Thursday, August 11, 2022



I want to thank Alyssa Drake for taking the time for this interview.  It has been a long time coming and I appreciate her patience!


USA Today Bestselling Author Alyssa Drake has been creating stories since she could hold a crayon, preferring to construct her own bedtime tales instead of reading the titles in her bookshelves. A multi-genre author, Alyssa currently writes Historical romance, Paranormal romance, Contemporary romance, and Romantic suspense. She thoroughly enjoys strong heroines and often laughs aloud when imagining conversations between her characters.

She believes everyone is motivated by love of someone or something. One of her favorite diversions is fabricating stories about strangers surrounding her on public transportation. When she's not whipping up chocolate treats in the kitchen, Alyssa can often be found madly scribbling notes on a train or daydreaming out the window as the scenery whips past.

When and how did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I started writing stories at a young age, they began as camp letters I'd send home to my mom (episodes if you will). 

As I got older, I'd write short stories and read them to her at bedtime. My mother loved books (her best friend was even a writer), and she infused that love into me.

Did you have any influencing writers growing up?

I had a strange collection of authors in my bookshelves, but the ones I remember the most were Ann M. Martin, Shel Silverstein, Anne McCaffrey, Donald J. Sobol (Encyclopedia Brown), and Stan and Jan Bernstein (Bernstein Bears) - we call this my "Pollyanna" bookshelf. 

As I got older, the shelves transformed into a more adult collection of romance and paranormal horror (I do love Stephen King).


Are any of your characters based on people in real life?

Sort of. I don't directly pluck someone from real life and dump them into a story. 

I take pieces of people, strange habits and mannerisms, physical characteristics, ect. and give them to my characters (unless the person is a minor character whose purpose is to be a victim, then it's fair game).


Where do you draw your book inspirations from?

My ideas come from what/if scenarios and conversations that I have with people or even something I may overhear in passing. 

The story I'm currently writing began with the question "What if (I) was transported backward in time to the witch trials and accused of witchcraft?", which originally came from a discussion I was having with my son about medieval methods of torture.


Do you use have a basic outline when starting a new story or do you let the characters lead the way?

I'm a combination of both a planner and pantser (I believe the term is plantser). 

I start with a basic outline, then fill in major details (plot points I want to hit to convey the story forward), then I let the characters go for it. 

It allows me the freedom to tweak the story as it moves, and yet to stay within the confines of the intended plot. Very often the final product differs from my original outline.

When you are picturing the characters in your book, do you have a cheater photo for inspiration?

I use character photos, location photos, even prop photos, and store them all on Pinterest for easy reference. I also keep a character sheet with physical information, family connections, and quirks.


Many people read as a form of escape and relaxation.  What is your favorite way to sit back and relax?

I love to read as well. It's one of my favorite forms of relaxation. I read all kinds of genres, not just the ones I write. It depends on my mood, last night I read a fae paranormal romance.


Who are your favorite current authors to read?

There's not enough space for this question. However, if I were to choose books I'd read over and over, we'll go with JK Rowling (despite her political/social views, I think she's a great storyteller), Anne McCaffrey (every few months I pick her up again), and Jane Austen (because, sigh).


What are your favorite books by others?

My most favorite book is 1984 by George Orwell, followed by Crystal Singer by Anne McCaffrey, then Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen.


Do the locations in the stories have any meaning to you?

My locations are fictional towns located in real places, with the exception of Wiltshire, England, which I selected solely because Stonehenge is there (a fact that has absolutely no bearing on the series, but is just my paranormal side wanting a piece of the historical story).


Do you write in single or multiple POV?

I write both. 

My historical series, with the exception of my free story, An Imperfect Bargain, is written in dual POV, as is the Avalisse Ross Mysteries (because they are co-written with another author). 

My other series are solely from the heroine's POV.


What do you find to be your best research tool?

Google. That's terrible isn't it. 

Google is the jumping off point and then I dive into rabbit holes of research as I dig to find the answer.


Do you write under a pen name?  Also, do you write under more than one name?

I write under one pen name, which incorporates my historical, paranormal, and contemporary series under the brand - "Steamy romance with a twist"

What genre do you write and why is this your preference?

I write three main genres (historical, paranormal, romantic suspense) and I have a tendency to blend them together because I love a little murder with my romance. 

I've always been a fan of murder mysteries (blame that on my mom also), the paranormal is my own love of the unexplained (and Halloween, love Halloween), and the historical is because those are the first romance novels I ever read.

Tell me something about yourself outside of writing.  Jobs, accomplishments, family, quirky trait...what led to you being you?

This is going to cycle back to my writing, but the activities my heroines do in the stories, like fishing, shooting, horseback riding, ect, are activities I have done over my lifetime. 

As a child, I had the opportunity to spend my summers on a working ranch camp, which allowed me to experience things I never would have had the chance to do. 

I currently live in California with my husband, two sons, and dog (also a boy), but I hold my own just fine. 

When I'm not writing, I spend my days working for a chocolate company and every year at Christmas, I give one of my readers a 10 pound bar of chocolate.


If you are a duo writing team, how do you share the writing process?

My co-writer and I start with an idea. 

I'm more of a plotter, so I create a rough outline and we decide which POV each of us will write. 

I typically take the killer's POV (my writing is a bit darker than my co-writer's). 

It works like a tennis match. She writes a chapter and sends it to me. I read her chapter, write mine, then send it back. We continue in this fashion until the story is finished. 

Afterward, we each edit our own section, then the story is sent to an actual editor to be polished.

What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

Someone once told me to always consider myself as a writer and never as an author. 

A writer is always writing, always working on a project; an author has completed the project and isn't planning a new one. 

I thought it was an interesting way to say, keep writing. It's always stuck with me.


How do you deal and process negative book reviews?

I cry in a corner. Despite telling myself that I won’t read them, I look anyway (call it the masochistic portion of me), but I don’t reply, ever. 

It usually takes me a few days away from the computer to get through it, then I never read it again. 

People are entitled to their opinion, and I can’t be everyone’s cup of tea.


What is the most difficult part of your writing process?

The most difficult part of my process is writing the first one hundred words in a new book. 

Once I’m into the flow of the story, the words come easier, but starting, and creating a hook strong enough to pull in the reader, takes a lot more time than one would expect of three paragraphs.


What do you need in your writer’s space to keep you focused?

I need a lock. 

My writing space is in my bedroom, and therefore subject to random visits from children and my husband, none of whom seem to understand that a five-minute interruption completely derails my concentration. 

However, I do use noise-cancelling headphones and music to help tamp down the distractions.


What is your naughty indulgence as you are writing?

I don’t really indulge as I write. 

I suppose I can claim that I write barefoot (in fact I spend most of my days shoeless).


If you could spend a day with another popular author, whom would you choose?  And why?

I’d like to spend the day with my co-writer, Bella Emy. 

She lives on the opposite side of the country and has two boys who are the same age as my youngest son. 

But, if I were to pick a mainstream author, it would be Julia Quinn. I met her once before, and I loved her sunny personality. I think she would be a delightful person to take to coffee.


What is your schedule like when you are writing?  Do you have a favorite writing snack or drink?

I try to write twice a day, once in the morning before work (fueled by coffee), and once in the evening after everyone goes to bed (fueled by water). 

It’s difficult to snack and type, because the crumbs keep getting stuck beneath the keys.


Do you listen to music when you write – what kind of music is your favorite?

My favorite Pandora station is based on Imagine Dragons, rock and alternative are played the most on that station. But sometimes I need to change things up. 

I’m currently rotating through a playlist that includes Disney songs, Oldies, and Christmas songs.


Have pets ever gotten in the way of your writing?

This is a rare occurrence, as the dogs are not allowed upstairs.


What is your kryptonite as a writer?  What totally puts you off your game?

Sadly, my writing kryptonite is a bad review. 

Why one person’s opinion has this ability, I don’t know, but it seems to be a common issue among writers.


Have you ever killed off a character that your readers loved?

Not that I’m aware, but now that’s a goal.


How do you celebrate after typing THE END?

I take the day off from writing (sometimes this turns into a few days) and spend it with my family. It’s difficult to jump into a new world while my heart and mind are still in the world I’ve just left.


I hope you enjoyed this interview!

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