20 Questions for Alyssa Alexander: Getting to Know Your Favorite (or soon to be Favorite!) Writer

Main Posts Background Image

Main Posts Background Image

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

20 Questions for Alyssa Alexander: Getting to Know Your Favorite (or soon to be Favorite!) Writer

Few books have had me pacing with anticipation. The Smuggler Wore Silk is one of them. I LOVE historicals and regencies and adventure and pull you right in and never let you go sneak peeks. And if that isn’t enough, there’s the book trailer teasing me into a One Click frenzy. My only regret is that the book wasn’t released until today. If it had come out yesterday while blowing snow and -30 wind chill gave me the day off work, I would have been finished with it by now and I would have had a review for you. Instead, I’ll let debuting author Alyssa Alexander coax you between the pages with her answers to my 20 Questions and tempting glimpses of the book in question.

The Smuggler Wore Silk is available now, today, this very minute. Don’t bother me. I’m busy reading!

Getting to know you:

First, thank you so much for hosting me, Nancy! I’m excited to be here, especially as it’s release day for THE SMUGGLER WORE SILK!

1. Party dress or blue jeans? 

Are yoga pants an option?

2. Night owl or early bird?

I used to be an early bird, getting up to write at 4:30 am. Turns out that’s not my natural habitat, so to speak. After repeatedly falling asleep at the keyboard and waking up to twenty-some pages of kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk, I decided to become a night owl. I write between 8pm and 11pm (sometimes midnight!). I still occasionally fall asleep at the computer, but not as often.

3. TV at home or movie theatre?

Definitely TV at home, because then I can wear my jammies and slippers!

4. Things that make you want to go “EEEEEEK!”

Bats, mice, snakes. The usual. I also find geese rather frightening. Something about their beaks, I think.

5. Gourmet cook or take out?

Well, I don’t know about the gourmet part, but cook! I’m an amateur foodie, which means I watch a lot of cooking shows, buy a lot of cookbooks, and make a lot of messes in my kitchen. Sometimes I even get it right.

6. Something quirky about you that no one knows (we won’t tell anyone!) 

I’m a list-maker. Grocery lists, to do lists, packing lists. Lists for Christmas presents and Saturday morning chores. Lists of reminders and lists to remind me to check the reminder list. Occasionally I even add times to my list: “4:30 pm write blog post; 5:00 drive to gas station; 5:05 get gas; 5:10 buy coffee; 5:25 pick up child; 5:35 arrive home; 5:45 chop onions; 5:50 brown beef…” You get the idea. These lists are all on paper, too, so I can satisfactorily cross items off when completed. No electronic lists for me!

7. Favorite comfort food.

Pizza. Absolutely, unequivocally, pizza with ham, pepperoni and bacon.

The Written word:

8. Favorite type of hero - Type A bad boy or Type B good guy? Which would you rather live with?

If I’m writing him, Type A bad boy. If I’m living with him, Type B good guy. I’m a little bit of a control freak sometimes (see list-making above), so I’d spend too much time being irritated by the take charge bad boy. Luckily for me, Mr. Alexander is a little of each and recognizes my control issues when I have them, so he can metaphorically step away quickly with his hands in the air. Hero material!

9. What type of fiction heroine would you be? Jane Eyre or Lara Croft?

Jane Eyre, dreaming about being Lara Croft. I’m a homebody, but I dream about adventure. (Which is what led me to a career in writing—dreaming of adventure!)

10. What would you love to write that you haven’t?

Action-adventure paranormal. I’m not sure that’s a genre, but I’d like to try it.

11. Paperback or e-book? 

Paperback. I don’t even own an e-reader! But it’s on my ‘to buy’ list…which I wrote on paper.

A Writer’s Life:

12. OCD plotter or free range pantser?

Free range pantser. I write out of order and fit it all together when I’m done! It’s messy, but it’s my process. Sometimes I don’t even know who my villain is until partway through the book. 

13. Which is easier, the synopsis or the book?

Um. Neither.

14. Do you have a set writing schedule?

I have a full time day job, a kindergartener and a household to run, so writing usually happens between 8pm and 11pm. Sometimes I can squeeze in an hour at a coffee shop between the day job and the kindergartener. And, if I’m really under a time crunch, I can always get up at 4:30 am. I don’t recommend talking to me before coffee though. 

15. Solo muse or critique partner(s)?

Critique partners!!! I couldn’t manage without them! They are my daily dose of laughter and fun, and I rely on them to find all the giant holes in my manuscript. 

16. What’s on your desk? 

On my home writing desk (which has no drawers and is thus always messy), I have my computer screen, a laughing Buddha for good luck, a pen holder full of pens, a secondary basket for the pen overflow, a half dozen sticky notes (see list making), a spiral notebook (see list making, again), various receipts I need to log in to my expenses, a reminder to stop writing and do a few rounds of yoga, random bits of paper with plot notes on them, and a teetering stack of “important papers.” I try not to put anything important in that stack. Papers go in there, but they never come out.

17. When can we get your next book and what’s it all about?

My very first book, THE SMUGGLER WORE SILK, releases today!!! It’s about Grace Hannah, a poor relation turned smuggler who comes under suspicion of treason. The spy stalking her, Julian Travers, Earl of Langford, is being forced into retirement because his identity has been revealed to the enemy and he believes she’s part of it. But she’s innocent, and when he compromises her, they must marry. Still, there’s a traitor on the loose and my heroine is a smuggler. Loyalties are divided and secrets abound. The question is, can they get past those secrets long enough to fall in love?


After he is betrayed by one of his own, British spy Julian Travers, Earl of Langford, refuses to retire without a fight, vowing to find the traitor. But when the trail leads to his childhood home, Julian is forced to return to a place he swore he’d never see again, and meet a woman who may be his quarry—in more ways than one.

Though she may appear a poor young woman dependent on charity, Grace Hannah’s private life is far more interesting. By night, she finds friendship and freedom as a member of a smuggling ring. But when the handsome Julian arrives, she finds her façade slipping, and she is soon compromised, as well as intrigued.

As she and Julian continue the hunt, Grace finds herself falling in love with the man behind the spy. Yet Julian’s past holds a dark secret. And when he must make a choice between love and espionage, that secret may tear them apart.

The Smuggler Wore Silk - Book Trailer


Inches. Only inches between them. His heat, his scent, enveloped her. Desire filled her, a low thrum that echoed the beat of the rain.

She could hear his ragged breath in the darkness, could sense the rigid control of his muscles. Some force passed between them, powerful, sexual and as elemental as the storm outside.

“Only two weeks, Grace, until the banns are complete and we’re married.” He reached out, drew a finger across her cheek. His touch was as gentle as the flutter of butterfly wings.

“Yes.” She turned into his hand, let her lips drift across his palm. Her lips tingled as the rough skin of his palm sensitized them. “The smuggler and the spy.”

“Husband and wife.” His palm lay against her cheek, his fingers delving into the hair bound back at her temples. “Take your hair down,” he rasped.

Lightning flashed and illuminated the sharp angles of his face. He looked fierce, nearly grim, his eyes intense. Unable to do anything else, she lifted her hands to the pins holding up her hair. His hand fell away from her face, but his gaze never left hers. She could see his chest rising and falling, hear his breathing quicken.

Power coursed through her. Beneath the charming aristocrat, beneath the spy, was a man that wanted her. Desperately. It was heady knowledge that for all his silver-tongued seduction, he wanted her.

She smiled at him, one slow, knowing siren’s smile. And let her hair tumble around her.


Despite being a native Michigander, Alyssa Alexander is pretty certain she belongs somewhere sunny. And tropical. Where drinks are served with little paper umbrellas. But until she moves to those white sandy beaches, she survives the cold Michigan winters by penning romance novels that always include a bit of adventure. She lives with her own set of heroes, aka an ever-patient husband who doesn't mind using a laundry basket for a closet, and a small boy who wears a knight in a shining armor costume for such tasks as scrubbing potatoes.


  1. Thanks for having me here, Nancy, on RELEASE DAY!!!

  2. Alyssa, I'm so excited for you and your debut novel! The Smuggler Wore Silk sounds intriguing, the trailer is awesome - 'scuse me, I'm gone. I have a book to buy! Congrats!

    1. Thanks, Loralee! I had a blast making the trailer!

  3. Happy Release Day, Alyssa!! I'm so happy for you! I love your cover! I'm a pantser and list-maker too :) Lists for everything, lol. Even lists for my lists! Can't wait to read your book! Sounds awesome! Congrats!

    1. I think there are more of us list makers out there than it seems! My favorite thing to do is cross things off the list!

  4. Love the interview. I'm so glad your book is out now, and that I have a snow day! My son gave me an amazon gift card for Christmas, so I'm off to buy it. Congratulations!

    1. Hope you enjoy, and that it keeps you *ahem* warm on this 2 degree day!

  5. OK, that's weird. My comment disappeared. With a brain like a sieve, I'm not sure I can remember what I wrote. Here goes: I'm so excited for you, Alyssa. I just bought your book & can't wait to read it. Being a list-maker and a pantser seems like a contradiction. Wait. That's me, too. I wish you much success with your debut book. BTW, there is a genre for paranormal adventure. Nancy writes it and so do I. :)

    1. Ha! The list-maker and pantser in me go together because I make unorganized lists while I pants...or something like that.

  6. Congratulations Alyssa - The cover is beautiful!!!

  7. Happy Release Day! What an exciting day! I hope you are doing something to celebrate! I don't know how you get any writing done with your schedule! I would be asleep at the computer too! I wish you all the best on your book and much success!

    1. Thanks, Melissa! Falling asleep at the computer seems to be an occupational hazard for me!

  8. Congratulations and Happy New Release Day! Look forward to reading The Smuggler Wore Silk with its gorgeous cover!

  9. Alyssa, great interview. I especially like your answer to number 9. Me, too!
    Off to get your book!

  10. Great interview and great cover. I'm a list maker but not as much as you.