Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Soapbox Spotlight: Allison Merritt

Thank you for joining us for another installment of Soapbox Spotlight!  Today's guest is Allison Merritt, a seasoned romance novelist with a bunch of great books already under her belt.  Join us as she discusses her latest book, The Sky Pirate's Wife.

Tell us about yourself, Allison.

I’ve always been a serious reader, so it comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I wanted to be an author as well. I’m from the Ozark Mountains in Missouri where I live with my husband and our dogs. Hiking and photography are two of my passions besides writing.

What first attracted you to this genre?

The first time I saw The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, I was in college and I didn't really grasp the whole “steampunk” idea, but I loved the movie. I watched it again while I was writing a historical romance, and I said, “I could write a book like that!” So the Legends and Lovers Series was born from watching movies like LXG, Van Helsing, Jonah Hex, and Disney's Treasure Planet might have had a little something to do with it. I started reading Cheri Priest's Clockwork Century series and following other steampunk authors so I could get a better grasp of the genre.

Tell us about your latest work.  Can you share a little of it with us?

The Sky Pirate's Wife is the second book in the Legends and Lovers Series. The hero, Captain Alwin van Buren, is one of the secondary characters from The Treasure Hunter's Lady. I couldn't get him to leave me alone, so he got his own book, which sparked the idea for a series.

After a tragic airship wreck, Captain Alwin van Buren makes a drastic decision to obtain a wealthy bride in order to save his flagging business. He meets his match in Sophie Barnes, heiress to an airship empire. After he seduces her and ensures their marriage—igniting a rivalry with her godfather—he learns the green-eyed beauty is as headstrong as he is.

Sophie knows Van Buren's reputation based on a series of dime novels written about his adventures. Determined to be more than an end to a means, she despises him for luring her into marriage. In fiction, he's a no-nonsense captain on the verge of piracy, but the flesh-and-blood man wins her heart by proving she's worth more to him than her money.

Their love is threatened when Sophie learns Van Buren's airship accident was a result of mythical creatures. Winged predators that appear to have a grudge against him, a fact he deliberately hid by accusing her godfather of sabotage. If she can forgive him for that, they still have to face the danger when they're cornered and at the mercy of beasts and the evil that controls them.

How did you come up with the title?

I'm really terrible at titles. I actually came up with The Sky Pirate's Wife while I was writing The Treasure Hunter's Lady. I thought, if the heroine of that novel would just fall in love with the airship captain, I'd call it The Sky Pirate's Wife. So it was actually that title that led to the title for the first novel.

How did you develop your plot and characters?

The hero came first for this book. Alwin van Buren is a Dutch airship captain. In the series, when I first started writing, it was set in Australia and the country was claimed by the Dutch in the early 1700's. When I changed the setting to America, I didn't mess with Van Buren's background. As for the plot, I tried to think of what would ruin an airship captain. The perfect solution was an attack by paranormal birds that seem bent on destroying him. It almost leads to the ruination of his company. In order to get money, I decided he needed to marry an heiress. Sophie came into the picture, the naïve about business and love.

As for the bird, which one of the characters labels thunderbirds, I did research and found out that there are a lot of reports of people seeing birds too big to be real flying around, particularly in the Midwest. There seem to be a lot of people who know someone who knows someone whose second cousin twice removed had a pet or child picked up by a giant bird.

What do you love about independent publishing?

I'm a control freak. I love that I decide when to release the book, I have all the say in the covers, I can give away as many copies as I want in contests or for review. It works out very well as a hands-on experience.

What genre of books do you read, or do you stick with the genre you write in?

I'm not terribly picky. I adore YA fiction, and I'd say that probably my main genre for reading, but romance is running a close second. I'm not a big fan of Regency, but most of the others I'll pick up, particularly if it contains hot cowboys. I'm a huge Dean Koontz fan, especially the Odd Thomas series.

What projects can we expect from you in the future?

Around the first of August I finished the third book in the Legends and Lovers series, so I think that will be an early spring release. I'm working on the fourth book right and I have some pretty solid ideas for the fifth one, which I'm fairly certain will be the last in the series. After that, I have a great idea for a paranormal historical romance.

What do you believe contributes to making a writer successful?

Joining a writing group or a critique group and finding beta readers. I'm very introverted, so making friends is hard for me, but I've been fortunate enough to find some writing friends both online and offline who support me. They understand my success and my failures. I've also been lucky enough to have family support. It's important that people believe in you.

What are some of your favorites (foods, color, musicians)?

Favorite food – lemon meringue pie without the meringue.
Favorite color – green
Favorite musicians (because I can't just pick one) – Shinedown, The Fray, Lady Antebellum
Favorite TV show – M*A*S*H

Do you have (a) muse(s)?  If so, what are they like?

I call my muse Leif. He's a really hairy little guy who's too fond of alcohol, would rather be sunbathing in a boat on the ocean, and doesn't put up with the Evil Internal Editor. When he's in the mood to talk, he has amazing ideas.
Thanks for joining us, Allison!

You can find Allison at the following links:

Blog – http://havenovelwilledit.blogspot.com
Facebook – http://facebook.com/allisonmwrites
Twitter – http://twitter.com/allison_merritt
Google Plus – http://gplus.to/AllisonMerritt & http://gplus.to/LegendsandLoversSeries

You can find Allison's exceptional books at the following links:


Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Pirates-steampunk-romance-Legends-ebook/dp/B008UUYNQO/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_t_3

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-sky-pirates-wife-allison-merritt/1112878533?ean=2940015701098

2 comments: