Welcome, Alexis. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
There’s about maybe 50 percent of myself in each of the heroines for my stories. They have similarities to my personality and outlook on life. Sometimes, they even share the same career. It’s easier to follow the number one rule of writing fiction, “Write what you know” in that respect, but it’s also fun to create and write characters who are nothing like me.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Not talking while I eat. I tend to prefer to focus on and savor the food, rather than to carry on a conversation.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
At age 9 during an impromptu storytelling game with my brother and grandpa while my grandma fixed lunch (we were at their house while our parents were working).
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I enjoy reading contemporary and inspirational romance. My favorite authors are Becky Wade, Betsy St. Amant, JoAnn Durgin, Sarah Monzon, Sarah Jio, Kimberly Stuart, Kristin Billerbeck, and Melissa Tagg.
I also enjoy non-fiction books by my favorite journalists like Sophia A. Nelson and Soledad O’Brien. Christian Living books by the likes of Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, Lysa TerKeurst and Joyce Meyer are also enjoyable.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I make time for God. My pastor says, “Mornings are better when you talk to God first,” and I’ve found that to be true.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
I visit baby name sites online. Sometimes I go with whatever name comes to mind. But it helps to visit those sites that list baby names and their meanings. It helps me to choose the perfect names for my characters.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I’m most proud of an accomplishment that God orchestrated and that was getting my first writing contract with a traditional publishing company. Cynthia Hickey of Forget Me Not Romances offered me a contract at the perfect time. I was about to commit to a writing career as an indie author and hope that eventually, I’d get an agent and become a traditionally published author. But God sent Cynthia at just the right moment to get me to reconsider, and I am so glad that I accepted her offer.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I’d be a deer because they’re my favorite adopted pets! Deer play in our backyard and eat the flowers in our front yard where I live, that’s why I’ve “adopted” them as my unofficial pets. I’ve always loved deer for their beauty and elegance.
My parents retired to Fort Clark Springs in
Southwest Texas. It’s a
former frontier fort, which is now a resort community, and a certain percentage
of the property can’t be developed. It’s a preserve where deer, wild boars, and
other wildlife are in natural habitat. My dad fed the deer that came into their
back yard from the woods. What is your favorite food?
Now that’s a tough choice to make because I have a long list of favorite food! But if I had to choose just one main dish, I’d say that I love “curry chicken” the way that they fix it in Jamaica.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
My greatest roadblock in my writing journey was creating deeply layered characters. Working with my God-sent editor, Liz Tolsma, helped me to overcome that obstacle because she taught me about things like GMC charts and character layering techniques. After applying the techniques that she taught me, my skills as a fiction writer grew and I am now able to create characters that are deeply layered and more captivating than before in my previous stories.
Tell us about the featured book.
My featured book, A Second Chance, is a Contemporary Romance about characters that are in need of a second chance in life and love. There’s Traci, a journalist who is struggling to “pay dues” and her bills from the wedding that never happened (her fiancé left her at the altar and ran off with her Maid of Honor). There’s Marc, also a journalist who is struggling to pay his dues. He’s known as Mr. Nice Guy and while his kindness leads to his broken heart (because his girlfriends “just want to be friends”), it brings joy to his newly widowed sister Gina. She’s a bestselling romance novelist who is trying to raise her two kids in the wake of her firefighter’s husband’s death. Marc steps in and helps out by babysitting when she’s working on a deadline or needs a break. Readers will find that with God’s guidance and Gina’s natural matchmaking skills, there is hope of a happily ever after for Traci and Marc.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Knee-deep in debt from wedding expenses, Traci Hightower sighed as she filed through the credit card statements. She should be married now, back from her honeymoon in Bali, and settled into her new home with her husband.
Not single and broke.
She slapped an envelope against the desk. Five months of struggling to survive and pay off the debt. Her meager, entry-level journalist salary didn’t stretch far enough. She’d been paying her dues for seven years. She rubbed her temples. The numbers on the credit card statement blurred in front of her eyes.
The doorbell rang. A little thrill rushed through her. She stood from her cross-legged position on the floor and hopped over the mess of papers and laundry that decorated her living room.
“Who is it?”
“The woman who gave you birth.”
For the first time today, Traci smiled. She opened the door and reached for a hug from the one person who never left her hanging. “Hi, Mom.”
Her mom returned her daughter’s embrace, then dragged her suitcase inside. She glanced around. “Oh, my.”
Traci locked her door, then turned and shrugged. “I’m so glad you’re here. I’ve been looking forward to this. Can’t you stay for more than two days though?”
Mom stopped picking up the bills from the floor and faced her daughter. “No, honey. I’m sorry, but I need to return home by Wednesday morning. Dad and I have an important meeting later that day.”
Traci’s heart dipped. Mom paused and placed the bills and the stack of paper she’d picked off the floor on Traci’s kitchen counter. “Oh, sweetie.” She cocooned her daughter in another embrace.
Traci snuggled close. She inhaled the familiar scent of her mother’s favorite perfume. It smelt like coconut and lime.
“You always were a cuddler.” Mom stroked her hair. “Still up to your eyeballs in debt?”
“Why don’t you let me and your father help?”
Traci took a step back and made eye contact with her mom. “We’ve been through this. I got myself into this mess. I’ll get myself out.”
Mom smiled. “Your father and I were talking. We hate to see you struggling.”
“You don’t exactly live in a palace either. I know you want to retire soon, and I won’t have you dipping into that money.”
Mom reached into her purse. “Living in the nation’s capital area is expensive.” She rummaged through her handbag’s contents. “Have you considered moving home?”
“I can’t do that. I don’t ever want to live anywhere else. My life and career are here.”
“How’s that going for you?”
Traci picked at her fingernails. “It could be better.” Better boss, better pay, better office space. The works.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Readers may connect with me online via the following sites:
“God is Love” blog: http://capturingtheidea.blogspot.com
Thank you, Alexis, for sharing this book with us. I'm eager to read it.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.A Second Chance - Paperback
A Second Chance - Kindle
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