Interview with Elysia Strife

Elysia Strife is a self-published author of science-fiction fantasy and romance novels.

Adopted by two educators, Strife developed a deep love for learning new things. In 2012, she graduated from Oregon State University with two Bachelor’s Degrees in Public Health and Human Sciences: Interior Design and Exercise Sport Science. Her past wears fatigues, suits, and fitness gear, sprinkled with mascara and lace.

“I like to question everything, figure out how things work, and do tasks myself. Experiencing new things is fun but also helps with writing raw and genuine stories. And I’m always trying to push my comfort zones.”

Strife likes the rumble of her project car’s 350-ci V8. She enjoys the rush of snowboarding and riding ATVs on the dunes. But nothing brings her more solace than camping in the mountains where the stars are their brightest.

Strife enjoys connecting with readers and welcomes all feedback and questions.



About the Book
A romantic-suspense novel featuring: miscarriage, hot co-workers, cybersecurity threats, and the struggle of defining family.

With only an abusive mother-figure to guide her, Norah has learned everything the hard way. An unexpected pregnancy with her fiancé changed her career plans. But miscarriage and betrayal thrust everything in reverse again. Eerie things start happening at work, and Norah finds herself at the center of the investigation.

Secrets tumble forth from Norah’s father, her ex-fiancé, and the mystery around her adoption, breaking the walls she’s put up to protect her heart. Now, more than ever, she longs for trust, love, and a family of her own.

Bonding with her handsome co-worker, Evan, and his teenage daughter, Ashley, Norah gets a glimpse of cohesive family life. She finds herself falling for Evan and becoming an unlikely source of help and understanding for Ashley. Evan and Ashley have an empty seat at their table, one Norah wishes to fill. Yet the guilt of taking the previous woman’s place threatens to keep them apart.

Can Norah overcome the scars of her past and discover her inner strength? And will the private letter from her father answer her questions or destroy the family, and the man, she’s come to love?


Amazon →


Can you tell us what your new book is about? 

A Promise in Ash follows Norah as she learns to overcome her past abuse and find courage to stand up for herself. It’s about her journey to find love, feel worthy of it, and defend the right kind of love.
I wanted to combine a lot of taboo subjects of conversation involving women: abuse, miscarriage, dress, traditional roles and “purposes.” It was developed after an encounter with a unique woman and her story of abuse. She didn’t feel like she could go to anyone for help because of what the society around her believed was “right.”

This book doesn’t spare the cursing or violence and isn’t for fans of cozy or clean romances. It’s mainly sweet romance but does feature intimacy, though it isn’t a main theme. I wanted to write a more realistic relationship story with a cybercrime plot superimposed. All of my books have a suspense or action subplot.

A Promise in Ash may come across as a hefty, maybe even chaotic, story in the beginning. A lot of my books have tons of threads, but they always knot tightly together in a reveal near the end. I want my readers to be rewarded for taking the journey with me.

Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

Norah wants to find love but struggles to overcome her self-doubt after abuse as a child. Her feeling of unworthiness leads her into a lot of bad relationships. After a miscarriage, her engagement falls apart. Luckily, there’s a handsome coworker ready to pick up the pieces. When eerie things happen at work, leading to increased security and missing profits, Norah finds herself at the center of the investigation and holding the power to change everything.

Evan, Norah’s coworker, is a widower with a daughter in middle school. He and Ashley invite Norah to a lot of events, including Ashley’s karate practice. Evan likes to spar with Norah, and uses it as a tool to teach her, her worth. He’s a traditional romantic at heart, respectful of boundaries, but still torn over the memory of his wife.

Ashley doesn’t remember much about her mother, but she likes having Norah around. She’s uncomfortable being in middle school without a mother to help her through her changes. Ashley is an energetic girl with a big heart.

I can’t mention much about the other characters without giving too much of the story away!

Your book is set in Texas.  Can you tell us why you chose this location in particular?

My husband and I travel for his job and spent about two years in Texas. We loved the gulf coast. The ocean was perfectly warm, the sun always humming in the sky, and the night life was vibrant with exotic cars and neon signs. There was a lot of great contrast in the scenery and knew it would make an interesting setting for a book.

How long did it take you to write your book?

It took me about six months to complete, working off and on. I do freelance editing now, so writing books takes me a bit longer. There’s a lot of foreshadowing and Chekhov’s Gun twists, a few red herrings, and a single anagnorisis thread (Norah’s journey to finding her true nature). So that did take some time due to moving back and forth in the book to make sure all of the pieces lined up and played out as I had hoped.

What has been the most pivotal point of your writing life?

Joining the Writers’ League of Texas while we lived there was the best thing I’ve ever done. I took classes online with them and in public with other students. I learned a lot about self-publishing and got to hear the stories of others who were on that same journey. It was educational as much as it was motivational. I often wish we didn’t have to move away.

What kind of advice would you give other multi-genre authors?

Since I write science fiction, fantasy, and romance—hopefully adding a few more genres in the future—I’ve learned that it’s important to target your readership specifically. I do a lot of broader ad campaigns in the beginning, and that often results in getting readers from outside the genre or subgenre. They’re less likely to enjoy your books and tell their friends about it or leave you positive reviews.

Here’s an example. With A Promise in Ash, like all of my books, I did Advanced Review Copies. I can only make these available in certain subgenres, so not “dark contemporary romantic suspense.” I have (currently) one five star review on Amazon with a wonderful message about the book. (Yay!) Conversely, on Goodreads, I have a one star and a two star rating. The first rating is from someone that only has historical romance books shelved. I have no idea why she picked up a copy of my book. The cover should’ve been a dead giveaway. The second review is from someone who power-reads romance (primarily erotica, which A Promise in Ash is not) and doesn’t give more than 3 stars on average. She’s shelved over 10,000 books, which is insane. Niether of them read my specific subgenre, and they left me detrimental ratings that provide no useful information to readers looking for new books except to say,” Stay away!” Which breaks my heart. I always read my books in paperback form before publishing to make sure I feel like readers could curl up with the book. But maybe the story just means more to me because I know the pain behind it.

Either way, the point is this: make sure you are very careful when you switch readerships for your genres. I also write holiday romance. Those readers would not like A Promise in Ash because they’re very different subgenres of romance with different themes, struggles, and levels of intimacy/violence.
Know your audience. Target them. You may get fewer purchases or reviews, but those readers will be more likely to enjoy your book, leave you a nice review, and then recommend your book to others. I know it’s hard to start over with your readership list, but trust me. It will be better for you in the long run.

Thanks for having me!

Best wishes!