Rad-Reader:  Where did the idea for this storyline come from?

Elizabeth:  The storyline for Shotgun Romance was entirely character driven.  Nick and Olivia showed up in Book 1 of the series, Second Chance Option and I knew the minute I introduced them to each other on the page that they were my next couple. I knew some of the basics of the story, but it wasn’t until their emotional wounds became clear to me that their story really popped.  What do you do with a man who thinks he’s unworthy of goodness and a woman who has major trust issues? Unplanned pregnancy of course.

Rad-Reader:  Can you give us some background story that the blurb may not have given us?  Something that helped you form the characters, Olivia and Nick?

Elizabeth:  Olivia and her mother were not welcomed into the family by her grandmother. When her mother died and her father went to prison, her grandmother wanted nothing to do with Olivia but didn’t want to make the scandal bigger. Olivia was already in college and sought to emancipate herself. She’s been on her own since her mother’s death and the friendships she forms in King’s Folly are the first true friendships she’s ever had.  Nick was a star football player in a small town. That gave him a certain amount of celebrity and his ego got ahead of him. When he was in the accident that killed his girlfriend’s best friend, his entire world came crashing down around him. Everyone, except his younger brother, turned their backs on him and he was prepared to go to prison and basically give up.  The Judge trying his case went above and beyond (and some might say outside of the Judicial Canon of ethics) because he believed in Nick and he pushed him to fight for his life.

  Rad-Reader:  How did you create both Olivia and Nick?  Or did they create themselves as some authors say?

Elizabeth:  Olive was “born” after I watched an episode of Rizzoli & Isles. Jan Rizzoli was investigating a woman’s suspicious death and suspected the husband. He framed his daughter for the murder, but Jane was convinced she didn’t do it and proved it. I often ask “what if” when I think about movie and tv characters and I thought about what a young woman would do and who she would become is she was so deeply betrayed by her father. Olivia started to form in my mind and once she hit the page in Second Chance Option, she really let me know who she was. Nick evolved as I was writing Second Chance Option.  The premise for all my coaches in Gridiron Knights is “what are some reasons a really talented football player might not go pro and would end up in the military?” I knew some of my guys were going to have issues with law enforcement, one being Nick, who was basically in the wrong place at the wrong time and got a military or prison option and the other was Ben, the hero of Romancing the Rusher, who was convicted of a crime he didn’t commit.  It was Nick’s scenes with Tess in Second Chance Option that really brought him into focus. He’s a fundamentally good man whose life has made him feel like he doesn’t deserve good things.

Rad-Reader:  Right off the bat we find out that Delilah is nosy, controlling, and doesn’t trust men.  Why?  And why does she think she has a right to get into Olivia’s love life?

Elizabeth:  Delilah may be an acquired taste for some, but I adore her. I can’t wait for everyone to read her story in book 5, Bootleg Love Affair (which will be out in March 2019).  She doesn’t trust men because, historically, the women in her family have lousy taste in husbands (good for producing the next generation of Derringer women and then leaving the women in their lives high and dry).  She’s also coming off a very difficult divorce and something truly awful happened at the end of her marriage which has caused her a tremendous amount of pain. In Second Chance Option we learn that the man that romanced Olivia is Delilah’s ex-husband and that Olivia is basically alone in the world. Delilah decides the Olivia needs her to look out for her and keep her from getting hurt again and Delilah has no problems telling everyone else what to do.

Rad-Reader:  After Delilah sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong Nick ends up at his mom’s in Bama.  She says she has cancer is she coning him?

Elizabeth:  Jane Jacobs has cancer. When Nick ends up at her place, he finds a woman who has given up on herself and her life.

Rad-Reader:  His mom said she knew he didn’t kill that girl but he said he did nothing so it was as if he did.  What all happened?

Elizabeth:  Nick and his girlfriend and her best friend were at a high school party and there was a lot of drinking. Nick wasn’t drunk but was also planning on crashing at his buddy's house. His girlfriend and her friend were drunk and wanted to leave. He refused to take them and wanted them to leave him alone. His girlfriend stole his truck keys. He went after them but couldn’t stop her from driving away. She hit a tree and her friend was killed instantly. Nick had actually jumped in the back of the truck to try and stop them, so he was at the scene of the accident.  He felt responsible for not stopping them from leaving the party (and encouraging them to leave him alone) and took the blame for the accident.

Rad-Reader:  What did Olivia think when he didn’t show for breakfast?  We never get her POV?

Elizabeth:  Olivia waited for him for several hours. She gave him the benefit of the doubt for about an hour, but when he didn’t show up, she was hurt. She’d lowered some of her not inconsiderable emotional walls to be with him the night before and when he stood her up, she was hurt, angry and betrayed. She’d had a crush on Nick since she’d first met him but was sure he wouldn’t want a genius, English professor. Him not showing for breakfast reinforced all those emotions.

Rad-Reader:  Does Delilah play the tune “I told you so?” When it all comes out what happened in Vegas?

Elizabeth:  No.  The thing that’s really great about Delilah is that she will make her opinion on something known right up until the moment there are consequences for the decisions she disagreed with. Once those consequences are clear she shuts her mouth and helps her friends move forward. She can be interfering and annoying, but Delilah probably has the biggest heart of any character I’ve written so far.
Rad-Reader: I loved that about her character.  She was madder than an old wet hen at Nick but when she found out he was the baby daddy and then his mama needed help she was right there.  Now that is a friend.  Then, the schedules too.  Loved her for that.

Rad-Reader:  Turns out Olivia and Nick have a lot in common.  So, why don’t they just put all their card on the table and see where to go from there?

Elizabeth:  Trust issues.  They both have a lot of emotional pain from their pasts and that pain has left each of them very wary of trusting others. Nick is always waiting for doors to slam in his face and Olivia is always waiting for people to turn on her. It’s really difficult for either of them to take the leap. Olivia did take the leap in Vegas and Nick stood her up, which made her even less likely to trust him.

Rad-Reader:  Nick’s past can’t be all that bad if they are allowing him to be around the students on the football team or expunged his record, right?

Elizabeth:  It’s actually not that bad at all. He took the blame for the two women in his life at the time of the accident, his mother and his girlfriend. The judge that handled his case figured that out and made arrangements for his case to be handled the way it was (mandatory military service and record expunged upon completion).  He’s definitely one of the good guys and his scars have a lot more to do with what he feels he should have done instead of what he actually did.

Rad-Reader:  What happened between her and Brian Gill that he was calling her Baby?  Why does he think it’s still okay to still call her that?

Elizabeth:  We learned in Second Chance Option that Brian and Olivia dated. While he did actually like her, his romancing her was part of a plot Gill Senior cooked up to derail the new football program.  Brian Gill Junior is an interesting character.  When I first wrote him, he was all bad guy.  In Romancing the Rusher he showed up on the page and was the heroine’s best friend, so I had to do a lot of re-thinking (and redeeming).  Brian Gill Junior is a troubled man with a difficult past.  He knows he hurt Olivia, but in this book he’s hoping she might give him a second chance and help him redeem himself (clearly she’s not his redemption, but it’s coming in the next series, Gridiron Dragons, where readers are going to meet the coaches for the Knights’ biggest rival).

Rad-Reader:  The student in her class is a little spooky.  Don’t you think if the feeling is there Nick should warn her about both men being a little off and to watch her back?

Elizabeth:  Nick is treating very lightly with Olivia. He’s worried about pushing too hard too fast and pushing her away. He makes a few comments about her student that she doesn’t take well and it’s clear her walls are up when it comes to Nick. He decides the best thing to do is stick close to her. That way he’s there if she needs him.

Rad-Reader:  Why doesn’t he just tell her about being an ex-con, his expunged record before someone else does?

Elizabeth:  The people that know the truth encouraged him to do just that. It all boils down to his insecurity. He’s internalized this feeling of not being worthy and a part of him is just waiting for the shoe to drop. He also wants to wait for “the perfect time,” when he’s sure he won’t lose her because of his story. It all boils down to fear. He’s afraid he’s going to lose her no matter what, so he just gets trapped by his own fear and inability to act because of it.

Rad-Reader:  Why doesn’t she take her safety seriously?  Like the Clay student that Nick was trying to warn her about?

Elizabeth:  Olivia has, for the most part, been very sheltered. In her mind, academia is her safe space and nothing bad could happen there. Her concerns about Clay aren’t about her safety they’re about reaching a talented student. She thinks Nick is overreacting because he doesn’t understand Clay.

Rad-Reader:  Does Delilah have a thing for Simon?

Elizabeth: No. She hides her pain behind a mask of flirting and sassiness. She likes Simon, but her soulmate hasn’t hit town at this point, although we’ve heard his voice. She meets Boomer Hale in Bootleg Love Affair and that’s it for her.

Rad-Reader:  Was it really food poisoning or did someone put something into her food and then was watching them from outside?

Elizabeth:  It was really food poisoning. I needed a pregnancy crisis that could bring them together and keep them in close quarters for a while.  Food poisoning that early in the pregnancy can be very dangerous.

Rad-Reader:  Why doesn’t Kate like him?

Elizabeth:  Kate’s relationship with Nick was inspired by The Pink Panther movies. Inspector Clouseau’s relationship with his manservant, Cato. Cato is constantly attacking Inspector Clouseau to keep him sharp and prepared for anything. I thought, what if Olivia’s dog actually adored Nick, but showed it by constantly messing with him.  She loves playing with Nick in a way she doesn’t play with any other person.  Once he realizes what her game is, it’s their thing.

Rad-Reader:  Do we ever find out who left her the Teddy bear?

Elizabeth:  It was Olivia’s student, who turned out to be her little sister. She came to Cormac to meet her sister and kind of stalked her because she couldn’t find the courage to approach Olivia directly.

Rad-Reader:  Since Olivia had done that research about the football coaches does that mean that she knows everything about Nick’s background?

Elizabeth:  She did preliminary research on the sport and the coaching positions, but she didn’t do a deep dive on anyone’s background. So, she didn’t find out anything about Nick other than what was released with the program proposal.

Rad-Reader:  Really it has been 63% of the book that has passed and although you know that each of the two has feelings for their future child’s parent but no one has declared anything.  Why?

Elizabeth:  The biggest thing that Olivia and Nick have in common is their unfamiliarity with real, dependable, ever-after love. That combined with their trust issues gives them each a bit of an “I don’t want to be the first one to say it” insecurity. So, while the feelings are there, they are both having a hard time expressing those feelings and even recognizing the depth of them.

Rad-Reader:  Only the pull and push, of we need to discuss how things will work with the child.  Really?  Such commitment.  I mean don’t stick your necks out too far for your child or anything.  Right?  Like two children not wanting to be tagged first.

Elizabeth:  That’s exactly it. Their childhoods have left a little stunted in some areas and they spend a lot of the book growing and developing their relationship and feelings for each other, but as I said in the previous question, they both have a “your first” attitude when it comes to the deep emotional stuff. Especially, Olivia because she feels like she put herself out there in Vegas and he stood her up.

Rad-Reader:  Nick needs to say he’s going to tell Olivia about his past.  Otherwise, troubles brewing.  Is that what Brian Gill wants to tell her about and the reason he keeps popping up?

Elizabeth:  Yes, he really does. But if he was evolved enough to tell her at the beginning of the book, we wouldn’t have any conflict between them for the rest of the story. That’s part of what Brian wants to tell her, but he also has it in his head that she can “save” him if she gives him another chance. So, he keeps popping up.

Rad-Reader:  Was Delilah married to Gill Jr.?  Why are they divorcing?

Elizabeth:  We hear about Delilah and Junior’s marriage in Second Chance Option.  At this point, we think they are divorcing because he cheated on her.  There will be a lot more revealed about their relationship in Romancing The Rusher because Brian Junior is best friends with the heroine in that book, Lily. And of course, all the horrible details about what ended their marriage (which have more to do with Gill Senior than Junior) will be revealed in Delilah’s story, Bootleg Love Affair.

Rad-Reader:  Why did Jr. Lock Sr. out of the house?

Elizabeth:  Senior is the big bad guy of this series.  While everyone thinks Senior and Junior are in lockstep it becomes apparent that Junior doesn’t like his father and is getting sick of doing his bidding. As we move further in the series, in fact in book 3, Romancing The Rusher, we learn that Brian Junior had a terrible childhood and that Senior is an evil man.

Rad-Reader:  Why did Jr. Say Cade and Nick came there stopping his ticket out of town?

Elizabeth:  Junior thought he would be the star quarterback and that would be his ticket out of town and away from his father’s control. But riding the bench behind Cade meant Junior never got a chance to really be seen.  So much of moving up the ladder in athletics is timing and being seen. I’ve known some very talented athletes who didn’t make it beyond a certain level because of timing and not talent.

Rad-Reader:  Why is Jr. trying to stop the Divorce with Delilah?

Elizabeth:  This is another Senior plot that comes out in book 3.  Basically, if the question is “Why is Junior doing this terrible thing?” The answer is Senior’s making him for some reason.

Rad-Reader:  Why is the Deputy soft when it comes to Jr.?

Elizabeth:  The Deputy is Lily Mooney and she’s the heroine in Romancing The Rusher and Junior’s best friend. She knows all the reasons behind his bad behavior and that underneath all the terrible attitude and bad deeds is a good man (it’s probably going to take readers a while to agree with her, but if they stay on the journey with me, they’ll see it too).

Rad-Reader:  How did you know so much about the academic and football side of college programs in order for a student to play?

Elizabeth:  My brother played college football and he’s been a big help to me writing this series.  I also watched the series Last Chance U which is a documentary about junior college level football and there’s a lot in there about academic eligibility. Finally, one of my critique partners is a retired English professor and I can rely on her to let me know if I get the details wrong.

Rad-Reader:  If your book was made into a movie who would you want to play…

Olivia:  Alexandra Daddario

Nick:  Sean Altemose 

Rush:  Theo James

Cade:  Jimmy Garoppolo

Tess:  Melissa Benoist

Charlie:  Shailene Woodley

Delilah:  Katy Perry

Jane:  Calista Flockhart

Lily:  Emily Ratajkowski

Jr. Gill:  Brant Daugherty

Sr. Gill:  Alex Baldwin

Elizabeth:  This is a great question. I build hidden Pinterest boards with people I imagine would play my characters in a movie. So, I’m going to answer with my original thoughts that helped inspire the characters. When I “cast my movie” I don’t pay attention to ages or even if an actor or actress is still alive. I cast based on a picture, which may be completely outdated. But in my perfect fantasy, they could play the part.

Olivia:  I pictured Sandra Bullock

Nick:  Chris Hemsworth (short brunette hair, not Thor hair)

Delilah:  Delilah is frequently described as Marilyn Monroe with Gwen Stefani’s sense of style

Rad-Reader:  What song or songs best describes your characters or your book as a whole?

“Secret – Maroon 5”
They had been seeing each other when at functions with friends.  Their insecurities stopped them.  Secrets of their past tied them down.  A ‘One & Done’ in Vegas changes their lives forever.

“Can’t Take My Eyes Off You – Lady Ante Bellum”
When Olivia lets Nick know she pregnant he is in shock of course.  Though he does say he will be there for her.  When there is a scare, they get closer and that closeness is something they never had or felt before or ever want to feel with anyone else.

“Unkiss Me – Maroon 5”
When Olivia receives envelope showing her in black & white what Nick had been trying to get the courage to tell her about his past.  Finding that perfect moment is gone.  She loses it and tells him to get out.  Life is no longer perfect in either of their worlds.


Elizabeth:  This is another great question. I can’t really get into a couple’s story until I know “their” song. I also find a lot of inspiration in music, so my series get their own soundtracks.  There are 43 tracks on the Gridiron Knights playlist. Here are a few of them.

Nick and Olivia’s song is: “Little Did You Know by Alex & Sierra.”  The refrain when Alex starts singing says everything about the couple.

The theme song for the whole series is “We Were Born to Rise by Redlight Kings” again, the refrain says it all.

Cade and Tess’s song is “Unpack Your Heart by Phillip Phillips” (Cade and Tess are the hero and heroine of book 1 – Second Chance Option) The refrain for this one too. 

Ben and Lily’s song is “Something I Need by One Republic” (Ben and Lily are the hero and heroine of book 3 – Romancing the Rusher) 

Rush and Frankie’s song is “Shut Up and Dance with Me” (Rush and Frankie are the hero and heroine of book 4 – Love in the Zone)

Rad-Reader:  What was your very first story ever about.  Published or unpublished.  What did it mean to you?

Elizabeth:  I wrote my first ever story with Harlequin in mind (when I was 13). It wasn’t published. My heroine was a champion tennis player who ended up in a wheelchair after an accident. The hero was a reporter, looking for a big story. I don’t remember much about the story because it was a long time ago. I remember the rejection from Harlequin better. They didn’t publish books with heroines in wheelchairs.
Rad-Reader: That hearts my heart in so many ways.

Rad-Reader:  If you could tell a new writer anything what would it be?

Elizabeth:  Write what you love. There are always going to be people telling you what to write or what sells and what doesn’t. The best thing you can do for your writing career is to listen to your muse and write what inspires you.

Rad-Reader:  What are the three things you can’t leave home without?

Elizabeth:  My phone is the only thing that I have to have with me, not just because my husband can be overprotective and wants to make sure I can always call him if I need him, but also because it has my music and e-reading apps on it.

Rad-Reader:  Who has encouraged you the most in your writing?

Elizabeth:  I’ve been blessed to have some amazing people in my life. But the person who has encouraged me the most is my husband. He’s been completely supportive of my writing career.

Rad-Reader:  What is your favorite type of music?

Elizabeth:  I listen to all kinds of music.  I don’t really have a favorite type. What I listen to completely depends on my mood.

Rad-Reader:  Your favorite type of movies?

Elizabeth:  I’m a huge movie fan. My undergraduate degree is in film production.  I love a good story whether it’s on the page or on the screen.

Rad-Reader:  Last book you read?

Last movie you saw?

Last song you heard?

Elizabeth:  Book - Immortal Ever After by Lynsay Sands
Movie - Deadly Sexy the film version of a book by the amazing Beverly Jenkins
Song I Lived by One Republic

Rad-Reader:  What is your next project and when is it coming out?

Elizabeth:  Book 5 of the Gridiron Knights Series is out in March 2019. It’s Delilah and Boomer’s story and it’s called Bootleg Love Affair.

Rad-Reader:  Where can our readers buy your books?  Links

Elizabeth:  My books are available on most major platforms.  There are buy links for all the platforms on the individual book pages on my website:

Rad-Reader:  Where can our reader find you on the Web?  Links

Elizabeth:  I have a website and I’m on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

     Thanks for all your time in answering my questions.  It was so much fun reading your book and getting involved with all your characters.  I loved to get upset, loved sighing over the romantic gestures, and yelling at the crazy antics that would go on.  I really laughed at the funny moments with Kate and how she just loved Nick so much. 
     Make sure you come by and let us know when your next book is dropping so that we can add it to our Shout Out: An Author's Place page.  

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