The first interview in this seasonal series is with Alexa, whose creativity and output seem just about boundless! You can learn more about her on her website.
Some of you may be familiar with the first three questions, which I borrowed from the Dragonblade blog. They're good for setting the scene and getting a little insight into each author's process!
Do you have a certain quirk in your writing process?
I’ve read where movement spurs creativity, and so I walk every morning in order to plot out scenes. I run a movie in my head and see the people (such as the hero crossing from right to left as he enters a room). I create dialogue, muttering under my breath, and pretty much ignoring everything around me. By the time I reach home, I have 1-2 scenes firmed up in my head and try to get them down as soon as I can.
I also like to have a candle burning when I write, usually vanilla or cinnamon. Something about scent also gets the wheels turning in my head!
From all your books, who is your favorite hero and why?
I think it’s the hero I have yet to write. When I am in the midst of my latest WIP, that hero is my favorite. I have to fall in love with him just as my heroine does—and think he is the GOAT! But I also know that I will be doing this over and over again, so I look forward to the men I have yet to create and what they will be like.
Outside of your own genre, what’s your favorite genre?
Thrillers. I enjoy a ticking time bomb plot where there is pressure on the protagonist to answer that call to action before something terrible happens—and then save the day. I also like detective stories. Some authors I read in those genres? Lee Child, Michael Connelly, Brad Meltzer, Brad Thor, Daniel Silva.
What are your favorite winter traditions?
Going to look at Christmas lights is always fun. We also live near a Gaylord hotel, and they do a holiday theme each year that includes an ice sculpture show. Mr. Aston worked in sports for many years and so a lot of things around New Year’s centered on Cotton Bowl events (concerts, parties, luncheons, the game), and we still attend some of those.
Other than that? I always make huge batches of my wonderful tortilla soup. Drink lots of hot chocolate (besides the three cups of hot tea I drink daily). Watch sporting events with friends and do potlucks.
How do you feel about Dickens, really? (It’s okay to dislike him.)
I ADORE Dickens! Yes, I am that geek. When we went to London, I had to go see his house. My favorite Dickens’ novel is Bleak House. BBC did a terrific version of it with Gillian Anderson and Charles Dance a few years ago. Give me Jarndyce vs. Jarndyce and I’m a happy camper.
[WB: I think my favorite Gillian Anderson-Dickens portrayal is her Miss Havisham, but I also love her Lady Dedlock... 2005 seems like a long time ago. Almost forgot about the fact that she was in that adaptation of Bleak House.]
What inspired you to write your O Night Divine story?
My story, Yuletide at Gillingham, comes from my Soldiers and Soulmates Regency series. Book 3, To Trust a Duke, was Reid & Ashlyn’s story. They have a school on their country estate. I had several readers want to know more about some of their students, particular Edward, a scholarship student who has a firemark (a port wine stain) on his face.
I decided to allow readers to know more about Edward as a boy—and then how he turns out as a man. I think they’ll be pleased to learn what he’s been up to.
If you could say something kind to reassure people this season, what would it be?
The Golden Rule says it all – Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. We all need to be kind and thoughtful and patient. Yes, COVID fatigue has set in, but we need to stay positive and be the best we can be and support everyone around us.
If you absolutely had to meet the ghost of Christmas Past, Future, or Present, which would you choose?
I would definitely go [with] Christmas Past. I’m happy with my present and will let the future write itself. I have a TERRIBLE memory, though, and would love to go back and see myself at a younger age and all that I was up to during various Christmas seasons.
[WB: May we all learn from your second sentence!]
If your contribution is a lead-in to (or an extension of) another series or novel, please describe the series or book.
Yuletide at Gillingham is merely an extension of Soldiers and Soulmates. Here is the link to the 5-book Regency series.
O Night Divine can still be preordered here. I think you'll all enjoy it! We're certainly excited for it to make its debut, and there truly is something for everybody.
And, an enormous thanks to Alexa, of course!
Check back on Friday for the next author's interview...