Name: Alicia Quigley
Where are you from: Jackson, Michigan
A little about yourself `ie your education Family life etc.: The first response to this question has to be that I am actually two people. I don’t mean that in the “Sybil” context, rather in that Alicia Quigley is a pseudonym my sister and I use. One of us works in university administration and the other works as an engineer. We chose to work pseudonymously because it’s just too confusing, in our opinion, to have two author names on a book cover. As children, we read a lot of Georgette Heyer and other romance novels together. This, along with very similar tastes in romance novels as adults, makes it very easy for us to plot and write novels as a team, which is probably our biggest joint interest. We are both married and one of us has a daughter in college.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
The biggest news is that our latest novel, “Sense & Sensuality: Caroline’s After Dark Georgian Romance,” just released on October 21 and seems to be quite popular with our readers. We’re very excited about this novel as the two main characters were secondary characters in our first published work, “A Duchess Enraged: Allegra’s After Dark Georgian Romance,” and readers have been asking for them to have their own book since then.
The other big news is that one of us is currently in Istanbul, Turkey, on a research trip for a future novel. She’s promised to bring me some wonderful Turkish treats!*Laughs*
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
We’re both huge fans of historical romance novels and several years ago, we decided to write some of our own. This was back before self-publishing was even a thing, so these books have been collecting dust in various drawers for quite a while. Over coffee with a friend (who became our business manager), my sister mentioned our books and he brought up self-publishing as an option. We also thought it would be fun to write a romance that was exactly what we wanted to read!
As to why we write, it’s a very enjoyable creative outlet for both of us. We love the Georgian and Regency eras and even made period-appropriate costumes for our Barbies when we were kids.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
It became a reality for us when we published our first book. Going to Amazon.com and seeing our work made it all real. Then came the first sales, the first reviews, the second book… And we were hooked.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
It was really a labour of love, since we’d read so many romances and had so many ideas that we wanted to bring to life. It was the perfect way for us to do something together that we both enjoyed.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
While it’s not to the modern reader’s taste to read books in the exact style of Austen or Heyer, we are inspired by these two authors and try to emulate the wit, good character development, and tight plotting of these inventors of the genre. Historical accuracy is also very important to us.
One thing we do differently is we write two versions of most of our books. We know there are readers who want sweet romances, in which sex is only hinted at as well as readers who want a “beds-eye view,” so to speak. What we do is give them both! Our first novels, “A Most Unusual Situation: Allegra’s Traditional Georgian Romance” and “A Duchess Enraged: Allegra’s After Dark Georgian Romance,” are sweet and steamy respectively. The stories are essentially the same, the only difference being the level of heat.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
After a lot of soul-searching, hair pulling and gnashing of teeth, we decided to take the risk and title our latest novel “Sense & Sensuality” playing off of Jane Austen’s “Sense & Sensibility.” We didn’t want to offend anyone, but given the plot, it was the perfect title. The main characters, Caroline and Tristan, are perfect examples of both sense and sensuality, respectively and both want to experience the other.
We spent so much time worrying about it that we actually wrote a blog post discussing it in detail – “Thoughts on Sense & Sensuality.”
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Other than having a good time with the story, we really want people to know that it’s never too late to find happiness. In some ways, there’s a bit of Caroline in all of us. We tend to put so much of our own needs aside these days, with the demands of careers, children, etc. but it can sometimes seem as though all we are is responsible for someone else. This story shows that it’s possible to be that person, as well as making sure our own needs get met.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
One of the things we are proud of in our novels is historical accuracy. We’re both pretty insistent on that issue. It’s a particular pet peeve when historical romances come off as modern characters wearing historical costumes. It’s possible that we are just a little fanatical about this *chuckles*but we even take it to the level of our cover art. We make sure that the cover art depicts clothing that is consistent with time period on which the story is set, e.g., Regency, Georgian, etc.
This has actually caused us trouble with some reviews. Historically, marriage in that era was more about business than love. Husbands were not always faithful, nor was the hero of the story immediately monogamous after meeting the heroine. Granted, we read romances for the HEA, but, given that these are historical novels, we write them with historical accuracy, and sometimes reflect social norms that are unpopular today. For the most part, our readers have been fine with this; however, there are those who aren’t fond of that level of accuracy in our work. Interestingly, it’s taken our business manager a while to wrap his head around the fact that men and women were considered elderly at age 40; he’s had to adjust his modern view of life to understand the reality of the era. *Laughs*
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Not really. One of our books, “The Secret Bluestocking,” has a very strong feminist theme and, as strong, independent women, that theme resonated with both of us.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Given what I’m doing now, I’d have to say Georgette Heyer’s books; that was an influence that turned into something. Also, “Once on a Time” by A.A. Milne, “To Say Nothing of the Dog” by Connie Willis, and everything by Ursula K. Leguin.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Definitely Georgette Heyer.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
A friend gave me The Summer Book by Tove Jansson for my birthday. It’s a gentle, magical little book.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Absolutely! Suzi Love and Rose Lerner are both wonderful women and wonderful authors of historical romance. We also love Rachel Gibson’s contemporaries.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
We’re currently working on a holiday novella featuring a secondary character from an earlier book. Cousin Harriet, Isobel’s chaperone in “The Secret Bluestocking,” gets her own story coming in time for the holidays. Harriet’s novella will be a sweet romance that happens at the same time as Isobel’s and, in fact, is hinted at in Isobel’s story.
Another work-in-progress that’s due out in January, 2015 is “An Honest Deception.” This book brings another secondary character from Isobel’s story into the spotlight. Letitia, the heroine, is married to a truly awful man. He returns from a forced stay on the Continent, trouble results, and he ends up dead. What follows is Letty’s journey into freedom.
There will be the customary two versions of Letitia’s story, a sweet Traditional and a spicy After Dark, and both will be released at the same time. Harriet’s story will only be released as a sweet Traditional, much as “Sense & Sensuality” was (so far…) only released as a spicy After Dark.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
While our families have been very supportive, we feel that our business manager/publicist, Jay Belle Isle, has been a great supporter as well as a big fan. Before we began working together, Jay never really read much romance; now, he tells us that he can’t put our books down.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Definitely. While we both like our “day jobs,” we would both love to take our writing full-time. We joke (semi-seriously) about writing from the terrace of a villa in France someday. Who knows? *Wink*
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
It’s funny; I was just reading an article the other day about an author whose publisher gave her a hard copy of her book. She immediately started making notes in the margins of things she wanted to change and he took the hard copy of her book away from her, telling her it was too late. Every now and again, we think of something we might have done differently. However, by the time we get publication, the two of us plus Jay have had plenty of time to go over the book. We also have some pretty fantastic beta readers who provide excellent feedback. That said we’re pretty happy with the way it came out. We try not to take ourselves too seriously; we think reading our books should be fun. And we try to make writing them fun for ourselves as well.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
We’re both voracious readers with active imaginations, so we’ve always been interested in creating stories on one level or another.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I’d be glad to share, thank you! Here’s the first chapter (feel free to trim for space, if need be):
It was a January day in Wales and the skies were blanketed with those peculiarly English low-lying clouds that enclose the world and make it small. A light snow fell, and the damp permeated everything, no stone, no plant, no animal could be immune. Morgan Place would have fared ill in this unforgiving light even if the gravel of the drive had been recently refreshed, the shrubs which ornamented it trimmed of late, and the building subjected to proper upkeep. As it was, the dilapidation of the estate was obvious as an elegant traveling carriage, perched on the best springs and pulled by a team of very sweet-goers bowled up to the house. The door of the chaise opened and a modishly dressed gentleman sprang out, his fair hair ruffled slightly in the wind. He waited as the coachman pulled down the steps and then handed out an extremely fine lady, whose traveling dress of grey silk twill was in the first stare of fashion and became her tall figure admirably. Her auburn tresses were dressed rather severely and her hands were inserted in a large sable muff.
“Are there no servants here to assist Grissom with the horses?” wondered the gentleman aloud.
“There may not be. You know how very reduced Letty’s circumstances have been,” his companion replied.
The fashionable gentleman grimaced. “It seems you will have to wait a few moments for assistance,” he said to his coachman. “I will have the butler find someone to come out to you as soon as we are within.”
The groom nodded and watched as the gentleman gave his arm to the lady, helping her up the steps to the door. It was swathed in black crape, and together with the weeping skies and the crumbling stucco of the house’s facade, the scene exuded a distinct air of gloom. A black bow was tied about the knocker, and the gentleman lifted it, rapping firmly twice. The crepe muffled the sound and the knock echoed hollowly. They waited several moments in the misty rain for the door to open.
“Upon my word, Isobel, no grooms and now it seems no butler either!” exclaimed the gentleman. “Shall we be required to show ourselves in, I wonder?”
“It does seem very irregular, Francis. Surely all of her servants cannot have left Letty at such a distressing time.” Isobel Wheaton, Viscountess Exencour, looked worriedly at her spouse and bit her lip. She was just opening her mouth to request that gentleman to open the door himself, when the sound of the latch lifting could be heard, and an ancient and very decrepit servant appeared. He looked inquiringly at the visitors.
“Lord and Lady Exencour,” the gentleman said, entering the hall. He handed his hat and coat to the servant, and turned to help his wife remove her muff and cape.
“Where is Lady Morgan, please?” asked the lady, somewhat anxiously.
“Her ladyship’ll be in the drawing room where his lordship is laid out,” the old servitor responded.
”Well, show us there, man,” said his lordship somewhat impatiently. “Lady Exencour and I have made a long journey and have no wish to wait any longer to see her. Also, see to lodging for my coachman and provide some ale and food to the postilions so they can return the job horses to the Sun and Swan in Chester.”
Lord and Lady Exencour followed the butler across the hall to the drawing room, where he opened the door and announced them in suitably dolorous tones.
The drawing room had the air of a place where only money was wanting. It was spotlessly neat and clean, and the wood of the furniture shone impeccably, but light spaces could be seen on the wallpaper where pictures had once hung, and a close examination showed that the curtains, while clean, well-pressed and made of fine damask, were old-fashioned and growing somewhat threadbare. Toward the end of the room, there was a bier, with candles burning at either end of a coffin. It was draped in black fabric, and floral tributes were heaped about it. On a settee a young and very beautiful lady sat wearing widows weeds and a black veil, with two small children at her side. Several visitors were ranged around, talking in hushed tones.
At the sound of their names the widow leaped to her feet and came forward. Lady Exencour fairly ran to her, clasping her in a warm embrace.
“Oh my dear, we came as soon as we received your letter. What a shock it must have been to you.”
“Isobel, you cannot possibly imagine how glad I am that you are here,” whispered the lady in black. “Alfred’s affairs were in such a tangle, that I cannot think what to do. There is no one I can turn to and the creditors are dunning me, even now, before his body is laid to rest. But we must not speak of it for,” she said, raising her voice, “here are Squire Musgrove and his lady, and the Johnstones come to visit me. Let me make them known to you.”
Letitia, Lady Morgan, drew Lord and Lady Exencour forward and made the introductions. For some little time the conversation was confined to those subjects usually deemed appropriate on such occasions, until at last the visitors left. The children’s nurse was summoned and the little boy and girl returned to the nursery, their immature countenances reflecting all the fear and confusion that a death in a family produces.
“Letty, I hardly know what to say to you,” Isobel began. “I cannot say that I am sorry for Alfred’s death, and it can only be most improper to say that you are well off without him.”
“Oh, Isobel, your candor is so welcome,” said Letty, hovering between laughter and tears. “I have sat here for the past two days while the county came to offer condolences, and I have not spoken a true word in the whole time.”
“Well, you shall tell me the whole story, and tell it frankly, for here are no censorious ears, only friendship and compassion. How came Alfred to break his neck in a hunting accident? I had thought he was still on the Continent,” Isobel said.
“He returned very suddenly. I fancy that there must have been some contretemps in Spain, which is where he had been staying for the past three months. Some woman, or gambling debt, no doubt,” said Lady Morgan bitterly. “In any event, Alfred appeared here just in time to banish all cheer, and has done little but roister about the neighborhood and hunt ever since. A fatal accident befell him three days since, when his hunter stopped at a stone wall, and Alfred was pitched over it. The ground lay downhill, magnifying the effect of the fall, and his neck was broken.”
Isobel was silent after Letitia recounted these events, only taking her friend’s hands in her own and holding them tightly.
“He should have waited for his horse,” drawled Lord Exencour unsympathetically, gazing at the coffin through his quizzing glass. “It’s much more difficult to come to grief when one is on top of one’s mount. But then I make no doubt that at the time that this mishap occurred Lord Morgan was in no condition to ascertain his exact relationship to his horse.”
Isobel shook her head at this disrespect for the departed, but made no reproof, for no one in the room had any reason to think well of the late Lord Morgan.
“Ah, I hesitate to distress you further, dear Lady Morgan, but you mentioned the duns, some moments past,” murmured Lord Exencour in a gentle tone, which was greatly at variance with the cynical accents he had employed in remarking on the circumstances of Lord Morgan’s demise. “If it is not too trying for you, perhaps you had best reveal the situation to me, and I will contact your man of business and attempt to assist you in settling matters.”
Letitia frowned. “Alfred’s first action on returning home was to declare that the bailiff had been cheating him of the estate’s revenue in his absence, and he dismissed him and put him out of his house on those grounds. It was shocking, for Grieves has been here quite twenty years, I am sure. I hope that he remains in the neighborhood, but he may have gone to his sister in Bristol, which will make it more difficult to find him. As for our solicitor, Mr. Linkwall, he is in Chester, and I have sent for him. I hope that he will be here by tomorrow. But the situation is really most alarming; I have no notion of the extent of Alfred’s debts, but there have been a number of individuals who have called today who are apparently money lenders, and I do not know what type of security Alfred may have given them, but I greatly fear—“
“Lay your fears to rest for now, Lady Morgan,” interrupted his lordship in a soothing tone. “I will engage to seek out Grieves and will meet with Linkwall when he arrives tomorrow. I expect that he will wish to read the will, but surely that must wait until after the funeral.”
“Oh yes, that takes place in the morning tomorrow, and I expect that we will hear the will read that afternoon,” Letty replied.
“Very well then. You and Isobel are to enjoy a comfortable coze. I will undertake inquiries as to Grieves’ location, and at tea time, we will discuss what is next to be done.” Exencour bowed elegantly over Lady Morgan’s hand, and, with a warm smile at his wife, left the room.
Letitia, who had borne up under the many strains of the preceding six weeks, proceeded to burst into tears. Isobel held her hand and patted her back soothingly, waiting for the storm to pass. At length, Letty’s sobs grew softer, and she sniffed audibly, searching for her handkerchief. Isobel withdrew a serviceable white linen square from her reticule and handed it to her with a smile.
“A widow without a handkerchief, my dear? It will not do. The county will surely surmise how little real grief you feel about Alfred’s demise.”
Letty smiled through her tears. “You are quite correct, it is not Alfred I weep for; it is a mere irritation of the nerves, I believe.”
“One can hardly call Alfred a ‘mere’ irritation, Letty,” responded Isobel with asperity. “What happened when he returned?”
“Oh, it was really rather dreadful, Isobel. He burst in here quite drunk one afternoon last month, and announced that he had grown weary of the Continent and intended to take up residence here at Morgan Park once more. The children were very much confused of course, for Emily did not know who he was, and even little Jamie’s memories of his father had grown quite dim after an absence of two and a half years.”
“Letty, why did you not let me know?” asked Isobel. “Francis would have been only too glad to run him off as he did before.”
Letty shrugged. “I do not like to trouble you, and I thought perhaps he might have learned his lesson, or would soon leave again. I think he must have won a rather large sum of money at play before returning, for he arrived with several horses and a new carriage, and all of his clothing is likewise new. He joined the hunt and had been behaving just as always. So much so, that of course it came to all ears and a fortnight ago, I was very much mortified when Lady Pennibont visited and hinted in the most odious way that Lord Pennibont had been very much shocked to have seen Alfred in the company of a rather questionable lady. Indeed, I am sure he did, but did she never wonder exactly what Lord Pennibont had been engaged upon that he happened to encounter Alfred in such a situation?” Letty asked in a vexed tone.
“Well Letty, it is all very bad. But if Alfred has won a large sum at play, perhaps he did not have a chance to waste it all before his untimely death, and it may alleviate your circumstances,” said Isobel hopefully.
“It would have to be a vast sum of money to do that,” said Letitia wanly. “But I suppose anything at all would be a help. “I hope Grieves is found quickly; it is a very raw day for Exencour to be on such an errand for me. I am so grateful to you both, Isobel.”
“‘Tis little enough among friends, Letty. After the will is read, and the financial matters untangled we must study what is to be done, and how we can be of real service to you.”
Letty shook her head smilingly, and was about to answer, when her aged butler entered. “Lord Bainstall has arrived, my lady,” he announced.
Letty’s sweet expression instantly changed to one of vexation. “My cousin. Well, to be sure, good manners almost require his presence, but I wish he had not come.”
“I can only echo that sentiment,” said Isobel. “I’m sure your cousin is the most tedious man alive, and I’ve never had to endure his company. The correspondence he sent you when you stayed with me in London was enough to give me the vapors!”
Letty smiled despite herself. “Perhaps it is not his fault; his mother doted on him excessively, and he was accustomed to being the center of her worries and concerns. When my parents died so suddenly and he inherited the estate, it only increased his notion of his importance.”
“For some reason people with no more than average understanding always seem to feel they know best how to order the affairs of others,” observed Isobel. “I feel for you, my dear.”
Letty turned to the butler. “Very well, Banning. Please inform Lord Bainstall that Lady Exencour and I will join him in the drawing room shortly,” she said.
“Letty, you must not allow him to bully you,” Isobel urged her earnestly. “Remember that one of the chief advantages of being a widow is the right to do as you please, without the censure of the world.”
“‘Tis the censure of Lord Bainstall, which concerns me rather,” replied Letty drily. “My cousin, I believe, considers his own views of such matters to be of greater significance than those of the world at large, being possessed as he is a vast belief in his own opinion.”
Isobel looked surprised to hear the gentle Letitia so waspish, but said nothing. The ladies proceeded to the drawing room, where his lordship waited. He was a middle-aged man, with a stout, unhealthy air about him. His pallid countenance and flaccid frame were those of one who might be an excellent trencherman, but clearly pursued little vigorous exercise. He had a rather petulant expression, not assisted by small, weak eyes, which he blinked rapidly. Isobel was a bit taken aback by his unprepossessing appearance.
Bainstall was looking mournful, and he gestured towards the bier. “A very bad business this,” he said. “The thought that a man so young could be struck down in the flower of his youth, must make each of us recall that at any time we could be called upon to give an account of our actions in this world, and that we should be prepared to justify ourselves to our Creator.”
Letty looked rather nonplussed at his moralizing, but replied quietly. “Quite so, Lord Bainstall. I believe that you are not acquainted with my friend Lady Exencour. Allow me to introduce you to her.”
Isobel summoned up a vision of her grandmother, who had been a very grand dame indeed, and favored the baron with a frosty smile, a slight nod of her head and offered his lordship two fingers to shake. Letty turned her head aside to hide a smile, and then invited them to sit.
Bainstall seated himself heavily. “I came as soon as I heard, cousin,” he said. “I fancy you must find yourself very much in want of my advice.”
Letty did not know how to answer him politely, so she remained silent and tried to avoid looking her skepticism. Isobel took up cudgels on her behalf, however.
“I think that Letty suffers from no shortage of friendly advice from those who have her interests at heart,” she said.
“Indeed not,” replied Bainstall in a displeased tone. “But who can better ascertain those interests than the head of her family?” he inquired rhetorically.
“Perhaps Lady Morgan’s opinion might be solicited first,” answered Isobel sweetly.
Letty had to smile at this exchange. “Cousin, your kindness in wishing to assist me in this difficult time is appreciated,” she said placatingly. “However, Lady Exencour too has my welfare in mind.”
Unfortunately, Lord Bainstall chose to ignore this invitation to cease hostilities and looked closely at Isobel. “Ah, you are the former Miss Paley, are you not, Lady Exencour?” he asked.
Isobel merely nodded and smiled in reply. Undeterred, Bainstall pressed on.
“Letitia, I must tell you that I do not think that Lady Exencour is one in whom you may place your confidence. She led you very much astray last year when you visited her in London, and you should not place your trust in her now. Although you came to your senses and returned to your home, Lady Exencour’s influence on your actions I can only describe as ill-advised.”
There was silence after this speech as both ladies were so much angered by it as to be temporarily rendered tongue-tied. Bainstall, fancying himself to have had the last word on the matter smiled at Letitia. “You must allow yourself to be guided by me, cousin, and we shall see you respectably settled.”
The door had opened silently during this last speech by the baron and Lord Exencour had entered undetected. He now stood with a gleeful smile on his handsome face, watching his wife draw breath to embark upon a blistering retort. Electing at the last moment to cast water rather than oil upon the flames of her wrath, he cleared his throat and stepped forward.
“Ah, you must be Bainstall, Lady Morgan’s cousin. I am Exencour. Lady Morgan has undoubtedly already introduced you to my wife.” Francis smiled easily and extended his hand to Bainstall. He then turned to Letitia, effectively cutting off any comment her cousin might wish to make.
“Lady Morgan, you will be happy, I believe, to hear that my search has prospered and I have been able to locate your bailiff. You are fortunate; he had purchased a passage to America, and was waiting to take ship in three days’ time, although I fancy he would have called upon you first in any event. He seems to be an estimable fellow. I have invited him on your behalf to return to Morgan Park, which he does with great willingness. He will wait upon you in an hour’s time.”
Letty was delighted to have Grieves restored to her and opened her mouth to thank Exencour when she was interrupted by Lord Bainstall.
“If I am to meet with your bailiff soon, cousin, perhaps you could have me shown to my room so that I may change my clothing from this travelling garb.”
The other three looked surprised, but unanimously chose to leave the baron to enjoy his ignorance. The bell was rung and soon Bainstall was being shown to the green bedchamber.
“Oh dear,” said Letty as the door closed behind him.
“What a pompous bore,” Isobel burst out. “Letty, he is twice as bad in person as he was in that dreadful letter he sent you.”
“Yes, I fear that it will be very difficult to avoid offending him deeply, Isobel, for he plainly feels it his duty to take my affairs in hand, and indeed, I do not wish him to do so.”
“It is a shame that Morgan Park is not a huge pile like Strancaster,” said Exencour with a glinting smile. “When my mother wishes to avoid an annoying guest, she has only to place him in a distant chamber, where the bell most mysteriously refuses to function. Unable to summon a servant to show him back to the family rooms, the poor wretch may wander about for days, even risking starvation, in search of the remainder of the party.”
“Alas, Morgan Park is too small to perplex even my cousin for more than a minute or two,” answered Letty. “We shall have to resort to plain speaking it seems.”
“Well, Letty, it is best to begin as you mean to go on,” said Isobel. “And if you are to manage for yourself now, Lord Bainstall will have to be put in his place. Not but that I doubt he will know it when that happens. He seems remarkably thick-witted to me.”
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Fortunately for us, we found writing to be a mostly enjoyable experience. There are certain characters, however, that make us want to bang our heads against the wall.
Perhaps the biggest challenge we have is keeping to our standard of historical accuracy while not offending readers. We also find that it’s much more fun to write the beginning and the end than it is the middle.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I love Connie Willis for the sweep of her books, her lack of fear in taking on a huge story, the historical accuracy, and the humour.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
We traveled a lot as children and got to see a lot of the world. We use that, along with other forms of research, to help us in our writing. We are planning a novel in 2015 that involves the Napoleonic Wars and my sister is currently in Istanbul on a research trip.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Ah the covers! Other than the first two (“A Most Unusual Situation” and “A Duchess Enraged”), all of our covers have been done by the amazing Jimmy Gibbs. The man is a rock star! We work with him through our business manager providing the ideas and the tone for the covers and he creates exactly what we’ve envisioned.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The inevitable self-doubt that hits many authors… That nagging inner critic that keeps saying, “Not good enough.” We go through that too, and the challenge is just ignoring it and trusting in the process. Some days are great and others… Well, that’s what wine and chocolate are for! *Laughs*
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Yes. The biggest thing we learned relates to our biggest challenge, which is that blasted inner critic. The best way to deal with it is to write what makes us happy and trust that that will come through the page to our readers and translate to an enjoyable experience.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
The best advice we can give is simply START WRITING! Take the plunge! Don’t worry about the inner critic whether people will like your book or anything else like that. Write what makes you happy. We both said from the start that we are in it as long as it’s fun; if something in life stops being fun, what’s the point of doing it? Trust me, if you don’t enjoy what you’re writing, your readers won’t enjoy reading it.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
First and foremost, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! We ADORE you! We learn so much from our readers and their comments in reviews. Beyond that, we’d like to promise that we’ll keep doing what we’re doing, which is giving you enjoyable stories with historical accuracy and happy endings.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Outside of say, kindergarten picture books, it was probably Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Snarky, witty humor is a favorite of ours. We love Jane Austen and other comedies of manners. As for crying, abuse of any kind, especially toward those who are defenseless, just breaks our hearts. The level of violence toward women and animals, as well as the evil of bullying amongst kids, is just so frustrating and saddening.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
I actually am not into meeting heroes, since they are pretty much are bound to let you down, and I have no idea what I would say to him/her. Eleanor of Aquitaine would be fascinating, I suppose. Now that’s a woman who lived a life. I’d have to learn medieval French to talk to her, though.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
“Just five more minutes! I’m not done with this chapter!”
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I collect mid-century modern design. My sister loves cooking and skiing.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
When it comes to TV, “Orphan Black” and “Doctor Who” are current favourites. My sister watched a couple seasons of “Downton Abbey,” but other than that, isn’t much of a TV watcher. From the past: I’m a huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan, and also love Firefly, Wonderfalls, and Pushing Daisies.
As for movies: I love “Cold Comfort Farm” and Kenneth Branagh’s production of “Much Ado about Nothing.” Joss Whedon’s recent version of “Much Ado” is excellent as well. My sister loves “Bridget Jones’ Diary,” both the movie and the book.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music ?
I look great in blue, so that’s probably a favorite color. I love seafood and pasta. As for music, Carlene Carter always makes me happy.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I have no idea. My sister loves her day job and feels fortunate to be able to write, too.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Yes we do! You can visit us at http://www.aheyerlove.com for information on our books and also our blog.
Thank you again for this wonderful opportunity! It’s so very appreciated! ~ Alicia
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