Today I have author Alyssa Drake with me for an interview. Author Alyssa Drake has been creating stories since she could read, preferring to construct her own bedtime tales instead of reading the titles in her bookshelves. Enraptured with all types of writing, Alyssa has tried her hand at short stories, collaborations and poetry. However, her first love has always been books. She thoroughly enjoys strong heroines and often laughs aloud when visualizing conversations between her characters.
Alyssa graduated from the University of the Pacific, with a B.S. in business and a concentration
in French literature. Currently she resides in Northern California with her blended family, where she
works full-time at a chocolate factory. 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. Alyssa can often be found madly scribbling notes on a train or daydreaming out the window as the scenery whips past.
I have always enjoyed books. Both my parents were avid readers and encouraged me at a
young age to read anything I could get my hands on. This helped develop my imagination. As a
child I used to write short stories to read to my mom at bedtime. I think they knew before I did
how much I wanted to become a writer.
2) How long does it take you to write a book?
The first book took roughly one year. I did not begin writing with the intent of publication - I
was in no hurry, just writing when I could. I had no idea that it would actually become a
published novel. The second book has taken me less time – about nine months. I wish I could
solely dedicate myself to writing, but at this point it cannot replace my full-time job, therefore
the process is longer than if I was a full-time writer.
3) What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
Inspired by the Amtrak Residency program, I applied the essence of Amtrak’s idea to my daily
commute, which is typically one hour each direction on a train. Once I board my train, I turn up
my music and let my imagination run wild. I find that writing by hand allows me to connect to
my work. Later during the day I translate my scribbles onto a Word document. That document
is printed and then revised and edited the next morning. Writing is a circular process for me. I
have a tendency cycle backward and edit previous chapters before moving forward again. It
allows me to keep consistency in the book. However I can only dedicate about three to four
hours a day to my writing. The weekends are almost impossible to find any time – I have three
children and that is our family time.
4) What would you say is you interesting writing quirk?
I have been asked how I come up with descriptions for scenes and people. The truth is, I
imagine the scene first before writing, like watching a movie play out in my mind. Then I write
down what I see. If I cannot imagine myself there when re-reading what I wrote, I tweak the
words until I can picture exactly what I originally saw in my mind.
5) Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
That is two different questions. My ideas typically begin as imagination, based on a tangent that
my brain has run with. Sometimes I end up staring into space and then I snap back to reality and
think, “I need to grab a pen and write this down.” The information is verified through research,
especially since I am writing historical romance. For example: croquet was a very popular game
during this specific time period. It seemed fitting to give the characters an opportunity to show
their true natures through a little sport.
6) When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I finished my first full-length novel in September 2015. I was 37 at the time.
7) What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I try to fill my non-writing time with more books! I love reading and would spend hours if my
kids let me. I also enjoy swimming, long walks, painting, dancing with my kids, fishing, baking
and spectator sports.
8) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I was surprised that I had more than one book in me. Once I reached the end of the first book, I
realized there was so much more story for the characters to experience. I even have a few
pieces of the third book in the works.
9) Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What
impact have they had on your writing?
There are two favorite authors of mine which have influence my work. They are J.D. Robb/Nora
Roberts and Julia Quinn (whom I met at a book signing; I told her she inspired me to pick up a
pen in the first place). They both have an incredible ability to weave different elements into
their novels, such as humor, romance and intrigue. I aspire to write like them; they are
wonderful role models.
10) What do you think makes a good story?
A good story is consistent from beginning to end. It has the ability to draw in the reader by
emotionally attaching them to the characters they meet and leaves the reader thinking about
the story long after they have finished the book.
11) What advice do you have for other author’s trying to get published?
One person’s opinion of your writing does not dictate your ability as an author. Not everyone
will like your book, do not let rejection deter you, eventually your book will end up in the hands
of the right person.
12) What is next for you?
I am wrapping up the final stage of my second book in the Wiltshire Chronicles, tentatively titled
An Imperfect Engagement. It will be sent to my editing angels before submission to my
publisher. Then I plan to focus on the paranormal romance idea which continues to encroach
upon my thoughts before returning to Wiltshire for the third book.
Check out more about this lovely Author by following the links below: