"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
Alyssa Day is the pen name (and dark and tortured alter ego) of RITA award-winning author Alesia Holliday. She is a multiple finalist in the Romance Writers of American’s prestigious RITA awards for excellence in romance fiction and has won several awards for her novels.
After graduating summa cum laude from Capital Law School in Columbus, Ohio, Alesia spent several years building a career in class action litigation. Finally, just after the tragic events of September 11th, when her husband, a naval officer, was sent to Afghanistan, Alesia decided to listen to the voices in her head that said being a trial lawyer wasn’t quite her dream job. She quit her day job shortly afterward, when she sold her first book, and has never looked back.
PNR: Can you tell us a little about how you started writing; was it something you have always wanted to do?
Alyssa D.: I’ve been a storyteller since I was a little girl, except sometimes I had to stand in the corner for it. LOL. I started reading at the ridiculously young age of three and I think I always thought everybody made up stories. Eat, breathe, make up stories. But I never believed I could make a living at it, so I went for a “real” job as a trial lawyer. Which often involved listening to *other* people make up stories . . .
PNR: Are you able to write as much as you would like? Tell us about your writing schedule.
Alyssa D.: I write full time, so I have the hours that the kids are at school. And when I’m on deadline, and my husband isn’t gone to sea, I work as much as I need to during the day/night/weekend. But life gets in the way as it does with any other job; for example, we were all miserably sick this past week and I didn’t get a single word on a page. I can’t write when I’m sick or when I have a sick child on my lap needing cuddles.
PNR: Which author(s) is your favorite? And who has most influenced you work?
Alyssa D.: I have more favorite authors than I could possibly list if I had a dozen pages. I read voraciously, more than 200 books per year is standard. Some of my favorites in the romance genre have also become friends of mine – Suzanne Brockmann, Christine Feehan, Jenny Crusie, Lani Diane Rich, Michelle Cunnah, really, everybody at my Literary Chicks blogsite. Colby Hodge and Marianne Mancusi in cutting edge paranormal. Oh, the list is hundreds of names long! And I also read very widely and eclectically. So Terry Pratchett, Stephen King in the old days, Margaret George – I just discovered her over the holidays and I would read her grocery list, seriously, and so many, many more. I also read a great deal of history, mythology, and biography. If there’s nothing else around, I read the cereal box at breakfast. It’s a sickness. J
PNR: You have been very successful writing contemporary romance as Alesia Holliday, and are now writing your Warriors of Poseidon titles under the pen name, Alyssa Day. What made you decide to add paranormal elements to your writing, was it a natural progression?
Alyssa D.: I’ve been writing paranormal stories for a long time without thought of publication, since I was focused on the romantic comedy. My mother likes to tell total strangers how I announced when I was six or so that I would discover Atlantis when I grew up. Or be a werewolf.
The werewolf thing didn’t work out, so I decided to “discover” Atlantis in my storytelling. And the best editor in the world, Cindy Hwang at Berkley, loved my idea and said, “Go for it!”
PNR: What do you feel are the essential elements of a great story?
Alyssa D.: Movement. Passion. Conflict. Depth. I tend to want to shy away from digging deeply into the emotional heart of a story, so some of my comedy sort of skated the surface of the story I wanted to tell. With the rich romance at the heart of the Warriors of Poseidon novels, I can delve into the poignancy and truth of life and love – we put our hearts on the line. I literally found myself crying as I wrote certain parts of ATLANTIS RISING.
PNR: Reviewers and readers are excited about ATLANTIS RISING, the first title in your new paranormal series, Warriors of Poseidon; could you tell us where the idea came from and a little about your vision for the series?
Alyssa D.: Thank you!! I think I’ll frame the PNR review!! My idea came from my fascination with ancient and lost cultures and civilizations. There have been so many instances of certain symbols and patterns being found in the remains of entirely different civilizations, continents apart. How could they be identical? There was no way these people could ever have met. But what if . . . What if there truly were an ancient civilization so advanced that they sent out cultural ambassadors who carried the underpinnings of ritual and belief and tradition throughout the world? I went from there and had an amazing time creating this world.
The series is fascinating to me because it is evolving on so many different levels. At the heart of each book is a very passionate love story; that story is wrapped inside of the fight to save humanity from the vampires and shapeshifters who are taking over and plan to enslave all humans. But the Warriors of Poseidon and a group of rebel humans have very different plans. What I love about the overarching nature of the battle is that it reflects my own worldview – no individual can be characterized by his or her race or species. So not all vampires are “bad,” nor all shapeshifters, as we see very soon in Wild Hearts in Atlantis, in the anthology WILD THING in May. Not all Atlantaen males are “good.” Life, and the world of my warriors, is far more complex than that. I already have the next seven books in the series plotted out, so I’m hoping readers love my warriors as much as I do!
PNR: The mythology of Atlantis has long captured the imagination of readers. Why do you feel mythology in general, and Atlantis specifically, is such a popular theme in the paranormal romance genre?
Alyssa D.: It’s an amazing concept: a lost world of advanced technology, almost certainly amazing gold and treasure beyond belief, and the idea of finding a civilization that has been lost for more than 11,000 years. King Solomon’s mines, the treasure of the Knights Templar, the lost cities of the Amazons – all of it captures our imaginations in a marvelous way. I truly believe we’re all adventurers at heart, no matter how routine our daily lives may be.
PNR: You have been complimented on your expert world-building; what are the challenges you face in making it believable for the reader? How much is research vs. imagination?
Alyssa D.: Thank you!! I am a fiend for reality in my books and I do the research up close and personal. For example, after my book AMERICAN IDLE (about reality TV) came out, I received dozens of letters asking me how to get a job in TV! Obviously for Atlantis, I can’t do hands-on research. J But I am a history and mythology junkie, and many proven historical events and figures will appear in the books. The danger in world-building is that it’s so easy to get lost in it and turn the book into an epic quest or a dissertation on all the characters and issues involved. I’ve seen that happen in books where the romance gets lost in the plot, and I work hard to make sure it doesn’t happen in mine. It’s easy to do! But my wonderfully hot alpha male warriors deserve a white-hot romance!
Another challenge in writing about supernatural characters is the temptation to make them perfect. They’re immortal, they are all-powerful, they don’t have any flaws, they have 798 superpowers – what is the fun in that? If there’s no real risk, there’s no conflict, there’s no story. So I work to balance the power with the danger.
PNR: Your heroine has empathic abilities that allow for her connection to the hero, Conlan. What made you choose this paranormal ability in your writing? Did it involve a lot of research?
Alyssa D.: I wanted a connection that related back to the earliest Atlanteans, because I wanted the high prince’s future queen to be an Atlantean descendant. I knew also that I wanted a more feminine type of power to balance out the very masculine powers of Poseidon’s Warriors. The power to read and channel emotions just felt right to me – Riley could touch a place in Conlan’s soul that he thought lost after all those years of torture. I have done research on various telepathic abilities in the past, and all of that always figures into my writing.
PNR: Your hero, Conlan’s, inner battle between love and duty set the perfect conflict for a compelling romance that I could not put down. Which of your characters was your favorite to write? The most challenging?
Alyssa D.: I always fall a little bit in love with the hero of each of my books as I’m writing them. It just happens every time. In this book, each of the warriors had such a distinct personality and voice in my head that the hardest part was not giving them more and more time on the page and turning it into a 700 page book!! I am fascinated with Alaric and Quinn; they are both so dark and tortured and so drawn to each other. It is going to be a very difficult journey for them over the next several books. Lord Justice may have been the most challenging in that he’s demanding that I write his book next and he wanted to be on the page more and he’s just so astonishingly fascinating that I wanted to digress over to him more and more. Poor him – he’s going to have to wait until after I tell Bastien’s story (in WILD THING) and Ven’s story (in ATLANTIS AWAKENING, in November) before I can get to him. But I’ve given in and he will be next.
PNR: What is it about the paranormal genre that captures your imagination? Is there a genre you haven’t written but would like to try?
Alyssa D.: LOL. I say I’m a Renaissance woman (other people might say I have a very short attention span). The truth is that I love to tell stories and to me, they’re all that, stories. I never pay that much attention to genre; I figure that’s my agent’s job and then my editor and publisher’s job to figure out where to put the books. Paranormal has been my first love since I was six years old and determined to grow up to discover Atlantis; I’m the girl who wants to go see Blade III instead of the latest chick flick. So it’s fabulous to finally be able to tell my stories. And other genres? My kids keep bugging me to write a children’s book with them . . . don’t tell my agent!
PNR: Could you tell us about your current projects, what can readers expect to see in the coming months?
Alyssa D.: Sure! ATLANTIS RISING is March, of course, and then WILD THING in May. My 2nd December Vaughn mystery will be out in August, BLONDE JUSTICE. A little paranormal element crept in there, though – December hires an employee who is a psychic astronomer. Except he only ever “views” bad news! Then the mass market reissue of my book that won the RITA, The Naked Truth About Guys, will be out in September in the anthology THE NAKED TRUTH. And my next Warriors of Poseidon novel, ATLANTIS AWAKENING, will be out in November. Did I mention this has been a busy couple of years? J
Then my new series about a very cranky demon slayer debuts in March of 2008. I’m having a blast with that one, too.
PNR: Thanks Alyssa, for taking time out to talk to us. Where can readers find out what’s new and how can they contact you?
Alyssa D.: Thank you so much!!! Please visit me at www.alyssaday.com to view my very cool movie-style book trailer – turn on the volume to hear the wonderful music!! And stick around and sign up for my members-only page to have access to excerpts and extras! Thank you for letting me have the chance to chat.
a.k.a. Alesia Holliday
March 7, 2007
Read the Review!
Eleven thousand years ago, before the seas swallowed the Atlantaens, Poseidon assigned a few chosen warriors to act as sentinels for humans in the new world. There was only one rule-desiring them was forbidden. But rules were made to be broken…
When she calls… Riley Dawson is more than a dedicated Virginia Beach social worker. She's blessed with a mind link that only Atlantaens have been able to access for thousands of years. Being an "empath" may explain her wistful connection to the roiling waves of the ocean, the sanctuary it provides, and the sexual urges that seem to emanate from fathoms below…
He will come. Conlan, the High Prince of Atlantis, has surfaced on a mission to retrieve Poseidon's stolen Trident. Yet something else has possessed Conlan: the intimate emotions-and desires-of a human. Irresistibly drawn to the uncanny beauty, Conlan soon shares more than his mind. But in the midst of a battle to reclaim Poseidon's power, how long can a forbidden love last between two different souls from two different worlds?
May 1, 2007
Read the Review!
Hearts in Atlantis" by Alyssa Day
"Paradise" by Meljean Brook
Also "Animal Magnetism" by Maggie Shayne and "Hunter Kiss" by Marjorie M. Liu
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