Can you believe it’s October already and yet the temps here in Alabama are still in the mid-90s! I’m ready for some cooler weather! Halloween and Thanksgiving are just around the corner so I’m starting to crave soup and hot cider… But I digress!
Today I have a treat for you. I’d like to introduce you all to Christina Alexandra! She’s a new-to-me author of historical romance which sound delightful. Let’s find out more about her and her stories, shall we?
Christina Alexandra is a romance writer from Southern California. Always on the lookout for an adventure, she has worked many different jobs including both medical and veterinary offices, music teacher, law enforcement instructor, service dog puppy raiser, emergency grief counselor, coroner’s assistant and, currently, an emergency services operator.
Christina writes stories set in Georgian and Regency England and credits her varied experiences as the foundation from which she builds true-to-life characters and emotional stories with a unique twist on modern issues. When not researching, writing or working, Christina spends her spare time travelling, cooking – oftentimes with a historical flare – and connecting with fans and friends on social media.
An avid trivia junkie, she is constantly on the lookout for random facts in the hopes that it will help her in her never ending quest for a spot on “Jeopardy!”
Betty: How many books have you written and published?
Christina: I currently have one flash fiction piece published in an anthology, and my debut book comes out later this autumn. It was a last minute addition to my Reluctant Lords series so I actually had book 2 drafted and book 3 plotted before I started this one.
Betty: What genre(s) do you write in and why?
Christina: I write historical romance set in the Georgian and Regency eras of England, so the late 18th century and early 19th century. When I first started reading romance, Regencies were what I started with. So when I started writing romance, I gravitated towards the Regencies. The more I researched the time period, the more I fell in love with it. The wealth of the upper class juxtaposed with the poverty of the lower class. The advancements in science and technology leading to industrialization and modern farming, and the detractors who fought to keep things the way they were. The long war with France. It’s not much different from today, when you think about it. It gives me a way to relate to the modern world when the modern world becomes too much to handle.
Betty: What themes or motifs did you use in your recent release and why were they important to your story?
Christina: The Worth of a Viscount is book #1 in the Reluctant Lords series. It’s about five friends, ordinary men content with their lot in life, who suddenly and unexpectedly find themselves granted peerage titles.
It’s no accident that the book is called The Worth of a Viscount. Adam, the Hero, is trying to prove to himself and others that he is worthy of both the title and the upper class he is worthy of his title and to marry the woman he loves. Maxine, the Heroine, is trying to prove she is worthy of being wanted and loved for more than her outward appearance. They both have to come to terms and face their own insecurities to get their Happy Ever After. Their story and growth resonates with many people and the hashtag #KnowYourWorth is relevant to them as well as the readers.
This is also a story of second chances. Adam and Maxine were childhood friends and sweethearts before society came between them. As Maxine grasps at a second chance to discover herself, and Adam gets a second chance to make something of himself, they get an unexpected second chance at love.
Forced by her family to hide her high-spirited nature, Lady Maxine Pearson has spent years cultivating the facade of docile, boring perfection. After four seasons without a single offer of marriage, she realizes perfection is decidedly overrated. With her cousin’s wedding fast approaching, Maxine seizes the opportunity to travel to the event scandalously alone.
Adam Hawkins always knew Lady Maxine would one day be his wife, even though an earl’s daughter was far beyond his reach. Six years after the message was beaten into him, Adam has returned. But he is more than a mere knight’s son, now he has the wealth, influence, and the title to prove his worth.
When Maxine’s act of rebellion leaves her stranded, she has no choice but to accept help from the man who broke her heart, and gives Adam the perfect opportunity to win it back. As passion flares, they find themselves caught between obligation and desire. If they aren’t careful, they may be forced to give up everything to fight for their second chance at love.
Worth is available for preorder on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Coming soon to iBooks and Kobo.
Betty: Do you have a specific place that you write? Revise?
Christina: I tend to write anywhere and everywhere outside of the house. Between two needy cats, and all the chores required in caring for a sixty-year-old house, I find writing at home too distracting. Normally, I am a coffee shop writer, but I have been known to write on planes, trains, automobiles (lol). I even wrote my first published short fiction story on my mobile phone while standing in line at Legoland when my sister and her family came to visit. I need some activity and noise around me or else my mind goes to other places other than writing and I lose focus.
Editing I have to do on paper, so wherever I go, there has to be a table for me to write on. I have a lot of downtime at the Day Job, so I tend to do a lot of editing and note taking there where I know I’ll get a solid chunk of time.
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?
Christina: I don’t really have any rituals, other than copious amounts of coffee and snacks. I can’t drink alcohol while writing as it puts me to sleep. I do have playlists for writing, mostly classical music, and movie or video game soundtracks. I’ve recently started making playlists of songs with words that inspire scenes in the story.
Betty: What helped you move from unpublished to published? A mentor or organization or something else?
Christina: I’ve been a member of Romance Writers of America and the local chapters for several years. I’ve made amazing friends who are encouraging (and pushy!) when it comes to making sure we all stay on track to pursue our writing goals and dreams. The support from my friends, family, and coworkers has been instrumental in giving me the confidence boost to go from unpublished to published author.
Betty: What do you think is your greatest strength in your writing?
Christina: Ooh, tough one… I have to say it’s a tie between description and emotion.
I’m a visual person, and when I write I build the scene in my mind in layers starting from the big picture to the most minute detail. I think it’s a by-product of my Day Job—in the various jobs I’ve had, I always have to describe pertinent things from the top down, outside to inside, big picture to tiny details. It just flowed over into my writing.
I’ve been told by my writing partner that I have an uncanny ability to get deep into the head of my characters. I’m just a conduit and write what they think, see, and feel. It’s ecstatic and overwhelming one minute, and the soul crushing pain of love the next minute. It’s like taking a ride on a roller coaster of emotions.
Betty: What comes first when you’re brainstorming a new story: setting, situation, characters?
Christina: Usually it’s the characters. While they’re all clamoring about trying to be next, it’s the quiet one in back that gets my attention. Occasionally, I get an idea that is so fun and so unusual that I create an entire world and story around it before anything else. Oddly enough, this usually results in a non-Regency, non-historical story.
Betty: Do you have a structured time to write or is it more fluid/flexible? Do you have to write between family obligations or do you set aside a block of time?
Christina: My writing is flexible. Between the Day Job, family, and travel, I don’t have large chunks of time. I usually get a couple of days a week where I can write in marathon sessions, but mostly it’s short bursts of time on my mobile phone. Thank goodness for writing programs that sync across devices!
Betty: What is one recent struggle you’ve experienced in your writing?
Christina: The dread of finishing. Once it’s done and published, it’s out there for people to read, judge, and determine if it’s (dare I say it?) worthy. That’s why I have to set hard deadlines or else I’ll fiddle and tinker with it forever, and it’ll never get done.
Betty: Do you participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)? Why or why not?
Christina: I’ve tried NaNoWriMo several times and have come to the conclusion it’s not for me. I just can’t write straight through without editing. I end up with a mess of a document and get overwhelmed trying to revise and edit it. I prefer to write slower, edit as I go, and end up with a story that needs minimal revisions and edits.
Betty: What are you reading right now?
Christina: I’ve recently discovered Lisa Kleypas and have been reading her entire backlist. But only when I meet a writing goal. Otherwise I’d spend all day reading and get nothing done.
Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?
Christina: I’m a sucker for historical romance. I have to deal with enough drama and trauma of the contemporary world at work, and I need the promise of the HEA to escape modern life.
Betty: What are your keeper books? How often might you reread them?
Christina: Oh gosh…my keeper books. For romance, I think Sherry Thomas’s Ravishing the Heiress is my #1 keeper, followed in no particular order by Elizabeth Hoyt’s Lord of Darkness, Grace Burrowes’s Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal, Sarah MacLean’s Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, Katharine Ashe’s The Prince, and Lisa Kleypas’s Marrying Winterborne.
For non-romance books it’s Michael Crichton’s Congo, Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, the Star Wars: X-Wing Series by Michael A. Stackpole, and The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher.
I reread them whenever I need a little something comforting and familiar, but Congo and Something Wicked This Way Comes I read at least once a year. The latter I read each October.
Betty: When you’re writing, do you read in the same genre as your work in progress or something else?
Christina: I do read the same genre because the language and flow of prose in historical romance is so different than other genres. No matter the story, the authors skilled at connecting readers to the time period and characters do so through their writing. It’s essential for me to get into the historical state of mind by reading other historical books.
Betty: Do you have a “day job” or do you write full time?
Christina: I do have a Day Job. I work as an emergency services operator her for a busy police department in Southern California. It’s a very technical, high-stress job that does not lend itself to creative writing. Though, I will admit, after a weekend spent writing my calls get a little…purple prosey. My dispatchers and officers can always tell when I’ve spent time writing based on how I word my calls! Lol
Betty: What do you wish readers knew about the publishing industry?
Christina: Don’t give up, and don’t settle for the first thing that comes your way. There are so many options out there, so many opportunities, there’s no reason to settle for “good enough”.
Betty: What advice do you have for new writers?
Christina: A screenwriting teacher gave me the best advice once. I pass it on to every creative I meet: Get it out of your head and onto the page.
Betty: Any hints of what your next writing project might be?
Christina: The Reluctant Lords is a five-book series, so my focus is on finishing them right now. After that then I’ve got a spin-off series dealing with some relatives if the Heroes. Then comes a long anticipated project I’m calling the Scavenger Hunt for now. It’s this weird mashup I can only describe as The Amazing Race (TV show) meets Jane Austen.
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?
Christina: I have a serial story I’d love to get a start on. It’s a contemporary time-hop police procedural with a heavy dose of mystery. But it’s rather in-depth and would take so much time researching that I’m not sure when I’ll get around to it. The same with a speculative fiction series that I have on the back burner that revolves around the idea of leap year.
I’d like to try my hand at contemporary romance, and have a couple of stories plotted and outlined. My trouble with writing this is my characters tend to shun technology and speak like they lived in Regency England! lol. It’s like learning to write in a different language.
I love that your writing voice impacts your professional writing as well, Christina! That’s an interesting carryover. And that you could write standing in line, too. I also need some noise around me in order to concentrate after working in a busy office environment for years. Good luck with your new release, too!
Happy reading, all!
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