Monday, August 3, 2015

Book Review and Author Interview: Diamond in the Rough by Elisa Marie Hopkins

Elisa Marie Hopkins is a debut author who released Diamond in the Rough this year.  I fell in love with it, even though romance typically isn't my thing. you can follow her on Facebook, InstagramTwitter or Pinterest.
Can't wait for her next book? Elisa writes often on her website.

My Review:

I received this as part of a firstreads giveaway.

While not exactly action packed, this intrigue-laden romance novel had and kept my attention. The beginnings of the romance in the story (young, single professional woman meets very rich, very handsome mysterious man while egged on by optimistic roommate) seemed awfully close to the first three pages of 50 Shades of Grey. Luckily, the violent men in the novel did not include Oliver Black in their numbers--and the relationship itself is well developed and interesting.
All in all, Hopkins succeeded in creating a romance with well developed, relateable characters without focusing completely on the romance itself--no matter how in love you are, life is going to go on around you and both parties are going to have things going on. I look forward to more.

My rating: 5 of 5.

The Interview:

Which authors or books have influenced your writing style?
To be honest, no one in particular. I read often and I learn something from everybody. I also watch way too many movies and TV shows for my own good. I absorb and analyze the elements in stories that make me feel something or have interesting characters. If I happen to not like a story, then I begin to notice things like grammar, plot holes, bad dialogue, and I also learn this way. In any case, I never stop learning.

What inspired you to make ADitR more than ‘just another romance novel’?

I never want to be just another author. I like to read and write raw characters, typical and atypical outcasts, people whose morals and needs come into conflict. Sophie will never be light and fluffy. She wasn’t designed that way. You might think of her as whiny, she might piss you off, or you might laugh at her bad puns. The thing about Sophie though, whatever you think of her she probably won’t care (unless you’re Oliver Black, then she definitely cares). I inwardly cringe whenever I see or hear a reader say Oliver is too perfect. My faith on humanity drops ten points. I have no desire to write perfect characters because a) they’re boring to write about and b) no one in real life is perfect. If a good-looking face and a thick wallet is a woman’s definition of perfect, then something probably ain’t right. #prioritycheck No offense, Oliver. I love you.

Bottom line is, I want to write books that will make your brain work. It’s an incredible organ. A busy brain is a clever brain! And a sexy one. I want to write books that can spark up a debate, sadden, inspire, delight. I don’t want to write flowery books that everybody will enjoy, because, let’s be real, you can’t please everyone. I personally hate some best sellers. Do I want to be liked? Uh, let me think. Of course! It’s the best feeling when readers have wonderful things to say about my stories.

What can we expect in your upcoming sequel to ADitR?

For snowboarders, the black diamond trial is of the most difficult slopes at a mountain. For readers, Black Diamond—I believe—I hope—will be a challenge for the mind. In a nutshell—nothing will be simple for Sophie and Oliver. For me, it was more of an intellectual exercise than the previous book. Research-wise, I felt like I was juggling frogs is all I can say. New characters are introduced to the game. Old favorites are upgraded. Others go a little nuts. It’s definitely more cohesive, just because the twists and turns of ADITR are pulled together in Black Diamond. I try to blend every possible emotion in a believable and satisfying mixture.
You can read the blurb and add Black Diamond to your TBR on Goodreads. A cover reveal is coming up soon, as is a release date!

What can we look forward to in the future?

I was 23 when I wrote ADITR and, you know, as we journey through life, we tend to pick up some wisdom along the way. I was in a much different place in my life emotionally; now that I’m 27 and a tad bit more grown up, the stuff I write is too. That’s not to say I won’t be targeting a younger audience in the future. I have a YA story in the works. But shhhhhhh…

Are your characters based on real people?

Sometimes I meet people and am so strangely moved by them, that I want to explore them as characters within my stories. I see a lot of myself in Oliver. He really challenged me, and my IQ probably rose considerably just giving him an identity. We both know our way around engineering, and we’re both sometimes very analytical, a bit stubborn even, drawn to some of life’s most puzzling mysteries.

You recently wrote about a near death experience on your website. How do you feel about planes now? Does your mother still worry when you travel?

Oh em gee, thank you for reading! That flight changed my life. I can still remember the experience vividly. How do I feel about airplanes? Jean Kerr said it best: “I feel about airplanes the same way I feel about diets, that they are wonderful things for other people to go on.” Honestly, I have to pop a Dramamine every time I fly, but I love to travel so what’s a gal going to do other than grow a spine and face her fears? My mother has a doctoral degree in worrying – passed it with flying colors. I love you, Ma. I know, I know, I’ll understand when I have kids of my own.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

ADITR was written because once upon a time, I was feeling very lost, hopeless, unhappy, and writing became an escape from my everyday life. Ultimately I wrote it for me. It might mean nothing to you, or you might like it. You might even want to come back for more.

I’ve always been a dreamer, not much of a doer. So to actually have written a story, to have pulled myself up out of depression and into a better place, then gone on to have a book published, for me— it’s everything.

If this book makes you feel something, I’m golden. Good. Bad. What’s the difference? If you see the good in the bad, then it’s not really bad, is it? Silver linings, people! They make the world go merry-go-round. I believe we itch for connection. We want to have a sense of belonging and identification. We want to feel like we’re not alone in this struggle. That said...if you do happen to take something valuable from this story, please write to me Or if you just want to say hi, that’s cool too. I love to talk to readers/writers/authors/aspiring authors, and help in any way I can.

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