Local writer gets serious about romance

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published April 16, 2016

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WARREN — For book fans who prefer the romance genre, there’s a new author in town.

Former Warren resident Tara Eldana is the writer behind several new romance novellas guaranteed to satisfy serious romantics with a bit of spice, some contemporary themes and a some paranormal activity on their pages.

Eldana has written seven books, published by Black Opal Books, with two of them — “Reclaiming Lexi” and “Under the Riptides” — currently available for purchase. The other four are under contract, with a seventh title pending.

The 1976 Mott High School graduate will hold her first-ever book signing from 3 to 6 p.m. April 22 at the Paperback Outlet, 29170 Hoover Road. Gay Orr, who co-owns the Paperbook Outlet with Annie McGee, said the store welcomes local authors on a regular basis. She has read Eldana’s titles.

“I try to read most of the local authors if I’m putting them in my store,” Orr said. “I liked her books. She has a good story.”

Eldana looks forward to connecting with her readers.

“I’m nervous, but I’m excited to meet anybody who might want to come out,” she said.

Of her books, Eldana said they are all novellas with less than 20,000 words each.

“I love telling stories. I sort of start with the character and an idea. Some of (the books) are contemporary, and some are paranormal about mermaids and mermen,” Eldana said. “I just let the characters take charge and see what they do. Sometimes they surprise me. The most fun is when something develops I wasn’t expecting.”

In “Reclaiming Lexi,” Lexi McCardle still dreams about her high school crush Luke Kettering. On her wedding day, preparing to say “I do” to another man,  McCardle’s fiancé calls it off just as she’s kidnapped by Kettering, taking her to a remote cabin in northern Michigan.

“Under the Riptides” brings readers into the life of Adrian, a merman and heir to the throne of Crystal City, who lives deep under the ocean riptides. He’s waited a lifetime for Mara, his destined mate. The only problem is Mara thinks she’s human and afraid of the water.

Just about everything in life inspires Eldana to write. Her book “Into Thin Air,” still under contract, was based on a conversation between two couples that she overheard at a restaurant. Eldana was on a trip with her husband to Colorado when she thought their discussion would make a good story.

And why do romance novels have such large audiences?

“It’s escape,” Eldana said. “Romance readers expect a happy ending. It’s fun to try to deliver that.”

As a kid, Eldana’s nose was always in a book. Her parents had to force her outside to play with her siblings.

“I read everything,” Eldana said. “I read about the Holocaust as a kid. I read all the Agatha Christie mysteries.”

Eldana said she became hooked on romance fiction when her 11th-grade English teacher rejected the book report she wrote, telling her the book was much too easy for her, and insisted that she read and report on Daphne du Maurier’s “Rebecca.” She has advice for writers looking to get published.

“You’re going to get a lot of rejections. Those are hard ‘nos,’” Eldana said. “I almost gave up myself. I had so many rejections.”

But her peers at the Greater Detroit Romance Writers of America encouraged her to keep trying. Writing is the first thing the author does every morning.

“I need to do it every day to keep that writing muscle used. I try to be very disciplined,” she said. “I try to write at least a half-hour a day.”

Local photographer Julie Snyder is the “Under the Riptides” cover model. The photo was taken by Snyder’s sister when visiting family at Lake Patagonia in Patagonia, Arizona, in August 2015. She and family members, including her daughter, went out on a boat in search of a mermaid feel for the book. However, it proved a bit challenging because of the lake’s depth.

“The first spot we found I really liked because there was a huge gray crane just standing on this large rock wall. I got in the water there thinking it was shallow and I sunk like a stone,” Snyder said in an email. “They circled around in the boat to get me while I clung to the large, slippery rock wall. The crane had flown away at this point.”

The group then found a small beach. Snyder and her sister slowly got in the water and found it was shallow enough. Snyder pointed the camera to a spot where the sun was perfectly positioned and then found the spot to stand while her sister clicked away. Many shots were taken. The entire process took about two hours, and then a final picture was eventually chosen.

For more information on Tara Eldana and her book signing, visit her website at www.taraeldana.com. Her books are available in print and online on Amazon, barnesandnoble.com, kobo.com, allromance.com and www.blackopalbooks.com.

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