Monday, November 2, 2015

Interview with novelist Natalie S. Ellis

Welcome, readers.

I’m happy to be helping novelist Natalie S. Ellis kick off a virtual book tour for her contemporary fiction, Revenge for Hire, today.

During her tour, Natalie will be awarding an e-copy of Revenge for Hire to 3 randomly drawn winners. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

Natalie S. Ellis worked behind the scenes in TV news for sixteen years and will always miss the rush of a breaking story. But the seduction of writing a fiery romance with twisty suspense is even harder to resist, especially when she has a new curve-ball for the plot. Natalie enjoys living in her hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and attributes her cheerful attitude to empty nesting, a supportive family, and way too many latt├ęs.

Welcome, Natalie. Please tell us about your current release.
Belinda 'Billie' Chapman is working the overnight shift at WVOX-TV when she's called away to photograph a car that's crashed into the second story of a house. Yes, the second story. Makes you want to read the book just to find out how that happened, doesn’t it? Ha ha! While Billie’s on the scene, she spots a little girl across the street and videotapes her. That’s a big mistake because the child’s guardian threatens to hurt Billie if she even considers using the video. The man’s aggressive behavior and his odd way of denying the child is his at first, makes Billie wonder what he’s hiding. Billie’s determined to protect the child, but Nolan Voss, her station’s owner is in town and watching every move Billie makes. The “Boss Man” is rich, uptight and deliciously hot. He can give Billie’s brother a much-needed job, if she plays her cards right. But he also has the power to fire Billie with a snap of his fingers if she doesn’t play by his rules. Voss is fascinated with the fiery photographer who always speaks her mind. Although it’s highly unethical to pursue a relationship with an employee, he can’t resist Billie, and that means being dragged into her plan to help the young girl. Each step closer to finding the truth leads them to a dangerous plot that has come all the way from Chicago. Will the danger only fuel their irresistible attraction to one another? Or will one of them get burned?

What inspired you to write this book?
Years ago, when I worked at a TV station, the owner visited for a few days. Everyone tiptoed around him, careful to be polite and helpful. My friend, who happened to be a field photographer, was the only one who treated the owner like everyone else. She invited him to ride along with her on assignments and joked around with him, she even gave him advice about how to improve the station. You could tell he was having the time of his life. That made me realize that being treated so formally all the time would be lonely, and eventually drain your energy, make you uptight. And how wonderful and different if would be if someone had the guts to speak their mind like my friend did—like Billie does. When I think about who my characters need to be for a book, I always seem to pull out some tidbit from my past that I just couldn’t forget, and usually hadn’t even thought about for years.

Excerpt from Revenge for Hire:
Billie sent an email to Elliott, letting him know she’d upload a creative piece about the Porsche later on. He’d assume she was going to do the work, although he wouldn’t care if Ryan edited, as long as he had material for his news block. But she couldn’t take the chance that he’d slip and tell Rob. Once management wasn’t so pissed at Ryan, and they were genuinely impressed with all the imaginative stories Billie brought them, she’d tell them the truth and make her case for rehiring Ryan. Hopefully, she wouldn’t manage to get herself fired for her dishonesty.

Once Ryan was bringing in a steady income again, Billie could work on her own life.

She’d naively thought she could do whatever she wanted once she was out of the house her father ruled. But, so unused to making her own decisions, she’d automatically followed Ryan and took a job at WVOX. She hadn’t needed a college degree and the money was decent.

Then, when Billie finally decided to enroll in the community university to pursue a degree in social work, Ryan got Trish pregnant. And when Trish couldn’t handle being a mother,

Ryan needed Billie to take care of Savannah when he wasn’t home. If Ryan could get his job back and afford a sitter, Billie could get her life back. And do something with it.

Her brother knew she was trying to help him, but he didn’t want her kind of help. He wanted to be a freelance videographer. If he didn’t have a daughter to support, Billie would back him one hundred percent. But kids needed food, a warm house and medical insurance. Ryan just didn’t get that.

Worrying about Ryan and Savannah gave her a different kind of headache, so she pulled up her Photog Billie account on Facebook and posted a teaser about the car-in-the-house story, then moved onto Twitter to do the same.

Ryan was taking forever to get back from dropping Savannah off at school. He’d probably stopped at the Friendly Fox, his favorite coffee house, for some caffeine and a muffin.

Billie didn’t think she could stay awake much longer, so she wrote him a note explaining her ideas for a tongue-in-cheek story about a spaceship disguised as a car crashing into the house.

The missing driver was obviously an alien trying to find his way home. Satisfied that Ryan could work his magic, she emailed Elliott to let him know she’d have an eighty-second package for his show, and stumbled into bed.

As she drifted into the warm fuzziness of sleep, a round, pale face with big glasses and pigtails floated behind her eyelids. Is she his daughter? Why deny being that cute little girl’s dad? And why so defensive about putting her on the news?

Billie yawned and rolled over. There was a story there. There had to be.

She lifted her head to see the clock on her nightstand. Nine thirty. She’d sleep six hours, then go back to the scene of the crash before dark and nose around a little. Maybe she could find a neighbor outside who knew the little girl. More importantly, maybe she could uncover why the big guy kept changing his story, and why he didn’t want that girl’s face on television. If he wasn’t her dad, who was he?

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m plotting my third book in the “For Hire” series. Molly, the heroine in Fear for Hire, will be back and she’s being held hostage. Obviously, Jack, the hero and kidnapper in the first book, goes berserk. He’s the only one allowed to kidnap Molly. LOL! I’m also working on a book called Voices about a woman accused of murdering her family. She hides from the police on the streets of Philadelphia disguised as a bag lady. The book has some light paranormal elements because she constantly hears the voices of her dead family in her head, except when the hero touches her. So, picture this filthy bag lady trailing after this handsome, well-dressed businessman and continuously putting her hand on him to make the voices go away. It’s the only way she can think clearly and she believes if she can just figure out who killed her family, the voices will go away forever.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I began writing in 4th grade. I wrote “stories” about aliens a lot. I was fascinated by the idea of little green men coming to our planet and abducting people. Hey, I just realized those were technically my first kidnapping stories!  I also liked watching the Wild Wild West TV show, so I wrote my own episodes, mostly with Dr. Loveless as the villain. When I was in middle school, I loved the Bay City Rollers and wanted to sing with them, even though I can’t carry a tune, so I wrote “Roller Girl” stories. I was Roller Girl in those stories, of course. They adopted me as their new little sister and let me sing with them once in a while. Way back then, I used to say I was going to be a published author when I grew up. But I didn’t actually submit a book until I was in my thirties, then it took over twenty years and writing about seven manuscripts, before I reached my dream to be a published author.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
No, I’m not a full time writer yet. I do most of my writing on weekends when I have long pockets of time to really get into the scene I’m working on. I like to plot during the week after work. I play tennis, do a lot of volunteer work and I like to hang out with my husband at night, so I have to squeeze plotting in around those fun things. I also plot while I’m driving and drifting off to sleep at night. As for my day job, I’m a public information officer in Parks & Recreation. No, it’s not as wacky as the TV show. I write press releases, work with the media on news conferences, do some interviews, and do a lot of social media marketing for our department. It’s really fun to have a mission statement about providing leisure activities for the community!

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
My husband would say that I can’t write unless I type (or key in) about ten words, then delete two words, then key in five more, or something along those lines. I can’t seem to just move forward and pause while I think. I have to keep the fingers tapping. I also have to plot out loud—usually with my husband—asking questions that I don’t let him answer. Like thinking out loud. He gets so confused because I talk really fast and skip important details. Once he realized he was just a sounding board, he relaxed and I have a feeling he doesn’t really listen to me now.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
From the very first time I was asked, I wanted to be a writer. I stumbled into video and got sidetracked for sixteen years at a TV station, but returned to the writing path again after that.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
If you haven’t had a chance to watch my book trailer, please do. PUNCH Films did an amazing job—it’s like a movie trailer! And they let me write the script and help choose the actors. It was a blast! You can find it on my website:

Social links:

Buy links:

Thanks, Natalie!

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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Unknown said...

Thanks for hosting me, Lisa! I'd love to answer any questions your followers have. I have a long day today, with my day job, then training for a new volunteer position I'm taking soon, but I'll check in before bedtime. Have a wonderful day, everyone!

Mai T. said...

Have you ever had a secret admirer?

Unknown said...

Mai--I've never had a secret admirer, at least as far as I know. I tended to be the one in high school who had a secret crush on someone. Or, maybe not so secret.

Unknown said...

Thanks again for hosting me, Lisa! I'll keep checking in, in case someone has a question later in the week.

bn100 said...

sounds interesting

Anonymous said...

This book sounds amazing! Great!

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