Empowered women empower women.
The most powerful action we can take for one another is to be there, support one another, pray for each other, and be everyone’s biggest cheerleader. “Equality” is such a buzzword these days but really, it isn’t always men tearing us down but other women. It is only now, in my adult life, that I have a really excellent group of girlfriends. Throughout high school and college, I had a couple of friends who were girls but other then that, I preferred to be one of the guys. Why? There are numerous reasons but it boils down to: they didn’t compete with me and bring me down every chance they got.
However, fast forward to present day and I have the best girlfriends. Not to mention, I come from a long line of strong, faithful, incredible women. Most of all my grandmother, my mom, and my sister. Needless to say, I have cultivated a strong tribe of women, each one deserving of praise and accolades in their own unique ways. Enter Woman Crush Wednesday, WCW. An overused hashtag? #WCW? Yes. BUT here in this little space on the internet, I’m going to celebrate the women in my life who I am fortunate enough to be supported and inspired by.
Within that group of women is my good friend, Elise Scanlan, Scout and Bex‘s very first Woman Crush Wednesday (WCW).
The Woman Behind This WCW:
Elise Scanlan – Self Published Author and Colorado Babe
When I first moved out to California, I knew exactly zero people. Elise was my very first friend. Our manager at work decided that we had to be friends because we are both from Colorado and funnily enough, she was right. I had moved to LA knowing no one but having Elise as my friend, Colorado didn’t feel so far away.
Elise is kind, talented, hard-working, and willing to do what it takes to get what she wants. In the four years I’ve known Elise, we have been through so much together and have embarked on many an adventure and dreamt up many dreams.
One of those dreams she has always talked about was writing a book. While working her full-time job, she managed to not only write a book but to publish it herself. “No” is not an answer Elise was willing to take when it came to her goals and dreams. Elise is the perfect example of someone who didn’t wait for someone to open a door for her, she kicked it down herself. Elise’s willingness for whatever adventure and courageous heart in the pursuit of her dreams not only makes her a good friend but a woman to watch out for and maybe even follow on her blazed trail.
Love. Trust. Betrayal. When she was a teenager, Cassie Downey was chosen from millions of girls across the country to marry Esadorra’s spare heir, Prince Alistair. Unfortunately, their betrothal isn’t the fairytale promise of true love Cassie always imagined. Alistair never chose this life of scrutiny, duty, and fame; and he certainly never chose her. However, when they end up attending the same college together, their forced interactions little by little ignite a spark of chemistry. Over their shared love of music and an understanding of the often-crazy cards life has dealt them, their love grows.
Together they can face anything—evading paparazzi, seeing their most personal secrets on display, and navigating their desires in the face of national expectation. That is, until scandal threatens to tear them apart. As the future Cassie has worked so hard to build threatens to crumble to pieces around her, the palace decides—that now is the perfect time for her and her Prince to finally wed. **Due to adult language and sexual content, this book is intended for mature audiences.**
Q: When did you first start writing ONBRB?
A: November 1, 2014! Goodness…
Q: Where did the inspiration come from?
A: As cliche as it is, this idea came from a dream I had! I remember waking up late one night while I was in college and recording a half-awake voice memo with the idea of these two characters–one a prince and the other a common girl living in present day, and for some reason, they were betrothed to be married someday and yet they hated each other. The voice memo went on for some minutes describing some of what might happen in the story, and then I promptly fell back asleep. In the morning, I woke up, transcribed the voice memo, and that was how the idea came to be!
Q: How long did it take you to write?
A: Too long! Haha. I’m a really big fan of NaNoWriMo- National Novel Writing Month. It happens every November and the goal is to write a 50,000 word novel. It’s the best writing motivation I have all year long! I started working on this novel in November of 2014. As soon as NaNoWriMo ended, I promptly put away a partially finished draft and got distracted by life, as you do (I was also working on another novel at the time).
The following two Novembers (‘15 and ‘16) I picked this story back up to add to it. By the end of 2016, I had a completed first draft. November of 2017 I actually worked on the sequel so I could start roughing out that idea in case there was anything I needed to set up in book one to pay off in book two.
Then, later in November of 2017, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle got engaged! That really lit a fire under me. If ever there was a time to publish this book it was around a Royal Wedding! By January, I set most of my social calendar aside and buckled down with editing this book. I probably re-wrote almost half of it in the last three months as I worked through edits. So three Novembers plus a January to May = roughly 8 months of writing over 3.5 years!
Q: What’s your favorite quote from the book?
A: I have such a soft spot in my heart for all of Chapter Thirteen when Cassie’s parents help her move out of her apartment. The entire thing brings a huge smile to my lips every time I read it. But this one has a pretty good punch-to-the-heart feel to it.
I let myself in to an empty room. Figures. Bonnie was probably out partying with her sorority sisters. I eased myself against the closed door, moonlight the only light flooding in through the open blinds of the room and closed my eyes, sinking back for a moment into that place of loneliness and despair. And the worst part was, the one person I wanted more than anything to find me and pull me up from the depths of my own heartache and breathe me back to life, was the same person who’d left me there to drown in the first place.
Q: Is this the start of a series?
A: Yes! I think my readers would kill me if it wasn’t. It ends on a hell of a cliffhanger. There’s certainly a plan for a book 2 and possibly additional novels. I need to really dive into the sequel to see where the story wants to take me though.
Q: What sort of books do you like to read?
A: I love reading in general, but my heart belongs to anything and everything YA! This book is nearly a YA novel, but the slightly older age of the characters in their mid-twenties and the somewhat mature content of the novel age it up to New Adult. I debated with myself forever about keeping them teenagers, but because they were getting married I wanted them a bit older.
Q: What is your favorite book in YA?
A: This is like choosing a favorite child! Stardust is one of my original favorites, but if I have to pick a more recent one it would be Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I’m a sucker for rewritten fairy tales and I LOVE the futuristic sci-fi/steampunk world she creates that still feels very whimsical and magical. Her characters leap off the page and I think the way she slowly unravels the story and carries the arc of her series over four books is brilliant.
Q: Have you always known what direction the book was headed in or did you let the characters lead you?
A: For book one, I always knew I wanted this book to end just after Cassie and Alistair’s wedding. It’s the thing she’s dreamt about since she was ten years old, and it’s the moment her and Alistair’s relationship has been building toward the entire novel. Though, how I got to the wedding day was still very much a surprise along the way.
Even just a few months ago while I was in edits I was making huge changes. You’ll have one idea of where you think things are headed, but then the characters in your head will be saying- Excuse me, that is NOT something I would do. And you shrug, admit they’re right, and go from there.
As far as the series as a whole goes, I know book two is starting the very next morning after the wedding and I have a general idea of where I ultimately want to take things, but I’m willing to let the characters and events surprise me again. Having gone through edits on this one, I have a much better idea of my characters now and it might turn out that the ending I concocted all those years ago doesn’t fit with them anymore. And that’s ok!
Q: How does it feel to have your first book out there?
A: All the feels!!! I’m so excited. Writing has been my creative outlet since college and though I put another novel online for free before this, this feels like a new evolution in my writing. Now I have a tangible thing I can look at on my kindle or hold a physical copy of. But at the same time, making it available to a wider audience opens you up for more emotional risk. Will anyone even read it? And if they do, will they like it? So there’s definitely some trepidation there as well, but mostly I’m just excited.
Q: What obstacles did you overcome in writing this book?
A: I feel like in the past two years I’ve really gotten serious about my writing and dedicating time to it, which is hard when you have a full-time job and want to make time to hang out with friends, read other books, go to the movies, etc. What was once just a fun outlet has become more of a passion I want to dedicate more time to. That mental shift has definitely been an obstacle I have had to overcome or else these books would continue to take years and years to come out.
Q: What do you want readers to get most from this book?
A: At its heart, this book is a romance and there’s something so universal about the ups and downs of love.
The lows- falling for someone who doesn’t like you back, crushing on someone you can’t have because they are with someone else, and making rash decisions in the heat of the moment that you might later regret.
The highs- getting to see your crush evolve into something much deeper, meeting new loves you never considered before, and that “rightness” you feel when you find that person who understands you and makes you feel like you can be yourself with them…
We’ve all experienced those things in some form or another. I hope people can see pieces of their current and past relationships in this book and get some enjoyment and understanding from how they play out for Cassie and her fellow characters.
Q: What advice would you give to writers attempting to get their first book out there?
A: I have three pieces of advice.
1. Don’t let rejection stop you. The publishing process, whether traditional or self-publishing is HARD! There’s a lot of rejection and you can’t let that deter you. I sent my first YA novel to something like fifty agents and though some had some kind words to say, ultimately none of them were interested in representing me and it was really hard to find the motivation to keep writing after that. With this novel, I did end up sending it to ten or so agents, but I’d already made up my mind long before I sent out that first Query letter that I was going to follow through and self-publish this one if no one was interested.
Which leads to advice 2. Come up with a plan for your writing and stick to it. Even if that plan is just to write daily in a blog or post a poem once a week. Whatever your goals are, come up with them and hold yourself to them. I knew a market existed within the self-published world for romance novels, so I knew I wanted to pursue that if no agents were interested. But… I almost backed out of that goal because it was a lot of work and I was afraid my writing wasn’t good enough, or I’d put in all this time and no one would read it.
Which leads to 3. Find your support network. I have a network of friends, family, and fellow aspiring authors who are always supportive and encouraging of what I do. They’ll listen to me talk through a plot point, give me critical and honest feedback about my work, or even just sit down and talk about writing in general with me. Those are the people that will help re-spark your passion and remind you why you’re putting in all the hours to do this in the first place!
Where to Get the Book:
Perfect poolside or beach read so grab a glass of lemonade and crack open what is sure to be an unforgettable love story.
Pick up your own copy! Available via Kindle and paperback on Amazon.
Thanks for reading the first installment of Woman Crush Wednesday, WCW! Now get reading this amazing book!