Interview with Alice Bello

Published 2014-04-29.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Sometimes from friend recommendations, my favorite review sites, and sometimes by surfing Amazon and Smashwords. I love BookBub too. Such a great tool.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. The Seven Year Life of a Runaway Bride. I loved the little, my main character, and the daily writing it took (I later found out it was 72000 words long, though I didn't know it then. I wrote each chapter in a separate file, a works file at that. I knew so little about computers that I didn't realize I could just cut and paste the chapters together. I loved that story. Reading, I've found it lacks plot, and in many places reads like the words were etched out in granite, but I hope to someday rewrite it and publish it.

I even have the perfect cover image already picked out :) It's all about the cover!
What is your writing process?
It's changed over the years--and I do mean years. I've wanted to write since 1994, when I first started reading seriously. That first book was Anne Rice's Interview with the vampire.

AS for my mot recent writing, I started off taking a great, hysterical and sexy character from a past novel, At Last (the character of Liz Hamilton) and giving her a story of her own. She was a fan favorite from so many that read that book. But I never thought I'd have a story for her. But then, when I found out my best friend was pregnant, my creative juices took over.

Before I knew it, the cool, calm, sex goddess, Liz, had lost her mojo--and her orgasm--and her business was going straight don the drain.

On top of that I threw in a past love that had crushed her, but now wanted her back.

In this case I actually thought out the bulk of the plot and jotted it down on paper. From there I just tried to write 1000 to 3000 words a day. So far I'm now writing Volume 3 in this, the Slash & Burn series of New Adult romantic novellas.

I've written some crime stories, and fantasy... but truthfully my fingers fly over the key board only when I'm writing wickedly funny, sexy as hell stories.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Yes... unfortunately. Maybe this is why I didn't read for pleasure until after high school. I was a very slow reader, and have over the years since high school sped up considerably.

But the first story I remember reading was a short story about a Brazilian farm, were killer ants invaded and ate the main character. Horribly gruesome, and probably sent my mental state straight to the crapper.

Strangely enough, the very next year I had to read a short story about a man that took a short cut home, fell through the ice multiple times until even his waterproof matches got wet, and then froze to death. The I had to read a book about a boy who's entire family was killed when a dike broke and flooded his home town. From there I had to read a book about a boy who was born into immigrant farm work, was left t die in a shack on the side of the road, and then was saved by a passing farm working family. But no sooner does he recover and fall in love, than the object of his affection gets her hair stuck in some farm machinery is decapitated.

So, yes, unfortunately I remember the first stories I read. The elementary education professionals back then really have a lot to answer for.
How do you approach cover design?
Well, at first, those first designs were horrific. I just started using GIMP and thought that my covers should match my books perfectly. As in the models should look like the characters in the boos.

But since, taking advice from such notable authors as HM Ward and cover designer Sarah Hansen, I've discovered that a romance cover must be one thing over anything else: Pretty. And That's what I've strived for since. Find a gorgeous picture and go from there.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Changes by Jim Butcher: This is my favorite series by my favorite author. It's Urban Fantasy or the highest order, and the first person point of view is warm and funny as hell. But this book, number 12 in the so far 15 book series, was the best. From the first sentence to the "Killer" cliffhanger at the end, more happens in this one book than the entire, rather fast paced series.

Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie: She is the queen of romantic comedy, and this mean, hot little novel Is her masterpiece. And that's high praise when every book the woman has written is amazing!

Wallbanger by Alice Clayton: I dare anyone to read the first page of this, maybe the funniest, naughtiest novel I have ever read. Oh, Simon!

Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews: Ilona is my #2 favorite novelist, and her Kate Daniels series is a thrilling, original gem. But in tie book, not only do we finally get Kate and The Beast Lord together for real, but we see that Kate will do anything to save those she loves.

Stormy Weather by Carl Hiaasen: Hiaasen is the master of the screwball, hyper violent, crime dramedy. And this one is as wild and cunning as they come. Exotic animals on the loose, a state (Florida) in post hurricane survival mode, a one eyed ex-governor of Florida with a penchant for "educating" assholes, and an abandoned new bride and the human skull juggling sweetie she's now falling in love with.

All fantastic!
What do you read for pleasure?
Lately I've read a Hiaasen short, I'm in the middle of one of Ilona Adrew's Edge novels, and I just finished Reasonable Doubt by Whitney Gracia Williams. What ever it is, no matter the genre, It has to make me laugh.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I am the proud owner of a Kindle Paper White. And I love it!
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Well, in a previous life, writing as Ella Stone and Eva Sloan, I found putting out boxed sets of my books and making them free for a week through KDP Select very useful. But then, once I finally got my work edited and started writing as Alice Bello, I've found the advice from HM Ward, and Russle Blake, to publish as often as possible, to be the best way to build readers and get paid for all I ever really want to do. Read and write.
Describe your desk
Right now I'm sitting at an lonely dining room table, the table cloth has been spackled with paint and coated in glitter. But mostly, when I'm writing, I'm siting on my bed, back against pillows against the wall, and one under my knees.

I really need to get a really comfy chair!
When did you first start writing?
1994, soon after reading Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire. It was slow, slow... very slow. But worth the time and failure.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I took a fan favorite character from a past novel, Liz from At Last, and gave her her own story, complete with a hot ex, a missing orgasm, and paintings of Zombie Turkeys rotting on the walls of her art gallery.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
No matter what genre I tried to write, no matter how much I love the characters I wrote, the publishers in New York never had any use for me or my books. So I read about JA Konrath and Amanda Hocking and thought I'd give it a try. Since then I've had quite the education. But I'm getting better, getting stronger, and hopefully funnier.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
At first I didn't understand how to actually get onto their Premium Catalogue, and thus on iTunes, Nook and Kobo. I just uploaded my books and used the Mobi and Epub copies to send around.

But now, after reading their style guide, and learning how to use their catalogue not only to help make my Kindle books free, but to sell them on their sites, I love this site. Love it! And next I'm going to try their pre-order option for the novel Un-Dateable. Can't wait for July 4th to see how that works out!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Besides how good it feels right after I write, how my head feels calm and happy... Well, I love the emails from readers. They can really get my creative juices started :) I love my readers!
What do your fans mean to you?
I love my readers. I love hearing from them, and love when they tell me to write faster. From now on, I will!
What are you working on next?
Right now I'm writing Crash: Slash & Burn Volume 3, editing Un-Dateable: A Novel, and then I'm going to finish Bette's Turn, a Hope Trilogy spin off. So many people have been asking about her, but she wouldn't talk to me... but I think she'll be ready after I'm done with Liz's story. But that's going to be a five Volume story.

I also have an old story from a past writing life that is screaming to be finished and published in its entirety. I think everyone will really love it. I've had the cover done for almost year now!
Who are your favorite authors?
Jim Butcher, Ilona Andrews, Jennifer Crusie, Rachel Caine, Alice Clayton, Alice Hoffman, John Irvin, John Berendt, Kevin Hearne, JR Ward and JK Rowling, to tell a few.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My dog, Jack. He snuggles up and pants in my face until I take him out for a walk.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Working retail (tell no one!) and spending time with my mom.
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