Today, I’m happy to welcome Alexandra Sellers to the blog. She nicely agreed to do my interview. Let’s get to it!
1) How long have you been writing?
I wrote my first short story at the age of ten. My first published short story at age 26. My first published novel at 33. That was 40 books ago. (TM – holy cow, I didn’t realize you had that many books out!, much less from Silhouette etc.)
2) How many balls do you juggle on a daily basis, and how do you manage to keep them all in the air (usually), (ball = work, writing, family, etc.
I’ve been a full-time writer since my second book was commissioned. Right now my biggest other ‘ball’ (some would say temptation, but I consider swimming an alternate career) is the Cretan beach where I spend a part of every day all summer long (and summer IS long here)! If I’m not swimming, I’m eating at the beach taverna or playing backgammon over a cup of Greek coffee. I cook some, clean some, visit some, party some. We feed 8 village cats on our terrace, and several more are waiting in the wings. I read.
It was a very very different story when I was an actor, so yes, I do know how lucky I am!
3) What can you tell us about your current release Her Royal Protector? What I’m looking for is the story about how the story came to be, not just the blurb and what not. J
The story grew out of my fascination with sea turtles. A few years ago my husband and I volunteered on a sea turtle conservation project that meant we had to walk the beach at dawn one morning every week for several months, tracking turtle nests. I met some of the scientists who were managing the project, and one of them just had ‘heroine’ written all over her. And a scene formed itself in my head, as scenes do, and I decided to put her in a book and give her a handsome sheikh to love. Which sheikh? Well, in another corner of my mind I’d been playing with the idea of a blue-eyed sheikh for awhile. I decided to put them together and see what happened. I hope readers will enjoy the result.
4) You write contemporary romance. Can you tell us why that sub-category of romance?
I suppose because that was what I was reading most at the time I started writing, although I certainly read lots of period and historicals, too—I love Jane Austen, and Georgette Heyer has always been a great favourite. I’ve had plot ideas for Regency romance, but so far have never carried through. (Although I did once create the ‘bible’ for a 16-book Regency series called The Steepwood Scandal that was written by other writers.) Of course I have a period non-romance that’s been biting me for some time, and other books that are not contemporary or category. I hope to get to them one day.
5) Will you share your experience with getting published with Entangled?
Well, it was a troubled courtship, in the best tradition. I was finding my current publisher’s guidelines very restrictive and bolted into the arms of Entangled. And then it turned out Entangled also had restrictive guidelines, just nobody’d told me. So we parted company right at the altar. Later we tried again, and this time, after some struggles, we made it. I’m hoping the marriage will prove, in the end, to be made in heaven. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
6) Got any more books planned? What’s in your future?
HER ROYAL PROTECTOR is the first book in a series called The Johari Crown. The second is scheduled for November, the third for early next year. I have a feeling there may be more than three books in it, but time will tell.
7) Got any advice for those still struggling through the trenches?
Write what you love and write it to the best of your ability.
Write what you would like to read, but no one is writing for you.
Write from the heart uncensored; polish from the head later.
Although experienced writers can often force their characters to do things they don’t want to do, and survive, a new writer will be better off listening to her characters. If they wake you up in the middle of the night to announce that they don’t want to do what you’ve planned or written for them, listen!
If you treat your characters with full respect and attention, they will write the book for you.
8) Sweet or sour?
I tend to saltier snacks, but it is true to say that the person who can resist Greek pastries is superhuman. (TM – that’s cheating, but…I’m gonna have to add that as an option now – I’d forgotten salty)
9) Chocolate or vanilla?
I really don’t know how you could leave out Butterscotch. (TM – because butterscotch isn’t a flavor 😛 J/k! )
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A writer and editor for the past 30 years, Alexandra Sellers has written over two million words for print, both fiction and non-fiction, including articles, reviews, training material, brochures, websites, mini-series ‘bibles’, blurbs, obituaries, short stories, and over 35 books. Her novels have been translated into more than 15 languages. She has also written and produced murder mystery experiences, and for several years taught her own course in How to Write Romance.
Alexandra Sellers has been a full-time writer since the publication of her first novel in 1980, writing novels that are both spiritually and emotionally intense. In 1997, her novel A Nice Girl Like You was nominated by Romantic Times for a Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Silhouette Yours Truly. Three years later she received the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for Series Romantic Fantasy.
The common theme that runs through her novels is the cosmic union of male and female: the reuniting, through deep romantic love manifested in the sex act, of that universal soul which was divided into male and female at the moment of physical creation, and which has been searching for its other half ever since. Her novels also express a fundamental belief that love conquers all. Sellers is a writer who uses the canvas of romantic novels to present her ideas not only about love, but also about the world.
She was born and raised in Canada and educated there and in Britain. After training in London at RADA, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, she spent seven years as an actor on stage, radio, and television. She later attended the School of Oriental and African Studies, or SOAS, a faculty of the University of London that specializes in the cultures of the Middle East and Asia. Sellers was the first student to study for a double degree in Persian and Religious Studies; she was awarded First Class Honours.
Alexandra first started dreaming about exotic locales at the age of 10, when she first cracked the cover of a small collection of tales and pictures called The Arabian Nights. The stories were taken from The Thousand and One Nights, and names like Samarkand, Shiraz, and Baghdad still carry a magic for her which no amount of current history can overshadow. Her favourite hobby is foreign languages, of which she has studied eight: French, Farsi, German, Arabic, Hebrew, Greek, Italian, and Latin. Her talent for languages (along with her sense of humour) was also expressed in her book Spoken Cat and Relevant Factors in Worldview, a self-teaching language primer of the Cat language.
Other areas of interest for Sellers include: health and alternative medicine; English grammar; linguistics; theatre/arts; Middle Eastern languages, religions, and history; Regency England; Jane Austen; psychology; dreams; storytelling; academic writing. – See more at: http://alexandrasellers.com/about/#sthash.CyajvR84.dpuf
Do you have a website, twitter, or blog? If yes, I’ll be happy to post any/all with the interview.
Ms. Sellers loves to hear from fans and can be contacted via the contact spot on her website or on Facebook.
Aly Percy is her family’s ugly duckling, and she’s never been allowed to forget it. So she knows better than to imagine that Cup Companion Arif al Najimi’s blue gaze holds anything but contempt for her as a woman, or ever will. So why is he pretending to think her desirable? What does he gain if she lets her guard down?
Arif al Najimi isn’t sure why he’s dreaming about the little scientist who’s so determined to take crazy risks for the sake of her research into the endangered turtles of his country. But as luck would have it, he’s going to get the chance to do a little research of his own…into the question of why Aly believes her own negative publicity about how desirable she is—and how hard it will be to convince her of the truth.
At first blush this was a typical category romance, heroine who thinks she’s ugly (but of course actually isn’t), arrogant CEO-type (prince in this case), etc. But once you get into the story, it isn’t that at all. There was a lot more to the story, an understanding of why Aly thinks she’s the way she is. I liked the imagined history of the Johari people. And of course, having such a wonderful cause that Aly’s a scientist for (the Johari sea turtle) touched a tender chord with me.
I enjoyed watching Arif go from his somewhat cold “prince” persona and grow into the man who’s willing to fall in love with the little scientist. I also like how the leaders of Johari insist their cabinet members (the Cupholders) shed their prince personas for a month a year and mix with the common for as common folk (be nice of politicians had to do that, yeah?).
Nothing in this book actually didn’t work for me. It was a seamlessly delightful way to spend a couple of hours.
Thank you to the publisher and Ms. Sellers for letting me read it! Four gargoyles!
Book provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.