Love and Laughter: A Recipe for Happily Ever After by Elizabeth Meyette

Love and Laughter: A Recipe for Happily Ever After by Elizabeth Meyette.


A Little Mystery, a Little History, a Little Romance Elizabeth Meyette

How romance weaved its way into my mystery.


A Little Mystery, a Little History, a Little Romance

After writing two historical romance novels, I wanted to tackle my other favorite genre, mystery. I couldn’t help it—the characters in my mystery fell in love. My friend and editor, H.J. remarked after rereading Middlemarch, “Every book is a romance.” Pretty much. We all seek to love and be loved, so one of the most compelling elements in a story is relationships. Romance seems especially fascinating.

Needless to say, there is romance in The Cavanaugh House. Jesse Graham is reeling after her fiancé, Robert’s, betrayal; her trust factor is at an all-time low, her defenses at an all-time high. Enter Joe Riley with his easy smile and laid-back charm, and Jesse feels her resolve eroding with each encounter.

I set The Cavanaugh House in 1968—a quirky time period that can’t be nailed down as historical and certainly isn’t contemporary—for…

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The Cavanaugh House Awaits You…

Return to Rio

THC BookCoverPreview (2)                          Elizabeth Meyette

Today I’m truly excited to have Elizabeth Meyette here at Return to Rio, talking about her brand new release, The Cavanaugh House. Elizabeth also writes historical fiction and promised to give readers some insight into her personal journey along This Writer’s Road.

Elizabeth, before we talk about your books and your new release, The Cavanaugh House, please tell us a little about yourself:

Leslie, it’s so nice to visit with you and your readers today. My husband, Rich, and our kids are very supportive of my quirky writerly ways. The kids are on their own now, but Rich puts up with my dazed condition on writing days when all brain power is focused on my work. When I retired from teaching a few years early to pursue my writing career, I dusted off my manuscript for Love’s Destiny which had languished on my closet shelf for all those…

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Where do I get ideas for my stories, you ask…

Elizabeth Meyette

On a recent trip to upstate New York to visit family, I was struck by my muse on the 403 in Ontario. No, I wasn’t injured (thanks for asking) but I was inspired. It was perfect, actually.  Rich sleeping, no radio, CD or audio book, just me and my wandering thoughts.  And then it crept into my mind, the first sentence of my new book. “This house held secrets.”  One by one the next sentences unraveled in my brain like a rose opening in a time-lapse video. But I had no pen or paper, and as I said, I was driving on 403. Near Hamilton.  There was nothing to do but pray that I wouldn’t lose those sentences.

Gradually throughout the rest of the trip, the outline of the story unfolded before my mind’s eye.  This is unusual for me because my process is sit down and write what the characters tell me to write.  I never outline, and I seldom know where I am going until I get there, and usually I’m the most surprised of all. One thing I clearly knew was what the house would look like that would be the setting for the story. Perhaps I shouldn’t reveal these deep, dark author secrets, but hey, it’s true.  I clasped these inspired thoughts to me all through greeting my sisters, nieces and their families and friends Friday night.  First thing Saturday morning, I wrote down the opening paragraph and synopsis.

The windows looked like sad eyes.

The plan for Saturday was to show Rich the Finger Lakes and brag a little. We both grew up on the Great Lakes, Rich was born in Michigan, so it takes a lot to impress us where lakes are concerned.  But the Finger Lakes didn’t let me down; he was impressed.   I knew by then that I would set my new novel in the Finger Lakes region because just being their I felt their magic and mystery seep into my bones.  We dined at the Steamboat Landing on the shore of Canandaigua Lake, then headed to Seneca Lake for some winery tours. Along route 5/20 I shouted to Rich, “There’s my house!”  Standing abandoned by the side of the road was a dilapidated yellow house that looked exactly like the house I had envisioned for my novel. He turned the car around and we snapped pictures from every angle imaginable. I kept repeating, “I don’t believe this. I don’t believe this.”

Seneca Lake

We resumed our journey and eventually ended up at Belhurst Castle on Seneca Lake.  Once a beautiful castle that housed an illegal speakeasy on the second floor, it is now a B&B and restaurant. A wedding was in progress on the grounds as we sipped our wine samples and chatted with our bartender. In the course of the conversation, Rich told her I was in the process of writing a book that would be set in this region.  He also told her about Love’s Destiny and she ordered it on her phone right then and there. She then told us the castle was believed to be haunted. Holy Smokes, could this day get any better?? I purchased a book about the history of Belhurst Castle and then commenced to dog waiters and other staff with questions about the ghost. Most blew me off with “I don’t believe in that stuff,” until I ran into one of the chefs. “Do you have a ghost story?” I asked.  His eyes twinkled and he said, “I have better.  I have a picture.”  He showed us a picture on his phone taken by a guest of her husband.  In the foreground there is a clear image of a woman with long hair and another seated at a table in front of the husband.  His wife said the images were not visible as she was taking the picture.  How cool is that? Needless to say, the castle will be an intricate part of my story.

This was a new one for me, all this outlining and knowing the ending before I start.  And the way all of this occurred throughout the day was amazing. I can’t get the book or the characters out of my mind and I have already begun the novel. Once again, I chalk it up to my d.a.m. inspiration– (divine attendant muse). It will be very fun to write a book and know a little bit more than my characters…for now.

Lady in Red – Elizabeth Meyette

Introduce yourself, please (name you write under). Is this a pen or personal name? Why did you make the choice to write under that name?

I am Elizabeth Meyette, the author of Love’s Destiny, a historical romance which is due out as an ebook on June 4. Love’s Destiny was an IMC (In My Closet) book for a long time until I retired from teaching to pursue my passion for writing.  I will be published under my own name, although I had considered a nom de plume: Evelyn Mercereau.  It’s a combination of my mother’s first name and my great-grandmother’s surname, and I think it’s an awesome nom de plume for a romance writer.  But, alas, there are other books titled Love’s Destiny and I didn’t want friends and family to order the wrong book, so I decided to use my own name.

Tell us about your family and where you live.

I grew up in upstate New York, the product of a large Irish/Catholic family, and now I live in Michigan with my beloved husband, Rich who is my biggest supporter. We have three grown children who are successful adults off doing their own things. Kate and her husband Todd live in Michigan, Matt and Rachel live in Iowa, and Kristin and Tedd live in Houston and are the parents of our two grandchildren, Tommy and Molly. (There oughta be a law about moving grandchildren out-of-state!)

 What have you done other than writing?

In order to pursue my writing career, I retired earlier than I had planned from teaching secondary English and journalism. During my career in education I also did a stint as a school Media Specialist (Librarian), and everyday I could share my love for books and literature with my students. I was constantly surrounded by great writing which, in a way, was frustrating since I wanted to be writing, too, and now I am.  Am I blessed or what? I send up prayers of gratitude every day that I can devote my time to writing.

The best part about my writing life is:

The best part of my writing life is that I have so much time to write. Now I can dedicate entire days to my writing, stay up all night if the muse is at work, and work in my pajamas which I have done! Also, I am fascinated by the process. I love to put a couple of characters in a room and just let them start talking. I just record what they say, and often when I reread it to edit or revise it’s like reading it for the first time. Every writer has a her own process; some like to outline the story, some like to tack up photos of people who look like their characters, and some just sit down and write. Someone said do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.  I agree, and I am living proof.

The worst part about my writing life is:

The hardest part of my writing life is that I don’t have enough time. I know that sounds like a paradox based on my previous respons, but I am still looking for the most effective and efficient way to structure my day.  I can’t believe how hours fly by as I work and suddenly it’s dinner time or I forgot about the laundry and it sat in the washer overnight.  I guess if that’s the worst thing about my writing life, I have plenty to be thankful for.

Tell us about one—just one—physical characteristic and one secret passion.

If I had to choose one specific physical characteristic to mention about myself, I would say my voice; more than once people I haven’t seen in years have said they recognize me by my voice. This leads to my secret passion: singing.  I love to sing, and I belong to a community chorale, sing at our church, sing when I’m cleaning house, sing in the shower, sing when someone says a phrase which in any way evokes a song I know. Singing a solo on stage at our center for the arts is on my bucket list. Oh, perhaps this isn’t so secret after all now.

Tell us one thing about yourself you’d never change.

One thing about myself that I would never change is my thirst for knowledge.  I’ve always said that if I win the lotto, I would become a full-time student studying comparative religions, philosophy and other important-in-life topics.

 If you didn’t live where you do, where would you live? Why?

My husband and I love to travel, and I’m not sure I have found the ideal place to live yet. We have a cottage on a Great Lakes that we love in the summer and visit warm places in our timeshares in the winter. But we also love Ireland and Europe and hope to visit there again.  I guess it depends on our mood, but I know it would be near a large body of water.

Do you write about where you live or where you’d like to live?

I haven’t set Love’s Destiny in any of places I just mentioned.  The story is based in the area around Jamestown and colonial Williamsburg, Virginia because I had just visited there when I started writing the book and I was fascinated by its historical significance. I was captured by the rich history and the stories behind the early days of our nation.  I found it romantic in every sense of the word, and I loved researching the architecture, politics, fashion and culture of this time period.

What’s the first creative writing you remember doing outside a class?

My third grade teacher affirmed my writing talent, and I think I was hooked from then on.  My first poem, “Song of an Invalid”, was published in my junior year in high school. In college I tended more toward journalism, writing for the college newpaper, but my first love has always been creative writing. I don’t remember specific writing I did outside of school, but I remember that my nose was always in a book. One of my most treasured gifts was the complete set of Sherlock Holmes that my father gave me when I was thirteen.  I still have that.

Why do you write romance novels?

I actually wrote Love’s Destiny on a dare.  My friend was an avid romance reader and kept encouraging me to read her Kathleen Woodiwiss novels. Finally, I caved, read one, and fell in love with love stories.  Not wanting to appear too easy a convert, I jokingly said to her, “I could write a romance novel.” She challenged me with, “Then do it.” Thus the birth of Love’s Destiny. But it’s been a long labor and delivery! I like writing romance because one of the strongest emotions we feel is that crazy, senseless impulse that makes us act like we’re out of our minds when we fall in love. It is a physical pulling of one heart toward another that no one can resist, and that can be revisited on the pages of a romance novel. And I like happy endings because life is complicated, sometimes difficult, sometimes sad, so read a book with hope.

What else do you write?

I also write and have published poetry.  Again I think it is the emotion behind the writing that attracts me. I have begun a contemporary novel, but I am not sure what genre it will fall under. When the story came to me I thought it might be paranormal, but I will have to wait until my divine attendant spirit, as Elizabeth Gilbert calls it, inspires me to write more. Also, I recently submitted my first children’s book for publication.

What one thing from your book did you take from personal experience?

One thing  in my novel that I took from personal experience was my main character Emily’s willingness to change her point of view when she learned all the facts.  I like to think I am open-minded enough to learn and grow and change based on information and experiences that I encounter.

What did you cut from your book that felt like severing a body part?

Even though my manuscript was a little longer than Crimson Romance was asking for, I didn’t have to cut much of it.  Nothing that was traumatic.  My biggest editing task was revising point of view. I tend to want to write what all my characters are thinking at the same time, so revising for consistent POV was my biggest challenge. No body parts were severed in the publication of this novel.

Do you identify closely with one particular character? How?

While I would like to say that I most identify with Emily, I think I really am more like Joanna, Jonathon’s sister.  As my daughter pointed out, she is the voice of reason in the book.

Give us a hint about what the next book’s like.

Friends who have read Love’s Destiny are clamoring for a sequel, and there are enough plot lines to make that possible.  Of course Emily and Jonathon’s story will continue along with Deidre’s wicked attempts at reclaiming Jonathon.  Since the American Revolution is just beginning, some of the conflict is built right in for many characters.  Andrew, Emily’s younger brother is becoming a man, so who knows what might happen in his life… I am in the process of writing Love’s Spirit and hope it will be ready to submit this fall.

Torn between her love for Jonathon Brentwood, a patriot, and her loyalty to England, Emily Wentworth must decide her destiny.