Alida Alana - Creating Heroes Readers Fall in Love With
As a ghost writer, Alida Alana has written for several different genres in the past. She has written for content and marketing, magazines and websites. She has penned children's books. However, her true passion lies with romance and fiction, which is why she decided to start publishing her own work, much to the delight of her readers. As our author of the day, Alana chats about her latest novel, That One Missing Piece, gives us a glimpse into how she creates heroes readers can fall in love with and reveals who her next book is going to be about.
Please give us a short introduction to what That One Missing Piece is about.
That One Missing Piece is my debut novel. It's about a woman, Jade Darling, who has everything going for herself except what her heart is truly yearning for—Ellis Long. Ellis is the man Jade left in haste and fear five years earlier. It took Jade time to realize what a horrible mistake walking out of Ellis's life was and now she has reached a point where she's ready to make amends and revisit old possibilities. But first, she has to find out if Ellis is even willing to talk to the woman who broke his heart so thoroughly.
What is it about the romance genre that you enjoy?
As a ghost writer I've written for several different genres in the past. I've written for content and marketing. I've written for magazines and websites. I've penned children's books. And I can write a masterpiece of a research paper. But romance/fiction is definitely where my heart lives.
There's something about being in love and seeing other people in love that brings me joy. There's probably no sweeter moment in life than when you find someone special, there's a connection and then that magic happens. It so delicious. Every time I write a love story I'm lucky enough to experience that and as a reader, so do you.
You include a lot of humor in your work. Why do you think that is important?
I guess it's important for me to add humor in my stories because life is funny! How we deal with things can be so hilarious at times. I am the type of person that even in my darkest moment if something funny happens — I'm laughing!! I can't help it!
And the funniest instances are almost always by accident. I think about the conversations I have with my girlfriends. I could be so upset and ready to vent about whatever just happened and by the time I get to the end of the story we are in stitches. There are just so many little things that happen in the heat of the moment that you don't usually notice till later. I try to include those nuances into my writing.
There are two parts of the book that people often get a good laugh at. One is when Jade first encounters "Miss Trinidad and Tobago". The other is when Jade is at the University of Chicago workshop with Ellis and the female student starts to drive her crazy with all her questions. There are other humorous scenes, but those two I get comments on all the time.
Tell us a bit about your journey as an author. Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
Looking back, I can't recall a time I didn't write. It's something in me. I would do it for free. I would write even if no one else ever read my work. Still, when I was younger I don't think I ever considered it as more than a hobby.
As time went on, I started to take my writing more seriously. I dedicated more time and became more disciplined. Then ultimately, I made a promise to myself to publish my first book on my birthday, January 5th. No more excuses. No more hold ups.
And I did it!
That was such an exciting and rewarding moment for myself and those close to me.
I still have so much to learn. I read the reviews, which I appreciate, and I see things I could have done better. But overall, the journey has been so good to me.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
Let's see…I have lots of great secret skills. I can read a mean deck of tarot cards.
I could have been a hairdresser in a past life. I give great advice. Oooh… I can read and write code and build websites. That's probably my most impressive secret skill. Unless, you like having your future told by me that is.
For That One Missing Piece, why did you decide to bring exes back together?
When exes get back together it's usually going to be very good or very bad or both! It's fun to explore the do-over. You know this person, you know what makes them tick, you know how you messed this all up before. Now, even with all you know you decide to try one more time. Exes getting back together - it always makes for a great adventure.
Why are Jade and Ellis such a good couple?
I think they're a good couple because they want to love each other so badly. You can feel it. It's tangible. Often times, one person is more invested in the relationship than the other. Or one person is fighting harder for the relationship than the other. When Jade and Ellis reconnect you can sense whatever they once shared was so strong it hasn't died and probably never will. You want to root for this couple. You want them to figure it out because there isn't another person alive that could take the place they hold in each other's heart.
Jade and Ellis are surrounded by a charming and funny cast of friends. Why did you take this approach?
It's almost a treat to see Jade with her friends. It brings out all sides of her personality. She's sassy and goofy and quick witted. But through her interactions with her friends you get to see her insecurities, her vulnerabilities, her weaknesses. She needs them to hold her up and set her straight.
Which character did you find the most challenging to create?
I enjoy creating all my characters. They come alive in my head with their own identities and personalities. If I had to choose one that was particularly challenging, I would have to say Carter. The way Carter behaves and who he is in each of the character's life is sort of an enigma. Why does he care so much? Why is he so accommodating? He's not around a lot. Yet his presence is very impactful. So it was a little tricky finding a balance with him. He had to be important enough that Jade couldn't just throw his friendship away.
Instead of just accepting Jade's explanation for leaving him and just continuing the relationship, Ellis struggles with doubts. Why did you create his character this way?
When you break a man's trust it's pretty difficult to repair. Even if he loves you to pieces he always kind of wonders if he'll be subjected to the same pain all over again. Ellis wants to give into his love for Jade, but he wants to protect himself. It's totally understandable when you consider that for five years they haven't said one word to each other.
What is your secret to creating heroes readers fall in love with?
I don't know if I have a secret. But don't we all love a man that is ABOUT HIS LADY! We love a man that claims us, considers us, loves on us, picks us up, shows us who's boss (Even though we know who the real boss is!). Jade's man had to be someone who was capable of not only loving her, but also capable of accepting her flaws and her insecurities. It's super sexy when a man can accomplish that.
I also steal traits and characteristics from men I know. I am such a people watcher then when I see something interesting happening or hear an interesting story I make mental notes. I think to myself, "So that's how this kind of guy reacts in this situation" or "Okay, a sensitive guy doesn't like it when you do THAT!" So when I am building characters I have so much to pull from.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? Favorite writing spot, time of day to write etc.?
I don't think I have any weird writing habits. I kind of wish I did now that you ask. I write wherever and whenever I can.
What are you working on right now?
I am currently working on the follow up to That One Missing Piece. I love how often I'm asked who the next book is going to be about. I actually receive emails from readers begging to know. Is it Alycia and Myles? Is it Nia and Carter?
It's Nia and Carter!
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
You can learn more about me, follow my blog and read free stories at AlidaAlana.com. I have to admit because I don't have a lot of free time I am terrible on social media. :-(
I'm working on it, I'm working on it!