Name Alyssa Drake
Age Old enough to know better, but young enough to still try.
Where are you from
I grew up in a tiny suburb outside of Los Angeles, CA. After graduating high school, I attended college at the University of the Pacific in northern California. Although I loved books, I chose to study a more marketable major (business – more specifically finance). After bouncing through several jobs trying to find something I enjoyed, I took a position at a chocolate factory. Ten years later I am still here and enjoying my “sweet” days. The growth of my family required a move to a house, which increased my commute from five minutes to one hour. I recently read about the Amtrak Author Residency program and was intrigued by the idea. Deciding to implement the theory in my commute, I hand wrote my entire first novel, A Perfect Plan.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
The second novel in the Wiltshire Chronicles series is releasing March 24th. Entitled, An Imperfect Engagement, this novel is the sequel to A Perfect Plan, continuing the love story of Samantha and Benjamin.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing as a child (I cannot tell you the exact age). I loved reading; a habit instilled by my parents. One of my mom’s friends was a writer and she encouraged me to try the craft myself. I picked up a pencil and never looked back.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Interestingly, I never considered myself to be a writer until I signed the contract with my publisher.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I cut my romantic teeth on historical romances, it seemed only natural to start in the genre I loved most. However, as I wrote, I found myself weaving suspenseful elements into the storyline; romance and intrigue with an English accent – yes, please.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I write in 3rd person narrative. I tried working in 1st person as well, but found I could not connect to the story or the characters. Several stories were converted over to 3rd person when I discovered that strange connection.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
My first novel, A Perfect Plan, developed its title from the old saying…”The best laid plans.” In A Perfect Plan, there are several people with plans that go awry, thus playing on the word ‘perfect’. The title to my second novel, An Imperfect Engagement, was created in counterpoint to the first title. There are several engagements mentioned in book 2 (all of which are imperfect). The working title for my 3rd novel in the Wiltshire Chronicles series is A Perfect Deception, which connects the story back to first novel as well as hints at an upcoming betrayal.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Love is often the underlying motivator for many decisions, good and bad.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The story itself is not real. However, the characters engage in activities that I have done in my past; such as fencing, horseback riding, fishing and shooting. Samantha embodies the crux of today’s young adult; the struggle between who you want to be and who you are expected to be.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
My youth was colored by R.L. Stein, Stephen King, Anne Rice, Julia Quinn, and Harlequin romances. Interestingly there are only a few books which have stayed with me: the first is the Crystal Singer series by Anne McCaffrey, the second is 1984 by George Orwell, and the third is the Forbidden Game series by L. J. Smith.
I do not have a mentor as such, but I do love to meet other indie authors. I love the support in the indie community, like a giant family.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I cannot name one favorite author, there are too many to choose from. I am partial to the house writers which come from my publishing house, DreamBig. Please check out YM Zachery, she writes historical time-travel romances.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My co-workers at my day job. They all know I write books and are always encouraging and supportive. Often I bounce ideas off them, before I even put pen to paper. They read extensively and books are often interwoven in our conversations.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, a million times, yes. I would love to write full-time.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No. I am very happy with the plot and character development for An Imperfect Engagement. I actually prefer this one over book 1 (shhhh).
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
One of my mom’s friends wrote books when I was a small child. I always found her fascinating. I think my love of writing began with her.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I am currently working on a re-imaging of The Frog Prince for a fairytale anthology releasing in September. Members of my Dreamer street team will be given the first opportunity to read the ARC prior to the anthology’s publication.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The hardest problem I have is naming characters; often my characters go through several name changes before I discover their actual name. I think the characters’ names should have some meaning or significance behind it. For example, the current work’s heroine is named Rana (Hawaiian for ‘frog’).
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I do not, unfortunately, have the ability to travel for research purposes – I have three kids. However, I do a lot of research online and in books.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My first cover was designed soley by my publisher, DreamBig. My second cover was born from a creative session with RA & TE PA Services. My publisher took the idea and tweaked it.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The most difficult part of writing book 2 was connecting all the pieces back to the first book. I created a spreadsheet for “loose ends” which needed to be dealt with (or will be dealt with in book 3).
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Patience. Writing is a process. There are some days when I can bang out hundreds of words and other days where I spend the entire time editing or researching for a specific scene.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead
Samantha would be played by Emma Stone – I love her feistiness and spunky personality.
Benjamin (and Thomas) would be played by Alex Pettyfer – he struck me as the perfect blend of sexy and strong.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Ignore the little voice in your head which discounts your talent and just keep writing; sometimes authors can be their own worst enemies. The best thing anyone ever told me was (and this really helps when you get that bad review), “Not everyone will enjoy your book, however, your book will always find the people who need it.”
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for all your support and words of encouragement. I appreciate each one of you. Drop me a line sometime.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Outside the Limelight by Terez Mertes Rose
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No. My brother taught me how to read when I was three, but I could not tell you what it was.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My children – they make me do both.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
I’d really like to meet Stephen King; I am in awe of his talent. I hope to have as many books published as he.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
“She followed her dreams”. I hope it would encourage others to do the same.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I love to read too! I also bake, walk, swim, fish and make chocolate.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Currently, I am watching Bates Motel and The Feud on tv. I also enjoy Big Bang Theory and The Wall. Movies are most romances (i.e. Pride & Prejudice).
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Favorite food – Italian, favorite color – green, favorite music – anything you can dance to
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I would have loved to work in the theatre. I used to work the box office for a small theatre and I enjoyed every moment.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Alyssa Drake Information:
Dreamers group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/alyssadrakenovels
Newsletter signup: http://eepurl.com/cAwxVn
Buy links for A Perfect Plan:
Amazon – https://www.amzn.com/B01CMK5ZPU
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28929898
Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/612831
Pre-order link for An Imperfect Engagement – releasing March 24th
A Perfect Plan Buzz:
“This needs to be a TV series or something! Dark, sexy, mystery, romance. Oh Lordy, Ms. Drake can write some books! This book is a must read, even for someone who doesn’t particularly read romance novels. If you enjoy a good read with some mystery, read this one.”
Angeli – The Romance Reviews
“Reading this book made me realize just how much I used to love historical romances…Amanda Quick, Johanna Lindsey, Lisa Kleypas…I absolutely loved this book! Alyssa Drake did such a wonderful job weaving in an exciting mystery and love story with A Perfect Plan.”
J.L. Leslie author of the Zane series and the Morgan Family series
“This book is Pride & Prejudice with sizzle and shock! Alyssa Drake mastered the era with so much grace! The way she incorporated the period into the plot was fantastic! This was up there with Jane Austin in that classic sense, but with snap and saucy spice! So well written I don’t know where to start!”
Historical romance author, Nicole Strycharz
Award winning 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.
An Imperfect Engagement, Alyssa’ sophomore novel, is the follow-up to her debut novel, A Perfect Plan (which won Obsessed by Book’s 2016 Indie Award for Best Historical Read). Both novels are historical romantic suspense (love & murder in 1850’s England).