Welcome, Alyssa. Please tell us about yourself.
I’m a native Michigander who should live somewhere much warmer! But after nearly fifteen years of marriage, I’ve come to an understanding with Mr. Alexander. If he has a sweater or a fleece it eventually becomes mine, so I manage to stay warm. I also work a full time job and have a small boy-child. This means my days are full of work, my evenings and weekends are full of family, and my late nights are full of writing!
Considering the weather we're having, you'll need more than his sweater. LOL
How long does it take you to write a book?
I rewrote my first book six times. Six. Times. I don’t know exactly how many years that was, but I know it was too many. I wrote THE SMUGGLER WORE SILK in two and a half years while learning to parent a newborn son. After that, it was a year to write IN BED WITH THE SPY, which comes out in the fall of 2014 from Berkley. The book I recently finished took me about nine months to write. Clearly, I’m getting faster with each book, so I’m hoping the next will take me about six months. But I do have a day job and a kindergartner, so my writing time can be limited.
What do you enjoy most about life?
Most definitely cooking and eating. I love food, of all types and shapes and sizes and flavors. I spend entirely too much time looking for recipes online and buying new cookbooks. Bless Mr. Alexander, he’s open to trying anything once. And, for the record, I only made him sick one time.
Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, outline, or...?
Unfortunately for my productivity, I write out of order. I usually have a general idea of the characters and a few highlights, though I don’t often know the ending. Sometimes, I don’t even know the villain until half way through the book. I write the scenes as I see them, whenever that happens to be, and then fit them together like a puzzle later on. I think this process ultimately creates more work for me, but if I try to write a book from beginning to end I get bogged down somewhere around page two. That is, if I even get past page one!
How many hours a day to you spend writing?
I have a full time job and a five year old, so my day is fast-paced and full. I usually write between 4:30 pm and 5:15 pm at a coffee shop near my work a few evenings a week. Then after my son goes to bed, I write or conduct writing business, blogs, critique, promotion, pay bills, vacuum, exercise, and whatever else needs to get done from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm. My actually writing time can vary from a few hours a day to nothing, depending on what I have going on. But if I don’t actually write, I’m still doing something writing related, such as blogs or promotion or answering emails.
And, when I’m very lucky, I can take some time to write during my day job. I have the world’s best boss, who is very supportive of my writing. When time and schedule permits, he will let me take a few hours while I’m at work to write.
If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be?
You cannot achieve anything without hard work, discipline, stubbornness and sacrifice, but you must also have balance in your life. You must laugh and love and play. Nurture your imagination and cherish your relationships. Dreams are only dreams unless you add elbow grease, but if you work too hard to achieve them, you might miss the good parts of life as they pass you by. So write, laugh, love, and play! Oh, and cook. Because good food makes every day better.
Great advice. Now tell us about your latest book.
My debut novel, THE SMUGGLER WORE SILK, is set in Regency England. It does cross genres a little, as it’s both historical romance and heavy on the suspense element. It’s about Grace Hannah, a poor relation turned smuggler who comes under suspicion of treason. The spy stalking her, Julian Travers, Earl of Langford, is being forced into retirement because his identity has been revealed to the enemy and he believes she’s part of it. But she’s innocent, and when he compromises her, they must marry. Still, there’s a traitor on the loose and my heroine is a smuggler. Loyalties are divided and secrets abound. The question is, can they get past those secrets long enough to fall in love?
THE SMUGGLER WORE SILK released this week and is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online and brick and mortar retailers.
If you’d like to see the trailer you can check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HboweQ3vDac
Whoa. What a trailer. I'm reading THE SMUGGLER WORE SILK and loving it!
One last question, Alyssa. Where can readers find you?
I hang out a lot on Facebook, but I dip my toe (or wing?) into Twitter periodically. You can also find me on the web at alyssa-alexander.com or on Goodreads.
Enjoy! And thank you so much for hosting me, Diane!
My pleasure, Alyssa. I wish you much success for your debut book.
Alyssa is giving away a copy of THE SMUGGLER WORE SILK and chocolate to a lucky commenter. Be sure to leave your email address.