Elisa Keyston graduated from Sonoma State University with a degree in history, which she always secretly hoped to be able to use to write historical fiction. Ten years later, her dream is coming true as series lead on the Pioneer Brides of Rattlesnake Ridge historical romance series!
Elisa is also the author of the Northwest Magic series, a sweet contemporary romance series with hints of magic and mystery set in her home state of Oregon. When she's not writing, Elisa spends most of her time gardening, collecting gnomes and fairies for her backyard, and fawning over her furbabies.
An Interview with Elisa Keyston
I am originally from northern California and went to college in the North Bay, but I’ve lived for several years in the central Willamette Valley in northwest Oregon. I definitely prefer the weather up here, though it actually doesn’t rain quite enough for my tastes! One fun fact about my hometown is that we are on the 45th Parallel, which is exactly halfway between the equator and the North Pole. Which meant the total eclipse last year went right over my head, literally!
What is your favorite part of writing Sweet Romance?
My favorite part of sweet romance is that it focuses more on the emotional bond between the couple than the physical, which really resonates with me. And even though I don’t write cozy mystery, I love to read it, and hints of mystery have a way of sneaking into my writing. My contemporary romance series has a stronger hint of mystery, but there’s even going to be a mystery in Arriving from Arkansas—I just can’t help myself!
Who or what inspired you to become an author?
My third and fourth grade teachers were big inspirations to me and got me hooked on writing early on in life. My third grade teacher had us do a project where we wrote and illustrated a story and she’d spiral-bind it for us and put it in the front of the classroom in a library for our classmates to “check out.” I liked it so much that I kept doing it after the project ended, and she kept indulging me by binding all the little books I wrote. When I moved on to fourth grade, my teacher noticed how much I liked to write and she recommended me for the GATE program, which focused a lot on creative writing even at that age. Both my teachers encouraged me to try to become an author when I grew up, so it was implanted in my mind at a young age.
If you weren’t an author, what would you be doing?
I would be teaching! I worked as a teacher for a few years before getting the opportunity to become a full-time writer. I sometimes miss it, but leaving that job did wonders for my fatigue levels, haha.
Do you have any pets? Please tell us about them!
I currently have two senior dogs and two young cats. My oldest dog, Nellie, is a black lab/German shepherd mix; my other dog is named Remington and is a floppy-eared red Doberman. My two cats are named Arabella and Beatrix because my kitties get highfalutin names. All my pets are rescued animals. And though they’re not technically pets, my backyard has been host to deer, birds, squirrels, bunnies, chipmunks, and all sorts of other animals that I’ve grown pretty attached to. I helped a chipmunk get out of some bird netting one time and since then the chipmunks have decided I’m their friend and will come up to me when I’m out in the yard, which I love!
Have you found your own real life happily ever after?
Not quite yet, but I think that's a good thing. It means I have my next big adventure in love to look forward to. And in the meantime, I'm pretty happy to focus on giving my characters their own wonderful adventures!
What is one book that impacted or changed your life that you think everybody should read? Tell us about it.
I really love Mary Stewart’s romantic suspense novels, which really introduced me to the genre and made me fall in love with it. I was very excited when her publisher rereleased her lost novella, The Wind Off the Small Isles, after being out of print for decades. That one’s a great example of her style of cute/sassy romance, ancient mystery, and unique location, so if you haven’t read any of her romantic suspenses yet (she’s usually best-known for her Merlin books), that might be a good one to start with—you can get it cheap on Amazon, and it’s available in ebook and audiobook too.