Elise Kenny is a writer who lives in London. She usually writes psychological thrillers and poetry under the name Nikki Dudley but has branched out to write romance and speculative fiction under Elise Kenny. She has two children and works in marketing. She loves cinema, travelling and trying new foods! She loves mysteries, thrillers and things that make her think.
Some of her favourite books are Catch-22, the Raymond Chandler books, How to Life Safely in a Science Fictional Universe and anything by Yoko Ogawa. Her other interests include watching many genres of films and attending events such as poetry readings, sport, and gigs. You can start conversations with her by discussing your favourite type of cake, your favourite Avenger or telling her a fun fact. She loves travelling and trying local cuisines.
Let’s get started with a quick rapid fire.
Q1. If you could be transformed into one animal, which one would you choose?
A dolphin, because they are sociable and travel together.
Q2. What time do you usually go to bed at night?
I used to be a night owl but now I have kids so I have to go to bed earlier!
Q3. Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?
I’m an extrovert in lots of ways but I have a hidden introvert inside as well.
Q4. Who is your favorite Disney character?
Tough one but probably Woody from Toy Story.
Q5. Would you rather travel to the past or to the future?
I think I would travel to the past and observe. The future might be a weird thing to see and I might bump onto myself!
Q6. What is your last Google search?
Probably something about going on holiday or a plot point for a book.
Q7. What object do you misplace or lose the most?
Umbrellas, most definitely.
Q8. What is the kindest thing someone ever did for you?
Just being there when they knew I would need to see a friendly face in the crowd.
Q9. Learn by watching or learn by doing?
Probably a bit of both but learning by doing helps to remember.
Q10. Expensive presents or homemade presents?
Q11. What is one missed opportunity that you wish you could have a second chance at?
I try not to lament missed opportunities.
Q12. What is not a big deal to most people but is torture to you?
Putting photos into photo albums!
It’s time for a more detailed conversation, Elise.
You’ve answered our rapid fire so well, Elise. Now, it’s time for our readers to know more about the person behind the book.
Q. Tell us something about yourself that’s going to make us wonder more about you.
I was born three months premature and managed to live to tell the tale, thank goodness. I used to stop breathing in the incubator apparently but luckily managed to learn that skill!
Q. Well, that will keep you in our thoughts. So, what books did you grow up reading?
I read anything I could but as I got older, I liked reading Goosebumps, Christopher Pike and Point Horror. I think I liked mystery and weird things happening!
Q. Interesting. What, to you, are the most important elements of good writing?
The main thing in all media for me is making a connection with the characters, whether I love them or hate them, connection is key for me as a reader and a writer. Also, doing your research, but not overloading the book with it.
Q. Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Perhaps… I like to make my characters support a particular football team!
Q. Now comes the most anticipated question that every author must answer. How do you process and deal with negative book reviews?
I used to be affected by them but over time, I’ve learnt that people have different opinions about all books, even the so-called bestsellers, so you can’t expect everyone to like your books. I tend to feel a momentary sadness but then move on. There’s no point lingering and there are often loads of lovely reviews to counter them. If not, perhaps more feedback was needed before publishing!
Q. What comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?
Usually a plot idea that sticks in my brain and forces me to write it down. I think I need a sticking point to get me started. Characters usually come second and take me some time to warm to, but then I can’t stop writing!
Q. How do you develop your plot and characters?
I usually write whatever interests me rather than being strictly chronological, but this can be tricky for consistency! With characters, I try to think about the pointless everyday things that we all do and give my character those, plus flesh them out with friendships and those around them.
Q. What does literary success look like to you?
Honestly, readers who ‘get’ the book. When someone says they loved my story, it absolutely makes my day.
Q. Let’s talk about your book. Tell us about it. No major spoilers.
So, my book, It’s Me You’re Looking For is a Romance Novel, about two co-workers Monica and Samson.
When Monica Roche begins a month of challenges, the first challenge is: Do something unexpected. Posing as June Carter, she decides to email a co-worker asking them to answer the 36 questions test. Receiving the anonymous email, Samson Okiro’s first impulse is to delete it. Since his life changed drastically after a car crash two years before, he’s struggled to move on, but on an uncharacteristic whim, he decides to write back as Johnny Cash. With neither knowing who’s on the other end of the emails, they can be new people. Yet as the emails fly, Samson and Monica begin to talk in real life. Though can their email aliases ever match up to what’s standing in front of them?
It’s a book about grief, friendship and rediscovering love. In short:
- Two co-workers.
- Answering 36 Questions anonymously via email.
- But can it really lead to love?
Q. What part of the book did you have the hardest time writing?
Some of the more emotional parts got to me but I like to think that was because I was really invested!
Q. Would you and your main character get along?
Definitely – there are two of them, and I think we’d have a great time going for dinner.
Q. What are the essential characteristics of a hero you can root for?
I think this changes with different books I write. Sometimes I like to have a morally grey character but with It’s Me You’re Looking For, I wanted characters who are good at the heart of it. People you can root for.
Q. Let’s talk about the process of writing. When you’re writing an emotional or difficult scene, how do you set the mood?
I like to have a quiet space to write it and I dump it all onto the page and process it more later. If it makes me emotional, I feel like I must have done a decent job!
Q. What was your hardest scene to write?
I think question 18 in my book. When you get to that one, you’ll know what I mean!
Q. It’s been fun. Now, before we wrap this up, do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Accept feedback, especially from those who are qualified to give it, but take any on that you can. Do remember that some people are reacting emotionally only but it’s all useful and can be ignored if need be. Also, network with other writers – for feedback and support. You never know when you might need a helping hand.