Welcome, Alyson, so glad to have you here today! First and foremost, i have to say how much i love your cover - it beautiful! Who was the wonderful Wild Rose artist? I really think they have some of the best artists in the business. Gorgeous!
Enjoy your time with me, on with the questions...
Thank you so much for having me as your guest, Rachel!
1) When and why did you decide you wanted to be a published author?
I've wanted to be an author ever since 2nd grade, when a guest author came to my grade school to speak about writing his children's books. I penned my first story that same day — about a little girl and her puppy. I wish I still had a copy of it, so I could show my daughter who also likes to write. But it's long gone. All through junior high and high school I wrote short stories, complete ones and many incomplete ones, which I do still have filed away in my many dog-eared notebooks. Starting out so early gave me plenty of time to develop my own writing style and 'voice'. Of course, I had no clue the path to publication would be so long. It would be many years and several stories later that A BEAUTIFUL CAGE would be accepted. On the positive side, although I queried to a few agents, the story was accepted almost right away by the Wild Rose Press and I didn't have to wait long to find a home for the story.
2) What is the best and worse thing you have learned from an editor/agent?
Somewhere along the line, I developed a misconception of editors, so that even the mere thought of one reading through my story intimidated me, which is probably why it took me so long to submit. I imagined them with red pens in their hands swashing them through the air like swords, ready to hack my story to pieces. Boy, did I learn my lesson about that! Nan Swanson, my editor at TWRP, while very professional, was also kind and gracious. She gently steered me through the edits, which really weren't hard at all. The one thing she taught me that I can't believe I hadn't already learned was overuse of the word 'that'. Now I always re-read through my paragraphs looking for unnecessary 'thats'. She's been a tremendous help to me.
3) Favorite author/s?
I’m taking the coward’s way out of this one! *grin* I love classic authors like Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, and Margaret Mitchell. As for modern authors… there are so many! I can't really pick and choose, and I’d be afraid of leaving someone out.
4) What is your typical day?
The weekdays find me rising at 6 a.m. with my daughter and husband, helping them get off to school and work. Equipped with coffee, I head upstairs to my office and start work. Usually, I take care of internet business first - blogs and such. I drink more coffee. Then I start writing. I take a lunch break, drink more coffee, and follow it up with round two of writing. When my daughter comes home from school, I stop again. Throughout the evening, at random points between ball games and community/family functions, I pop in and out of cyberland. Then, at night, when everyone is in bed, I begin writing all over again. I always tell people I'm a speed reader, which is true. However, I’m NOT a speed writer. I wish I could churn out chapters as fast as other authors I know, but I can't. And I always do a gazillion edits. No, before you ask, I'm not a perfectionist... not really. lol
5) Share your blurb or short excerpt from your latest release with us.
A BEAUTIFUL CAGE
Wanted by the Gestapo, Rebecca Bloomberg is on the run for her life. Sheltering in the home of a reporter who writes absurd lies for a Nazi propaganda newspaper is hardly an ideal solution. Irresistibly drawn to the man, she dares not trust him, until she discovers his journalist position is a mask for involvement in an anti-Nazi resistance ring.
Gustav Von Furst has done all he can to perfect his mask. Neither his family nor his close friends know the truth. Hiding a Jewish girl is the most foolish risk, yet there is something about her that makes him want to protect her.
Eager to forget the outside world, Rebecca and Gustav are caught up in a private world of forbidden passion—until unexpected danger lands on their doorstep and they’re faced with a decision that will change everything. Will love demand a sacrifice too great to give?
Find it at The Wild Rose Press :
Splaying his hands across her bottom and mid-back, he pinned her tight.
She froze, motionless, staring up into his shadowed face, into eyes that glittered in the low light. How did he manage to look both irritated and roguish at the same time?
“Let me go, I—” But the words were smothered in her mouth as his lips plunged down over hers. She pushed at him, but he was unmovable. And with each passing second his lips ravished hers, she grew weaker, reserves fading. Even while she thumped his shoulders with her fists, her traitorous mouth opened wide for him.
At what point had she started losing control of her life? Was it when she lost her family? Lost James? When she was assaulted in the alley? Or when it was decided she must stay inside the von Furst home?
Well, there were some things she could still control. And this was one of them. With that resolve, she shot up on tiptoe, angling to bite his lips, digging her fingers into his back. She was going to take control of this kiss, dammit, whether Gustav liked it or not.
6) Who would you cast to play your hero & heroine in a movie?
I've often envisioned A BEAUTIFUL CAGE as a movie, down to the songs: Pain, by Three Day‘s Grace, Again, by Flyleaf, and Far Away, by Nickelback. But I haven't really thought of anyone in particular for the character roles. It wouldn't be easy to find a man of Gustav's powerful Nordic qualities. And Rebecca would need to be on the delicate side and yet carry a very strong screen presence. She’d have to embody sensitivity balanced by an inner strength.
7) Did you plan this book? Or write it as it came?
Both. I did a lot of research on the facts and history during pre-WWII Germany, the Holocaust, and on the resistance movement. I had to carefully plot the 'intrigue' sections. But for the character’s development and their romance, I went with my gut and just wrote.
During my best writing moments, I enter a 'zone', which is sort of daze that lets the characters write their story through me, like a channel of sorts. During less than ideal moments, mostly when I have to be precise and historically accurate, I concentrate on details, which doesn’t allow for as much flexibility.
8) What surprised you the most when you became a published?
Um... that would definitely be the promotion end of things. Before becoming seriously involved in publishing, I had no idea that so much promo would be necessary. Some of it I really enjoy, like being a guest here today, other parts I find to be difficult, mainly because they take away from the time I'd rather use for writing. But as every author knows, the promo is as important as writing the story. And as I grow acclimated to this end of publication, it’s becoming easier.
9) Do you have a dedicated writing space? What does it look like?
I have a home office that’s filled with both antiques and contemporary pieces. My glass desk is very modern, in an ‘L’ shape. Handy baskets separate scrap paper, pencils, pens, watercolors, charcoal, and other art supplies. In one corner of the desk is a small stack of books — a Webster’s dictionary and thesaurus, Writer’s Market, a Gregg’s Reference manual, and a baby name book (for characters and the meaning of their names). On the wall to my right, hangs one of my paintings - an acrylic still-life of fruit. An antique (mid 19th century) tapestry hangs on the wall above my computer. On the other side of the room, a brocade fainting couch reminds me I have to take a break sometimes, although, in reality, my husband uses it more than I do! Above it hangs an aged lithograph of Civil War-era southern belles gathered around a piano.
I also burn candles for fragrance and ambiance. My favorite is spiced pear.
10) What’s next for you?
I'm currently working on two stories, because bouncing between two projects gives me a chance to view each one with fresh eyes. Also, it gives me enough variation to prevent 'writer's block'. A Beautiful Tempest (sequel to A Beautiful Cage), is about Rebecca's American family during WWII. The main characters are her cousin Anna and a man she meets overseas, Holden Ellsworth. The second story, Castles We Build, deviates from a classic romance, and takes place during the roaring twenties.
You can find me at….
My website: http://www.alysonreuben.com
My Facebook author page (please ‘like’ me!): http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Alyson-Reubens-Author-Page/107423069337260
Alyson, thank you so much for answering my questions so fully, I am obsessed with the era of A Beautiful Cage and will download a copy asap. Off to link up with you on FB & Twitter, right now!