Friday, April 27, 2012

Author Spotlight: Alexa Bourne

I'm pleased to welcome Alexa Bourne to A Whole Latte Romance today. 


Alexa Bourne is a teacher by day and a romantic suspense writer by nights, weekends, and all school holidays. She also teaches online classes for writers throughout the year. She is thrilled to be writing for Decadent Publishing and to have the chance to share her love of Scotland with readers everywhere.When she's not concocting sinister plots and steamy love scenes or traveling and exploring new cultures, Alexa spends her time reading, watching brainless TV and thinking about exercising. She loves to interact with readers. To find her, visit www.alexabourne.comhttp://facebook.com/AuthorAlexaBourne,http://alexabourne.blogspot.com, or follow her on Twitter @AlexaBourne.And now on to the interview :-)

1.            Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m not the average writer. I didn’t read a lot until I got to high school and then it was all about Vietnam soldiers. I didn’t write my 1st romance until I was in college. I’ve traveled a lot, taken risks a lot (some worked out, some didn’t), and I’m always looking for ways to improve professionally and personally.

2.            What do you do when you are not writing?
I like to watch TV, movies, read, exercise, travel when I have the money, hang out with friends and family.

3.            Do you have a day job as well?
Yes, I’m a teacher. I’ve worked with pretty much every grade from 2nd to 8th and believe it or not I LOVE 6th grade best. I think it’s because I’m as crazy as the kids.

4.            When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I wrote plays for my friends to perform in grade school. My 1st book was fan fiction for my favorite show, The A-Team, when I was in middle school. It was my first story over 100 pages. 

5.            How did you choose the genre you write in?
I think my genre chose me. J The very first TV shows I remember watching were The Bionic Woman and The Six Million Dollar Man. The only Disney movie I remember seeing as a child was The Rescuers. These all revolved around suspense/mystery and the bad guys getting what they deserved.

6.            Where do you get your ideas?
I get ideas pretty much everywhere. Once when I saw a cop car turn into a hospital parking lot, I came up with a complete plot for a novel about a guy who escapes on his routine hospital visit, puts the heroine in the hospital and proceeds to torture the hero.

7.            Do you ever experience writer’s block?
LOL! I think I go through that with every book.

8.            Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I just write. I start with a character and maybe one scene idea. My rough draft is where I find out about the characters and the conflicts. (I usually write 4-6 drafts per book.) I once tried to write from page one with an outline, but I got bored by page 20.

9.            Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult? Stephen J. Cannell was my inspiration. He created all the TV shows I got hooked on as I was growing up and he inspired me. As an adult, I was inspired by Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. When I read that first book in her series, I knew I wanted to share my stories, and I wanted to move readers the way Gabaldon moved me.

10.        Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
LOL! How about that I began submitting in 1999 and I only signed my first contract in December 2011. I’ve had all sorts of ups and downs in getting to this point, plenty of rejections, plenty of people who didn’t believe in me, but I kept at it because I wanted it.

11.        If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
I would’ve liked to have my father and my grandparents around to see my first book come out. I remember sitting in my grandparents’ house during summer vacations. My grandfather would come in from work, see me sitting on the living room floor with my notebook and ask, “Aren’t you done with that story yet?”

12.   How do you market your work? What avenues have
         you found to work best for your genre?
I’m still learning all about marketing. (Anybody got some great advice????)

13.   Have you written a book you love that you have not
         been able to get published? Yes. I have one that came close to selling, but ultimately got turned down. I’m still submitting it because I really believe in the story, the characters and I believe it’s a story that deserves to be shared. It’s about a woman whose brother goes missing on purpose and he asks his old Army buddy to keep the heroine safe. The hero is reluctant to do it, but he’s a hero so he does protect her and help her uncover why her brother had to disappear.
14.   Can you tell us about your book?

Her Highland Champion, a contemporary Scottish romantic suspense, came out March 30th. Heather Winchester leads a charming life. With good friends, a beautiful flat in one of the most amazing cities in the world, and a promising future once she finishes her Ph.D, she is finally pursuing her own dreams instead of catering to everyone else’s…except she doesn’t remember any of it.

15.   Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
The story is all imagination, but the setting is based on Glenfinnan, Scotland, which is my “happy place.” I
got great assistance from the manager of the Glenfinnan House Hotel (www.glenfinnanhouse.com) when I emailed her questions about the place, plus the hero’s bed and breakfast is based on this hotel as well. I’ve been fortunate enough to vacation there a couple of times.

16.   What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
I had to rewrite the ending to fit this current storyline so this was my favorite part to write. The heroine, Heather, who has lost her memory must choose between her ex and the hero. She sort of comes into her own.

17.   How did you come up with the title?
LOL. It was actually the title of a different WIP, but it fit this story. Malcolm is Heather’s knight in shining armor, her champion.

18.   What project are you working on now?
I’m working on revisions for my 3rd story in my UK trilogy. Right now it’s called Novella #3 (Isn’t that genius?) and is set in Edinburgh during Hogmanay, or New Year’s. Hopefully my publisher will want this one too! The hero for this one is Ian MacKenzie who makes an appearance in Her Highland Champion.

19.   Will you have a new book coming out soon?
         Yes! I just signed my 2nd contract with Decadent 
        Publishing for another Honor Guard story. It’s called
        Fractured Paradise and I’ll be working on edits for it 
        soon! J

20.   Are there certain characters you would like to back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
        I would love to have the chance to write Meggie MacDougall’s story. Meggie is the town gossip                       in Her Highland Champion, but she’s got such a good heart and is fiercely loyal. I think she deserves a happily-ever-after.

21.   What has been the toughest criticism given to you as
         an author? What has been the best compliment?
         Oooh, this is a tough question. I think the toughest criticism was from an editor. She wanted to buy the book (not this one), but her senior editor didn’t agree. At that point I was so close and it just hurt so much to hear another “no”. Best compliment? I appreciate every single compliment I get because it’s validation that I’m doing something right, I’m affecting someone in some way.

22.   Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Don’t give up if it’s really what you want. Like I said before, I started submitting in 1999 and 12 years later I sold. I kept at it, kept learning, and pushed myself because I wanted it more than anything else in the world.

23.   Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Thank you to everyone who reads this interview, comments on it or reads my story. I appreciate your time and effort! And thank YOU for having me!

Thank you for being here Alexa! It's been a blast.

If you'd like to buy yourself a copy of Her Highland Champion (Which I'm sure you all do) you can find it at the following:

Thank you all for being here and visiting us today. Alexa and I appreciate it.

All My Best,

Kayla 

8 comments:

  1. Awesome interview. So glad the blog made it up today. Great cover. 12 years to get published - you've got a lot of perseverance. Good job.

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  2. wow - a writer and a teacher. You're students must think you're super cool. Book sounds wonderful. Great interview.

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  3. Daryl, I tell everyone I was just too stubborn to give up!

    Victoria, it's great because I share all the steps of my writing process- drafting, revisions, rejections, contracts- and they get to see my own dream coming true! LOL! They often ask to read something. I tell them they have to be 18 first!

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  4. Okay, coming in a bit late but really enjoyed this interview. Alexa, you come off as very down to earth and appealing to us readers. As far as the promotion of your books, blogs, blogs and more blogs! That's a great way to get the word out (I'm learning that too). Anyway congrats and thanks for taking the time to share a bit of you and your wonderful works with us!

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  5. Wow, thank you, Toni! I'm blogging as much as I can! LOL! Unfortunately I need to write too and I'm struggling with that balance at the moment. BUT luckily I have several manuscripts in the revision stage so they won't be as difficult to prep for submission!

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  6. Love the cover, full of suspense and the Highlands. With Scotland being so popular for historical, I think it would be a great place for a contemporary suspense. Terrific idea. And I also love that you kept writing, despite the ups and downs. Great publishing story!

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  7. Great interview and a contemporary romance set in Scotland? I may have to give this one a try!!

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    Replies
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