Welcome to my weekly Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.
Today: Mystery, action, chills, and thrills spiced with romance and desire. ELIZABETH NOBLE lives by the adage “I can’t not write.” She doesn’t remember a time when she didn’t make up stories and eventually she learned how to put words on a page. Those words turned into books and fan fiction that turned into a genuine love of M/M fiction. A part of every day is spent living in worlds she created that are filled with intrigue and espionage. She has a real love for a good mystery complete with murder and twisty plots as well as all things sci-fi, futuristic, and supernatural.
When she’s not chronicling the adventures of her many characters, Elizabeth is a veterinary nurse living in her native Cleveland, Ohio. She has three grown children and now happily shares her little, brick house with two spunky Cardigan Welsh Corgis and their feline sidekicks. Elizabeth is a fan of baseball, basketball (go Cavs and Guardians) and gardening. She can often be found working in her ‘outside office’ listening to classic rock and plotting her next novel waiting for it to be dark enough to gaze at the stars.
Elizabeth has received a number of amateur writing awards. Since being published, several of her novels have received Honorable Mentions in the Rainbow Awards. Jewel Cave was a runner-up in the Gay Mystery/Thriller category in the 2015 Rainbow Awards. Ringed Love was a winner in the Gay Fantasy Romance category of the 2016 Rainbow Awards. Code Name Jack Rabbit and The Vampire Guard series placed third in The Paranormal Romance Guild 2022 Reviewer Awards in the LGBT/ROMANCE/ACTION ADVENTURE/MILITARY individual book and series categories.
Thanks so much, Elizabeth, for joining me!
J. Scott Coatsworth: Have you ever taken a trip to research a story? Tell me about it.
Elizabeth Noble: I have! Though, I didn’t really go very far. In the series, The Sleepless City, which was written by Anne Barwell and me, there is a very large house known as Boggs Castle. Boggs Castle is based on Franklin Castle, here in Cleveland, Ohio. It’s among America’s most haunted locations. Years ago, I was able to visit Franklin Castle. Now it’s open for tours and you can stay a night. I might take one of the tours someday. When we were planning the series, I took a drive to see it again. At that time, I wasn’t able to go inside, but I’ve always liked seeing Franklin Castle, so enjoyed walking the area.
JSC: Do you use a pseudonym? If so, why? If not, why not?
EN: I do. My real last name is one of those names that people have a hard time pronouncing and spelling. I was worried that would be detrimental to people trying to find me online. Noble was my biological father’s name and Elizabeth is my real middle name.
JSC: What do you do if you get a brilliant idea at a bad time?
EN: I don’t think there’s ever a bad time for a brilliant idea, only an inconvenient time! I am always armed with a variety of notation devices. I often use One Note or Google Keep for notetaking on my phone. I also have a notebook I carry for times I can’t use my phone extensively, such as when I’m at work. I do need to get one of those waterproof notepads for when I’m in the shower and ideas strike.
Of course, when a brilliant idea strikes and I’m in the middle of another book there’s a lot of mental juggling that goes on!
JSC: Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?
EN: I consider myself a full-time writer because writers never get time off. There is a lot to do besides the actual writing of a book (such as this interview). Sometimes the most mundane tasks or trips, like to the grocery store, spark ideas. I’ve been known to work out plots while wandering aisles or standing in line to pay for my purchases.
I’m what most people would consider a part-time writer because I don’t support myself with my writing. I have a day job, which sometimes provides me with good ideas. The downside is, of course, I have to go to work four days a week, so scheduling things like blog posts, or participating in Facebook parties has to be completed around my time away at work.
JSC: Do your books spring to life from a character first or an idea?
EN: I’ve had it happen both ways. Just as often I’ll have a character start talking to me, as a situation or plot ideas appear. The challenging part is fitting the two pieces together.
JSC: What was the hardest part of writing Endosymbiont?
EN: There were a lot of working parts that had to take place in a difficult location. Having the main setting be a mile under the Atlantic Ocean seemed like a cool idea, in reality, it was a true pain-in-the-you-know-what! Getting my characters into and out of the place, as well as completing their mission, required serious research and planning. One wrong move and things could get even messier than they did for my heroes. Add to that I was using a genetically engineered virus as the ‘bad guy’ that I had to create from scratch. Doing that took time and reading boring technical materials.
JSC: What inspired you to write this particular story? What were the challenges in bringing it to life?
EN: I wanted vampires and werewolves vs zombies. It’s not easy making believable zombies and keep the science plausible.
JSC: What’s your core motivation in this book?
Jonas Forge: Being an operative for The Vampire Guard, my motivation is always the same, protect those who can’t protect themselves. And keep my soulmate and teammates alive.
Lucas Coate: I’m a werewolf, but I’m also a scientist. To add to what Jonas said, I wanted to preserve valuable information and research. That was the only option to develop a way to fight what was created in that facility.
JSC: Are you happy with where your writer left you at the end? (don’t give us any spoilers).
Blair Turner: Considering I didn’t die from being crushed by the pressure a mile under the ocean, yes, I think I’m happy with where I was left.
Declan: We were left with clues to our next steps in fighting the Qiguan terrorist organization. I’d rather they’d been dealt with and ended, but this was the next best thing.
JSC: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
EN: A spy! When I was five, I taught myself to read writing upside down and in a mirror. I thought that would be a valuable skill as a spy. As a teen, I learned a little wilderness tracking and in college I took fencing lessons. All spy-worthy skills!
What are you working on now, and what’s coming out next? Tell us about it!
EN: I’d hoped to have a release by now, but I didn’t quite make it. I have two different books I’m working on. Prism is the second of the El Corazon series. This one is about a human who can manipulate light and color, a werewolf with anxiety disorder, and an FBI agent who is also a werewolf. They solve some murders and develop a relationship between the three of them.
My other, current WIP is Force Majeure, which is being written for an anthology due to release late in 2024. It’s a continuation of my Pain and Pleasure erotic romance series. It features an established couple, an old lover with a dangerous obsession and some seriously hot, love scenes.
And now for Elizabeth’s new book: Endosymbiont:
Then a train blew up.
Tracking an organism deadly to not only humans, but vampires and werewolves alike, brings Kai and Ori into the Vampire Guard. Decades later, they, along with Operative Team Jack Rabbit, come face to face with the horrors that same virus produces. Dead bodies are coming back to life, and rational people are becoming violent and brutal killers.
A massacre is taking place nearly a mile under the Atlantic Ocean. Two teams of The Vampire Guard are in the thick of it, fighting to survive.
Bovingdon, England 1942
Forge stopped outside the officer’s mess long enough to return the salutes from a small group of enlisted men who were really nothing but boys. When one broke off from the group to open the door, Forge waved him off and said, “As you were, gents.”
He nodded politely to several British officers at the bar. He knew many of the British soldiers didn’t care for Americans and he was determined to be the exception to their rule. Declan, or rather Canadian Brigadier Del Markus, sat at a table in the middle of the room. Forge was sure Declan would rather be a general but hadn’t been able to steal a uniform that fit properly. Forge preferred a more modest rank, so his uniform carried captain’s bars.
Forge pulled out the chair opposite Declan, turned it and sat straddling it. “I think I figured out what Docktor Sauer was up to.” His words came out in a rush.
“Are you still trying to piece that together? Jonas, it’s been almost two years. You need to put that behind…” Declan’s words were cut off when Jonas slapped a thin, paper book onto the table between them.
Declan looked down, arching an eyebrow. He picked the book up and leafed through it before setting it down. “The art is different, but very good and I do enjoy this man punching Hitler in the face, but I don’t think Sauer’s goal was to punch him. Where did you get this?”
“Some of the American airmen brought a few of these over with them.” He snatched the comic and flipped through the pages. Turning the book so Declan could see it, and spreading it on the table again, he tapped at one page. “No, but I think he was trying to create a super-soldier, like Captain America.”
Declan sighed and sat back, draping one arm over the back of his chair. “Oh, Jonas come on. That’s a story, folly, not scientific.”
“A hundred years ago the submarines and planes in the books of Jules Verne were considered pure fantasy. Correct me if I’m wrong, but today they’re very real and we’ve both been in an airplane.”
“Are you suggesting that the authors are involved somehow?” Declan asked.
“No. I don’t know. But think about it. We’ve heard the rumors about Hitler’s medical experiments. The likelihood of him being ignorant of vampires is small.”
Declan nodded. “Agreed.”
“How many vampires do you think are on this base, a quarter of the men?”
“Maybe less.” Declan said.
“And how many do you think were born to the society they fight for?”
“Given how long vampires can live and how often they move, even less,” Declan said.
“You are a perfect example. Born in France, yet you wear a Canadian uniform and have fought with the United States,” Jonas said. “Never with France.”
“I think I see where you’re going. Vampires are a type of super-soldier.”
“Sauer was obsessed with vampires,” Forge pointed out. “What if his goal were to create a way to enable large numbers of men to be changed? Ones who’d be more inclined to be loyal to their country?”
“Have you seen him?”
Forge shook his head. “No. To track him down we’d have to go back to Germany.”
“Which neither of us is really equipped to do. We won’t fit in well enough now.” Declan picked up the book and paged through it again. “The Allies have people who are qualified. We need to get messages to our contacts.”
“Agreed.” Forge grinned. “That we can do, and you can convince anyone to do anything.”
TACG Deep Sea Bioresearch Facility, off the east coast of Africa. Present day
“You had a first printing of Captain America? And read it?” Blair sputtered. “You, who has repeatedly dissed my graphic novels?”
Lucas blew out a breath and turned to Blair. “That’s what your takeaway was?”
Blair scowled, rolled his eyes, and shrugged.
“I should’ve known that would come back to bite me in the ass someday.” Jonas held up one finger. “One! I read one.”
Declan laughed. “And I was here to witness your ass being bitten.”
“He’s got a good idea,” Lucas continued. “Many scientific discoveries have been the result of someone trying to create something else.”
“What happened? Did you get the information passed along?” Ori asked.
“Yes, but it wasn’t too long after that we were forced to leave Europe. We’d toured several times in the decades between the World Wars and Henri de Fleur here,” Jonas patted Declan’s shoulder, “was recognized too many times. We hung around long enough to assist with smuggling some art out of France before the Germans destroyed it.”
“Then we joined the United States Navy,” Declan added.