First, some fun questions!
If you could change one thing about our world, what would it be and why? A mindset of inequality. All human beings are total equals, regardless of their sex, race, class or ability.
If you knew the exact date of your death down to the minute, what would you change about your life starting tomorrow? Nothing. I think I would go so crazy trying to make every single moment spectacular that instead life would become miserable.
When was the last time you felt alive? I mean really alive! My husband and I went camping out on my Uncle’s farm. The sky was clear and there was no light pollution. We saw the most incredible stars! You could see one of the arms of the Milky Way Galaxy, the International Space Station circling the globe, planets, other galaxies, and so many shooting stars! It was exhilarating to be reminded of how big this Universe is.
What television sitcom is most like your family? Why? Parks & Recreation - not because it mirrors my family’s experiences per say, but because I see my family members hyperbolized in all the characters. It’s exactly our family’s type of humor and is one of my favourite shows!
What’s your favorite thing to do to relax? Writing, of course! But when I’m not writing, I like watching The Mindy Project while I practice handlettering on my IPad.
Let’s find out a little bit about you as an author.
Did you always want to be an author? Yes! When I was six years old I told my teacher I wanted to be an author. I wrote a story about our family dog, Max, and she had it laminated and bound for me. When I was ten I spent my entire summer writing a kids mystery book, and ever since then I’ve always had something on the go.
What authors had an impact on you growing up and as an adult? C.S Lewis, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Cassandra Claire and Sylvia Plath.
Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing? Music! There’s not one particular song or artist that I listen to, just whatever inspires me most. Right now I’m really loving the song ‘Space Cowboy’ by Kacey Musgraves. I also like to have a sweet-scented candle lit and I cannot have any interruptions.
What have you learned the most from being in the writing business? That my voice has value. I used to think the only people that could be writers were old white men, writing with a cigar in one hand and a glass of whiskey (picture Hemingway). I may be young, but my voice has value and my stories are important, even if they are cheesy YA novels.
Tell us about your latest release:
Tangled On Tour
The Sequel to Tangled In Tennessee
Mackenzie Tanner was living the dream. At least that’s what she thought. When Mackenzie Tanner met world-famous boy band Dear Juliet while songwriting in Nashville, Tennessee, she never imagined it would lead to being the opening act on their worldwide tour, or the broken heart which would follow. As they play to sold-out audiences across the globe, Mackenzie realizes her dream may not be what she thought it was. Singing with the boy she loves and the boy she's supposed to love leads to a tangled mess. But Nashville is on the horizon...
“’Cause you’ve got the wild west blowing through your veins, and I’m the kind of girl who loves to be blown away. Wanted, wanted those pretty blue eyes. Wanted, wanted, you’re my guy.” Mackenzie sang into the microphone, throwing as much attitude and energy into the song as her tired body could muster. “I’ll be your shotgun, you’ll be my trigger. If we’re going down, we’ll go together.”
When the song was over, she waited for the red light over the door to flash off before reaching down for her water bottle. She heard the track click off in her headphones, replaced with a voice she’d grown quite accustomed to over the past ten hours.
“That was great,” praised Eugene Worsham, her EP’s producer. “You nailed the last chorus and the tag, but I feel like you lost momentum on the bridge…”
Declan Collins, manager of the world-famous boy band Dear Juliet, and now Mackenzie Tanner, had flown Eugene in from Nashville to work with her in the London studio. Eugene was a budding producer in Nashville and had the perfect country-pop edge she needed. She and Eugene had bonded immediately over their mutual love for Johnny Cash.
“Let’s give it another go,” he instructed, in his easygoing Southern drawl.
It made Mackenzie feel less alienated in the sea of British accents she’d been surrounded with since she’d stepped off the plane that morning. “I’ll punch you in three bars before the line, okay?”
“Sounds good,” she replied, giving him a thumbs up through the soundproof glass that separated them.
The music started up in her headphones, and when the lyrics began, she sang as passionately as she could. Again, Eugene thought she could do better.
It was tedious work, but Mackenzie loved it—which was a good thing, because she was only one day into her four weeks of intense preparation before joining her friends William Bishop, Cooper Hart, Jacob Turner, and Riley Knight—collectively known as Dear Juliet—on tour.
How did you decide on your story plot? It was the sequel to my first book, Tangled In Tennessee. When I first thought of this story, I actually had the final scene from Tangled In Tour in mind and that is what everything else was created around. It just so happened that it ended up being two books instead of one.
How did you choose your characters names and location for your story? I started writing the series during a month long trip to Nashville, Tennessee. I based a lot of the characters off people I met, and Mackenzie’s experiences off of my own. However, unfortunately I never met a cute British boyband.
Do you have a favorite scene? Why? There are a lot of tender moments throughout this book that were fun to write, especially because the relationships between Mackenzie, Riley and Jake are all so complex. My absolute favourite of them all has to be the final scene in the book; but I’m not giving it away! You’ll have to read it.
Do you have a character that you identify with? Who and why? Definitely Mackenzie! Like I said, many of her experiences in Nashville were based on my own. However, there were also times where I was writing her doing something, but then realized she would never do that or react that way. I always like when characters refuse to do what you had planned for them; it makes them so much more real.
Let our readers know how they can get a hold of you… The best place to connect with me is on Instagram! You can follow me at alexandraalydia. You can also check out my website at www.alexandralydia.com
Is there anything else that you want to share… feel free! I have a podcast! It is called the Mrs. Feminist Podcast and you can listen to me discuss incredible women and how feminism is woven into every aspect of life anywhere you listen to podcasts. Check it out!
Let’s find out a little bit about you as an author. Did you always want to be an author?
Not exactly. While growing up, I actually wanted to be a pediatrician up until high school. During high school, my love for writing sort of took over all my other aspirations and I decided to follow through with it.
What authors had an impact on you growing up and as an adult?
Hmmm. I’d have to say V.C. Andrews had a huge impact on me while growing up. My mom had a box full of her books and when I was a kid, I would sneak through the books in there and read them without my parents knowing. I think the first book of hers I picked up was “My Sweet Audrina”. I just remember reading the tiny words and holding the thick, frayed book in my hand like, wooow, this stuff is way better than what’s in the school library. Lol. The drama interweaved with the suspense and the love stories captivated me as a young girl and I think while growin gup, it made me want to write similar books.
Colleen Hoover, hands down, has been the most impactful on me as an adult. Not only is she an amazing writer, but she also has so many side projects that you can’t help but applaud. Like the Bookworm Box, where the proceeds get donated to charities, and I think it’s amazing. She’s truly a gem in the community and she’ll always be an author I look up to.
Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing?
Coffee. Always coffee.
And my phone. Google and Youtube are lifesavers if I need a song to set the mood or I need a question answered for research.
Tell us about your latest release:
A Cruel Love is an enemies to lovers, romantic suspense that released in May. If you enjoy brooding anti-heroes and sweet bakers with a penchant for darkness, this one is right up your alley.
As a hitman for hire, Percivale is no stranger to violence.
From the moment he saw Blossom Jaymes through the window of her bakery, he knew he was in too deep. Not only was she as sweet as her perfectly crafted treats, but she was a soft-spoken, golden-haired angel that shone like a bright beacon in his dark world. And Percivale didn’t deal in angels. He dealt in death and crime. The even bigger issue? Percivale’s next hit is on said sweet little baker who doesn’t seem to realize how much danger lurks around her with each passing day.
If he doesn’t get the job done, who will?
When Percivale has to decide what’s more important to him—the life of a woman who may very well be innocent or getting his revenge on the men who murdered his family—the lines become blurred. Morals are twisted and a deathly chase ensues that can only result in one thing—Blossom buried six feet under.
Or can it?
Can Percivale let his lust for revenge go in order to save Blossom from the bounty on her head, or will the power she unknowingly holds over him be what gets her killed?
With my cigarette dangling from my lips, i watch her from my perch along the brick wall, hidden in the shadows. Her long blonde hair is distracting. The strands are a blend of caramel and honey—shit looks like it’s been spun from gold. Her body, which she tries to hide behind in those unflattering clothes, is still delectable, regardless of her attempts. She’s a tiny little thing, but despite being so small, she has curves in all the right places. Petite with soft features and a killer smile. She’s the epitome of sweet and angelic—everything I’m not. She’s nowhere near my type, but my cock that’s straining against the seam of my jeans? Yeah, apparently, he likes her a whole hell of a lot more than he’s supposed to. She fiddles with instruments behind the counter, which displays a wide range of sugary treats that are no doubt the cause of the fucking obesity here in the US. And here she is, this sweet little thing, damning everyone who walks through those doors with her fucking confectionary goods. That’s what her place is called after all—Blossom’s Confectionary Sweets. For the last few days, this has been a nightly occurrence. I park across the street from her shop, slip back into the shadows of the quiet main street, and watch her through the windows as she begins her baking process for the next workday. She’s a creature of routine. Even in the small amount of time I’ve been watching, I know that. My sweet little baker hasn’t deviated from her routine, not once since I’ve been watching.
She closes up shop every day at 8:00 p.m. on the dot, and then she makes a point to check her displays, pulling out the old goods and placing them neatly into a pink box set out on the counter. After cleaning up from top to bottom, she then takes the box out to her car where she later drives it to the homeless shelter. Believe that? This chick doesn’t even throw them away. She’s too damn giving. Too fucking sweet. So goddamn thoughtful. Which is why I can’t wrap my head around the fact that there’s a bounty on the beautiful girl’s head. And the bigger problem? I’m the fucking hitman sent to finish the job. I guess I should probably start from the beginning so you can understand. So you can see what’s led me here and why, after everything, I still plan on killing her.
How did you decide on your story plot?
I really wanted to write something that was a little different than my previous books so with A Cruel Love, the plot actually came to one night just before bed and I ran with it.
How did you choose your characters names and location for your story?
I always google names before I use them in stories, just because I hate using names that are used in books super often. The location was actually decided for me because the book was part of a series of standalones.
Do you have a favorite scene? Why?
There’s a specific scene where we see the heroine, who is normally a quiet introvert, break out of her shell and become this fierce woman who refuses to take Percivale’s crap.
Do you have a character that you identify with? Who and why?
I’d say I identify with Blossom, the heroine. I pulled pieces from myself and my life experiences and inserted them into her character, which makes her a little more real in my eyes.
Let our readers know how they can get a hold of you…
Readers can always get in touch with me through email, on FB, and on Instagram. I try to be as active as possible, but when I’m deep in the writing cave, I usually take a step back from social media to focus on the characters, etc. But just know, I always, always respond to messages!
Let's get to know another Amazing Inkspell Author. Hello T. Michelle, please tell us a little about yourself. I grew up in beautiful Western Kentucky and attended Murray State where I got my degree in Education with a minor in Literature. I now reside in another beautiful small town in Ohio which is where I began writing and also the setting of my first series. I didn’t write and publish my first book until I was in my late thirties. It was never a thought in my head to become a writer, I just enjoyed writing. Having “The Life and Death of Lily Drake” put into print was such an amazing and cool thing!
Now onto some fun questions!
If you could change one thing about our world, what would it be and why? I would open people’s minds. I truly believe most of the people in this world are good-hearted people, but oftentimes we just don’t try to see the perspective of others. “We all should open our ears and close our mouths,” as one of my favorite school teachers once said.
If you knew the exact date of your death down to the minute, what would you change about your life starting tomorrow? Knowing me, I’d overly plan my demise and have a giant yard sale because I can’t imagine leaving my son with all the junk I’ve hoarded over the years!
What television sitcom is most like your family? Why? Roseanne. There’s lots of love and just as much sarcasm!
What’s your favorite thing to do to relax? Canoeing, hiking, traveling. Just getting out of the regular day-to-day is amazing.
Let’s find out a little bit about you as an author.
Did you always want to be an author? Not at all. It just happened and it has been quite an exciting thing! Life is so short, so I try to pack as much in as I can. I’ve worked in sales, customer service, flipping houses, I even was a cake decorator once and my most recent endeavor has been restaurant owner!
What authors had an impact on you growing up and as an adult? Edgar Allen Poe, Margaret Mitchell, Edith Wharton.
Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing? Coffee, and lots of it.
What have you learned the most from being in the writing business? It isn’t as easy as most people probably think it is. And also, a good editor feels like the devil when you’re working with them, but afterwards, I realized mine was AMAZING for making sure everything in my manuscript was perfect and I didn’t look stupid!
How did you decide on your story plot? There’s an older home here in my hometown of Mount Vernon, Ohio that inspired me. When I’d wait for my son to get out of school, I’d stare up at it from the parking lot and make up stories about who lived there and wondered about all the history that house had seen. One of those stories became The Lily Drake series.
How did you choose your characters names and location for your story? Mount Vernon was easy. This town is gorgeous and inspiring. The names mostly had to be researched to be sure they were accurate for the times and location as to which my characters would’ve been born.
Do you have a favorite scene? Why? Lily Drake Book One. About half way in she is heartbroken and binge eating ice cream when she is attacked by a vampire. Hilarity and some real gore ensue.
Do you have a character that you identify with? Who and why? My main character, Lily. She is basically me. She has one son who is a drummer, she is neurotic, stubborn and goofy, just like myself. I guess you could say that was one aspect of my books that had very little creativity or imagination to it. Every scenario that requires Lily to make a decision is a decision I myself would’ve made, some good, some bad and some just insane!
Let our readers know how they can get a hold of you…
@TMichelleNelson almost anywhere!
For Lily Drake, slaying vampires is easy...Dating them is the hard part.
Lily Drake is your everyday hard-working single mom…until a gorgeous vampire shows up on her front door who she mistakenly assumes is her blind date for the evening. As one crazy scenario after another unfolds, Lily finds herself falling in love with two vampires, slaying the evil ones, and being prophesied as the savior of the entire undead race.
Deciding between pizza and Chinese take-out will no longer be one of the hard decisions facing Lily Drake once she is immersed into vampire society. Humanity or immortality? That doesn't hold a candle against this question - which of the two handsome vampire cousins?
The Life and Death of Lily Drake is not your typical vampire love story. It’s a tale about the humorous mistakes a woman makes simply trying to survive not only life, but the dating scene.
How will Lily manage working full-time, taking care of her young son and fighting the undead at every turn?
Lily will have to figure it out, but who better to save the world than a mom?