I’m so excited to see readers loving my second book, Game On. This was a completely different experience from writing my first book, for a variety of reasons. First, the intense learning curve of self-publishing was a little bit easier the second time around. I had all the accounts set up and had figured out a book cover artist that I liked and a formatting software I am comfortable with. I also knew that a lot of promotions weren’t worth the money for me, so I didn’t scramble to get my book into them. And, of course, I had a little bit of a following established from my first book and it was nice to see some readers excited to read another book I’ve written.
The downside, of course, is that there are second book nerves. What if the readers who liked my first book don’t like this one? What if the new story and characters don’t resonate? These are all normal doubts that I think anyone creating art experiences when putting something out into the world to face potential judgement.
Game On: Tropes & Characters
Creating something and then sharing it is a nerve-wracking experience in both good and bad ways. Game On is a very different story than my first one. Miss Indecisive is all light, fluffy and funny. Game On, there is a much stronger character arc and Millie changes exponentially from page one to the end. We really see her character come full circle, in a good way. This character story was something I knew was going to happen going in to writing the story. I wanted a heavier focus on the character story and a little less focus on the romantic story, which is what makes Game On a bit more chick lit than romance (although there’s definitely a strong romantic story in there, too).
Another element that I worked into this story was the bad boss, Colton Cox, the narcissistic real estate broker who will do anything for money. Believe it or not, this character was inspired by a real life person who is every bit as cringey as Colton – and even more so. His antics are so unbelievable, I literally said to my friend (who worked for him), I have to write a book with a character like this. My concern was that people literally wouldn’t believe that a person could be that bad and feel the character lacked realism. While that has definitely happened in some reviews, I always chuckle to myself when I read them and think, “If you only knew…” Colton is actually not as bad as the guy who inspired him. The real guy is worse.
Once I had these two pieces nailed down, then I started thinking through tropes that could be connected to craft a meaningful story. The funny revenge plot started taking shape, which incorporated a strong female friendship with Paige added in. Then, as Millie starts to feel empowered to take control over her own life, we see her life really transform and that attracts a new man into her life, although their relationship is not without some unexpected interruptions.
Lastly, I felt it was important to show the struggles that single moms face. Millie was very much inspired by a few single moms that I know and love, including my own mom. Seeing their struggle and their strength made me want to create a character who experiences their lack of options and how often they survive with little to no support system, etc. In fact, some of the reviews of the book have even shown that people really do not understand the plight of the single parent. Some reviews have said things like, “If her boss is so bad, why doesn’t she just leave…”. This is despite the story clearly showing that Millie lacks higher education that makes it difficult to even get an assistant job, as well as the fact that she applies to jobs and can’t get an offer that will allow her to survive. Even though she gets a dental assistant degree, the average pay is so low that in an area where Millie lives (Sacramento, CA), she wouldn’t be able to afford to care for her two children on that income. Leaving a job just because she doesn’t like it or her boss is crazy is just not an option for a lot of single parents. One of my single mom friends has years of experience in her industry, yet has tried for at least a year to get another job, but even executive assistant jobs require a four-year degree now, which she does not have. I think it’s important to share these stories.
More About Characters:
When it comes to creating characters, I am really interested in writing a variety of characters. My first book incorporated a tight knit, traditional Indian family, including a beautiful Indian wedding, and I love how it adds so much depth to the story. In Game On, I decided to incorporate a character on the spectrum as Millie’s son. He is inspired by my nephew, who I love very much, and think is the most incredible, brilliant boy in the whole world. I feel like there are a lot of misconceptions about autism and many people don’t really understand it. These kids have to work so much harder to adapt to things that those of us not on the spectrum don’t even think about. But, on the flip side, they are often given other incredible gifts in leaps and bounds beyond what the rest of us can even imagine. Watching my nephew and seeing his gifts has been life-changing for all of us and I wanted to write a beautiful character inspired by him and how much he has taught all of us. I am considering a story that jumps into the future and shows his love story when he’s grown. It’s floating around in my head and I’ll see if it crystallizes and needs to be shared.
Another character I really wanted to write was Millie’s best friend, Paige. I love a good secondary character. In fact, I find my secondary characters sometimes want to take over the spotlight. They have Main Character Energy. This happened in Miss Indecisive, too. So many people fell in love with Cam, her best friend, and he really was an exceptional character. His voice was very clear for me and I can’t wait to share more of him in upcoming books in that series. In Game On, I had a feeling that Paige would have her own spin-off book almost right away and the more I wrote this one, the more Paige and her story came to me. I have tentatively titled her upcoming story, Cover Girl, and I am starting to think through that one. I hope to start writing it later this year.
Overall, Game On had a lot of threads to experiences to real life, but were woven together in a way that truly was a fictional story. I absolutely love writing physical comedy and scenes like when Millie has to jump over the fence at the open house are my favorite. If you can imagine, I am sitting at my computer, cackling and smiling while I put my poor characters through the ringer. It’s all for you, my friends. My whole goal is to put a smile on your face and give you a much needed respite from the stressors of life.
At the end of the day, these are stories. While we can learn and glean things from them, they are ultimately escapism entertainment. No book is perfect, but I hope Game On finds the readers who will enjoy it and appreciate it for what it is.
Reviews for Game On:
Some of the reviews for Game On have blown me away. The way people have responded to Millie’s story has been so motivating for me as a writer. To see Game On get into the top 100 for clean and wholesome romance is a moment I may never forget. Thank you for loving Millie as much as I do.
Here are some of my favorites:
“I loved this story! The way Millie came full circle in her story and was able to make her way in the world as a single mom and to do it successfully really spoke to me! Plus who doesn’t love a story that gets back at a truly terrible boss! These are all of the things I wish I could do to every bad boss I have ever had!! Highly recommend this book to everyone!!! – Mandi
“I really enjoyed this story. I didn’t want to put this book down! Millie goes through a wonderful transformation in this book. I enjoyed the fact the story is set in California and that the Millie drinks lots of coffee. I was given an ARC and this is my voluntary review.” – Marlys Fry
“What a Read! This book has it all, great characters and plots, and a number of hilarious pranks thrown in for good measure.” – Helen Causer
“OMG, SOOOO GOOD!!! I flew through this book in one night and loved every minute of it. This is the second book I’ve read from by Elise Eliot and I’m LOVING her writing style, she’s hilarious!
This is a classic revenge against bad boss story which I love but also a heartwarming journey about a single mom turning her life around. The romance is natural and doesn’t feel forced which seems to be my biggest issue with most romance novels nowadays.
As I mentioned above, this book is laugh-out-loud funny and the mischief Millie and Paige come up with to get back at bad boss Colton one was one of my favorite parts.
I really appreciate that this book is about a woman who saves herself and doesn’t need a knight in shining armor or Prince Charming to solve her problems. I don’t want to spoil any of the romance but this book really delivers and I would recommend it to romance novel lovers out there. 5 stars!” – Scarlett DeFrance
If you haven’t already read Game On, please feel free to find it here. I hope you love it. In the meantime. I am deep into my third novel, currently unnamed, and I’ll be back soon with more on that one.