The Writing Life of: Elizabeth Pantley
This week I am thrilled to be interviewing author Elizabeth Pantley. Elizabeth will be sharing with us details of her writing life, telling us all about her new book ‘The Disappearance of Emily‘, which was released on 12th March 2021, and answering a few fun questions too. This post contains affiliate links.
Elizabeth Pantley is the international bestselling author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution and eight other books in the No-Cry Solution series of books for parents. Her books have been published in over twenty languages. She is also the author of well-received Destiny Falls Mystery and Magic book series.
She lives in the Pacific Northwest and is the mother of four and Nana to one.
1) Did you enjoy writing when you were a child?
I’ve always loved reading, since I was in the Principals reading group in kindergarten. However, my love of writing came much later—as an adult!
2) Which author shaped your childhood?
Oh, goodness! I was such an avid reader as a child. I devoured books and the library was one of my favorite places. The list of authors who touched me is extremely long.
3) What motivated you to begin your first novel?
I’ve been writing parenting books for over twenty years. In the back of my head stories rolled around waiting for the right time to be released. The odd and difficult pandemic year pushed me to find something fun to escape to. I finally opened the hidden door of my fiction-writing brain and once I did it the ideas poured out. I published two books and am nearly done with my third!
4) Do you plot your book, or are you a pantser?
I’m a bit of both. I like to jot out a full plot from A to Z before I begin, so I have a roadmap of my story. Then I begin to write and the story and characters take over, so the plot and details change almost daily.
5) What is your average writing day?
Since my youngest of my four children is now in college, I have much more freedom in my writing schedule. I start the day with a cup of tea and handle my emails and business tasks. Then I workout to keep my brain and body healthy! The rest of the day is primarily taken up with writing and book work. I find writing fiction to be so fun that I “sneak” off to my stories whenever I can!
6) What is the best thing about being an author?
I can write anywhere! While most of my writing time is at my desk in my office, I find that anywhere I can bring my laptop I can disappear into my writing. I just took my mom to the doctor and you could find me in the corner by the fish tank tapping away!
Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic, book 2
Pages – 235
Release Date – 12th March 2021
Format – ebook
Hayden fell through a mirror and was thrust into an alternate, magical place. Destiny Falls is not on any map and is home to a family she never knew she had. The town is enchanted and charming, but something is amiss.
She gets an ominous warning, and the promise of a package. Once it arrives, someone turns up dead and there are too many other suspicious episodes to call them coincidences. All signs point to the mysterious disappearance of her mother – way back when Hayden was just two days old. Can she identify and eliminate the threat before another person in her life is stolen away?
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7) How did you go about researching the content for your book?
I research as I go. The funniest thing about writing mysteries is the searches! My Google history contains some pretty awful things, like how does a dead body look after it’s been left for two days?
8) How long did it take to go from the ideas stage to writing the last word?
Sketching out my main plot roadmap can take a month or more. Putting the ideas into order takes time. Once I do that, I write about a chapter a day when I’m rolling. Some days are filled with marketing, accounting and other tasks, so a fiction book takes me about 4 months from start to finish.
9) What made you choose the genre you write in?
I decided to write the kind of books I enjoy reading. Cozy mysteries are one of my favorites—especially those with a touch of magic or other paranormal features.
10) How did you come up with the name(s) for your lead character(s)?
Once I figure out a character in my head I can “see” them, and I look up lists of names that would have been popular when my character was born. I scan hundreds of names until one jumps out at me and says: This is it!
11) Can you give us an insight into your characters?
Destiny Falls is an enchanted place, so the characters need to be unique, fun, and willing to accept the magic.
12) How did you feel when you had completed your book?
I was dancing! Finishing a book is just as exciting as starting a new one.
1) Do you have a favourite quote you live by?
I’ve had quite a few guiding quotes. The Serenity Prayer by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr is my favorite: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.
2) Do you have any pets?
After raising four children I like the option of not having to organize my life around another being, so instead of having my own pets, I visit with my children’s pets! Here’s a photo of me with one of my son’s dogs. One of his dogs was the inspiration for one of the main characters in my series, Hercules.
3) What’s on your current reading list?
I’m always reading three or four books at a time, since I change what I’m reading depending on my mood. My current list includes: The Almost Good Witch by Erin Huss, The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn, On Writing by Stephen King, & Magic and Misfits by Annabel Chase.
4) Your book has been made into a feature film, you’ve been offered a cameo role, what would you be doing?
I would definitely take the role of Cleobella! She’s a clever, classy lady who dresses like a combination of Lady Gaga and Cher. The wardrobe and hairstyles would be an absolute blast!
5) If you could travel to the fictional world of any book for the day, which would you choose?
I would absolutely go to Destiny Falls! It’s based on some of my favorite islands in the San Juan Islands, but with a healthy dose of enchantment.
6) There’s a penguin sitting in your writing chair, what is the first thing he says to you?
“Hey, lady. You’ve got cats and dogs in your books, but I haven’t seen any penguins. You know we are the most fascinating creatures, right? How about a new character based on me in your next book? I can sleuth with the best of them.”
I would like to say a big thank you to Elizabeth Pantley for sharing with us details of her writing life and for a wonderful interview.