AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: ALISSA JOHNSON
The bunnies have cornered another favorite author to pester. Welcome to the bunny cave Alissa Johnson…
What is your most current work out ?
Tell us a little about Nearly A Lady
My inspiration stems from a long-standing love of a stories like Annie and Pygmalion. I love the combination of rags-to-riches and fish-out-of-water elements.
From the back cover— After the death of her father, Winnefred taught herself to live on a pauper’s allowance—until a charming visitor promises her the funds that had been stolen from her through the years. But Freddie isn’t comfortable with the trappings of money—or the attentions of a stranger from London…
Lord Gideon Haverston was expecting to be greeted as a hero by the tough young woman his stepmother cheated out of house and home, not suspected as a conspirator. Indeed, the situation is more complicated than Gideon had expected—and the task of taming Winnefred Blythe, much more alluring…
When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
I have a general outline of where I’d like a story to go, but whether or not I get there as planned really depends on the characters.
What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?
I started writing romance shortly after falling in love with the genre as a reader. I’ve not yet tried other genres.
Do you have a favorite character you have written?
I adore them all, of course, but I do have a special fondness for Mirabelle from Tempting Fate, and Winnefred from Nearly A Lady. They both possess a fighting spirit I admire.
Who was the toughest character for you to “get right” that you have written so far?
James McAlistair, from McAlistair’s Fortune, simply because he was so reluctant to speak. Taciturn heroes can be sexy as all get-out, but for a dialogue-happy author like myself, they’re a challenge to write.
Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?
While I haven’t written a character wholly inspired by a real life individual, I have incorporated quirks from friends and family into characters. Patience from Traditions is able to stuff an entire bowl’s worth of peas into her mouth, a fabulous skill I took from a college friend.
What do you find the hardest part of writing?
Deleting scenes I love in the editing phase.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
This is one of those instances where I wish I had a really unusual talent to share, or a spectacular story to tell, like—I once rescued a family of six from a pack of wolves using my mad hand-to-hand combat skills.
I’ve never seen a wolf in the wild and I don’t have combat skills unless you count my prowess with a bow. I do crochet, though. So there’s that.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
So, so many. Junk food, television, more junk food. I have a tremendous sweet tooth.
What do you need before you start writing? Anything that is just a must have or the creative juice don’t flow?
Coffee, quiet, and a dog at my feet. Sunny weather helps, but isn’t strictly necessary.
Does music influence your writing? If so, do any of your stories have a theme song?
Music certainly influences my mood which, in turn, influences my writing, but I’ve never given a theme song to any of my books. I could see Beethoven’s Appassionata for Nearly A Lady, though. It’s one of my favorite songs.
If your story was optioned for a movie, who would play your characters?
Oh, fun question. I would cast Anna Torv as Winnefred and Nathan Fillion as Gideon, though he’d have to darken his hair some.
Where were you when you got your first contract? Who did you tell first?
I was at work in my family’s children’s clothing boutique when my agent called. That conversation remains a bit of a blur, but I clearly remember calling my mother after. She’d been the first person to read my work. She still is.
How old were you when you read your first romance book?
I don’t recall the exact age, but it was well after I graduated from college. Once I discovered what I’d been missing, I had the time of my life glomming on authors with huge backlists.
What author causes you to “go fan girl”/ squeal over/anticipate upcoming books?
Lisa Kleypas, definitely. How could I not be a fan of the woman who gave us Derek Craven?
What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
My next book, An Unexpected Gentleman, is slated for release in December. Meanwhile, I’m dividing my time between the next historical in my series for Berkley, and a historical paranormal I’ve been toying around with for a while.
If you could co-write with another author who would it be?
I can’t think of an author I wouldn’t be happy to work with, but it would certainly be fun to work with Jennifer Ashley and Emily Bryan again. Naturally, I’d be thrilled to work with the aforementioned Lisa Kleypas.
How do you pick your characters names?
I use my sister-in-law’s old baby-name book. Not very exciting, I know.
Do you prefer the love at first sight approach or a steady growth throughout?
As a reader, I love both. As an author, I tend to gravitate toward the slow burn kind of story.
What is your reaction to people who say one of the following…”Oh you write romance, I thought you were a real writer”, “Romance isn’t a real writing career” or the ever popular “Oh, one of those books”.
Fortunately, I’ve never had someone make that sort of comment to my face. I have run across the sentiment online, however. In those instances, I attempt to educate if it’s possible, and simply ignore if it’s not. Admittedly, the latter is sometimes easier said than done.
And for the silly side – What is your favorite type of chocolate?
It’s a three way toss-up between milk, anything with mint in it, and a giant-sized toblerone.