Holy cow, people – I have an editing deadline tomorrow, and have been so buried in my own words, I nearly forgot to put up Writer Wednesday! *collective gasp*
Luckily large amounts of chocolate knocked some sense (or at least some energy) back into me, just in time to bring you fellow Virginia Romance Writer, Ann Alexandra. I’m so delighted she’s here! Romance writers rock, people.
So settle in (with your own chocolate; I’m not sharing mine) to get better acquainted with Ann Alexandra, and hear about her book, Secret Lives, which won Second Place in the 2015 Book Buyers Best Award, and Fourth Place (“Outstanding Novel”) in the 2015 People’s Choice Award!
What inspires you to write?
I have loved reading all of my life. It lets you experience so many different aspects of life that you might not otherwise have the opportunity to experience. And it offers the opportunity of both escape and entertainment. Creating a new story, putting together all the disparate pieces and characters, and producing something that I hope will give the pleasure of reading to others, is so much fun!
Name one interesting thing you learned in researching/writing your last book:
What fascinates me is how the details of the story line develop through the actions of the different characters, as a result of their personalities–what drives them–and how they pursue their individual goals. I set the general storyline, and context/framework, of the novel at the beginning, but I let the specifics of the story evolve through what feels like the natural behavior of the different characters as they try to achieve their objectives. A key, for me, to the evolution of the romance is how each person ‘discovers’ the character/appeal of the other over time. I believe that an abiding love needs to be based on admiration and respect for the qualities of someone, not only on sexual tension.
I love the novels of Jayne Ann Krentz, who also writes historical romance under the name of Amanda Quick. Her leading women are strong, and creative, and fearless. And in the telling of her story, she captures a perfectly appealing evolution of the relationship between the hero and heroine. And her narrative style lets you get lost in the story.
What one piece of advice do you wish you’d had when first starting out?
Today, the primary responsibility for promotion lies with the author, especially if you are Indie publishing your novel, as I did. It would have been great to find guidance on which specific promotion outlets need submission/notification in ADVANCE of publication.
What’s your favorite romance novel of all time?
That’s easy! Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen. Austen drew real, and powerful, characters across a broad range of personalities. In telling her story, she reveals how the motivations and foibles of individuals impact, intentionally or not, the lives of those around them. And it’s the story of an abiding love that survived the many jostling and disruptive effects of family and friends, and some of the shallow strictures of society. I never tire of re-reading it!
A Bit On Secret Lives:
The Romance they never expected…
The Love that binds their souls…
The Danger that threatens to destroy them both…
Ace negotiator Jillian Harper can’t understand why she’s been shipped off to Miami for a cultural convention, just as hemisphere-wide negotiations to fight drug trafficking reach a critical climax. The mystery deepens when her quaint taxi driver delivers her–not to the hotel where the convention will be held–but to the estate of prominent financier Blake Crawford. It takes all her diplomatic skills–and courage–to navigate the tumultuous events that follow when Blake introduces Jillian as his fiancée, announcing they will be married in ten days. Jillian, knowing she has never met Blake, soon learns that the “Secret Lives” of others, including Blake, will determine if she lives or dies–and to live, she must embrace a secret life of her own. As she navigates these uncharted waters, can Jillian survive an earth-shattering betrayal of trust–and the discovery of a deep, and powerful, love that may ask her to sacrifice her own life to protect the man she loves?
A Bit on Ann Alexandra:
Born and raised in Boston, Ann Alexandra has been a long-time resident of Northern Virginia. She loves animals, in general, and dotes on her four cats. She loves music, and all related activities such as dancing and singing. Most importantly, she is passionate about reading. “Growing up, I made weekly visits to the city library. I believe I read, over the years, just about every mystery and romance–as well as many of the classics–on the shelves of what was a rather large public library!” she explained. “My mother introduced me to the joys of reading–she would tell me how, growing up during the height of the Depression, she could explore the world and embark on all kinds of adventures—just by opening a book!” Ms. Alexandra dedicated her first novel, Secret Lives, to her Mother, ‘In Loving Memory’, whom she describes as her “best friend” for all of her life.
Ann Alexandra received her Bachelor’s Degree, summa cum laude, in Political Science, and a Master’s Degree in International Relations. She worked in the Legislative side of government at both the state and federal levels, researching and writing analyses of laws and government programs. She is a member of RWA, VRW, VWC, The Writer’s Center, and Write by the Rails.
You can find Ann Alexandra’s author page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AnnAlexandraAuthor
Thanks for joining us, Ann! I hope the rest of your day is filled with as much chocolate as mine shall be. And writing, of course.