Elizabeth Finn is an Iowa native, where she lives with her husband and son. By day, Elizabeth is a Human Resources Specialist, but by night, she checks her professionalism at the door and immerses herself in the world of writing contemporary erotic romance. Look for more to come from Elizabeth Finn.
Tell me about The Devil’s Pawn.
When Ashton is left orphaned after her parents are murdered, her life becomes a hell she could never have imagined. Left to fend for herself, and responsible for a debt she doesn’t owe, she is swept into a life as a gentleman’s escort at a private men’s gaming hall. Her new manager makes it abundantly clear he doesn’t appreciate her inexperience, innocence, and shyness. On the contrary, he despises everything about her.
Derek can be “difficult,” she’s been told. And however dark and handsome he may be, he terrifies her in a way that chills her to the bone, but leaves her begging to understand him. As they are pulled along together, more secrets and threats than either one could ever conceive are revealed, and a common enemy emerges. This enemy will stop at nothing to bring Derek to his knees while using Ashton as the greatest pawn in his torturous game.
Will Derek be able to let down his shield of cold, harsh emotion before it’s too late? Will he be able to sacrifice himself to save Ashton, or will they both be destroyed by the secrets of their pasts?
This is the blurb. What the blurb doesn’t tell you is just how harsh and difficult a dynamic exists between Ashton and Derek. The blurb may imply this fact, but the reality of their relationship is that it starts out painfully difficult. This book has been called gritty, and I would call it exactly that. It definitely broke some rules in that regard, but ultimately, that’s what I love the most about this story. Their paths to salvation and to one another are hard, very hard, but that’s what makes their story all the more precious.
Your heroine and hero are in a unique predicament, what was your inspiration for those two?
That is one of the most difficult questions to answer, but it’s also one of the most telling in regards to who I am and what I appreciate in a love story. I’m fanatical about finding love where love shouldn’t exist, so for me, if you have a situation that should otherwise be truly toxic for love, I want to explore it, and more than that, I want to make it happen in a believable and emotionally raw and honest way.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I think one of the most compelling aspects of this story is redemption. No one is so far gone that they can’t be saved. I love that my characters, especially Derek, realize the very best version of themselves through the other. Sometimes setting your own guilt, and self-loathing aside is the very best thing you can do for yourself and the people you care about most. I’m an emotional writer. It’s never about the suspense as much as the emotion for me. If I can make you cry, then I’ve done what I set out to do. I want to grab people emotionally by the throat and have them feeling every last emotion of my characters, so my story lines tend to be based largely on the human part of their scenario.
While you were writing The Devil’s Pawn, did you feel like there was a lot of yourself in Ashton?
To a degree. I feel like she’s the me inside of myself. There’s likely an innocence or even naivety to my spirit that doesn’t always translate in the package that the world sees. We show ourselves to the world in a particular manner, competent in our business and professional lives, loving and caring in our familial lives, but the emotional part of ourselves often lies hidden beneath the parts that we have to play, and I see Ashton in that emotional aspect of myself.
How would Derek describe you? Would you be his type?
Let me just say, I want to be Derek’s type. Am I … in real life, I come across far more assertive and strong than Ashton. Derek is so perfectly made for her, though he may not realize it, that I can’t imagine him with anyone but her.
Could you see yourself falling for a guy like Derek? Why or why not.
Derek is the type of guy that I dream of falling for, but that life makes difficult to find. He’s strong, stoic, calm, but fierce and protective. I could absolutely fall for him… But where are the Derek’s of the world??
What was the most surprising thing that you learned when you created this book?
Ha! How about that I could really accomplish something like this while balancing life, work, parenting, college, etc. This isn’t the first book I’ve written, though it’s the first I submitted for publication, and I wrote this particular manuscript in about a month. That’s a lot to accomplish in my busy life. The first manuscript that I wrote, that is now contracted and will release in October (Brother’s Keeper), I started writing some time ago, and worked on it gradually. It wasn’t written at this pace. This particular manuscript was written at a ferocious pace, and I did it!
Do you have any suggestions for aspiring writers?
Just try it. You have nothing to lose, and you won’t know if you can do it until you put fingers to keys and start! It may seem daunting and the scope is often so big, but you just have to start!
I read that you have two upcoming releases, Brother’s Keeper and Restoring Jordan. Can you tell us a little about them?
Here is the blurb for Brother’s Keeper:
When Rowan is awarded a ballet scholarship to Michigan State University during her senior year of high school, her life’s dream is finally realized. Having lost her mother at an early age and being subjected to the abuse of a destitute drunken father, she has known unimaginable loss and heartache and been left wanting for a better life—a life now within her grasp. But with one ill-fated phone call, her life is turned upside down.
Logan is Rowan’s best friend’s older brother whose career is taking off as he prepares to graduate law school and move cross-country to the prestigious law firm that has offered him a very lucrative contract. When Rowan finds herself at Logan’s mercy after he inadvertently learns of the abuse she has suffered at the hands of her father, their lives become intertwined in a way neither ever imagined nor wanted.
In an effort to protect her, but with his own hands tied by her unwillingness to report the abuse, Logan strikes a deal requiring Rowan to stay with him whenever there is a chance her father might be on a drunken binge—which is often. For her agreement and cooperation, he will keep her secret. Soon, their time together weighs on them both, and they find themselves constantly tempted to step outside the bounds of their supposed platonic relationship. But there is no point. The devastating fact of the matter is their lives are moving in opposite directions—a relationship destined to die before it even has a chance to live.
The ever present clock plagues them both as it ticks off the days until they are parted. But one all important question remains—after he leaves, how will he protect her from a father intent on hating her until the day he dies … or the day he kills her?
Here is the blurb for Restoring Jordan:
When Adeline Parker decides to celebrate landing a coveted internship at one of Chicago’s most prestigious architectural firms by indulging in a brutally dark and handsome man, she gets more than she bargained for.
Lost in a maze of hallways on the first day of her new position, she stumbles headlong in to a boardroom of suits, very expensive suits. They are the somebodies of this prestigious firm, and she is, by all accounts, the very definition of a nobody. And sitting at the table with the rest of the principals from the firm is a man—the very man who unwittingly de-flowered her only days before.
From the look of it, Jordan Ellinwood is none too happy to see her again; by his own admission, he’s a one night stand man, and the fact that she conned him in to taking her virginity isn’t sitting well with him either. But as her path is inextricably attached to his, their closeness will no longer be a choice.
Adeline is talented—far more so than the other interns that have made their way through the firm, and as they embark on a restoration project together, their physical proximity becomes an unexpected emotional and intimate attachment.
Jordan was raised by servants and nannies while his parents lived overseas. Emotion, compassion, and intimacy were not a part of his life, and frankly, he liked it that way. Adeline, on the other hand, was raised in a close knit Midwestern family that taught her everything she knows about being warm, caring and compassionate.
When her reputation and internship are threatened by co-workers bent on jealousy and resentment, the long dormant emotion that Jordan has so effectively stifled fights to break free. The realization that he cares for his one night stand is as foreign to him as his own parents’ love for him is. And as he struggles to get out of his own way long enough to let her see his compassion, her career is jeopardized and leaves him fighting with every last ounce of himself to save her.
Will it be enough? Will his help come in time to protect her career that is being threatened before it even begins?
They both sound exciting! Would you indulge us with an excerpt from, The Devil’s Pawn?
Of course I will!
Once in the fitting room, Derek takes the chair again while I start to remove my clothes. I intentionally wore ugly, stretched-out, white cotton underwear that is entirely too big on me in the event he should be here. My mouth isn’t the only thing that can get me into trouble—my sarcasm knows no bounds when I’m unhappy.
As he sees the appalling excuse for an undergarment, his eyes move up to mine, narrowing darkly at my obvious defiance. I look coolly back at him before looking away dismissively. My anger and resentment of him from the humiliation he subjected me to the previous morning, not to mention his treatment of me over the past two weeks, have charged me into a bold, fiery bitch that no longer cares what retribution I might face. While my tongue usually gets me in trouble, today I decided to let my underwear do the talking.
Jacob enters with an armful of dresses for me to try on, and he cringes as he takes in my defiant granny panties, hated the world over by men, including, apparently, gay men.
He turns to Derek, and with a scrunched-up face, he worries out loud. “The dresses aren’t going to lay right over those…” He tosses a nod in my general direction.
Derek wastes no time at all reassuring Jacob and striking back at me. “No worries. Ashton was just taking them off. She won’t be wearing underwear anymore.”
I glare defiantly back at him as I drop the loose fabric to the floor. He returns the glare for a moment before letting his gaze travel down my body to my sex, and as it lands there, smoldering with heat, I turn abruptly from him, intentionally showing him my backside instead. I look to the mirror in front of me, and I catch his eyes flit away from me in annoyance. He worries his lip with his thumb and index finger as he contemplates, and the slightest of smirks crosses over his mouth. Jacob is standing by looking from one to the other of us, obviously wondering just exactly what he’s gotten himself in the middle of.
Derek finally looks back to Jacob. “Get on with it.”
I try on one after the other of the dresses. Some are perfect; Jacob pins in additional alterations in others. Derek sits by bored, only glancing up from his cell phone occasionally. One such occasion is when Jacob remarks that I’m “just not curvy enough for this one.”
Derek looks up to Jacob, but he shifts his eyes to mine before commenting, “Yes, well, if you can figure out some way of making her look female, you let me know.”
Jacob again lets his eyes pass between us, seeming to wonder all the while what he’s missing. As I hold Derek’s eyes with my own, my anger falters, and the pain that is behind my fury pushes through. I try to wrangle my tears into submission, but it’s no use. In defeat, first one, and then another spills from my eyes and slides down my cheeks. Jacob regards my state and excuses himself from the room.
I stand on the hemming block in the center of the room, refusing to look at Derek. But he’s looking at me, and as my hurt continues to work through my entire body, I let my tongue do what it does best. “Why do you hate me so much?”
He says nothing, but stands and moves to me. Reaching around behind me, he pulls the zipper of the dress down, and then, returning his hands to my shoulders, he pulls the straps down, exposing first my small breasts, and then the rest of my naked body as it falls to the floor.
He leans in to my ear and speaks. “You don’t know anything about me.” He then takes me by the hand and pulls me to stand in front of the mirror, and leaning to my ear once more as I watch him in the mirror, he speaks gently. “Lean forward and put your palms on the mirror.”
Oh wow, what a scene! Is there anything else you’d like readers to know?
I’m really excited to be writing my first paranormal novel right now. I’m about 60,000 words in at this point, and I’m really enjoying it. It’s slow going as I’m in edits with Brother’s Keeper and will be soon for Restoring Jordan, but paranormal is also a passion of mine, so we’ll see where it goes!
I’d love to hear from people. I would love feed back as people read The Devi’s Pawn, Brother’s Keeper or Restoring Jordan. Feel free to email me at email@example.com, follow me at ElizabethFinnFiction.com or like me at Facebook.com/ElizabethFinnFiction. I will respond!
Thank you so much for stopping by, Elizabeth! I hope to have you back again to chat about Brother’s Keeper and Restoring Jordan. Do you have questions or comments for Elizabeth? Post them here, or chat with her via email.