Today, we’re continuing our series of indie authors and it’s my pleasure to feature Elena Aitken. Elena is the mother of twins, a swimmer, wife, volunteer, runner, triathlete, cyclist, and recently retired Brownie leader. Whew! With all that going on, it’s a wonder she’s had time to write six books and countless non-fiction pieces. She looks well rested in this photo, doesn’t she?
Diane Capri: Sounds like you’re pretty active in sports, aren’t you?
Elena Aitken: I don’t participate in any team sports, maybe I don’t play well with others… but I do enjoy individual activities done with others. I love to run, swim and cycle and I’ve participated in a few triathlons. This year I’m hoping to take my triathlon training a little more seriously and set some bigger race goals. I don’t know if I’m good at these sports or not but I enjoy them and that’s more important. Plus, for me it’s about achieving something I never thought I could. There is no better feeling than crossing a finish line.
Diane Capri: One reviewer said your newest book features a strong leading lady, a sexy hero, sizzling chemistry, a fun plot and lots of heart. Hidden Gifts sounds terrific. Tell us a bit about this contemporary romance.
Elena Aitken: Hidden Gifts is the second in the Castle Mountain Lodge Series, which takes place at a beautiful lodge in the Canadian Rockies. Bo’s always known that to be a successful hiking guide at the beautiful Castle Mountain Lodge, he has to flirt with the ladies-but never get too close; have a penchant for wild adventures-but know when to pull away; and never have any ties holding him back.
Diane Capri: And his plan was working until Ella, the child he didn’t know he had appears in his life, right?
Elena Aitken: Right. Morgan’s always known what she wanted out of life but she needs a fresh start. Maybe changing her career and throwing herself into a totally new lifestyle at the Lodge is exactly what she needs. But then…..
Diane Capri: *laughs* I see the reviewer’s point! We’ll look forward to reading Hidden Gifts when it releases on October 1. You receive quite a bit of reader e-mail. Tell us about the absolute BEST letter you’ve received.
Elena Aitken: Hands down the very best fan letter I received was a tweet and all it said was, “Thank you for Becca.” She was referring to the main character in my book Drawing Free who is going through a major situation in her life and makes some hard choices. Becca is a mother who is burnt out, stressed and has had enough. One day she makes the choice to just keep driving instead of picking her daughter up from school. Despite some of the tough choices she makes, I think Becca is a character a lot of women relate to, even though it might make them uncomfortable.
Diane Capri: Your books involve interesting women in difficult situations, who make tough choices. Are your characters autobiographical?
Elena Aitken: I think to a certain degree, all of my main characters have a little part of me in them in some way. I’ve never actually modeled an entire character after myself but honestly, it’s pretty hard to spend so much time ‘with’ a character and get to know them so intimately and not have some little bits of myself in there. But no, I didn’t leave my family like Becca in Drawing Free. And, no, I didn’t run off and meet the love of my life and have his child like Lexi in Nothing Stays In Vegas. Just so everyone’s clear on that. *grins*
Diane Capri: What do you find most rewarding about writing fiction?
Elena Aitken: I have the best job in the world. I get to make up stories and play with my imaginary friends all day. Who wouldn’t want that job? But seriously, the best part of writing for a living is the flexibility it gives me. What other job out there allows you to be home for your kids, volunteer at school functions and spend the summers and all holidays hanging out with them without getting in trouble from the boss. That’s the best part. The most rewarding part is when I get an email from a reader telling me that my story touched them in some way. It blows my mind that my words can have such a profound effect on people.
Diane Capri: This photo reveals you in action again, taking a brief break while hiking with your family. Yet, your website tagline is “Don’t forget to breathe.” You must relax occasionally. What do you do to unwind?
Elena Aitken: It’s my dirty little secret, but I love reality television. The trashier the better. It’s mindless, I don’t have to think too much about it (or at all) and I can completely unplug and stop thinking about whatever plot problem I might be dealing with at the time. I like to tell my husband it’s character research but I have yet to write a beauty pageant mom – living in a house with ten other hot singles – who needs to lose two hundred pounds and prove they’re the best chef….But maybe I should. *laughs*
Residing in the Alberta foothills with her husband and twins, Elena escapes to the mountains as often as possible and can often be found sitting by the lake plotting her next story. You can contact her at her website: www.elenaaitken.com or connect with her on Twitter: @elenaaitken or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elenaaitken.author