Please help me welcome a contemporary romance author Aly Grady! Here’s her official bio and then we’ll dive right into finding our more about her books and her writing process.
New England born and Mid-west living with my husband, who puts up with me, and my teenage children, who roll their eyes at me, and our fur kid, Cody, a labradoodle that can’t stand to be separated from me.
I began writing as a challenge. When I surprised myself and wrote the first draft of a complete story I honestly didn’t know what to do with it. It was suggested I seek out a chapter of Romance Writers of America. I did and with the help and guidance of my chapter I’ve written a total of five books.
Betty: How many books have you written and published?
Aly: I currently have five books published. Four in print and a Christmas novella that is digital only. Written – well, I have two completely done in various stages of editing and three more stories in various stages of the writing process.
Betty: What genre(s) do you write in and why?
Aly: I write Romance. I’m a girly girl at heart and the image of Cinderella dancing off at the end of her story with her Prince Charming is my ultimate fairytale. I want that for everyone. SO, I make the fairytale and happily ever after come true in all my stories.
Betty: What themes or motifs did you use in your recent release and why were they important to your story?
Aly: My latest release with a relationship of convenience theme. It’s a twist on a marriage of convenience.
Caroline’s flight home for Christmas is cancelled. Frustrated with the weather, a stranger sits next to her in the terminal.
Colin is travelling home for the holiday as well, minus one tiny detail. He told his family he was bringing his girlfriend home. A girlfriend that doesn’t technically exist.
His phone rings. He answers. He begs.
Can Caroline be Colin’s Christmas miracle and pretend to be his girlfriend to his entire family?
Betty: Do you have a specific place that you write? Revise?
Aly: I write in many different places. Most often I’m on my couch. Revising/editing require more concentration for me so I’m usually at my desk.
Betty: Do you have any writing rituals while you write? Did you have a special drink, or music, or time of day that you gravitated toward?
Aly: I’m most active in the morning or very late at night.
Betty: What helped you move from unpublished to published? A mentor or organization or something else?
Aly: I read an article in the Wall Street Journal about self-publishing. From there, I contacted a person that was mentioned and that person led me to my first development editor who led me to my cover artist and formatter – so basically it happened by accident.
Betty: What do you think is your greatest strength in your writing?
Aly: My greatest strength… hmm, I’m always doubting myself but I’d say that I can talk to anyone and that conversation skill flows into being able to write dialog.
Betty: What comes first when you’re brainstorming a new story: setting, situation, characters?
Aly: Oh, I most certainly come up with situations first.
Betty: Do you have a structured time to write or is more fluid/flexible? Do you have to write between family obligations or do you set aside a block of time?
Aly: My family has always been my number one priority so I write when I can. My husband travels A LOT so I’m a part-time single mom doing double duty with the kids. Both boys are driving now so that is a huge help. As a matter of fact – one drove himself to his summer tennis clinic which allows me time for me!
Betty: What is one recent struggle you’ve experienced in your writing?
Aly: I’m a huge stressball when it comes to my kids. Oldest just graduated from high school and I’ve not been able to concentrate on anything but that. Joy of joy is that my kids are only a year apart in school so I get to do all the worrying all over again.
Betty: Do you participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)? Why or why not?
Aly: I have participated in NaNoWriMo. It was crazy fun and at the end I had my first draft for “A Home For Love”. I sat in the parking lot of a tennis facility with my laptop writing words. It was so intense and I remember in the middle of it thinking it was like a video game tracking the word counter. I had a well thought out story idea which helped me stay the course.
Betty: What are you reading right now?
Aly: Right this moment I’m not reading anything. I just finished with graduations and I’m on a deadline to finish editing.
Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?
Aly: I gravitate toward Historical Romance. I’d never dare write it, but I love all the detail.
Betty: What are your keeper books? How often might you reread them?
Aly: So, yes, I’m that person. I have all the Harry Potter books that I’ve reread at least three times. I also have the Twilight books that I’ve reread a number of times. Then I have the Chronicles of Narnia series that I’ve read and reread and reread. Yes, children’s books. Why? Probably because they’re easy reading. The worlds that each story is set in is crafted well. It’s an escape to read them. On a more serious note, I’ve reread The Book Thief. When my children had to read it for school I described it as a sad but happy ending. That one is gut wrenching because while the narrator isn’t in the story, the story has been true. It’s probably one of the only real-ish stories that I’ve reread.
Betty: When you’re writing, do you read in the same genre as your work in progress or something else?
Aly: I don’t usually read when I’m mid writing.
Betty: Do you have a “day job” or do you write full time?
Aly: I recently went back to work at a “day job”. My kids are heading off to private universities and me home alone with the dog seemed like an ideal time to seek outside the home interaction.
Betty: What do you wish readers knew about the publishing industry?
Aly: Publishing a book is a process with many pieces. Just uploading a book to Amazon isn’t enough. The biggest part of the publishing piece is getting the writer’s name and book title out in front of potential readers. It’s that advertising piece that many writer’s, myself included, fall short on.
Betty: What advice do you have for new writers?
Aly: Keep writing. If you have a story to tell, then you should tell it.
Betty: Any hints of what you’re next writing project might be?
Aly: I have a contemporary romance novel I’m editing that revolves around a high school reunion.
Betty: What kind of writing would you like to experiment with? Or what’s a different genre you’ve considered writing but haven’t yet?
Aly: I have a fun story idea that I’ve started for a YA mystery. I love mystery and the who-done-it concept so I’m taking my time because I don’t want to develop it incorrectly (read that as “get it wrong”).
Thanks so much for stopping in to talk about your writing, Aly! It’s interesting how each author has a different process and emphasis. It’s a matter of finding what works by trial and error sometimes.
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