Author Spotlight: Elizabeth Raven, author of the Matanzas series
I had the pleasure of meeting Raven during a virtual book signing. Her book covers captured my attention and I knew that I had to get to know her and her books better. After chatting with her, I knew that I had found an author that I had to keep my eye on. Her stories involve the paranormal, but they also reference historical landmarks, something that I found very interesting. As soon as I realized that there was a romance in the middle of everything, I was hooked. Find out who Elizabeth's favorite characters are and how this unique series began.
Book Genre: Paranormal Romance
Suggested Reading Audience: Adult
Content Warnings: Sexual Situations, Mild Violence
Book blub for both books:
Falling in Love is Spooky!
Lost in her quarter-life crisis, eccentric Bridget Quinn abandons her Vet School aspirations to open a metaphysical store in St. Augustine, Florida. Adept in Palmistry, Astrology, and Tarot, she discovers a dormant gift in the notoriously haunted city. Mediumship proves to be a pesky affliction, especially when Bridget’s attempt to help a ghostly visitor implicates her in a series of vicious murders!
Nick Maddox, a ruggedly Adonic but rigorously skeptical cop, investigates the ghastly crimes. Accepting the perpetrator is a ghost can be a tough pill to swallow. Despite their conflicting beliefs, Nick can’t deny his urges for Bridget extend far beyond civil obligation. Frustrated by the lack of tangible evidence, he finds more questions than answers as he pursues spectral justice and Bridget’s love.
RIP Ryder, a charmingly rebellious ghost tour guide, helps investigate-- simultaneously complicating Nick and Bridget’s impetuous dance of courtship. Her heart dangling between Nick and RIP, Bridget stumbles into a web of mystery and mayhem. Can they catch the killer before another murder? Exactly how do you handcuff a ghost anyway?
Matanzas Moon: Ablaze
These flames can’t be tamed…
After a wicked Halloween showdown with the vigilante ghost of a Voodoo Priestess, clairvoyant Bridget Quinn is hoping her life will finally cool off. Winter never poses much of a threat to the Nation’s Oldest City where there’s no shortage of Holiday Spirits when the blazing Florida sun sets. Again, the Ancient City is plagued by mysterious murders, this time masked by arson.
Hearse-driving Ghost Tour Guide, RIP Ryder, drowns his staggering guilt with excessive intoxication while Officer Nick Maddox’s heart breaks as Bridget’s peculiar behavior escalates. RIP has an epiphany, recognizing Nick and Bridget’s paranormal vexation as the work of RIP’s ghostly nemesis, Mr. X of Ripley’s Warden Castle.
Can RIP rally the troops to save Nick and Bridget before the flames consume them all?
Matanzas Moon: Ablaze
Interview: What made you decide to become an Author and write a book or a series? Writing has always been a cathartic release for me. I wrote a lot when I was younger, but college and work killed the creativity. Writing boring term papers and perfunctory employee manuals depleted my creativity, as effectively as other “life events” I was experiencing. Finally, the inspiration for Matanzas Moon came to me and the spark became a flame that consumed me. Now I constantly look for opportunities to write, simply for the joy of it.
Why did you choose to write in your genre and what are some of the difficulties associated with the genre? Anything occult or paranormal has always fascinated me. When I wrote Matanzas Moon, I really wasn’t actually cognizant of any labels or genres. I just wrote the book that I would want to read. It wasn’t until I began trying to market it that I realized the need to categorize it. Though it would most closely resemble a Paranormal Romance series, it’s really more of a Paranormal Adventure with some romance sprinkled in. And the romance is human to human with supernatural elements affecting their relationship and safety.
Paranormal Romance is a widely diverse genre, and the challenge is also the blessing. Because it has a growing audience, the market is saturated. But the good news is that each author has their niche, and there’s plenty of room for us all!
What is your favorite book you have written? What was the hardest part to write? Since I’ve only written the two (Matanzas Moon, and Matanzas Moon: Ablaze) so far, I can’t really decide! The first is my baby, and though it is riddled with flaws, I love it for what it represents as much as for the story. With the second book (Ablaze), I can clearly see my growth within the craft. Far fewer mistakes; not nearly as clumsy overall. I began to run with the story, where as I was merely learning to walk with the first. In Matanzas Moon, we meet the characters and watch their relationships form in the midst of chaos and danger. In Ablaze, they really get down to business (literally and metaphorically)!
The hardest part to write in Matanzas Moon was RIP’s introduction scene, because he is such a robust character. I wanted to do him justice. The other hardest part was the final confrontation with the villain. I sweated the heck out of that!
For Ablaze it would be the beginning. It’s challenging because with the first book, it’s a completely blank canvas. With subsequent books including the same characters, you have precedents that have been set for your characters. Being mindful of what behaviors, reactions, and motivations that still remain consistent with your characters is tedious, but worth it. Of course, you also have to account for character growth, because they are never exactly the same when they come out the other side of their trials.
Now with Book 3 in progress, I really slid into a puddle when I realized that the story line I planned for it was too big, and I needed to restructure the entire series arc to encompass the storyline. So, what I outlined for Book 3, actually needs to be Book 4. Just shoot me! The good news is that I worked it out with only a few mental episodes in my wake! So far...
Who is your favorite character to write for and why? Oh, gosh! Hard questions back to back!! Bridget, Nick, RIP, Travis, and Jinx are such rich characters in their own ways. I love exploring their backstories and living in their heads. I can’t wait to further explore Aunt Jett, Drake, and the newest character I’ll introduce in Book 3!
What is your writing process? Do you have the story planned out or does it surprise you as you write it? Do you write at night, or in the morning? Do you listen to a play list? Managed chaos. With work, school, and my family, I rarely have blocks of time offer themselves to me. I have to carve out little nuggets where and when I can. Often it is at night when all is quiet. The first book was a complete surprise and I loved the spontaneity and freedom! However, I have adopted a more structured approach with Book 2 and beyond. Though I plan certain elements and events to occur, I allow a lot of wiggle room so my characters can propel the action and let the story unfold.
I love listening to playlists, and I choose the music based on the “nature” of the scene I am writing. For the few randy scenes, I choose music that I find very sensual and provocative (Wolfsheim, She Wants Revenge, Peter Murphy, Phantogram). When the tone of the scene I’m working on is neutral, then I listen to classical or instrumental versions of popular songs (the piano and orchestral covers of Muse and Radiohead songs are my favorite). Otherwise, it is an eclectic mish-mash of goth, indie, and such.
Do you enjoy writing a series or individual stories? That is hard to say since I’ve always written with multiple adventures in mind for the characters I create. I can’t imagine everything fitting into one story. I never want it to end!
What are the strangest events or advertising methods have you used to get your name and books into the public eye? Social Media and conventions have been my methods so far. I am hoping to get into some local bookstores and schedule some signings by the end of the month.
What would you like your readers to know about you or your books? They are fun and quirky adventures full of local historic landmarks with well-researched history and metaphysical information. The romance is HOT, but in no way hijacks the story.
Looking ahead, what can we expect to see from you in the future? What are you working on? Just in the last few days, I have begun composition of Book 3 in the series. I have vacillated on the name, but I think I have finally settled on Matanzas Moon: Shadows. I see a minimum of 9 books in this series. Trust me. I’m just getting started!
Elizabeth Raven is a wife, mother, and Veterinary Professional hiding in the shadows and moonlight of relentlessly sunny Jacksonville, Florida. Her Paranormal Romance Series, Matanzas Moon (Book 2: ABLAZE to be released in March 2016) is set in St. Augustine, FL integrating the authentic ghost legends of the Nation’s Oldest City into a lively, narrative driven plot. Daylight hours are spent indoors working, reading, cooking, or spending time with family, friends, and her four black cats. Otherwise, she can be found dancing, socializing or joining Ghost Tours whenever her imaginary friends let her out to play!