MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR ALYSSA DRAKE!
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
My name is Alyssa Drake. I am a multi-genre author who writes historical romance, paranormal/urban fantasy romance, contemporary romance, horror/thriller, and sweet romance. I like to blend genres together in my stories. For example, Annabelle, which is releasing in the Historical Romance anthology, Timeless, is a “gaslight romance”, which is a historical romance (specifically Victorian), mixed with fantasy.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
I actually have three releases coming in the next few weeks. As they are wildly different genres, I’d like to give you the background into each one.
- Crina, Reborn, featured in the paranormal romance anthology, Dracula’s Brides, is one of four stories included in this unique set. When the anthology opened for submissions, each bride’s personality was listed. I chose Crina (Dracula’s first bride) because she was kind and loyal. Crina represents the softness (or humanity) behind the monster Dracula became. The tragic story of Crina began to form in my mind as I pondered why a sweet girl, such as Crina, would make the choice to become cursed and live forever with Dracula. I will say, this story became a bit more violent than I originally anticipated. (Releasing May 31st).
- Hearts for Sale, a spicy contemporary romance that incorporates a bit of danger and intrigue. The title, a play on words, drove the creation of this story. Eliza becomes a participant in a charity auction, which raises money for heart research, putting herself straight in killer’s path and into the arms of Nate. The question becomes, when you’ve depended on yourself for so long, how do you trust someone else? (Releasing June 13th).
- Message in a Bottle, a sweet, contemporary romance, is featured in the summer romance anthology Me + You. Interestingly, this story began as a paranormal romance with a treasure hunt, but as I delved into the bittersweet history between Rose and Jaxon, I quickly realized I could not add the paranormal element without losing their connection. As a result of needing to keep their relationship slow, the story turned sweet. (Releasing June 14th).
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
I love to read, just about everything. Because I read so many different things, I find it impossible to write in just one genre (this might also explain why I like to blend genres together). However, because I used to read Harlequin historical romances under my covers at night, I do tend to gravitate towards that genre more.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
For Dracula’s Brides, one of the authors was an expert in Dracula lore. We discussed various things, set world boundaries, and picked her brain clean. I also did a bit of research on my own regarding Romanian farm life during the 1400’s as well as what they ate and how they tended to their dead.
For Hearts for Sale, I had to research nautical expressions and the layout of a yacht. I also did a bit of reading on heart disease and sincerely hope there are more people like the Maldoves, who are helping to raise money for heart research.
For Message in a Bottle, I didn’t need to do any research. I spent most of my summers at the beach, and this story is rooted in the memories of my own childhood (something which made this piece more difficult to write for me, as I lost my mother just before Christmas).
Can you tell me about your Series?
I have one series, The Wiltshire Chronicles. It is a historical romantic suspense series about Samantha Hastings, a country girl who is thrust into society when her brother’s ship sinks off the coast. She is anti-marriage, anti-love, and about to meet her match in her new guardian, Benjamin, Lord Westwood.
The first two books of this series were released under a different publisher but are now with Wild Dreams Publishing. The books have been recovered and are going through edits. A third book, A Perfect Deception will join the first two and features Mr. Thomas Reid’s story.
Do you have a favorite book out of this series?
That’s not a fair question. But if I have to choose, I do love A Perfect Plan. It’s the first book of the series and shows the initial attraction between Samantha and Benjamin. I loved the tension that built up between them in this book.
Where did you get the inspiration/idea for your series?
This series started around a scene, like a meet-cute, but in this case, it was a rescue. The scene which occurs in An Imperfect Engagement where Benjamin attempts to rescue Samantha from the killer, was written first (chapter six). The entire series grew from that scene.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
Historical romance is fun to write because I get to research all kinds of things such as, what roofs are made of, how lighting worked, when was ice invented, what did they wear and eat, proper societal behavior, and types of weapons (i.e. ways to kill people in the 1850’s).
Was it always meant to become a series?
No. This was supposed to be one book. Then as more details came to light, book two became necessary. Then about halfway through book two, I realized, book three would be needed to close out the story arc. However, I am not averse to returning to Wiltshire again for the minor characters.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
I have a fulltime job and a family, so my writing schedule is bizarre. I can only work on “author stuff” in between. I write during my train commute in the morning (roughly 1 hour). When I take lunch (1 hour), I typically do takeovers, write my newsletter, update my website, or deal with other administrative tasks. On the commute home I either write or edit (depending on what deadlines are approaching). On a good night, I’ll get another hour in before bed. I find I’m most productive when writing on the train (it’s one of the few places without interruption), however, I have to have my music on to drown out the noises.
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
I have several new projects coming down the pipeline. I have a spicy contemporary romance that I’m co-writing with Bella Emy. A little bit of murder and a whole lot of fun. I’m also co-writing a Christmas piece with YM Zachery. This historical romance is based on one of our favorite songs and features a pirate. Lastly, I’m working on something a little different. For Enchanted Anthologies, I’m working on a dystopian paranormal romance. I can’t say much yet, but there will be vampires.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
Very and yes. Sometimes it’s a play on words and sometimes it’s the meaning of the name, I’ve hidden little jokes in some of the names. For example, in The Frog’s Prince, my heroine is named Rana (Hawaiian for frog).
Where do your ideas come from?
Dreams and very often conversations with my husband.
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
Gaslight/Gaslamp romance was one I wanted to try. Annabelle was my first experiment with that. In the future, I’d like to try a cozy mystery series.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
I always find the sex scenes difficult to write. Sometimes I’ll skip them and come back later to fill in the details.
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
I love book trailers. I have a few for some of my books. I wish I had more time to create them.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
A Perfect Plan is my best accomplishment. It was the first full length novel I wrote. No matter what else I do, it will always be there.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
I love creating new worlds and sharing my dreams with others.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I’d love to be writing full time.
Have you always liked to write?
Yes, I’ve been writing ever since I was a child. I used to write stories to read to my mom.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Keep writing. No matter what happens, keep at it.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
Right now, I work at chocolate factory, so I’d keep that job 😉
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
Yes, I read every review. No, I do not respond. I was told when I first started, to let it go. And when you get a bad one, it hurts so much. I have no idea why one bad review can cancel out ten good ones, but it happens. I usually have to step back for a day, do something else, take a deep breath. Then I move on, because everyone is entitled to their own opinion and even JK Rowling isn’t everyone’s favorite author.
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
Editing. A necessary evil.
What are you working on now?
In addition to preparing The Music Box to be released on Audible, I’m working on the edits for Hearts for Sale.
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
This is the meet-cute between Eliza and Nate:
The cupboard door ripped open and a faceless man reached into the darkness…
A heavy weight landed on her chest, pinning her to the mattress. Eliza screamed, her eyelids flying open. The room was pitch black. Panicking, her hands felt along her torso, closing around the object. It was an arm! She flung the limb with a shriek, kicking her feet against the unknown bulk attached to the arm. Its owner toppled off the bed, landing on the floor with a grunt.
“Hey!” shouted a deep voice. Fumbling sounds followed. A lamp next to the bed clicked on, bathing the room in dim light. Unexpectedly, a dark, rumpled head popped up from the floor. “What are you doing in my bed?”
“Your bed?” Eliza sat up quickly. Her stomach flipped over, an unexpected reaction to the half-naked male peering at her over the edge of the mattress.
“Yes, my bed. Obviously, I was sleeping in it.”
“I was sleeping in it.” She folded her arms across her chest.
“This is my room. Why were you in it at all?”
“Sabrina told me I could sleep here.”
He glanced upward at the ceiling, muttering curses under his breath. After a moment, he leveled his gaze, his cobalt blue eyes blazing. “You must be participating in the auction.”
Eliza licked her lips. “Well, I haven’t decided yet.”
“Oh really?” His eyebrows raised in surprise. Rising, he gestured at the bed. “Do you mind if I sit?”
Eliza shook her head, pulling the sheet up and tucking it under her arms, her stomach continuing to flip-flop. He carefully climbed onto the mattress, propping up two pillows, then leaning against them. Digging his bare shoulders into the pillow, he sighed contentedly and turned toward Eliza with a friendly smile.
“Hello, my name is Nate.”
“Hi, Nate.” Eliza replied, fighting the grin which threatened to break out across her face.
“What do they call you?”
“Eliza, it’s a pleasure to meet you.” He stuck out his arm.
Gingerly, Eliza took his hand and shook it. It warmed in her palm, sending a small spark zipping up her arm. “Oh!” She pulled her hand from his, wondering at the shock.
“Eliza,” continued Nate blithely, “we have a small problem.”
“There are currently no other unoccupied bedrooms in this house tonight. As this was my room, I assumed it would be free.”
“You weren’t supposed to be here until tomorrow morning.”
“Yes, Sabrina would have assumed that.” Nate grimaced. “On any other occasion, she would have been correct. However, my business concluded early, and here I am.”
“I can go find a couch.” Eliza rolled the cover down to her stomach, thinking perhaps this was sign she should refuse Sabrina’s offer.
“No, you’re a guest.”
“But this is your room.”
Nate thought a moment. “Alright, I’ll make you a proposal, Eliza. Since neither of us have anywhere else to sleep tonight and neither of us wants to sleep on the cold floor, I suggest I remain on this side of the bed, and you stay on that side.”
“And we just go to sleep?” Eliza eyed him skeptically, trying to ignore the part of her brain screaming with delight.
“I was already asleep before you rudely shoved me off the bed.”
“I didn’t shove you. I threw your arm off my chest. You fell on your own.”
“I stand corrected, or sit, as it were.” Nate’s eyes crinkled with humor. “However, tomorrow we have an early launch, so I suggest we try to get some rest.” He leaned to his side and clicked off the lamp.
Why did you choose to write in your genre? If you write in more than one, how do you balance them?
I tend to balance them without really trying. I like to have several projects going at the same time, so I’ll pick something different from what I’m currently working on. As you can see from the upcoming releases, three different genres.
Where did your love of books come from?
From my parents; they loved reading. Both my brother and I were raised with books and very little television.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
Do you have an hour? I’ll give you the Top Five favorite authors – Julia Quinn, Stephen King, Anne McCaffrey, JK Rowling, JD Robb
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?
Mr. Thomas Reid, the brother of Benjamin, Lord Westwood. He was originally created as a minor character, however he quickly grew on me. So much so, that he’s getting his own book, A Perfect Deception. I loved Thomas because he’s fun, flirtatious, and has a few less than desirable characteristics which do not suit a gentleman of his statue.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
I find the action of writing, typing, and editing exhausting, but plotting and brainstorming tends to energize me.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Lack of sleep, I’m useless.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I don’t “write to market” per say. I like to follow where the story goes, I’d rather be true to the character and I think readers appreciate having a believable character more, than reading another canned romance story.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I have been so lucky to meet such amazing authors who have helped support, encourage, and just listen. I cannot name them all, but here are few that have really helped/inspired me:
Bella Emy, YM Zachery, RL Weeks, Nicole Strycharz, HC Bentley, and JL Leslie. It is an honor just to know them.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
Where can your fans find you and follow??
Dreamers group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/alyssadrakenovels
Newsletter signup: http://eepurl.com/cAwxVn
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview ❤️