During this year’s A to Z Challenge, I am writing about my latest novel, Escape Plan by giving you all little snippets about the characters, inspiration, and lessons learned while writing my third novel.

Overlook was my first novel to be published and was a huge learning experience. I had no idea how Kitty, Stacia, and the gals would be received and was pleasantly surprised when readers connected with Kitty and found my snarky tone amusing. The book didn’t break any sales records or make any “best of” lists, but I was pleased with its reception. My writing career was off and running.

As I have been writing this series of blog posts, I am struck by how different the process of writing Overlook was from the process of Escape Plan. I wrote Overlook in a time of great insecurity as a writer. I had already written three or four drafts of what would eventually become How To Climb The Eiffel Tower and was feeling defeated. That book was not working and I didn’t know how to fix it, so I sat down to write something light, something easy. Boy, did I fail to do that. I can’t seem to help myself; I write about serious issues in a light-hearted way. Kitty and Stacia started telling me about their hopes and fears and I had to tell their stories with more depth (no pun intended) and nuance than I originally intended.

Anyway, I really didn’t know what I was doing when I wrote the first drafts of Overlook so I allowed other people tell me how to write the novel. Huge mistake. People wanted to change large parts of the characterization, change the plot, and generally tell me how to turn the book into something else. I’ve now learned to figure out what the story is and where it is going before sharing it with anyone. I need to have a firm grasp on the characters and the plot before getting advice on how to improve it. By the time I wrote Escape Plan, I’d written two books that had been reasonably well received and felt more confident in my ability to tell a story that readers would enjoy. I certainly took the advice of my writing groups during the drafting process, but I never lost sight of my vision for Kitty and Stacia’s journeys.

overlook cover (200)Here’s the teaser blurb from the back of the book – Kitty Haskell has everything – a perfect house in the perfect neighborhood, a handsome husband, charming children, and a nasty case of gonorrhea. Rather than dealing with her cheating husband, Kitty worries the exclusive clique of Overlook moms will find out. Unfortunately, The Lookers seem to already know everything, about everyone.

Set against the backdrop of the bicentennial, this snarky novel peeks behind the custom curtains and pristine lawns to expose the grubby underbelly of suburbia to ask – how far will a woman go to protect what she loves?

Escape Plan by Elizabeth Hein (100x150)To celebrate the release of Escape Plan coinciding with the A to Z Challenge, I am giving away a $10 Barnes & Noble gift card and 3 copies of Escape Plan. All you have to do is leave a comment with a way to reach you when you win.

Also, if you sign-up to receive my newsletter, I will send you a free copy of Overlook, the prequel to Escape Plan.

Why not check out some of the other blogs participating in the A to Z Challenge by clicking on the logo below.