Today I’m happy to present author Alice Wootson to the blog today. She is one of the nicest women you will ever meet. She is a terrific storyteller and has published eleven books. I sat her down for an author interview last week. After reading her interview, I think you will agree with me that her latest book, Border Love, is a must read. Take it away, Alice. 🙂
What is your writing process?
Something might trigger an idea (or ideas) for a beginning. Maybe something in the newspaper or on the news or a conversation I overheard or had. If I decide to start with a character, I let my mind work on why the character did what he/she did. Where and when the story will take place are usually determined by the initial idea. All of this happens before I write anything.
Do you have any odd writing habits?
Of course not. My writing habits seem perfectly logical, rational and normal to me. ;0) Oh, I do have to play the 4 computer games of the day before I start writing.
Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you?
Beverly Jenkins, Catherine Coulter, Linda Hudson-Smith; I’m going to stop there although there are others.
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?
Names are very important to me. It’s going to sound crazy, but my characters tell me their names, usually as soon as I get the idea for the book, but sometimes I have to beg them.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
I haven’t had it yet.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hopefully, I’ll still be here and writing. ;0)
Have you always liked to write?
Yes, but first I liked to read. Our mother read to us every day. She walked us to the library every two weeks. I learned to read at an early age. After that I read everything I could get my hands on. After I was grown I discovered romance books. One day after finishing reading one I thought, I could write one on these.
What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
Keep at it. Edit, revise, edit. And edit. Then submit. We used to say if you haven’t received enough rejection letters to paper a room, you’re not writing and submitting.
If you didn’t like writing books, what would you do for a living?
I’m a retired teacher and I loved teaching. I’m a volunteer tutor at my church and I love presenting writing workshops. I’m scheduled to present one at the Y where I exercise, so I’m still teaching.
Are you a plotter or a pantster?
Panster definitely. When I get an idea I have to start the story. I don’t take time for outlining although that would make the process so much easier for me.
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
I do read them but seldom respond to them. I did respond to one because she gave the book only 3 stars, but recommended that readers read it. I didn’t understand that. Bad reviews hurt.
What is your best marketing tip?
I’m very poor at this. I wish someone would give me tips. I do advertise on several sites, though.
What is your least favorite part of the publishing / writing process?
Marketing. And waiting for a response from a publisher.
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?
I never write about anything dealing with cruelty or hurting children or anybody who couldn’t defend/protect themselves.
Do you have a favorite spot to write? What is it?
At the dining room table. There’s plenty of space to spread out my papers.
Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?
Love scenes. I feel as if I’m watching the characters in what should be their private times.
Is this your first book? How many books have you written prior (if any?)
Border Love is my eleventh book. Number 12, Border Danger is already in what I call ‘the pipeline’
What are you working on now? What is your next project?
I’m working on Follow Your Heart, which is Nate Harris’s story. Nate is the brother of a main character, Chris, in Aloha Love and every time he was in a scene he tried to take over. I had to promise him his own story before he behaved himself. It’s been a long time since I made the promise and from time to time he reminds me of it. I figured I better write his story before he pushes himself into another one.
Do you write naked?
Never, never, never. Not even if I lived alone.
What is the biggest fib you’ve ever told?
I tell them all the time when I write.
Have you ever been in trouble with the law?
No, thank The Lord.
Have you ever gotten into a fight?
Mom taught us not to fight. She told us that young ladies don’t fight. I was a large child so maybe that was why I wasn’t bothered much. I can carry on and win a verbal battle, though, and I don‘t use profanity to do it. Also I’ve been told I have a look I get that makes people back off.
Characters often find themselves in situations they aren’t sure they can get themselves out of. When was the last time you found yourself in a situation that was hard to get out of and what did you do?
When I find myself close to such a situation I walk away. If necessary, I explain why before I walk away.
Do you drink? Smoke? What’s your vice?
I started smoking in college but quit in 1964 when the newspaper published a three page report linking cigarettes to lung cancer & the price of cigarettes went up to 30 cents a pack. My vice now is good tasting food and coconut cake. (I haven’t had coconut cake it in years, but that doesn’t stop me from thinking about it.
What do you want your tombstone to say?
She made a difference in somebody’s life.
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
To provide jobs for everybody who wanted one, housing for the homeless and food for the hungry.
If you were a super hero, what would your name be?
What costume would you wear?
No costume. I’d blend in with the public.
What secret talents do you have?
I can tap dance, I can draw and I write award-winning poetry. And I was a winner on Wheel of Fortune. (Now they aren’t secrets anymore.)
Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?
Australia or China, but the China of Pearl Bucks books. (If I’m going to dream I may as well add time travel to the dream.)
What’s on your bucket list (things to do before you die)?
Have one of my books reach the bestsellers list.
If you could have any name in the world, what would you choose?
I think I like mine. Alice Lydia. I’m named for my two grandmothers.
Do you have any scars? What are they from?
Under my chin. A few years ago while in Conroe, Texas, I tripped over an uneven sidewalk, stumbled forward, rammed my head into our parked truck and broke my jaw. It was wired shut for 6 weeks. Very traumatic situation. Almost as bad, I only lost 10 pounds! Six weeks of Slimfast shakes, watching my caloric intake, exercising every day, and I only lost 10 pounds!
What were you like as a child? Your favorite toy?
I was very active. We played games outside like ‘Red Rover’, ‘Mother May I’ , ‘Simon Says’, ‘Fox & the Geese’. My favorite ‘toy’ was my roller skates. (They had 4 wheels back then, but my sister and I were Sonia Hennie on roller skates rather than ice skates.) I also enjoyed building with our brother’s Lincoln Logs. I had dolls, but I don’t remember playing with them.
What do you dream? Do you have any recurring dreams/nightmares?
No recurring nightmares since they invented the GPS. (I have a terrible sense of direction.) My dream is to continue to live an active, productive life.
Book Title: Border Love
Author Name: Alice Wootson
Genre: Romance Suspense, Christian Fiction, Inspirational Fiction
Border Patrol agents Brooke Hudson and Darien McKee experience different situations while on assignment that shake their faith. Brooke considers resigning from the agency, but will try reassignment instead.
Darien is forced to transfer from the Yuma Sector after an incident in the desert. They are assigned as partners. A personal relationship develops between them. An incident occurs that makes it necessary for them to be assigned different partners, but they continue to see each other socially.
Brooke’s new partner makes a rash decision that puts her in jeopardy. Will her faith help her out of the dangerous situation?
Darien realizes he loves Brooke. When she disappears, he finds his faith returning as he searches for her. Will he find her in time?
A tremendous blast shook the area, slamming Brooke to the ground. Before she could assess her injuries, a second explosion scattered debris into the air, then a plume of flames shot up.
Brooke tried to look around, but thick dust hanging in the air almost blinded her. She squinted her eyes against flying shrapnel. Fragments, some lightweight, but others large enough to make her wince, pelted her. Her deep cough echoed that of others.
It seemed forever before the rumbling slowed. Even after it stopped, things continued to drop on and around her. Gradually the larger pieces stopped falling but smaller bits continued. Flat on the ground, Brooke stared around.
The traffic light over the intersection broke free of the line holding it. In a shower of sparks, it landed on an upside-down car. The broken power-line hissed and spit and writhed for a few minutes, then lay limp.
Street signs ripped from poles lay on the grass in front of the money-exchange building. The store looked as if a cannonball hit it. Shattered glass covered the ground. Objects continued to fall.
Brooke covered her head with her hands. Finally, the pelting slowed, then stopped. She coughed as dirt clouds continued to drift around her.
Still hacking, she lifted her head and shook it to stop the ringing in her ears.
She grabbed a tissue from her pocket, held it over her mouth and nose and looked around.
A woman sat on the sidewalk with her mouth open, but Brooke heard nothing. Tears streamed from the face of another woman and mixed with blood dripping from her forehead. Similar sights greeted Brooke wherever she looked. It was obvious some people were dead. She struggled to stand, but wobbled. Father, please help us.
“Steady.” Darien grabbed her to keep her from falling. “You okay?” He kept his hand on her arm. A thick layer of dust covered his face and uniform.
“What?” Brooke shouted.
“You’re hurt.” He touched her head.
Brooke frowned at the blood on his fingers when he pulled them away. She put her hand to the spot. The sting where she touched told her where the blood came from, but she felt no pain.
She continued to stare at Darien. Why was he whispering? Did he think she’d panic? She’d been hurt worse when she was a kid playing.
The ringing in her ears faded and she heard noises as if underwater. Finally, it sounded as if the whole world shouted with more sounds than she could’ve imagined.
Car alarms shrilled. Sirens wailed. Church bells two blocks away clanged, but a musician didn’t create the tune.
“Brooke? You okay?” Darien’s voice rose above the other sounds crashing around.
Brooke nodded, but was sorry. It felt as if her brain bounced against the inside of her skull.
“You might have a concussion.” He led her to the curb. “Sit until help comes.”
Brooke looked at a man surrounded by broken bricks and chunks of concrete. His head lay twisted at an unnatural angle and blood trickled from a wound. She glanced at people scattered like a game of Pick-Up Sticks. Lord, please ease their pain and suffering.
“You and I are the help until then.” She told Darien “You hurt?”
He shook his head. “I was on your other side and a little behind. You took the brunt of the impact.”
Brooke noticed a piece of sign on the ground. Only part of a word remained and a layer of dust covered it, but her eyes widened. She gasped. Her gaze flew to what was left of headquarters.
The foundation was still intact to a few yards high. Piles of rubble filled the space. One corner triangle held a desk and a chair that looked as if somebody threw them and let them stay where they landed. The door beside the desk hung open as if waiting for somebody to enter the office. Brooke continued to stare at the ruins. Dear Lord, so much destruction.
She tried not to think about who’d been in the building when she and Darien left. She wouldn’t make a mental count of how many staff members and officers were routinely on duty at this time. She closed her eyes and said a silent prayer. Then she let her gaze pan to the right of the remains and a little beyond.
The blast demolished the guardhouse that only this morning stood solidly beside the bridge. It wasn’t needed now, anyway, since huge piles of building materials blocked entry from the bridge. The last cars to cross over from Mexico were smashed as efficiently as a junkyard machine would do. They peeped from the debris. One car lay on its side across the lanes.
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/border-love-alice-wootson/1119569869?ean=9781940099651
Alice Greenhowe Wootson grew up in Rankin, a suburb of Pittsburgh, PA. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from Cheyney University. Later in her career Alice earned a Masters’ Degree in Education, Principal Certification and Reading Specialist Certification. She retired from the School District of Philadelphia.
Alice Wootson in the award-winning author of eleven novels. She is also a poet and many of her poems have won awards and recognition. She is always working on her latest novel or piece of poetry.
She is a member of The Philadelphia Writers Conference, the Mad Poets Society, Romance Writers of America and The Authors Guild.
Alice has presented workshops for several chapters of Romance Writers of America, the Philadelphia Writers Conference, The North Wildwood Writers Conference, several Romance Slam Jam conferences as well for adult and children’s writing groups. She is happy to meet with book clubs and group of readers.
Alice Wootson is a member of several ministries at her church: Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church in Philadelphia.
She uses any spare time she can find reading, traveling and spending time with her husband, her sons and grandchildren.
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