Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Hello, Romance Readers! I’m Alexa Aston, a proud Texan and former history teacher who writes Regency and Medieval historical romance. In my head, I think I’m 25. My knees say I’m 105. My chronological age lies somewhere between those numbers.
Fiona: Where are you from?
Alexa: I was born in Dallas, Texas, and I live in a Dallas suburb now.
Fiona: A little about yourself (i.e., your education, family life, etc.).
Alexa: I graduated from Baylor University (Sic ‘em, Bears!) and became a history teacher. I thought I would teach by day and write by night, but teaching is very demanding and time-consuming—so I had to put writing on a far back burner. After I retired, I began pursuing my second chapter in life. My writing career has been very fulfilling.
I’m fortunate my only child (she also became a teacher!) lives only ten minutes away. She and her husband just had their first baby, a sweet-natured girl born in September, so I get to see her and Jake, my grand dog, all the time.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Alexa: The last in my St. Clairs Regency series, Suddenly a St. Clair, came out December 3. On that same day, a St. Clairs novella, Starlight Night, was released as part of the Dragonblade Christmas collection Stars Are Brightly Shining. It has been very satisfying writing the love stories for my five St. Clair siblings.
I’m looking forward to a busy 2020. My Regency trilogy, Soldiers & Soulmates, comes out in February (To Heal an Earl), March (To Tame a Rogue), and April (To Trust a Duke).
My next Medieval trilogy, Medieval Runaway Wives, releases in June (Song of the Heart), July (A Promise of Tomorrow), and August (Destined for Love). I have my first contemporary romance series that I may put out next fall. In the meantime, I’m working on a five-book Regency series for 2021.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Alexa: I always made up stories and acted them out when I was young, the beginning of my writing. I wrote my first novel in college but got caught up in my teaching career and marriage and family life, so I never pursued seeing it published. Near the end of my teaching days, the writing bug hit again, and I started writing in earnest. There is a strong desire within me to tell characters’ stories and share them with readers. I am thrilled that I can entertain people and move them through my novels.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Alexa: I’ve always thought of myself as a writer, but I believed I was an author when my first book became available on Amazon. To type in the title and name and have it appear was a genuine thrill. It was also terribly exciting (and still is) when I receive paperback copies of my books in the mail.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Alexa: Word of Honor, the first in my Knights of Honor series, came about when I was watching a documentary on the Vietnam War and US POWs. Many of those captured servicemen were separated from their families for years. It sparked an interest and I began what if-ing—what if a knight was separated from his family for many years, especially if he hadn’t been married for very long? What would he be like as a person after his long imprisonment? What would his relationship with his wife be like upon his return? What if he discovered she gave birth to their child in his absence?
All those questions led to Word of Honor, the love story of Geoffrey de Montfort and Merryn Mantel. Merryn had twins while Geoffrey was away and had to become a strong woman in order to lead their people. It’s as much her story as it is his, as she adjusts to having Geoffrey back in her life. They’ve both changed and must learn how to accept who each other has become—and learn to love again. Geoffrey and Merryn appear in all ten romances in this series, sometimes in large roles and sometimes small ones. It was exhilarating not only writing their love story but seeing it continue over the entire series as they matured—and so did their love.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Alexa: Geoffrey is a knight. Knights were bound by their word. He gives his word to a man and must keep it to retain his honor, though at a devastating cost.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Alexa: The biggest challenge is to get the historical details right. I’ve researched pirates, castles, and warfare for my Medieval romances. For my Regencies, I’ve delved into clothing, manners, activities, and the Napoleonic Wars. As a former history teacher, I want to get the history details correct and seamlessly weave them into my romances so that they add to the ambience.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Alexa: Everything is strictly fiction. I see a character in my head, give him or her a name, start drawing up their personalities and then plot from there. The realism comes from period details—who is on the throne; what political/economic/social events can be used as a backdrop; what are people wearing and eating; etc.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Alexa: Thanks to the Internet and books, I can write about anything. They make the research easy, especially seeing images. With that being said, I have been to England many years ago and am planning another trip next spring. I can’t wait to see in person some of the places I’ve written about (such as St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, where my King’s Cousins trilogy ends with all three heroes being made founding members of the Order of the Garter).
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Alexa: I am blessed to have the extraordinary Dar Albert in my corner, designing all my covers. She is creative and talented and a joy to work with.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Alexa: First and foremost—the power of love and how it can make people better, both individually and as a couple. Second is strong bonds of family and how important family is.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
Alexa: I don’t read as much as I used to because I’m writing so much, so I don’t have any recommendations for authors.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Alexa: I began with two critique partners and always have had their unconditional support and feedback. One hasn’t been published yet, but the other, Aven Ellis, is a fabulous writer of romantic comedy.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Alexa: It is my second career now. I was blessed to be a teacher for many years and now that I’m writing fulltime, my dreams have come true. To strike the jackpot twice in my lifetime and find work I love is simply amazing.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Alexa: No. Once my terrific editor, Scott Moreland, has given me a few tips and I’ve turned in my final manuscript, I don’t look back—only ahead to the next book.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Alexa: I mentioned the strong bonds of family being a theme in my work, and Suddenly a St. Clair(and Defending the Duke) really emphasized that. I think even I was somewhat surprised at how willing my original, legitimate St. Clair siblings were to open their arms and hearts to two illegitimate twins and see them as full-fledged St. Clairs.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Alexa: I’m keeping mum on this. I believe every writer—and reader—pictures the hero and heroine they want to see—even themselves sometimes. So, I’ll let my readers cast the parts for Hudson and Mia.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Alexa: I’ve found BIC—butt in chair—to be very successful. Don’t put off sitting down and writing. And don’t worry about what you write. Don’t go back and edit and re-edit and polish and re-polish. Just write. Tweak a bit. Move on. You can go back once the project is complete and read for flow and add/delete/play with it then.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Alexa: Please take the time to write a 1-2 sentence review on Amazon or Goodreads! Authors work very hard to give you a wonderful story that you spend hours reading. Reviews are the lifeblood of authors. Take the time to write a few, quick lines. It will mean so much to an author if you do.
As for my readers, I always enjoying hearing from them. Shoot me an email. Talk to me on Facebook or Twitter. I love the interaction.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Alexa: My husband just set the new David Baldacci beside me. I guess I’ll take a break and start it soon.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Alexa: Good Night, Bear – a Little Golden Book. My parents read it to me over and over, until I knew every word.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Alexa:Funny animal videos always make me laugh. And I cry at every romance movie I see.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Alexa: Theodore Roosevelt. He was larger than life and had a zest for living. He accomplished so much in a variety of areas. A true, modern-day Renaissance man.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Alexa: I love to walk every morning. Exercise is good for the body and soul. I plot as I write. I also enjoy doing yoga, binge-watching on Netflix and Prime, and going to sporting events, especially football and basketball games.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Alexa: On TV, I enjoy Survivor, Grey’s Anatomy, This Is Us, Game of Thrones, and The Crown. In movies, I love a good action/adventure flick, crime drama, or rom-com. Notting Hill and Love, Actually are all-time favs.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Alexa: Chocolate. Red. Anything from The Beatles to The Eagles to Ed Sheeran and Kelly Clarkson.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Alexa: NOPE! Can’t do it. Okay, if I must? I’d love to produce movies.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
Alexa: With my family on Kaanapali Beach in Maui.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Alexa:I don’t want one. I’ve asked to be cremated.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Alexa: Absolutely. Here’s my social media information:
Newsletter Sign-Up: http://madmimi.com/signups/422152/join
BookBub Follow: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/alexa-aston
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/alexaaston