What do you hope readers take with them after they’ve read it?
The core of the story is never to give up because God is always working behind the scenes and can bring people into our lives or change our circumstances right when we most need it. Another big aspect of the book is that things and circumstances don’t define us. Our faith and how we live do.
"An exceptional story of life and love. I love the way the author shows us parts of life of a hero of the military. The things they go through and the pain and suffering it brings to family and friends. . . . I highly recommend this story to everyone who like to read and receive a lift as an extra reward."
My Publishing Journey
I’ve been writing for a long time. Ever since I was eight, to be exact. I still have the ugly, beat up, green notebook that I wrote my very first little stories in. I had no idea then that I would be a published author. It wasn’t even something I aspired to. I just loved to tell stories, something I inherited from my mom. I might not have even started writing if I hadn’t seen her doing it first. . .
She waited for him to elaborate, but he didn’t. Instead, he switched the topic back to her. “What about your parents? What do they do?”
“Well, my dad’s a farmer and my mom was always a stay-at-home mom.” Simple and straightforward. They loved their lives, and she had loved growing up in it. However, her dreams had always been a bit beyond that. Maybe she’d been foolish.
“A country girl, then.”
Unbidden, a tiny laugh escaped Alex. “Yes, pretty much. A country girl with big dreams.”
"What an outstanding and feel-good-in-the-end book! Two characters, both living a life other than what they had planned, both struggling emotionally. . . . I adored their love story and how they were able to help each other and the faith that finds it's way back into their hearts. . . . I highly recommend this book to all lovers of Christian Contemporary Romance lovers!"
No Chance Meeting Character Casting
It’s always great for an author when they can have someone “cast” as their character. It really helps bring the character to life in our minds. Here are a few of my celebrity casting choices for the characters in No Chance Meeting. . .
Had Alex received the text two weeks ago, she would have ignored it for a few days, hoping Mindy just thought she was busy and forgot to call. She tapped on Mindy’s name to bring up her contact information and stared at the call button. She would have to be honest about how she had been lately. Mindy would know just by her voice if she tried to conceal her struggles. Did she really want to delve into it? However, today had become about making things right. She hit call. The phone rang twice before Mindy’s voice filled her ear.
“Alex! I’m so glad you called!”
“Hey, Mindy,” she said through a smile.
“It’s so good to hear your voice.”
“Yours too.” Really, her friend’s bubbly enthusiasm was like a balm. She should never have avoided calling.
"No Chance Meeting by Jaye Elliot is a character-driven romance with realistically flawed characters and strong spiritual themes. I’m a firm believer in the way God is always working behind the scenes, leaving nothing to chance, so the title is especially meaningful. It’s refreshing to see a Christian fiction book where God is actually the main character."
How I am Like/Not Like My Character
Writers always leave pieces of themselves within a story. This can be especially true in regards to their main character. Here are 5 ways my main female character, Alex, and I are alike and then 5 ways we are not alike. . .
“Alex,” she said cheerfully when she looked up. Her gaze drifted to Riley and then back to Alex, sparkling with curiosity.
Alex paused with Riley at her side. “This is Riley Conrad. We work together and . . . he’s my boyfriend. He’s taking me out to dinner tonight.” She shared a quick smile with Riley.
Dia looked positively delighted. This would certainly dominate tonight’s conversation with her friends.
"I loved Alex’s and Riley’s story. . . . This is a new author for me. I enjoyed her writing. I loved how Alex and Riley were so supportive of each other. I plan on reading more by the author."
Chance meetings, meet-cutes and serendipitous encounters are some of my favourites within Romance & Sweet Romance - how did you want readers to react to the one you've given Riley & Alex? What did you love about setting the scene itself and giving a first look at how your life's trajectory can alter itself in one singular moment?
Elliot responds: The first meeting between Alex and Riley isn’t the cute, swoon-worthy or funny meeting that a lot of romance novels have. Alex is at the lowest point in her life. It’s absurd to her that she, a girl who’s never been on a date in all her near-thirty years, would meet someone right then. But I love it because it shows that God is working even when we think our lives have hit a dead end. He can bring people and things into our lives right when we need them most, even if, in our human minds, the timing seems ridiculous. The whole theme of the book is that things don’t happen by chance. They are part of God’s plan.
TEN RANDOM THINGS ABOUT NO CHANCE MEETING
1. I wrote No Chance Meeting for NaNoWriMo 2016. It was the first time I ever participated in NaNoWriMo. I wasn’t sure I ever would and really didn’t think I’d actually make it to 50,000 words. I ended up completing the month with over 60,000. . .
She moved toward the kitchen counter. “Do you want coffee?”
“Always.” With a cheeky grin, Mindy slid onto one of the barstools on the opposite side of the counter.
Alex filled the coffeemaker with the coffee Riley had brought her after his appointment. While waiting for it to brew, she peeked over at Mindy, who was checking her phone.
“He kissed me the other night.”
Mindy’s eyes shot up, and her phone rattled on the counter. Her mouth fell open with a squeal. It was a good thing Alex had given her the news now instead of after handing over the coffee or her friend might have choked in her giddiness.
Top 10 Romantic Pairings
I’m a hopeless romantic, so I tend to do a lot of shipping fictional characters. Here is a look at my top 10 in no particular order. Only one pairing is actually from a book. I’m a very visual person, so I tend to do more shipping of characters from movies and TV than I do for books. I’m sure I’m forgetting some, but these are the ones that jumped to mind immediately. . .
Riley turned to Alex with a smile and held out his arm, drawing her closer. “Granddad, this is my girlfriend, Alex Jennings. Alex, my grandfather, Joseph Preston.”
His smile grew even brighter, if that was possible, and he held out his hand for Alex to shake. Though his skin was wrinkled, his grip was strong.
“I’m very pleased to meet you, Alex. It’s about time Riley found himself a good woman.”
It was impossible not to grin at his enthusiasm. “I’m very pleased to meet you as well, Mr. Preston.”
"Elliott tackles the difficult topic of depression with grace and gentleness, never glossing over the internal battle that Alex wages on her emotions. The faith element of the book is also authentic to the story. I’ll be watching for more from this author."
Alex Jennings is done with life. After losing her brother in Afghanistan, everything has collapsed around her. Getting laid off from her day job and failing in her art career, she has nowhere left to turn. She once had faith to believe that all things would work together for good, but that faith died with her brother. Now she just wants the pain to end.
Riley Conrad served thirteen years in the military until three bullets sent him home. After a year and a half of physical therapy and scraping together a living, all he wants is to live a simple life and perhaps even open the coffee shop he dreams about. However, the weight of failing his parents’ expectations doesn’t make it easy, and working as a bartender isn’t getting him anywhere fast.
Could a “chance” meeting between Alex and Riley set them both on the path God always intended?
About the Author