Keira: Was Sophie Lawrance inspired just the tiniest bit by Anne Elliot, the heroine of Jane Austen's Persuasion?
Cara Elliott: Ha! It’s so interesting that you should ask that! Anne Elliot and Elizabeth Bennett of Pride and Prejudice are my co-favorite Austen heroines. And while at first blush they may appear to be very different, I feel they share many of the same qualities. They are both strong-minded, independent women who stick to their core values despite outside pressure. They are resilient, brave, loyal, and not afraid to admit to their mistakes—and then dare to take a gamble on true love.
Now. Lizzy is the more flamboyant and obvious rebel, and I’ve usually tended to write offbeat heroines who are in that mold. With Sophie Lawrance, I was really interested in creating a more outwardly quiet, conventional heroine who, like Anne Elliot, gives up love in order to do her duty to her family. But inwardly, Sophie has a spine of steel and a heart of gold, so it was really challenging and fun to slowly let her true character—her strength, her convictions, her courage, her willingness to take a risk—come out as the story developed. Although I didn’t consciously choose to pattern Sophie after Anne, I think she turned out to be an homage to Austen and the ultimate “quiet” heroine.
Keira: Which is easier: to play it safe in matters of the heart or to take the leap of faith and risk everything?
Cara: Oh, no question that it’s easier to play it safe. Taking a leap of faith and risking everything is frightening! But it’s also exhilarating. I don’t think you ever truly regret taking a chance on love and happiness.
Keira: What makes second chance romances so great? Why do we love them?
Cara: I think it’s because we all can really relate to them emotionally. I mean, we’ve all made mistakes, we’ve all made decisions we regret. So at heart, I think we all like to believe that it’s possible to learn and grow from the past . . . and then have a second chance to get it right!
Keira: If you could give advice to Cameron Daggett, the hero of Too Dangerous to Desire, what would you tell him? That is to say, if he would listen.
Cara: You’re right—Cameron is not one to heed advice! He has to figure things out for himself, even if that process involves a few scrapes and tumbles. However, if I dared to whisper a word of advice in his ear, I’d tell him to always follow his heart, no matter if the way gets a little rough. (But then, he actually figured that out on his own. Smart man!)
Keira: What is next on your plate? What inspired you to start the project?
Cara: In my last few books, I’ve had siblings play a secondary role in the stories and it was such a kick writing them that I decided to do a new trilogy revolving around three sisters—something I’ve never done before. I’ve just turned in the first book, and I am really having such fun with the concept! The stories revolve around three unconventional sisters who share a passion for writing. Olivia, the eldest, pens fiery political essays, Anna, the middle sister, writes racy romance novels, and Caro, who is not quite out of the schoolroom, is a budding poet. However, they must keep their passions a secret from Society. But as we all know, secret passions can get a girl into trouble . . .
We haven’t set a release date yet for the first book yet, but I’ll keep readers posted on my website (www.caraelliott.com)