The Duke’s Unexpected Love comes out tomorrow! Alexa was kind enough to answer some questions for us.
You can get your copy of this heartfelt historical romance HERE!
Did you always know you wanted to be an author? What is the first story you remember writing? How did you get from there to where you are today?
Writing is in my DNA! I was born wanting to tell stories. I used to gather my dolls and stuffed animals around me (before I could even read or write) and act out stories with them. I had a vivid imagination, and as an only child, only myself to play with. My stories became my world. As I grew older and made friends on our street, I would create stories for us to act out. I gave everyone names and backstories, and we pretty much had our own soap opera going!
The first short story I wrote was in 7th grade for an English class. While everyone moaned about the assignment, I went home and whipped out almost twenty-five pages of the adventures of Joshua Wade in the American Old West. Ironically, the teacher who read and complimented me on it eventually left teaching—and became a writer for Harlequin! I met her years later and told her that her encouragement had inspired me to keep writing.
I finally found a couple of like-minded women who wanted to write romance as I did. We formed a critique group and read each other’s work. Those sessions led to my first publishing contract, a medieval romance. I’ve gone on to write both historical (Medieval, Western, and Regency) and contemporary romance. In 2024, I’ll pass the 100-novels/novellas published mark, with my 7-book Regency series, The Strongs of Shadowcrest, and my 5-book small town series Lost Creek: Texas Hill Country. I can’t wait to celebrate that accomplishment!
What are your favorite kind of characters to write? Do you have a specific trope that you’re drawn too?
My favorite kinds of characters to write are strong heroines who challenge the hero and heroes who fall for the heroine before she falls for him.
While I’m not drawn to a specific trope, I have found, time and again, I return to the theme of family. Sometimes, I write about families who are related by blood, but many times I choose to write about families who are created from friends. The theme of chosen family really speaks to me.
The best example of this is my Dukes Done Wrong Regency series, where five young boys are accused of wrongdoing (acts they never did) and sent to a school for troubled students. There, they find the brothers of their heart and build ties which last a lifetime. As each hero weds and brings his new wife into their fold, they gain a new sister, as well as these women gaining brothers and becoming friends with the other wives.
Where is your favorite place to write?
I have to laugh at this question because a lot of my writing occurs orally on my daily morning walks! Movement stimulates creativity, and I used to think about characters, plot, and even let them have conversations in my head during my walks, only to lose half of it by the time I got home and tried to get things on paper.
Nowadays, I record as I walk, dictating chapters. I transcribe those when I get home, always writing with a candle burning, sitting in my La-Z-Boy rocker, feet propped up, my laptop in my lap. I can’t have music going because that pulls me out of the story.
While my rocker is my preferred seat in the house, I’ve also written in airports, on planes, at sea on a cruise, and in the car driving places. I just love to write.
Which comes first for you: the plot or the characters?
When I begin anything new, I must hit on the perfect names for my hero and heroine before anything else. Once I have the names, I create physical descriptions and then give them character traits and backstories. Only then, once I know them well, do I start working on plot points. I come up with a few general ideas and then begin writing. I don’t know where the story will take me, and that is half the fun! My characters continually surprise me (and sometimes aggravate me when they don’t want to do what I want them to do).
What do you like to read when you’re not reading in your genre? Did you have a favorite book or series when you were growing up?
Growing up, I read voraciously, and series were some of my favorites. Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys. The Boxcar Children. All of Marguerite Henry’s horse books. Everything Beverly Cleary.
As an adult, I adore reading thrillers. I love a ticking bomb plot, where a hero and/or heroine are racing to find the bad guys and stop something horrible from happening. I enjoy reading authors such as David Baldacci, Lee Child, Brad Thor, Harlan Coben, and Daniel Silva.
I also like reading mysteries and am heartbroken that Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobb series is coming to an end after all these years. And if you haven’t read Victoria Thompson’s Gaslight Mysteries, you should. They are a rare treat.