle
Yeah, that better idea thing is really funny, because I find that, you know, I try to outline I do my best. And then all of a sudden, I’ll just kind of like go off someplace else. And I’ll be like, whoa, that works way better. And, and so all of a sudden, it’s like, the outline is just like tossed aside. But for me that discovery is really key for me to finding my characters. And I’m trying to learn to embrace it, because I feel like, well, if you had more control, with a better outline, you would write faster, but I don’t know if I would.

Eliza
Yeah, I don’t know, either. I mean, I don’t really write any faster, just by having the outline because I do the same thing. Like, you know, I do go back to my outline, if I have an idea that works better, I will go back to my outline, and just kind of change it. Because if it’s something depending on what it is, that works better, it could, you know, mess with the rest of the, you know, the domino effect. So I do go back to my outline and see where all this change is going to affect so that it doesn’t, you know, change the inherent structure of the story. And I still hit all of my beats, and I stay on pace. And that’s another thing is that if I didn’t have that I would be off pace, and I wouldn’t hit on you know, so it’s kind of almost sort of like a little checklist for me, to make sure. And I know that sounds very uncreative, but my analytical side coming. But I just, you know, I don’t want to disappoint, I want to make sure that I’m hitting all the beats that my readers are expecting, and that I’m not lagging in places or going too fast. And, you know, so my outline stuff that I use, you know, it just keeps me on track that, you know, I remember what the goals are, remember what their wound is, and, you know, all that kind of, because otherwise, I’ll just get deep in the minutiae of writing and forget all of it, you know. I like to have that, you know, that tangible thing to go back to and remind myself what I’m doing. That’s primarily what I use it for.

Elle
No, I just go off and then I’m, and then I, and then I’m like the end and I’m like, What the hell just happened.

Eliza
Right! I don’t even know.

Elle
Like, Oh, my God, like, I’m gonna have to rewrite half this book.

Eliza
Exactly. But I will tell you, revision is my favorite part. I actually, I actually don’t enjoy drafting. I would rather you know, I think of it as kind of like a person who makes clay, you know, that kind of thing. The gathering of the clay, it just, I hate the gathering of the clay. It’s molding it and making it pretty and shiny that I enjoy. So I enjoy revision actually.

Elle
I enjoy writing, I mostly enjoy revision. And mostly, if I could hand the book off when I was when I’m done with that, and not go through, like, the copy edits and the proofing, I’d be so happy.

Eliza
Yeah. Now the copyright of proofing. It’s, to me, it’s the story revision that almost like the developmental part of the revision is, that’s what I enjoy, you know, making this sentence sound better, you know, taking out this I’m telling and put in showing, you know, because sometimes when I’m drafting, I’ll just tell, and, you know, make a note to come back and, you know, make it show not tell, so, you know, that kind of thing, you know, put it going through my little notes that I do along the way, because I found that that’s how I have to do it or otherwise, it’s a big rabbit hole and I never get done.

Elle
Well, because you do these little notes, you know, do you… Because this is one thing that sort of divided between the authors that I’ve talked to do you do the insert sex scene here note, because you’re like, I just can’t get into it.

Eliza
I have, but yeah, I have, but I try to write linear. I mean, I’m pretty, I’m a pretty linear writer, I may have certain scenes in my head happened at different times. And I’ll make a note, but I can’t write it out. Like it’s really more like a bullet point of what I’ve had popped into my head. And then I, you know, then I’ll go actually write the scene when the scene comes in the book. I just I’ve tried to do the scene here, scene here. And I just oh, no, you know, and my transitions feel clunky. So I just, I just have to pretty much do it linearly.

Elle
Well, I want to dig into your steamy scene. Okay. This is book two in the series, correct? Trouble Me.

Eliza
That’s one. Oh, book one.

Elle
Oh, I’m sorry. We are in Book One, what is Book Two?

Eliza
Remind Me.

Elle
I’m sorry for some reason. I was like in my head. This was book one, but book two, but we are in book one. Yes. Which is great. Okay. So can you set up the scene for us? Where are we?

Eliza
Okay, which scene did I send? Find it and I was like, Oh my god, I cannot find what scene I said,

Elle
Um, let me see, I can’t tell if they’re, um, if this is the first time, but he says, “you trouble me to no end. It’s all I can do to keep my hands off.”

Eliza
Okay, that is their first time, okay. So it takes place in a kitchen. Um, but the setup is at this point, it’s, it’s been a slow burn, they’ve been dancing around each other, they work together. He is the owner of the winery. And he’s hired her to run it and they’re remodeling it he will be leaving when it’s over. You know, so he’s her boss, but not, you know, temporarily there. And so, you know, she’s trying to learn to take care of herself and all this and her car breaks down, he takes care of it. He’s a billionaire. You know, he’s got money. He’s, uh, you know, he takes care of it for her and she gets pissed off about it. And, you know, she comes at him at his house. And just, you know, it’s just a blow up at that point.

Gotcha.

Elle
They can’t stand it anymore.

So since this is a slow burn, at what point about does this happen at in the story?

Eliza
It is probably right around. Right around halfway.

Elle
Around halfway. Okay, cool. Yeah. Cuz I’m always sort of like, you know, I love a slow burn. But then I feel like are the readers getting impatient? Because the, you know, the couple hasn’t gotten together. You know what I mean? Like, it’s that weird, delicate balance that can be such a struggle, you know? So I’m always curious, like, okay, where does this land because it’s a slow burn.

Eliza
And I don’t have a particular spot like every single time I’m like, Oh, I’m at 50%. I don’t do it there. It really kind of wherever they leave me. But at the same time, it’s, you know, roughly, halfway.

Elle
So and then now we’re, we’re, we’re in this scene through his point of view. Um, so, which I loved so anyway, but we’ll get okay. So we’ll get into that. But just so that we know whose point of view we’re in as I begin to read this, okay. Her eyes held his while she tugged at the buttons of his shirt. Desperate to be skin on skin with her. He lifted a hand and reached behind his neck pulling the shirt over his head in a single motion. Her hands work the button and fly of his jeans having gone Commando. When her hand slid inside his jeans. It closed around his hot erection, causing his vision to blur. Fuck, he muttered as she stroked his hard length. He had enough wits about him to remember the condom in his wallet. Let me she whispered, taking the foil packet from his hand. With her teeth, she ripped up in the package with deft fingers, she rolled it over his aching caulk, making him recite baseball stats, just so he wouldn’t explode in her hand. In the next breath, he lifted her up on the counter and step between her thighs, his focus solely on getting inside her.

Okay, I love this. I love this. I loved this. Because I felt like you were in his head so well and so clearly. And I cannot write the male point of view for shit. And I’m trying in this book that I’m currently working on. And I’m just like, I just want to like throw my computer out the window. So how do you do this? This is really amazing to me.

Eliza
You know, I just love to get in the guy’s head. Because I’ve really I have a real soft spot for a guy who tries to resist a woman and gets to the point where he just breaks. You know, this big, you know, this strong man and he is, uh, but he just, you know, gets his knees taken out from under him. And I really like when a guy can you know, he fights it for a while but then he’s just like, fuck it, whatever. I’m just going for it. And you know, really kind of taps into that and isn’t afraid to do it anymore. You know, he just reaches his breaking point. And one thing I do try to I write in third person Limited, but I like to really get into that deep POV. So I tried to get into the head of, you know, what a gun what the guy would feel like and I’ll be honest, I have like, asked my husband questions. So what do you think about what does this make, you know. And one thing I learned a long time ago from one of my critique partners years ago was, you know, thinking like a guy, how to, you know, if he sees a woman in a hot dress, he doesn’t necessarily know that it’s, uh, you know, Vera Wang or whatever, and she’s wearing Jimmy Choo shoes, all he knows is that she’s fucking hot, you know? So it’s, it’s thinking, you know, kind of thinking more, I don’t want to say basic, but you know, thinking kind of, without all of that, that kind of ornamentation that women think in you know, because we would look at and go, Oh, she’s wearing such and such, you know, if you know, that kind of thing I don’t necessarily do but that if you know, your designers, you know, when she’s walking in, she’s wearing or she’s wearing a sheath dress, she’s wearing this where she’s got on stillettos. You know, certain things we just see that guys don’t. And that’s kind of how I sort of, you know, think about it when I was in his head. I it’s it’s hard for me to explain.

Elle
Well, it kind of goes like I it’s so funny because it was like this one section here i right after I have it highlighted because it which this is sort of like a great I think point where I can like go back into it and pull out again. Excuse me.

Eliza
Nice pun.

Elle
She wrapped her long legs around his waist pulling him close. He gripped her hips and she stared into his eyes as he guided his length into her heat. Twin moans filled the room when he filled her completely, and her eyelids fluttered briefly before opening again. His vision went hazy, but he didn’t move letting her body accommodate his size. Shane bared his teeth in an effort to hold back the ending before they really got started. She was soft and hot and better than any fantasy his brain could conjure up. See, this is what I thought was really great. His point of view, it was so specific. The Baseball stats, worried about coming too fast. Like those little details. I was like, I don’t know, it was like, it was like, I don’t know, the clouds parted the angel sang like, Oh, now I got it. It was I was like, this is really amazing. Because you’re right. A dude is not like, well, that’s Vera Wang. And are you sure those are Jimmy Choos and not? I don’t know, I can’t even think of the other designer. And I know there’s somebody else. You know, but it’s it is baseball stats, and oh my god, am I coming too fast. And oh, but you know, like, and I also loved that it was his vulnerabilities, we see so much of the heroine’s vulnerabilities, I think in romance, and I don’t think that we see a whole lot of the heroes

Eliza
Well, you know, they say that there are only so many, you know, storylines in the world. And everybody’s just doing their own take on a storyline. But what I kind of like to turn it on its head, like, for example, I kind of felt like in Trouble Me, a lot of times if you read about someone who has an addiction issue or alcohol, and it’s the man. So I was like, well, let’s make it the girl, you know, because women have that too. You know, so what would you know? Yes, it’s the woman but you know, we’re not all delicate flowers, you know, we do hard crap all the time. So it’s, you know, I wanted to make that and plus it would show, you know, her warrior type side that she has, you know, all of this that she works through. And on the flip side for a guy, you know, I like I said, I love a man who is strong and virile, and not afraid to be vulnerable when he falls for that woman. And it’s just to me it just makes it even more manly. So I do try to make the male characters in my book, you know, I like them to be strong and virile and all that kind of thing. But at the same time, you know, when they fall they fall hard and that’s what I love those kinds of stories with those guys.

Elle
Yeah, I think that I get sort of tripped up in like, you know, that sort of like he’s sweeping her off her feet, but I have to sort of force myself to remember that like, he’s still not perfect. So he might be a great lover, but he’s a great lover for her. He might not be a great lover for somebody else. And that’s, you know, and that’s okay. Like, I think that with romance there is, there’s, I think it’s easy to fall into a perfection rut, I guess. And our characters are imperfect. Yeah. And they need to be imperfect. If that makes sense?

Eliza
No, it absolutely does. And, you know, in, in Book Two, my male character, you know, he is keeping a secret that, you know, and that was a risk writing, actually, because some people like that some people don’t. But, you know, he kept it from her for a reason. And, you know, we don’t have to agree with what his reason was, but he did. And, you know, so he ends up being he has this inherent vulnerability because of the secret that he’s keeping. And, you know, I just, I like that, because I think we all are imperfect, and I think we all are vulnerable. And how we manifest that to others is different. And it should be different for you know, each character as well. So, I like to bring out, you know, I remember something else that I learned in a critique group is you want to do the strong, you want to do the weak, but you also have to do the vulnerable, because weak isn’t necessarily vulnerable. So it’s, you have to bring that part of it too.

Elle
I think you also you sort of brought this really fascinating point about, you know, the men or the men are always the ones that are the recovering alcoholics. It’s never the women. You know, I fell into it completely by accident because I write rock star romances. And my women are the rock stars. And a number of readers were like, Oh, my God, it’s so cool. The women are there and I was like, wait, that’s weird?

Eliza
Yeah, I mean, I, I mean, because they are but they’re just not written about. They’re just really not written about and, you know, one thing, you know, in like the whole, and I know they aren’t the only ones but they’re the ones that I know. Lucy Score, and Claire Kingsley, Pippa Grant and Katherine Nolan wrote the Bluewater billionaires, and they are a group of four women who are billionaires. And you don’t see a lot of female billionaires, you just don’t. There’s a few books. Not just that one. But I know of another one that Kelly Fletcher wrote, KT Fletcher wrote, about a female billionaire meets a bartender. Wonderful story. And I love that you have the female being the billionaire because they’re usually the man. So and in mine, the man is the billionaire, but I did you know, and he is the one that works at the winery. But she, you know, she’s the one that has this whole, you know, addiction thing that you, like I said, you see, a lot of, you know, in rock star romances, you know, or just in any kind of thing that it just seems to be that’s where the, that vulnerability is put, it’s put mostly on the man. And I just thought, well, what if I did it with the woman? You know, that’s how I do it. I’m like, What if we did this?

Elle
And I think, yeah, I think readers really respond to that. But there is a risk, right, and sort of doing something that’s a little bit outside the norm within the genre. It’s like this really delicate dance in terms of you know, kind of maybe pushing the envelope a little bit, but then still writing a book that readers are going to want to pick up or be happy with at the end.

Eliza
Right. And I kind of felt like when I did, you know, the book one, I did have the billionaire aspect, and it was the guy so you know, kind of staying with that trope, but making her be something you wouldn’t normally see Ryan doing. And that’s another thing that I like with my female characters is putting them in positions that are usually male-dominated. Yeah, you know, just to you know, shake it up a little bit, but there is Yeah, but there is a risk to that. So I just tried to write a really good book with really good sex scenes and hope it works.

Elle
I hear you and try and sort of like figure out what happens you know at the end.

Eliza
I gotta do a big grand gesture I just talked about how it’s gonna be huge. Oh, boy, you know? I gotta come up with one.

Elle
So since the third book is coming out the first quarter of the year, which and this will probably air me I think probably in December with the way that my schedule is looking like and possibly towards the end of December, depending on if I decide to hold back a bit because of the holidays. Um, so we’ll be getting close to your release. So I’d love to hear a little bit more about the third book.

Eliza
Well, I’m still in the midst of writing it. I’m hoping it will be the first quarter because I’m also I’m writing a book for the Cocky Hero World.

Elle
Tell me more about it!

Eliza
So yeah, I am writing in the Cocky Hero World, the Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward.

Elle
How did you get that? That’s great.

Eliza
I submitted and they said, Yeah, and I’m like, Oh, my God, really?

Elle
Oh, my God, that’s amazing. Congratulations. That’s really that’s a really big deal.

Eliza
Yeah. So I was like, okay, and they’re, you know, as they should be, they’re very particular about how they want things written in their world. And as like I said, as they should be. And I’m super excited about it. I actually just got last week, I just got my cover, my title, and my synopsis approved. So I am moving forward with that. And I do have a deadline on that. So that I that probably I don’t have a publication date on that, but it’ll be probably in the first half of next year.

Elle
So this kind of sounds like a very different way to write or is it?

Eliza
It will be different for me, I’m actually going to write in first person. Okay, it will have a slight tie to a series I have going forward that would that ties to Madison Ridge. It’s a loose tie, but it will be there. But um, yeah, and it’s called Tormented Bastard. And I’m using… if you’ve read any of their books in the Cocky Hero World series, I am using the world of cocky bastard. So Chance will be in it. And Aubrey. And the goat. So yeah, so if anybody’s read that you’ll know what I’m talking about. But it’s about a baseball, it’s a second chance romance with a baseball player and a PR person who is trying to get him to do her a favor and he is not inclined to do so. So that will be fun. And so I’m writing that. And I’ve written most of book we’re about halfway through Book Three, which will be Amelia. And that one would be called All of Me. And that is Amelia and Wyatt. And it is a fake fiance relationship romance. So they are helping each other with their businesses.

Elle
I love all these tropes. Yes, I love the like, I’m sorry, I just love a good trope and I love throwing them all together.

Eliza
If you think about it, it’s one of those things to where, you know, in my mind. You can have like a main trope, but then it kind of to me breeds other little tropes with it. Yeah, you know,

Elle
yeah.

Eliza
So yeah, so it’s fun. Amelia and Wyatt. They’re fun. Wyatt is a bartender, and my inspiration for Wyatt is I don’t know if you’ve ever watched it, but during the pandemic, I watched I binged Heart of Dixie. So my inspiration for Wyatt is Wade, which I know W’s but the bartender in Heart of Dixie, who is super hot. So and I just kind of loved his…he’s a very complex character, Wade is a very complex character. And I was like, I just love him. He really fits my Wyatt. So that’s he was a big inspiration to help kind of push because I was I had already kind of come up with the storyline. But after watching that, I was really inspired with Wyatt, so yeah, it’s fun.

Elle
I’m gonna have to watch Heart of Dixie now.

Eliza
Oh, my gosh. Yes.

Elle
Yeah. Is it a bit of a rabbit hole, I guess.

Eliza
Wow. Yeah. Wilson Bethel. I could wax poetic about him for the next half hour. But I will, I will refrain from doing so just go. Just go watch.

Elle
So Eliza I want to have you back when the Cocky book comes out because I would love to talk about it what that process was because it is your writing you are writing in somebody else’s world.

Yes. I’m also switching to first person.

Yeah, we need to talk about that too.

Eliza
Which I did do with a co-writer. writing projects that we didn’t end up doing but my co writer my partner she just was very good in first person had a hard time with third person so I was like I’ll try first person. But I write such deep POV and third person right might as well yeah yeah I’m really looking forward to it though that change up of going from third to first. I’m still bringing the small town aspect it’s it parts of it takes place in New York like their series does right the majority of the book does take place on an island off the coast of Florida because I am an island girl. So it there will be that small town aspect to

Elle
Okay. Yeah, cuz I was wondering about that because I know um, Vi is mostly in New York, Penelope I think she’s swinging she’s not necessarily in New York. Or is she always in New York too?

Eliza
I can’t remember I mean, I know for that for you know that world. Well, you know, and cocky bastard. They aren’t actually in New York. They are a California and Nebraska. I’m so it’s actually. And that’s the first one. I also love Stuck up Suit. That one is you know, mainly in New York. But I just I had a whole lot of fun with reading Chance again, because I actually just reread it. Yeah, so I’m looking. I’m looking forward to it. But yeah, I will bring the small town aspect to it. For sure.

Elle
This is amazing. You’re really busy.

Eliza
I am. In fact, I actually am, you know, going through my slate of stuff and thinking of looking at things that I’m doing and going okay, what’s going to help me move the needle here? You know, so I’m really kind of getting back to basics. And that’s kind of my theme for going forward in the next year is just writing and advertising. Namely, you know, just get what I have sold and just write more, because my biggest thing is I just need to write more.

Elle
I mean, I have to say the pandemics been great for me. In that, you know, I haven’t had day job work. Plenty of time to write. Although it’s really funny how much time I don’t have to write even when I’m not employed.

Eliza
Yeah, it’s really kind of weird. I actually lost about a month at the beginning of the pandemic, I just I wrote some but I just, I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. Plus, I my day job, I’m in finance during the day. So I am have been working from home since March. And so I actually had to buy a separate desk and I have to have separated areas to write because, otherwise, I just couldn’t I just couldn’t be in the same place. Because I’m using two sides of my you know, of course, yeah, brain but, you know, for the finance side, I’m using my analytical side. When I do the creativity, I have to be in a different spot. It’s just It’s weird when I found that, that’s how I became productive again.

Elle
Yeah, no, it’s actually not that weird. You know, I mean, some people I know, some people can’t write at home or like it, like they have to be in public. They have to be in a car. I mean, I can’t do that when I’m writing steamy scenes. I’m always like, I can’t write this in front of people. Like, I mean, it’s sort of like I’m in awe of the romance writers that can just like, plop down in a Starbucks, and, you know, write their erotica. And I’m just like, what?

Eliza
They’ve got privacy screens is what they do.

Elle
Yeah, I travel a fair bit for my day job. And so, you know, whenever I’m on the, like, you know, I’m usually on a train and so like, you know, to go on the train is like, and I’m just like, I can’t write this on the train. Like, I can write everything, but then like, I have to do the insert sex scene here, because there’s no way I’m gonna write that on train. No way. Not gonna happen. No.

Eliza
You’re writing and you’re looking around, like, do people know, I’m writing about sex?

Elle
Or, like, you know, I’ll close my eyes and I’ll be like, does it look like I’m having too much of a good time? Yeah, I’m sitting here fanning myself with my eyes closed.

Eliza
Am I sweating? Do they know what I’m doing?

Elle
Do I have the flush like what’s going on here? Shit.

Eliza
I know her skin is flushed. Is mine?

Elle
Oh, so where can people find you on the internet’s

Eliza
On the internets, the interwebs. I am on Facebook. I have a Facebook group, a reader group there. And I have my page and I do have a place on Twitter. I’m not on Twitter very often though, I’m just not a real big Twitter girl. I don’t like Twitter. Yeah. Um, but I’m mainly on Facebook and Instagram. And I do have my website, ElizaPeake.com and of course there is always the podcast y’all can find me.

Elle
Yeah. Yeah, it’s really great. Um, I love that podcast. So yeah.

Eliza
I’m so glad. Thank you, that’s awsome.

Elle
Thank you for coming and talking to me about sex.

Eliza
Well, I have loved it. This has been a blast. I will come back anytime.

Elle
Awesome. I’d love to have you. Thanks, Eliza.

Eliza
You’re welcome.