Chatroom: Welcome, Alisha! Let’s start with your latest project, the urban fantasy novel in your Broken World Series, LOVING RED. How did Facebook play into the creation of this novel?
Alisha: Well, I am a former role-player addict with over 30 active profiles on facebook for a time. Severins Bouvier was literally made for Kaia, and he was based off of a Sherrilyn Kenyon character, Dev Peltier.
See, Kaia and Dev fell in love off screen, and that wasn’t allowed. So to fix it, I made Sev, hence the similar names, personas, and physical appearance.
The book doesn’t follow the post on facebook yet. Most of them are love-posts or snuggle-scenes. (I’ve been watching too much Simpsons).
But playing them on facebook first allowed me to dig deeper into their personalities before I wrote the novel. And well, it was fun.
Chatroom: So they both had profiles, run by you, and you played them like real people? Sorry, but I want to make sure I’m understanding this. 🙂
Alisha: Yes and no. I played Sev like he was a real person, and my friend, who I actually call Kaia even though her name is Laura, played Kaia in the same fashion.
It was interesting when time to write the novel.
Chatroom: Please introduce us to your heroine, Kaia.
Alisha: Kaia is a spunky red head that’s had her share of male attention, but she’s wanted none of it. Instead, Kaia craves adventure, bored sick of her accounting job and repeated conversations with her father about marriage and children.
Essentially, she perpetuates my ideals for strength: smart, resourceful, witty, and sensitive. She’s not afraid to cry, and she won’t break easy. Finally, her faith powers her through torture, a violent chase, and control over her own mind.
I envy her that, but she’s also a bit naive, sheltered by her Swedish heritage, customs, and wealth. Yet, exposure to Severins and his world (as a wolf)–his past–improves her keen awareness and clever mind.
Chatroom: Thank you. I probably should have started with this question, but better late than never! Please give us some background on your Broken World Series. What is it about, and what can we expect to find in your books?
Alisha: Well, the first two in the series are Urban Fantasy novels, and this third is a Paranormal Romance (different characters in the same world). Their world is one run by a vampire queen.
Her army is called the Celampresians. But there is another group, the Assetato, who oppose her. The first two novel follow a newborn’s entrance into this world with her human best friend and her maker.
I love playing the mythology and pop culture, so I make a lot of internal references to Buffy, Twilight, Dark Hunters, and others.
So there are a lot of laughs, but also, a lot of snark, dark times, and sex.
For LOVING RED, Sev is a member of the Assetato, so they drop into an on-going war at the start of the novel.
Chatroom: How did you research for your characters? Your descriptions are pretty detailed. You must have been thinking about them for a while before applying a pen to paper, so to speak.
Alisha: For Kaia and Sev, I had facebook for. (And I may have used facebook a bit for my other characters). However, I’ve been playing in this world for the past fifteen years before I put serious effort into their stories.
This was after graduate school as there were no vamps allowed in writing classes.
For Kaia, I asked a lot questions of my friend before I finally felt comfortable writing her on my own.
And Sev is partially based off of my husband, an Army Sgt.
He even makes a cameo in the novel.
Chatroom: Did you say Sev was a wolf? I almost missed that earlier. 🙂
Alisha: Yes, he is.
I call them bosex instead of weres or shifters.
Kaia is human.
Chatroom: Lines you will not cross as a writer?
Alisha: At this moment, I’m not sure that I have a clearly defined line. I can say I don’t like rape for titillation, although it has been a major part of one of my storylines. I enjoy writing death, torture, and sex with varying detail.
But my characters have done some heinous things in my novels—both on screen and off.
Chatroom: You have a lot of fun with character interviews – is it fair to say you have a LOT of voices bouncing around your head? 😀 How do you keep all your various character details straight?
Alisha: I have SOO many voices. Sometimes, they can be overwhelming and keep me from grading papers. But I’m often able to satisfy them all by giving them a few minutes during my week to show me things they feel the need to before I get back the grind.
Also, a character book helps.
Chatroom: On your blog, you’ve published a recipe related to the novel – do you actually have recipes listed in the book?
Alisha: I do not, which is why I posted it on my blog to share. My editor did suggest creating a cookbook for Sev, who is a trained cook.
I’m meddling with the idea.
Chatroom: Do your English students realize that their teacher has a dark side?
Alisha: Usually. I’m very open with them, some say I might share too much, but I enjoy connecting with them as people and adults rather than keeping that barrier between teacher and pupil.
So, I’ve mentioned my books and some of the material I’ve written, but I’m sure they don’t know just how dark it is inside my head.
Chatroom: Must be an interesting class.
Alisha: I try.
Chatroom: Do you think your interest in roleplay helps in creating characters? How so?
Alisha: I t does. That’s why I have so many. Kaia would often send me pictures of models that would spark a character’s voice for me. So, we’d set them up, give them lives, and explore them via interaction with each other on the page.
Most of them have ended as romances because that’s the type of writing chemistry we have.
But when we introduce new characters, they have secondary characters, and thus, we create more and more.
Since my character has to respond to hers, I find that I learn more about them than if I pushed them myself.
It’s strange, but a fun way to develop, and then I don’t have to make them all up myself. (It kind of feels like cheating).
Chatroom: So half the profiles on Facebook are really your fictional characters?
Alisha: Yes, they are! And my friends. I’ve made a lot of real life friends that way. By the way, I’m trying hard not to be a tangent queen, but sometimes I can’t help it.
And I can show you guys some profiles if you’re interested. They’re all inactive at the moment.
Severins. Kaia. Ria.
Alexandria (Ria) is my newbie vamp in the first two novels, but there are Sev’s and Kaia’s. And there are spoilers, so beware. 🙂
Chatroom: Do all the FB friends know that they are “friending” a fictional character?
Alisha: That I can’t be too sure about, but when I was in a big group, ran by a moderator with a heck of a lot more people, the majority of them knew because they’d read the books.
I wound up creating my own because I’m a control freak.
So, I’d say most of them knew.
I wish I could keep up with them as much as I’d like.
Come back for Part II in January 2016!