Last Summer, Elle Wright took the book industry by storm with her debut romance novel “The Forbidden Man” from her Edge of Scandal Series. Since then, we have never been the same. Recently, we had the opportunity to sit down and chat with her about life, the Edge of Scandal Series, and so much more. Please read, share, and comment.
Cleavester: Hi Elle, how are you?
Elle Wright: Hello, Cleavester! I’m good. How are you?
Cleavester: Very well, thank you!
Elle Wright: Glad to hear it!
Cleavester: Congrats on the release of your two novels “The Forbidden Man’ and ‘His All Night.’
Elle Wright: Thank you! It’s been very exciting! I’m so honored to be on this journey.
Cleavester: Where did the idea for this series come from?
Elle Wright: Well, I’d been working on The Forbidden Man for a long time. It was originally entitled “The Affair.” The idea came about, I believe, from a question posed by one of my friends. What would happen if a women was torn between two brothers/friends? Then, the wheels started turning and I wanted to be able to write a story where the reader would actually root for the couple in the wrong.
Once, I started writing, the other characters came to life and I decided to delve into their relationships as well.
Cleavester: Tell the readers about ‘The Forbidden Man?’
Elle Wright: The Forbidden Man is the story of a woman (Sydney) who finds out that her fiancé cheated on her while she’s getting fitted for her wedding dress. Devastated, she calls off the wedding and proceeds to get smashed. Enter Morgan, her fiancé’s brother and one of her closest friends.
Initially, Morgan just wants Syd to be okay so he helps her. He offers her a safe haven, away from his brother. Eventually, they cross a line and they can’t turn back.
Mixing a betrayal with two fifths of Patron and a stranded car in an ice storm will certainly complicate matters even worse. Eventually, Sydney will have to make a choice.
Cleavester: Those sex scenes were very steamy. What kind of mood were you in writing them?
Elle Wright: Thank you! Hm… I would say that the sex scenes were inspired. I had to be in the mood to write them, so a lot of them were written out of order. I guess I was inspired most by the soundtrack I created for the book. When I start working on a book, I create a soundtrack of songs that I think fit the setting, characters, and overall theme of the book.
Sydney isn’t a virgin, but she doesn’t have the most experience so I chose songs that signaled an awakening of sorts. I wanted her to experience sex differently with Morgan than she ever imagined. So that’s what I was striving for when writing those scenes.
Cleavester: What were some of the songs?
Elle Wright: The first song that came to mind, and I actually incorporated it into the book, was Voyage to Atlantis by The Isley Brothers. Feeling You, Feeling Me by Alicia Keys Down Low (Nobody has to Know) by R. Kelly, Inside my Love by Minnie Riperton, and Say it by Ne-Yo are a few others.
Cleavester: How long did it take you to write it ‘The Forbidden Man?’
Elle Wright: Overall, it took about 2 years. I started and then stopped for a while. Then, I picked it back and up and finished. It went through many drafts and plot changes as well. There were characters that needed to be removed, history that needed to be altered. For example, in the original version, Syd and Morgan had been having an emotional affair for years. And Caden wasn’t her first lover. It was very different.
Cleavester: Wow. Is Syd based off of a real person?
Elle Wright: Ha! Not really. She has some characteristics that are based on women I know (including myself). She’s a planner. I am, too. She’s way too dramatic for her own good. LOL But so are a lot of people, especially when they are going through something. What I like about Syd is that she’s… funny.
Syd is constantly worried about what others think of her. Family is everything to her. And she’s loyal to a fault. She stuck with Caden even when she probably should have let him go. Being with Morgan is not something she ever dreamed of or thought possible. So it’s fun to see her take this journey.
Cleavester: Have some readers written to you saying that they are Syd or know a Syd in their lives?
Elle Wright: I’ve had a few readers who have emailed and told me they connected to Syd because she was familiar to them. It makes me feel good to write characters that evoke emotion from readers. Some readers were so invested in the outcome. Made me feel good.
Cleavester: You started the novel off with a major bang. Was that part of the plan, when you set out to write this book?
Elle Wright: Actually, that wasn’t the original first chapter. It just sort of came to me after the book was already done. I kind of wanted to be in the action and not just remember it. I felt it would make Syd more relatable as a character for the reader to experience the devastating news with her. And how she immediately turned to the wine and Morgan swoops in (reluctantly) to save the day.
Cleavester: My heart went out to Sydney after that news. I said “Laney is a bold bitch.” What was going through your head writing that scene?
Elle Wright: Laney was a faceless character for me. I hadn’t thought about how she looked, I only imagined what her voice would sound like. I did that so I could hate her. LOL Laney was all about Laney under the guise of “helping” Sydney by relaying the information. And I wanted that to be clear. And I wanted Syd to be the type of woman who could go toe-to-toe with Laney, act like she wasn’t fazed. But then, I knew she’d crack under the pressure afterward. Ultimately, Syd knew all along that Den wasn’t right. She knew that Den hadn’t treated her right, and she’d made excuse after excuse for him. But he always fell short.
Cleavester: Will you tell Laney’s story in the future?
Elle Wright: I’m not sure I will. Right now, I’m working on Den’s redemption story. Laney is in that book. It required me to give her a face, but the hate is still there. LOL I don’t think I want to write her story.
Cleavester: She is many women.
Elle Wright: True. She is. It would have to be a serious epiphany for me to go that way.
Cleavester: Tell the readers a little about you the person and writer?
Elle Wright: I’m married, to the guy I had a crush on in High School. I guess you could say I married my best friend. So, I write a lot about friends-to-lovers. I have three beautiful and intelligent children. My mother was an educator for 34+ years and she instilled in me the importance of reading. It was one of the best lessons I could have ever learned because it fostered my creativity in a lot of ways.
Well, I’ve always been a dreamer. And I’ve always made up stories in my head. Fun fact: I am a total Barbie girl—in my own Barbie world. When I was a kid, I used to sit in my room for hours making up stories for my dolls. And they weren’t just your average Barbie meets Ken type of story. Barbie was the star of her own soap opera. When I moved out of my mother’s home, my dolls went with me. I’m a total geek like that. I just can’t bear to part with them.
Most of my story ideas come from weird real life situations or questions posed by friends or acquaintances. I spend a lot of time plotting in my head before I actually sit down to write. Most of my story ideas come while I’m driving so I have to record my thoughts on my phone while I’m on the road so that I can remember them later.
Cleavester: How did Beverly Jenkins inspired you to be a writer?
Elle Wright: After I had my daughter, I had a medical crisis. I was home for a while with her. It was my mother who brought Indigo to me so that I could read it. I’d never been a fan of romance and I gave her the crazy look when I saw the cover. But, let me tell you, reading that book changed my life!!!
It made me see romance in a different light. I’d always written in some form, and thought that one day I’d write for a soap opera. I started a story in college that was like a soap opera. I also wrote poetry. But it wasn’t until I read Indigo that I picked my college story up again. I haven’t stopped writing since.
Cleavester: Tell the readers about the second book in the Edge of Scandal series ‘His All Night?’
Elle Wright: His All Night is the story of Calisa (Sydney’s best friend) and Jared (Sydney’s twin brother).
It literally starts out with a bang! LOL It’s a sexy read about two friends who have found themselves at a crossroads. They’ve been friends-with-benefits for years and one of them (Jared) wants to renegotiate their “no sleepover” clause.
Jared is HOT! Calisa is a spitfire. When the two come together, they are explosive in a lot of ways. Cali liked to call their relationship a “fireworks” relationship. The spark is there. They burn hot and explode with lots of light and tons of excitement.
Jared is in love (or falling in love) with Cali, but she is not trying to change their current awesome-sex-but-please-no-commitment relationship. Even if Cali does love him, she’d never tell him. Can Jared convince her to let go and take a chance on him?
Cleavester: This book is deeper than the first. Was that your plan for ‘His All Night?’ Or did it go in the opposite direction than what you plan?
Elle Wright: I think when I initially started writing, I wanted it to be lighter than it turned out. But once I started, I knew I had to tell it the way I did. Cali has a lot of deeper issues that stem from her childhood that affected how she related to men. She was good with her friends, loyal and understanding. But she wasn’t as good in relationships. And I think there are a lot of people like that. Also, she has no filter. She says what she feels. A lot of that comes from being raised by a strong man.
There were a lot of things going on with both Cali and Red. And it became about reconciling their individual issues so they could focus on being together. It wasn’t easy. But I loved the idea that Red loved her through all of her flaws.
Cleavester: You are so right. A lot of people have unresolved issues from their past that affect their future. Iyanla always says “Until you heal the wounds of the past, you will continue to bleed.” Cali is bleeding in ‘His All Night,’ but I believe she is on the road to recovery. Do you believe she will get to that level of full healing?
Elle Wright: I really do. I know she’s on the right track. She is surrounded by people who love her who she is (thorns and all). She’s learned that she doesn’t always have to have to last word and everything is NOT a fight. Her and Red will be fine.
Cleavester: With Valentine’s Day coming up, What has marriage and love taught you about yourself?
Elle Wright: I would say the most important lesson that marriage and love has taught me is that it’s not about myself. There’s a greater purpose. Every relationship must have respect, forgiveness, honesty, open communication, and trust. Without those things, I just don’t see how it can work. And believe me, it’s work. But it’s one the best jobs I could ever have. I don’t regret a single minute of it. That’s not to say it hasn’t been hard. But anything worth having is never easy.
Cleavester: How will you celebrate Valentine’s Day this year?
Elle Wright: LOL.. I’m old. Just kidding. We’ll probably go to dinner and a movie. I know it probably sounds corny, but it’s time alone and away from the kids. It’s time to just chill with each other.
Cleavester: What books are on your nightstand right now?
Elle Wright: Sanctuary Cove by Rochelle Alers, Playing with Fire by Deborah Mello, and Lawful Deception by Pamela Samuels Young
Cleavester: What can we expect from you in the future?
Elle Wright: Book 3 in the Edge of Scandal Series, Her Kind of Man, releases on April 26th. It is Kent and Allina’s story and it’s very different from the first two books. Kent takes his sweet time with Allina. I would say it’s kind of a pure love between them. Allina has loved Kent for years and he seemingly never noticed. Well, in book 3, we find out what he really thinks of her.
I’m also plotting out a new series, kind of a spin-off, that starts off with Caden’s redemption story.
Cleavester: Thank you so very much Mrs. Elle Wright!
Elle Wright: Thank you so much for all of the support you’ve given! I truly appreciate you! heart emoticon
Cleavester: You welcome, beloved! Until Next Time Be Blessed!