Interview with Andrea McAlpine

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up mostly in Grand Rapids, Michigan. My sister and I spent a ton of time at our grandparents' house, which was out in the country (Hudsonville, Michigan). We grew up barefoot and running free. We played in the creek, rolled down steep grassy hills, played with our cousins who all lived close by, ran through corn fields, and knew all sorts of stuff a kid shouldn't know about livestock.

I tend to write fictional romance novels with a lot of history, or past, in them. My grandfather loved old music, read a lot, talked to us about the past, watched old black & white movies with me, etc. His love of all of those things helped peak my interest in them as well. Combined with my childhood/upbringing and his love for everything in the past, I am the writer I am today. I am forever grateful to my mother, my grandfather, sister, and cousins for giving me the greatest memories.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Romeo and Juliet. I was five years old. I fell in love instantly.

The idea that someone could capture so much emotion and depth with words, create such vivid imagery and scenes with a few lines...I was smitten by ol' Willy Shakespeare. While I didn't grow up wanting to write like him or be like him, I did grow up with a heightened sense of who I was going to be and where I wanted my life and my writing to go. After Romeo and Juliet, I couldn't keep my hands off from a book and with age, my addiction to read and write just seems to get worse. And that's ok by me.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Please understand that these are books that I can never seem to put down or be without...total addiction. In no particular order, they are:
Cane River & Red River by Lalita Tademy - the beauty, conviction, and grit with how she writes gives me goosebumps. They are true facts of her families history, fictionalized in these two novels. I've read them so many times the pages are falling out.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett - It is phenomenally written and has this way of completely immersing you in that time period and the struggles with which her characters are conflicted with. Breathtaking!
Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo - I read this book in 1 hour...I just couldn't put it down. I laughed, I cried, I second guessed my religion, and restored my faith in God and in humanity. A true MUST READ!!
Any "Stephanie Plum series" book by Janet Evanovich - Janet is hilarious!! Her characters are so vibrant and full of life...I love them all and own the entire series.
Lastly, Nicholas Sparks, oh how I love thee...I have all of his books and all of his movies. I can't say which one is my favorite, because the words are like a symphony on a page.
What do you read for pleasure?
The books I mentioned previously (Cane River, Red River, the Help, Heaven is for Real, Nicholas Sparks, and Janet Evanovich) are all books that I have read one hundred times and will read one hundred more. I do, however, appreciate others works of literature. For example, I am currently reading the third book in 'The Flower in the Attic' series. V.C. Andrews is a marvelous writer and I become so caught up in these books. This series is so hauntingly delicious, and again, it follows this family through a period of time and I absolutely love reading about a family, and then their children, and then their grand-children...stories that flow through time and family history astounds me. It is also what I tend to write.
When did you first start writing?
I'm pretty sure that I came out of the womb writing. As a child, I always had a larger-than-life imagination. I didn't just play Barbies or dress-up, I lived it. I was reading at a very young age. Because I was always reading, I was always eager to write. In 2nd or 3rd grade, I wrote a book of poetry for a class assignment. The teacher loved it so much, she had one printed for each faculty and staff member. I remember writing a play for a Creative Writing class in high school. I wrote, directed, and starred in it. I set it to the music of Enya and performed it for the class. Again, the teacher enjoyed it immensely. A few days later, she ended up asking me to perform it a National Women's Conference. Writing has been and always will be a passion of mine.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy I get out of writing is...escape. When I write, I can immerse myself deeply in my characters, the scene, their feelings, the climax, and so on. When I write, its like a tiny little movie playing out before my very eyes. I make them walk, talk, fall in love, have an argument, experience something for the first time, etc. I lovelovelove the creativity, passion, and imagination behind it all! If I never became famous, I would still write because I love it just that much and more.
Describe your desk
My desk is actually a tray table. It is littered and strewn with tiny scraps of paper with notes of future book ideas, my laptop and mouse, a pen and pencil, and a USB tower. Beside me I have a spiral notebook, which contains notes on how to create an ebook, different things I would like to try out on my website, lists of characters for future manuscripts I would like to write. It looks like a mess, but I know where it's all at. I think. Lol
What is your writing process?
I always begin by creating the list of character's. I brainstorm about how they are related to each other, where they are from, what their likes and dislikes are, their personalities, what makes them who they are, and so on. Next, I research where they have lived or live currently, the time period they are in, etc. Before I finally sit down to write, I have a cigarette (I'm trying to quit. It's very difficult.), get a drink (my preferred drink when I write is french roasted coffee with a lot of french vanilla cream), use the restroom, and begin. I'll write a chapter or two and repeat the process. I just can't concentrate when I'm thirsty (I eventually switch to water...lol), have go to the bathroom, or need a cigarette. I frequently will step away to better develop a character or when I'm trying to decide what should be next in the story line and am stuck. It works itself out quickly enough and I move on. I'm almost never plagued by writer's block.
How do you classify the genre of which you write in?
I believe the technical term is Romantic Fiction. Typically when people hear Romantic Fiction they automatically assume that I write smutty Harlequin books. This however is not true.

While my books are geared toward the 18 year old and older crowd, they are not smutty and have substance, much like the books written by Debbie Macomber, Fern Michaels, and so on. My novels are sometimes considered Women's Fiction, Historical Fiction, and of course, in most instances, my novels are a conglomeration of all of these genres combined. They are easy reads and when in print will most likely be in paperback form.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I'm not writing I'm reading...and thinking about writing. Lol. Honestly though, I love to write so much that if I want to write and can't, I'm reading. I look at reading as a way to keep my creative juices flowing. In addition to obsessing over writing, I also spend time with my two kids and family. We love to take random road trips and explore places that we've never seen. We also enjoy going to Phoenix SUNS basketball games, the Renaissance festival, thrift stores and antique malls, as well as, the movies, my kids' school functions, and so much more.
What are you working on next?
I am currently working on the second book, in a three book series, to There's NO Crying Allowed in Life (TNCAIL). The book is titled, Luci's Path, and centers on the daughter of Laci Crane, from TNCAIL. In the book, Luci goes off to college to become a ballet dancer. Sadly, her boyfriend and mother's farmhand, Michael, dies in a farm equipment related accident. She doesn't deal with this well and seemingly quits school and withdraws from her family. While trying to blend into normal society she meets a man who will change the way she sees life and love.

In addition to Luci's Path, I am also working on a book titled, Life Altered. In Life Altered, the main character, Tripp, is faced with a lot of loss in his past and in his future. He has sworn off love of any kind for any person. He has had to take over the family farm and the care of his father, since his mother's death. Suddenly, he receives a letter informing him of a daughter, he never knew he had, and the death of someone he never quite got over. In addition to his daughter, Tripp must also make a home for his daughter's brother, a boy with many problems. Through Tripp's journey, he will reclaim himself and find love in the strangest of places and ways.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything! I may not have many today, but my goal is to have bountiful numbers in the years to come.

Currently, my "fans" are family and friends that I've known for most of my life and I love them for supporting me and my book, There's NO Crying Allowed in Life. To future fans all I can say is...'Welcome Aboard! Hold on to your seat!' I intend to write and write and write, and am ecstatic that so many amazing people, who love to read and read and read, will be along for the ride. "Fans" are the people that are here because they want to be and who have all helped my dreams become realities. ~Thank you all, forever and always!
Published 2014-04-20.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

There's NO Crying Allowed in Life - II Edition
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 108,190. Language: English. Published: June 28, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Women's fiction » General
What if you had to make a decision that would affect your life and the life of the one you love?After marrying her high school sweetheart and bearing his children,Laci,soon discovers that letting go is sometimes the best remedy for a situation.Through unfathomable events and the loss of herself,she learns to move on.Will it be enough?Will she find the happiness she has always been searching for?