Monday, January 11, 2016

Nese Ellyson and Escape to Sanctuary

So the holidays came and went, no snow on Christmas. It was 16 degrees Celcius here (61 F) and DH had to cut down the tree that had fallen over the car tempo. Less than a week later, we've got a foot of snow and temperatures drop down to around -29 C or -20 F....crazy Canadian weather my friends! Yesterday it poured cats and dogs (you might want to look up that expression, it's funny!), winds were unbelievable, and yup, power outages everywhere. I came home from drill team practice to a seven-year-old armed with flashlights. Zoey was thrilled that I had a portable camping stove to heat up the soup I had thankfully made a day earlier. No one would starve ;)
Fortunately, I'm hiding out indoors until tomorrow.

Now today we have one last  Holiday book to present. I think you're going to like it!
Now let's meet our fascinating guest author...
Nese Ellyson lives in a small town in rural Ohio with her own Prince Charming, two boys, and a cat they rescued. She's an avid fan of romance, particularly when it has a suspense element. She's always brimming with ideas and loves getting her thoughts down on paper. The day Denise released her first novel, Escape to Sanctuary, an inspirational romantic suspense, was one of the most exciting days of her life.
Nese is a bit of a Mrs. Fix It, and enjoys doing repairs and renovations on her family home. She enjoys art and her paintings have been in several art shows. She feels she has the greatest job of all, working for her Christian ministry as an artist and designer.

Could you share a little about yourself and what led you to become a writer?
I’m and artist by trade. I have 2 boys and a great hubby. I live in rural Ohio, but was born in a suburb of Detroit. I started writing after my second son was born and I had a lot of time on my hands. My passion for romance started when I was a kid. I would make up stories in my head all the time. Every version of Cinderella I could come up with. You could have some interesting conversations with my daughter around that! She took a fairy tale class in college. I never even knew they existed. Sorry, carry on... Then I started reading them in 7th grade. When I became a stay at home mom with my youngest son I got serious about writing.

Do you write full time? How much of your life is set aside for writing?
I don’t write full time. I have lots of interests plus the boys activities and sports.
I aim for writing an hour a day. An hour a day would make many authors happy!

Could you tell us a little about your novel?
This is the story of a woman who is trying to find out what happened to her step-mom. She’s shot at from the start of the book. She’s rescued by a homeless shelter. I love the heart of this story because it shows a community of giving. And the hero is humourlessly trying to protect her and keep her hidden but she’s a doctor so she ends up saving a lot of people who are thankful and want to tell others what she did for them. Now there's a lot going on in that story!

What led you to choose a Christmas theme?
My love of the season, and how it has the harsh elements as a back drop for people being warm and giving.

Would you take us on a brief tour of your novel and the world you’ve created?
Sanctuary is a Homeless shelter in Rural Ohio where the pastor and his wife run the local church. They help lots of people who are in transition in their lives and just need a little help. There’s a wood cabin outside of town where Evie, the heroine, is stashed for a time, and there’s her ancestral home which is part of the plot.

Where does the inspiration for you main character and story come from?
Evie’s a doctor who had been in service to as a medical missionary in Africa. She comes home to bury her step-mom and is attacked. Her heart to help and heal is something I always admire in medical workers. I know that heart ;)

What is the message behind the story? Was it something you specifically wrote a story around or did it develop as your characters came to life?
It came to life as I wrote it. My theme of a homeless shelter was one I personally am passionate about. Helping others in times of need. The world needs a bit more of that passion.

Do you work from an outline or just go with the flow? If you use an outline, how detailed is it?
I’m a panster. I fly and write by the seat of my pants. Ah, a fellow clan member.

What is the time span in your novel, weeks, months, years? How much research went into it?
The novel spans a couple of weeks. I did research a lot of medical information to make sure I was accurate. Not that I expect anyone to use it as first aid but I didn’t want it to be obvious that the writer wasn’t in the medical profession. You have my utmost respect for that! Nothing frustrates me more than details that could have been easily verified and corrected, but ruin the credibility of the author. 

Could you tell us how you go about your research, how you ‘catalogue’ information to make it all work?
I work scene by scene. While in a scene that has areas I need more information about I stop and look for it in Magazines, online, at the library, etc. Then I get back to the writing. Often I will have left a blank line if I needed to finish a thought and then come back to fill it in the researched part.

How does this book differ from what you have written in the past?

This is an inspirational romantic suspense. Most of my other books are clean romance but not inspirational. Must be the influence of the season.

How have the changes in present day publishing impacted your schedule as a writer?
I have to do more promoting for readers to find me. I am currently working with an editor at Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense on another story but it moves much slower through the traditional publishers. I turned down a contract with traditional publishing when I was told that the book wouldn't be out for another 12-18 months. Then he added, but lately it's more like 24...Well that did it for me. I turned to assisted publishing for the first novel, and have been with an indie publisher for the others.
I love the speed of Indie publishing.

How do you handle marketing? Do you have a plan, a publicist or just take one day at a time?

I recently got in touch with Deborah Gardner, a successful Indie author, for her recommendations for my books. It was to get them on a cycle so that as soon as it was available to run KDP countdowns, always with the option to run the freebie, if I could get a Bookbub ad. Once I get a Bookbub rejection I plan when to run the KDP countdown and then cycle through all of my books in this manner. Interesting. Marketing is a challenge!

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Get a great writing support group behind you. Sharing information with others is how to get the most out of your writing and marketing.

Could you tell us what you’re working on now?
I’m waiting for a second round of edits from Harlequin and I’ve got a Clean Contemporary Romance that is in the works. I gave it the working title of “Unblonde me”. Hehe, you want to be careful with those working titles....that's how I ended up with "Snow Job" as a title for my last book. It was only supposed to be the working title.

Picture of the cover of Escape to Sanctuary done by Victorine Lieske:

Back of the book write up:
When Dr. Evangeline Tourmaine's step-mother turns up dead, she comes back to the states and unwittingly becomes the target of a killer. FBI Agent Colton Segar swears he will protect Evie, if it's the last thing he does. Not easy to do when she keeps saving people in need of medical help. She's drawing a lot of attention. As Colton tries to keep her under the radar, he finds himself drawn to her, and soon protecting her is more than just his job. It becomes a matter of heart.

Snippet from some reviews:

By Michelle Fayard on December 20, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
Filled with gripping and riveting romantic suspense, ESCAPED TO SANCTUARY features a truly wonderful hero and heroine skillfully brought to life by author Nese Ellyson. Another special facet about this book is that it strikes that rare but perfect balance between a Christian and secular romantic suspense. For readers who appreciate a Christian foundation to their novels, this title will be a very welcome addition to bookshelves. But for those who are drawn to quieter demonstrations of faith, this successfully bridges the enjoyment needs of both reading groups. Another trademark of Ms. Ellyson’s writing that readers are sure to appreciate is the bond of true and believable love that she develops between the main characters. Add in the beautiful and unexpected twist to this book’s ending, and you have a keeper in every way.

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