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!

Bio:

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 lattés.

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: www.nataliesellis.com

Social links:

Buy links:
Thanks, Natalie!

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8 thoughts on “Interview with novelist Natalie S. Ellis

  1. Unknown says:

    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!

  2. Unknown says:

    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.

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