The Roads I’ve Traveled
By Elissa Daye
Reading started me down the path to writing. I was an avid reader from the moment I could read my first words. I read everything I could get my hands on. I loved reading and escaping into other worlds. My favorite books when I was a child were written by C.S. Lewis, Judy Blume, and Jean Craighead George. I very much wanted to live on my own and survive in the forest.
As a writer, I started early. In second grade I remember getting a notebook as a prize from a teacher and I started writing poetry where every line had to rhyme. Something like “The little kitten lay, fast asleep in the hay.” In Middle School I constantly entered the Young Authors contests with my poetry. I remember when my mom attended a parent teacher conference for 8th grade. My English teacher told her how impressed she was with my writing and told her that I wrote like a 20 year old. It was the best compliment I had ever received at the time and it made me want to do even better.
When I entered high school I started writing short stories, mostly for school assignments. By the time I was a junior in high school, my English teacher encouraged me to enter for a chance to attend the Illinois Summer School for the Arts. At that point in time I had already been writing longer short stories, one of them being a ghost story, which I entered as an example of my writing. I won a scholarship to attend the two week summer camp and had the time of my life. That summer allowed a whole new door to open for me, and while my journey through that portal has not been without challenge, it has certainly been worth it.
The Destined Series started after I had completed my first two books, and while it was not the first completed, it had been in my head for many years. First it was a series of scenes that I thought would work well together. Then I discovered that there really were no limitations for what I wanted to do. A story with magic? Absolutely, no problem. Add some werewolves? Ok, why not? A steamy love story? Of course, what other kind is there? When I let go of all my preconceived notions of what should and could be involved in a romance novel, writing it was easy. It was passionate, it was uplifting, and it was freeing.
In Flames is the first in the series, and perhaps the easiest to write, for the beginning is just a starting point in the world. Connecting each story and growing the world in each has been more of a challenge. Each book has to be able to build on the other and stand on its own. With book one, I introduce Lysandra, who enters the story with pretty much the worst case scenario thrown at her from the beginning. She channels the power of love through her journey and becomes quite a striking heroine. Aiden is our love interest, a man who really has no interest in love at all. He lives with the curse of his people, a curse that becomes a blessing in disguise.
In Flames is just the first leg of the journey. My goal is to create a diverse series that shows the empowerment of women, and how the world could work in balance. I hope that my readers will appreciate these stories and get a break from their world, if only for a moment.
Ever since childhood, I have enjoyed reading stories as an escape from life. When I was a teenager I started to write my own stories that kept me entertained whenever I ran out of books to read. When I was accepted into Illinois Summer School for the Arts in my Junior year of High School, I knew I wanted to become a writer. I graduated from Illinois State University in December 1999 with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and began my teaching career, hoping to find moments to write in my free time.
After seven years of teaching, I decided to focus on my writing and made the decision to put my teaching years behind me so that I could create the stories I had always dreamed of. I am now happily married and a stay at home mom. I try my best to master the art of multitasking to get everything accomplished and write in any spare moment I can find.
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