Interview with Alison Highland

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the Arizona desert, which is pretty funny since "Water Witch" is about a sea captain. I've only been on boats a few times, and I get horribly seasick. Going sailing in books was the only way I was going to do it, so when I had the opportunity to write about my sea captain, I really threw myself into the project.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Several years ago I was working on another project (under a different name) and I did a ton of research on ships and sailing. At the same time, I was wondering what I might write that would be... let's say... a tad more popular than the stuff I write under my other name. The answer was easy - romance!

The romance category was starting to change around that time: no longer did every romance novel have to fit the same formula of outspoken-but-innocent-woman/tall-dark-and-handsome-man/fall-in-love/HEA. I read a few books with characters I'd never seen in a romance before - Poison Study comes to mind - and I realized a sea captain would make a great heroine for a romance novel. That's not to say that my characters don't fall in love, or that there's no HEA (there is!) but I felt I had the freedom to write something a little different. Add a little fantasy (since I am a fantasy writer, after all, by any name) and I was ready to go!
How do you approach cover design?
I start with some ideas in mind, not that they're going to be the finished project, but to get an idea of what I like. Then I look at other book covers in the category, to see what the recent trends are. For example, a few years ago fantasy covers were dominated by icons and objects: a sword on a landscape or abstract background, for example. Now the covers are more likely to be photorealistic portraits.

Once I'd updated my idea of what I was shooting for, I started looking for stock photography that would fit this design. I've used before and I'm happy with the selection, pricing, and rights. I grabbed some screen shots (which I did *not* publish; I paid for a license to use the art once I settled on what I wanted) and I played around with some things to see what would look good. With my final layout in mind, I bought the art and assembled the cover. Then I showed it to some people. When even my friends who don't read much said it looked really good, I figured it would work.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read all sorts of things: some fantasy and romance of course, but also mystery, literary fiction, nonfiction, essay collections, and anything else I get my hands on that looks interesting.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I've owned several different ebook readers, but currently I read on my phone because it's always with me. I thought I'd have trouble adjusting to the tiny screen but it hasn't been as bad as I originally feared. Once I get involved in the story and it starts coming to life in my mind, the format I'm using to access it doesn't seem to matter much.
Published 2015-03-12.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Wind Witch
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 83,750. Language: English. Published: March 31, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Fantasy, Fiction » Fantasy » General
She just wants to play music and use her powers over the wind to turn away suitors she doesn't really care for. But other witches keep trying to drag her into an ancient feud - and if she can't figure out why, it might mean her life.
Fire Witch
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 94,860. Language: English. Published: October 16, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Fantasy, Fiction » Fantasy » General
She has played many roles - from queens on the stage to the real king’s most scandalous mistress. But now she must play the most difficult part of her life: embracing a power she has always hidden before.
Earth Witch
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 91,630. Language: English. Published: June 30, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Fantasy, Fiction » Fantasy » General
She makes her living playing cards, but won't use magic because that's cheating. Then she runs into a prince and finds herself in the middle of a whole new game.
Water Witch
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 93,740. Language: English. Published: March 10, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Fantasy, Fiction » Fantasy » General
She’s a privateer captain who can move the water, and her next mission is to capture a pirate who’s more than what he seems.