Elaine White's Life in Books

The Author



Elaine White is the author of multi-genre MM romance, celebrating 'love is love' and offering diversity in both genre and character within her stories.

Growing up in a small town and fighting cancer in her early teens taught her that life is short and dreams should be pursued. She lives vicariously through her independent, and often hellion characters, exploring all possibilities within the romantic universe.

The Winner of two Watty Awards – Collector's Dream (An Unpredictable Life) and Hidden Gem (Faithfully) – and an Honourable Mention in 2016's Rainbow Awards (A Royal Craving) Elaine is a self-professed geek, reading addict, and a romantic at heart.


The Reviewer


I’m an author and reader, who just can’t get away from books. I discovered the MM genre a few years ago and became addicted.

Top #50 UK reviewer on Goodreads
#1 reviewer on Divine Magazine

Facts About Me: Tephy Brezal Origin Story



A long time ago - as I start all my origin stories - I came up with the idea for a story. It was originally called "Victory" and was inspired by an episode of a history TV show about the witch trials of Salem, and partially inspired by the novel The Kitchen Boy, by August Li. It was about 10 pages long, with only 2 scenes really clear in my mind when I initially wrote it.

For years, it remained nothing more than an idea. A document on my hard drive that got removed from my laptop to free up space, because nothing was going to happen with it for a while.

Then my publisher asked if any of us had fairytale re-tellings for an anthology. I'd been writing MM for a long time, but hadn't really considered a re-telling before, so I though I might try it. I scoured my hard drive for suitable stories, came across 'Victory' and thought maybe it might fit. It would need to be changed, though. So, I sat down, re-read what I had written and didn't like it. Not unusual for me.

The basics of the plot was this - it was a fantasy setting, with a King who was bored and young, who was a bit reckless and lonely. One day, a dozen or so 18-30 year old peasants are brought to the castle as potential servants (a sort of pay-it-back tradition of his family). He sees one boy who takes his fancy, but ignores the instinct and accepts him and a few others to work in the palace. He does indulge himself by placing the boy he likes as his personal assistant. As the plot was originally for a solo novel or a short story, there wasn't a lot of plans for the in between stages. I just knew that one day, the King would step into a huge sunken floor bath and ask the assistant to bathe him, as was the way it should be. But the assistant is all puppy-eyes and the King takes the risk of commanding him to make it a bit more than a bath, if you know what I mean ;) So, they fool around and continue to fool around for about a month or so, the King showing obvious favour and unaware that the other servants take it out on his assistant in jealousy. One particular day, a few of the servants corner the assistant in the kitchens, beat him brutally. But - huzzah! - the King walks in, stops it all and takes the assistant back to his royal chambers to be cared for. Lots of caring, consoling, loving, and confessions later, and the King asks the assistant to be his royal consort.

A little pedestrian, maybe, looking back. Too simple, too nonsensical, and a bit dull. At least, that was what I thought when I re-read it, wondering why I'd ever thought it was a good idea in the first place.

Then I thought about whether it could be changed into a fairytale re-telling, or if I should abandon the idea and move on. What if the King was a little bit hideous? What if he was the Beast, and it was a twist on Beauty and the Beast? Nope. I didn't like that. And, I had actually done that just a little with my Royal Craving novel, so I didn't want to try to repeat it. Then I thought about how the assistant got to the castle in the first place. Maybe it wasn't an accident.

I began to write and came up with a twist on the Sleeping Beauty/Maleficent idea. I came up with the idea that the assistant was the "Aurora" of the story, but instead of being cursed as a baby, and instead of there being the King love interest, I would make it even more interesting. I would make the King the Maleficent figure - the rightful heir to the throne, ousted unfairly, and determined to regain his kingdom. The "Aurora" MC would be stolen as a baby, from the evil new King, and would be - unbeknownst to everyone but me - the soul mate of the rightful heir. It was brilliant. I had done it.

Except, I didn't really anticipate how it would work out, on paper. Sure, I wrote the story. I tried to make it a short story, but there wasn't enough time for all that I wanted to include in the plot. So including it in the anthology was out. I kept writing, anyway, knowing that it was a good story. Believing that it could be amazing. It grew...and grew...and grew...until it was nearly 100k of a novel and had twisted into something I didn't expect, when I began writing.

It sat that way for months. I edited, I re-edited, I added snippets, then had to edit again. I loved it. It was my best work (so I thought) and it was going to be my stoke of genius.

Until, months later, I came up with the idea for the story Ascension of an Eamwulf. Which, in true fashion, took a life of its own immediately after I had the idea and became over 100k of a novel. I was even clever (*cough*cough*) enough to make my 'shifter' species something truly unique - the ancient dinofelis, which was similar to a sabretooth tiger. And, when I was done, and I started editing it, I realised that it could easily have a sequel. Which I started to brainstorm for. Which led to ideas for a trilogy.

Which led to Tephy Brezal.

Finally, right? I thought so too. Until I decided to include my rewrite of 'Victory' into the series, in its new form "Shadow and Shade". Because, then I realised that, to make the trilogy of Tephy Brezal make sense, I couldn't have a sophisticated world such as Shadow and Shade followed by the almost nomadic, Neanderthal existence of Ascension of an Eamwulf. And to combine them into the same series, I would not only have to rewrite Shadow and Shade to include the shifter-creatures, the Eamwulf, in some form, but, I would also have to move them. Which meant making Ascension the first novel in the trilogy, creating a whole new center piece that progressed the world into something more advanced, before ending with the successful, intricate world of Shadow and Shade.

Which led to renaming each of the books. And remaking the covers. And endless edits.

But, it was all worth it. Because, now, Tephy Brezal truly feels like that golden goose, the something different that could make me stand out as an author. The trilogy that could be the best thing I've ever written. It's still huge, it's still stupidly complicated in my head, but on paper, I actually love it. And I hope you will too.