Hi everyone! Thanks so much to Love Bytes for having me here to celebrate my latest release Drawn.
For this post I want to share a taste of my visual inspiration for Drawn. This book was a lot of fun to write because I got to combine so many things I’m passionate about: art, wanderlust and exploration, a beautiful locale with rich history, and a bit of the unexplained.
With a background in fine arts I’ve wanted to write about an artist for a long time, and creating paintings through Sen’s eyes was so rewarding (it made me itch to pick up the paintbrush!). But what kind of work would Sen make? He needed a departure from his usual in all ways for this story, so I went with abstract oils that lead him into painting abstract portraits.
Once I had my artist and his art, I needed the right place for him to uncover a mystery. There’s really no better for that than New Orleans. The city itself can appear like an abstract painting, with its hazy atmosphere blurring details like wrought iron, live oaks dripping with Spanish moss, and narrow, colorful streets.
And then go for the mystery itself—one that seems to be caused by or able to summon storms—and might have to do with a strange house. Or the sometimes strange (but undeniably irresistible) man Sen meets named Morgan.
Mix it all together and the result is Drawn. I hope this entices you to read and ‘see’ these visuals come to life. And for more images of what inspired me, please check out my pinterest board for the book.
Sebastian (Sen) Holt is an artist currently in New Orleans. He’s always been a wanderer, believing in fate and following signs to guide his destiny. Although he itches to pull up stakes, getting a painting into a local gallery keeps him rooted. One morning his good friend calls him in desperate need of help with her cleaning business. Her regular cleaner flaked, she can’t lose her client, and there’s no one else.
The job is at a large and recently restored house—and the owner, Morgan Ballard, comes home unexpectedly. They are immediately drawn together, as if they know each other but they’ve never met. As they grow closer, Morgan behaves like two people. Sometimes he’s friendly and casual, and other times intimate and demanding. Sen juggles his painting through bursts of vision-like inspiration, the cleaning job, and an unexpected commission—all while trying to unlock the growing mystery of the intense connection he feels to Morgan. He’s not sure which scares him more—the strangeness surrounding their growing bond or that he’s found someone to make him reconsider his lifelong wanderlust.
Growing up she loved westerns and taking long hikes. On these explorations she’d craft miniature worlds with moss and rocks while making up stories about everything that happened there. This often included dashing cowboy heroes. As an adult, not a lot has changed. She still loves westerns, long hikes, and allowing her imagination to roam. She also loves spending time with family and friends, rooting for her baseball team, rainy days in autumn, and the perfect cup of tea (black, steeped extra strong, with milk—please!). Her romances feature flawed but relatable characters in immersive settings, told with wit, tenderness, and a sly note of sarcasm. Though a cynic in many ways, Elle believes love can conquer all. Every story is a little bit naughty, a whole lot of nice, and will always end with happily ever after. Elle currently lives in New York City, where she maintains her miniature worlds in terrariums and writing. She’s so thankful to be able to share her work with a growing audience, and especially grateful to have you reading along.