Congratulations, Velda! Look for an email from Alyson.
Welcome Alyson, what surprised you the most when you became a published?
What surprised me most is how, after reading just the first three chapters, my editor Nan emailed me, saying she was almost positive she wanted to give me a contract. I was absolutely stunned. So much so that I actually forwarded her email to my critique partner asking her if I was reading it wrong. She kicked my butt into reality and told me to rush the rest of the story to Nan pronto! lol Guess I've heard too many stories about the process taking forever.
Tell us about A Beautiful Cage.
Wanted by the Gestapo, Rebecca Bloomberg is on the run for her life. Sheltering in the home of a reporter who writes absurd lies for a Nazi propaganda newspaper is hardly an ideal solution. Irresistibly drawn to the man, she dares not trust him, until she discovers his journalist position is a mask for involvement in an anti-Nazi resistance ring.
Gustav Von Furst has done all he can to perfect his mask. Neither his family nor his close friends know the truth. Hiding a Jewish girl is the most foolish risk, yet there is something about her that makes him want to protect her.
Eager to forget the outside world, Rebecca and Gustav are caught up in a private world of forbidden passion—until unexpected danger lands on their doorstep and they’re faced with a decision that will change everything. Will love demand a sacrifice too great to give?
Splaying his hands across her bottom and midback, he pinned her tight.
She froze, motionless, staring up into his shadowed face, into eyes that glittered in the low light. How did he manage to look both irritated and roguish at the same time?
“Let me go, I—” But the words were smothered in her mouth as his lips plunged down over hers. She pushed at him, but he was unmovable. And with each passing second his lips ravished hers, she grew weaker, reserves fading. Even while she thumped his shoulders with her fists, her traitorous mouth opened wide for him.
At what point had she started losing control of her life? Was it when she lost her family? Lost James? When she was assaulted in the alley? Or when it was decided she must stay inside the von Furst home?
Well, there were some things she could still control. And this was one of them. With that resolve, she shot up on tiptoe, angling to bite his lips, digging her fingers into his back. She was going to take control of this kiss, dammit, whether Gustav liked it or not.
Oh wow... there were so many volcanic scenes in A Beautiful Cage! I was on an emotional rollercoaster while writing it! The wads of Kleenexs in my trashcan proved it.
I'm very careful with historical details, making sure I weave them into the story so they don't read textbook style. For all the other scenes I rely on gut intuition. This wasn't hard to do with A Beautiful Cage because I've studied WWII extensively and read about the terrible situations that happened in Europe before and during the war. During the Holocaust, it wasn't uncommon for people to lose their entire family, just like Rebecca did. So, in the story, there is a lot of loss. But it's balanced by some humor and a lot of exciting, soul-stirring romance!
The parts that made me cry the most were in Rebecca's backstory, when she was telling what happened to her family and fiance. Gustav made me cry a few times too, especially when he told Rebecca how he felt about certain issues. Also, the very end of the story made me cry. In fact, the last few paragraphs totally surprised me. I don't want to say why because of spoilers, but I will say there was a bonus element I hadn't planned. And when the final sentence was finished I sat back and stared at it through blurry eyes and asked myself, where did that come from?
The parts that made me laugh the most involved Gustav's grandmother Bertie. She was so much fun to write!
I realized my dream to become an author in second grade. My elementary school had a visiting children's author who shared his book and talked a little about the writing process. Something inside me clicked. I learned to read when I was four, and I practically lived and breathed books, so writing just seemed to come natural. From there on out I was always writing stories in my notebooks. And I was lucky to have teachers who encouraged me. They often asked me to read my papers to the class outloud. Nothing will boost a child like encouraging them to share their gift with others.
Of course, I didn't get serious about publication until I became an adult. Even then, I had to practice, practice, practice. And I'm still practicing, constantly trying to sharpen and hone my skills!
Three things? Hmm. Well, (1) I've always known writing is time-consuming, but I think publishing really brings home the fact! (2) I had no idea so much promotional work would be involved. And (3) I wish someone had told me how valuable a critique partner is, because I would've found one years ago.
I have two books in the works. I'm nearly finished with Castles We Build, a story set in the 1920's, born from an idea stewing on the backburner for nearly ten years. Julia finds herself entangled in a terrible web, when, after remarrying a wealthy industrialist, her first husband returns from a WWI prison camp. Very different, and also very emotional. Also, I'm working on A Beautiful Cage's sequel, A Beautiful Tempest, about Rebecca's American cousin (Anna) and a soldier (Holden) she meets in Italy.
My author links:
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/uWqXcI
The Wild Rose Press: http://bit.ly/vkL25w
We were talking about which emotional scenes were hardest to write in A Beautiful Cage, and I confessed that I'm pretty much a sap for tears. My question for readers: When reading a romance (or any other story), which kind of emotional themes make you break out the Kleenexs? What is the most tear-jerking book (or just a scene) you've ever read?