I’m sick. ☹
If you’ve been following me on Twitter then you know I’ve been whining since Friday about being ill. For someone who never gets sick to come down with some plague like virus twice in a year is ridiculous. I need to roll myself in bubble wrap or something. Ugh. Stupid germs.
You know what’s cheering me up today? The fact that I’m reading Complexity at Madame X’s tonight as part of Lady Jane’s Salon. If you’re in the NYC area stop by. RWA NYC will be representing from 7-9pm! My voice might sound gravelly but maybe it’ll up the sex appeal, LOL.
The second reason I’m geeked? Today, I get to feature a lady who is truly a ray of sunshine, Ms. Alexis Daria. Alexis is the voice of reason when I find myself getting a wee bit angry over things outside of my control. It’s always good to have friends who are logical and talk you off a ledge.
Get to know Alexis, folks!
I always find author interviews kind of boring. We only get to see one side of an author, the polite side. If you had an evil doppelganger, what detail would they enjoy revealing about you to the public that people would find surprising and possibly questionable?
I do have a bunch of doppelgangers running around NYC (seriously, it feels like Orphan Black sometimes), but I haven’t asked if any of them are evil. People find it surprising and questionable that I don’t drink coffee, so hopefully they’d reveal that and not something more embarrassing.
What’s your favorite romance trope?
I love second chance romances. The HEA isn’t always the end. Relationships are work, and sometimes shit happens, so I like seeing people make another go at love and get it right the second time around.
Love’s Changes by LaQuette
Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage by Jennifer Ashley
The Sweetest Thing by Jill Shalvis
You’ve recently acquired an agent and your first novel will be released in a few months. What would you say have been the top three things you’ve learned about yourself on your journey to becoming a published author?
I was querying a different book last year, and I was surprised by how well I handled the rejection. Instead of wallowing, I turned disappointment into action. “It’s going to happen,” I told myself. “It’s only a matter of time. Keep going.” Finally, after a year of querying across two different manuscripts, it happened. In March, I signed with an agent, accepted a two-book deal, and received the call that Take the Lead is a Golden Heart finalist.
Faith in myself, in my ability, in my resiliency and strength. Faith in my commitment to writing, and faith in my creativity to be there when I need it. I’m currently drafting the sequel to my debut in a very short time frame, and I’m calmer than I expected to be. Underneath the surface fear-based thoughts is a strong current of “You can do this.” Each time I proved to myself in the past that HELL YES I CAN DO THIS, another piece was added to the foundation of my faith in myself as a writer.
Something people don’t know about me is that I devoted most of my life to studying art. Four years ago, I made a difficult decision: I set aside art and committed fully to writing. Sometimes that strong inner voice reminds me that I didn’t give up art to screw around with writing like it’s a hobby. If I want this to be a career, I have to take it seriously.
Finish this sentence: I get really annoyed when _______.
People walk slowly in front of me on the sidewalk. (I live in New York City and I’m usually in a rush, so this is a big pet peeve.) Even worse? If the person walking slowly in front of me is smoking. I’ll pull some evasive maneuvers to get around them.
You’re one of the co-hosts for Romance Writer Chat on Twitter (Sunday nights 7pmEST/4pmPST hashtag #rwchat for those of you interested in joining.) Aside from joining the conversation, what would you say to a newbie romance writer who’s looking to find their tribe in Romancelandia?
Try out multiple groups. Writing can be a solitary activity, but we’re lucky to live in a time when it’s easy to connect with people who share your interests and goals. Keep an eye out for CPs and writing buddies who are around the same point in their careers that you are, and who have similar goals. However, not every group will be a good fit for you, and as you progress, you might outgrow some groups. That’s okay! Don’t force it. (That said, if you think you can change and improve a group from the inside, stick it out, but find others who will support you in your efforts.)
Who is your writing idol?
When I met Nora Roberts at RWA Nationals in 2015, I almost cried. I’ve been reading her books since I was 15, and she was my gateway into the romance genre.
Finish this sentence: Love means _______.
The only thing I can think of right now is, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry,” but I don’t actually agree with that. Let me try again. Love means everything. Love means we are alive and connected. Love means oneness and wholeness.
How old were you when you developed your first crush?
Oh, geez. Probably 4. I was obsessed with David Bowie in Labyrinth. And when I was 12, I was sure I was in love. ::eyeroll emoji:: I wrote a lot of bad poetry and embarrassing diary entries during that time.
Sex in YA books, yay or nay?
I don’t read much YA anymore, so I don’t really have a strong opinion on this, but I think it’s fine. It’s accurate, anyway.
You’re stranded on a deserted island. You’re stranded with one person and two objects. Who is the person and what are your objects?
A trustworthy pilot, a working airplane, and whatever else I’d need to get the hell off the island!
Ever tried BDSM? If not, would you?
Nope, and nope. I’m bossy as hell, but I also wouldn’t want the responsibility of being the one in charge.
Alexis Daria’s debut contemporary romance, TAKE THE LEAD, is a 2017 Golden Heart® finalist and will be released in Fall 2017 from SMP Swerve. On Sunday evenings, Alexis co-hosts #RWchat, a weekly Twitter chat for romance writers. She also serves as PRO Liaison for the New York City chapter of RWA, and is represented by Sarah E. Younger from Nancy Yost Literary Agency. Alexis loves social media, and you can find her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, and follow her blog.
I wish I could say I’m writing this post from some exotic location since tomorrow is a holiday and it would’ve been awesome to have a four day weekend, but alas, I’m sitting in my office. *cue the sad trombone*
It’s okay though. I’ll be on vacation in exactly three weeks. THREE WEEKS AND I WILL BE HUGGING SOME OF MY FAVORITE PEOPLE AT RWA NATIONALS! I AM SUPER GEEKED!!!! It’s going to be my first time attending, and I can’t wait!
Anyway, enough about me being excited over my upcoming vacay. Aside from dreams of being an entertainment reporter, there was a time when I wanted to be a librarian. I figured I spent so much time at the library, and I loved reading books, why not make a living from it? Sounds good, right? Except I wanted to be too many things. #overachiever
The list of career aspirations: Entertainment correspondent, librarian, scientist, social worker, bookstore owner, back up dancer for Madonna, gymnast, pop star (even though I can’t sing a lick), but who needs to sing to be a pop star nowadays? LOL. Okay, that was mean. But true. Not everyone has the chops, but I digress.
When Frannie joined the RWA NYC chapter, I was thrilled!!! I’d been following her on Twitter for some time and met her in person at RT (we both attended the Smart Bitches Trashy Books live podcast taping) but unfortunately we didn’t get the chance to chat. That was quickly remedied when we had some downtime at our RWA spring brunch. Frannie has been a vocal champion for the romance community, and I couldn’t think of a better person to spotlight this week. HARPER HAS A SUPER SPECIAL PLACE IN HER HEART FOR LIBRARIANS! ♥♥♥
Get to know Frannie. She is the bee’s knees.
I posed this question to authors and bloggers, and my first librarian interviewee should have a shot at it as well. I always find author interviews kind of boring. We only get to see one side of an author, the polite side. I’m sure the same can be said for librarians. If you had an evil doppelganger, what detail would they enjoy revealing about you to the public that people would find surprising and possibly questionable?
Oooh…If I had an evil doppleganger, I bet she’d want to reveal that I have a pretty dirty mind. Like, I might look all innocent or in constant thought…but yeah, my mind could make some people blush.
Aside from being a lover of books, why did you become a librarian?
It’s funny…I became a librarian because in my previous “life” (in film and TV), I always ended up organizing internal departmental “libraries”. No one else wanted to do it and I found it such fun. So, some relatives told me I should look into going for a Masters…and now here I am, happily peddling “The Ends” of a different sort.
Favorite book of all time?
Such a hard question! My favorite book of all time really is Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. I came to it for the dynamic between the sisters, but stayed for Colonel Brandon. To me, Brandon is the most perfect hero ever crafted. And it doesn’t hurt that Alan Rickman plays him in the Ang Lee/Emma Thompson film version.
What’s the most obscure thing you’ve ever found in your library?
Ok, there’s this thing that librarians find strips of bacon and $20 bills in books, both of which are true by the way…But, in my own library, the most obscure thing we’ve found were a pair of brand new panties in the Reference area. The patron/owner actually winked at us when she came back to retrieve them. It could have been total squick, but it ended up being pretty funny.
You’ve attended a few book conventions. Tell me about your favorite one and your most memorable experience.
Oh, wow. All of the conferences I’ve attended so far have been my favorites for different reasons. But my most memorable experience was at RT17. They asked me to be the librarian on a panel for Diverse Read-A-Likes. While I had presented locally, I never presented at a national conference/convention before. The moderator/author is someone super fab. I really couldn’t wait to meet her. The other panelist was great, too. And I had ladies that have become very good friends there, cheering me on. Plus, talking good freakin’ books is something I’ll do anytime, anywhere.
You and your husband recently celebrated an anniversary! Congrats! Tell me about your honeymoon.
Aww! Thank you! And thanks for remembering that :-) We got married at Walt Disney World, in Epcot. So, while we were down there planning the wedding, we also ended up taking a sort of pre-honeymoon Disney Cruise. We love Castaway Cay so much, we will find any excuse to keep going back.
Most favorite meet-cute scenario in a book?
I have SO many favorite meet-cute scenarios. How do I pick just one? LOL…OK, let me rec Olivia Dade’s Lovestruck Librarians series. Those meet-cutes are great fun. And of course, a librarian would adore a Librarian Romance series, right ;-) While I’m at it, Victoria Dahl’s Taking the Heat has a great one, too! Also with a librarian.
Loaded question! Do you have any regrets?
Oh, I have a mountain of regret. A mountain. Life can be so serious. So, I try not to take myself so seriously. We should all enjoy one another in the midst of everything happening all around us. I intend to never let good times, or more importantly, good people, pass me by.
LOL, try not to hate me too much for asking this question. If you had to give up reading books for a year or sex, which would you choose?
Harper, this is awesome. Sex! C’mon, I could *never* give up reading books for a year! Imagine all the fun I’d miss on *those* pages, LOL.
Favorite breakfast cereal as a kid?
LOL, my favorite breakfast cereal as a kid was Frosted Mini-Wheats and Lucky Charms.
Ever tried BDSM? If not, would you?
Ooooh. I never kiss and tell ;-) But yes. I would try totally it.
Frannie Strober Cassano first stumbled into the romance section of her local drugstore as a teen, and then found herself back there during the Fifty Shades of Grey “phenomenon”. You can find her gleefully discussing book boyfriends, tropes, and Happily Ever Afters over at her Reference Desk or on Twitter.
Beverly Jenkins asks why readers can relate to werewolves and vampires but not people who are of a different race.
Great article written by Emily Jordan spotlighting Ms. Bev! I was delighted to be interviewed and quoted. It’s definitely worth a read!
Uncommon ground: Beverly Jenkins, diverse romance and American history the way it really happened