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Monday, October 1, 2012

Interview/Giveaway: Hidden Gifts by Elena Aitken

Hidden Gifts
Castle Mountain Lodge Series
Elena Aitken

Bo’s always known that to be a successful hiking guide at the beautiful Castle Mountain Lodge, you have to flirt with the ladies-but never get too close; have a penchant for wild adventures-but know when to pull away; and never have any ties holding you back.

And his plan was working fine…until Ella, the child he didn’t know he had appears in his life.

Morgan’s always known what she wanted out of life but when the doctor’s crippling diagnosis changes everything, she knows she needs a fresh start. Maybe changing her career and throwing herself into a totally new lifestyle at the Lodge is exactly what she needs?

And it might have worked too…

Bo knows he needs Morgan’s help to reach Ella, but will she be willing to give up the new life she thought she wanted? And can either of them let down their guard long enough to recognize that all they really need is right in front of them, in Ella…and each other.


Hi Elena! It’s so nice to have a chance to talk to you! 
So nice to chat with you too, Liz. Thank you so much for having me here. 

We’re meeting today because of your new release, Hidden Gifts. What can you tell us about this story? 
I love this story because it’s a ‘happily ever after’ and takes place in the most beautiful setting. And sometimes, I just need to read—or in this case—write a feel good book. Hidden Gifts is the second in The Castle Mountain Lodge Series that takes place at a mountain resort in the Canadian Rockies. 

This book sounds like an emotional heartfelt story. How did the idea come to you, what was the inspiration for Bo’s story? That’s a great question. I often can’t even tell you where I get my ideas, I just start thinking, “What if?” and go from there. But when I decided to write another Castle Mountain Lodge book, I knew I wanted this one to star a mountain man type of character who loved the outdoors. So I started with the character of Bo and then figured out what might be something that would change his life in a completely unexpected way.

All of your books take on a real life view of people. Sometimes it’s a terrific view, and sometimes it’s a bit damaged – just like people. Is there any sort of message you want to give your readers, something you’d like them to take from your writing? I try to write characters that are real. That means they’re not always perfect and yes, that means that sometimes they make really bad decisions. But that’s real life. My readers are also real people and I’m sure most of them have made decisions or done something that maybe they shouldn’t have. It’s always my goal to have readers identify in some way to my characters. In some cases, such as Becca in Drawing Free, that can sometimes be an uncomfortable identifier. There is so much pressure for women right now to be everything to everyone all the time. That’s a lot of pressure to be ‘perfect’ and it’s an impossible goal. So if there’s one thing I want readers to take from my writing is that just like my characters, you don’t have to be perfect or make all the ‘right’ choices. You just need to be real and true to yourself.

Elena, which of your own books is your favorite, and why?  Super tough question. I have two favorites for different reasons. (That’s allowed, right?) First, Nothing Stays In Vegas because it was the book that made it possible for me to do what I’m doing now, which is writing full time. It was a fun book to write and will always be my ‘baby’. My other favorite is Drawing Free. It was a very difficult book to write because Becca’s journey was a struggle and definitely not an easy one. I think all moms can identify in some way with Becca, even if they don’t admit it to themselves. Because it was such a hard book to write, it was so rewarding to finally have Becca’s story out there for the world to read. And when I get emails from women thanking me for that book, it means the world. 

Is there a subject out there that you haven’t written about yet, but is on your wishlist of future books to write?
Ohh, so many things that I can’t wait to tackle. But right now I really want to dig my teeth into a book about the complex relationships of a group of women. I think there is always such an interesting dynamic when it comes to groups of women, I can’t wait to develop them in a book. 

Ok, on your website you list yourself as, “a writer, a mother of twins, a swimmer, a wife, a volunteer, a runner, a friend, a triathlete, a daughter, a sister, a Brownie leader (recently retired), an auntie, a cyclist, employee and….” My question is this: How in the heck do you do it? Have you gotten one of those clones, or a robot like in iRobot? 
Oh, I wish I had a clone! The truth is, my family always comes first. So I make it a point to squeeze everything else into any time that’s left over. It’s much easier now that my kids are ten. I do 90% of my working out and writing while they’re in school. I also have a very understanding husband who knows that I’m not happy unless I’m doing a million different things.

And if you weren’t an author, what other profession would you like to do? I really had to think about this one. I’ve never really wanted to be anything else. Although for a brief period after University and before kids I was a purchasing agent. It was a lot of fun to negotiate and spend a lot of money that wasn’t my own. So...I’d probably like to be an important executive somewhere. Of course that would be pretty stressful, so maybe instead I’d like to own some sort of bed and breakfast in a hot Caribbean country. Yes, that sounds much better.

Are there any special projects in the works, something we can see from you in the future? Oh, there’ll always be something from me. I have many stories in my head that need to be written. I think the next project will be about a group of women, one of whom calls Social Services on another. And then there’ll be another Castle Mountain Lodge book. I write pretty quickly, so I hope to have a few books out every year.

Ok, time for something a little more fun. If you could transport yourself to any book by any author, which book would it be? Easy. I’d love to be inside Diana Gabbaldon’s Outlander series. I’ve always loved those books. They’re just so exciting and subtly romantic. And really...Jamie Fraser? Come on!

And another fun one: If you could be any Disney Princess, which one would you pick and why? Tough one, I don’t think I’d make a very good Disney Princess at all. BUT if I have to pick one, I’d probably pick Belle. She seems to be the spunkiest and she doesn’t put up with much from anyone.

So, what are your favorite genres to read? I read it all. But I do tend to read mostly women’s fiction with some chick lit thrown in when I need a quick, light read. Lately though I seem to be reading quite a bit of YA, even some fantasy YA which is pretty strange for me, but I’ve been enjoying it.

And of course, Elena, do you have a “must read” book that you recommend we, well, must read? Well, of course the Outlander series. But two other books I read recently were by Colleen Hoover. Slammed and the second one, Point of Retreat. They’re both YA books and I couldn’t put them down.

And lastly, if we want to stalk you online, where are the best places we can do that? Yep, I want links! Oh, I love to be stalked online. You can hang out with me on Twitter at @elenaaitken
My Facebook page is:

My website of

And please, sign up for my newsletter:Here

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me today! I really appreciate the chance to get to know you a bit better :) Thank you so much for having me, Liz. I love to chat books and writing! 

Now is your chance to win a copy of Hidden Gifts for yourself! Just enter the Rafflecopter!  Giveaway is International to people 18+.  Winner will have 48 hours to respond to winning notification or a new winner will be chosen.  Giveaway Ends 10-5-12

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