"When it comes to authors,we may hide ourselves from others but within our pages, our true souls emerge." - Nicole Hill
"I want a Vampite of my very own. Until I find him, I'll just keep writing him into existence." -Nicole Hill
" I write like people talk. It may not be perfect but it's damn entertaining." - Nicole Hill

Monday, April 18, 2016

#IndieSpotlight of Alison Clifford Author of Roses and Retribution.

Alison Clifford

What are the titles of your works?
I have two self-published books at the moment: Roses, and Retribution. They are the first two books of the White Rose series. Another two in the series will be published in 2016.

Where do you come from?
I currently live in Tasmania, Australia, but was born on the other side of the country in Perth. I moved around a lot when I was young, and spent most of my school years in country Victoria.

What genre do you write?
My books are romantic suspense/thrillers - not by choice, that’s just how they turned out!

What are your books about?
Rose and Retribution tell the story of Beth, an Australian forensic botanist living in Washington DC. Beth’s husband, FBI special agent Nick Markov, turns traitor and deserts her, leaving her to face the wrath of the FBI. Her life nose-dives until the only friend she has left in Warren Pearce, Nick’s old boss. But Nick hasn’t finished with Beth yet, and Roses tells of the twists and turns as Nick continues to play a part in the direction of Beth’s life. Retribution continues on from Roses, and Beth has to deal with the secrets of the past as they re-emerge to threaten her new found peace.
What is your writing style?
I prefer to plan my stories before I start, but only loosely. I find that the plot will change all the time as I write, quite often in unexpected ways. When I get close to the end, I do a detailed plan, mainly because it usually involves a fair bit of action and I need to get it straight before I write it. I don’t follow any writing rules - I dislike them intensely. I don’t think my writing can flow if I keep all of the supposed rules in my head. I have tried to keep some of the rules, but it’s too prohibitive, and that takes the fun out of the writing process.

Have you ever written anything and thought; “the world has got to see this!”?
Yes, but that’s only my opinion! Every story will resonate with someone, and I figure there is someone out there who will love mine (other than me, of course).

Do you have an editor and cover designer?

I have a couple of blunt (and sometimes brutal) friends who do my ‘first edits’. Once they’re done, I send my manuscript to a professional editor so that she can find the rest of the errors! I have designed my covers myself, with the help of my husband. I would love to be able to afford a professional, but I think we’ve done a pretty good job.

Who is your favourite author?
If I could only have one book to read for the rest of my life, it would be a Georgette Heyer. Her books are entertaining and her characters well crafted. I also appreciate the effort she put into research and she paints a wonderful picture of England during various historical time periods. Books like Simon the Coldheart, and The Conqueror, are as wonderfully written as her more popular Regency romances.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Self-doubt is by far my biggest challenge, which is why I never read back over my manuscript until the first draft is complete. If I read it any earlier, I would probably abandon it then and there. Once the first draft is done, I know I can pull it into decent shape for publication.

Do you write your characters, or do they write themselves through you?
I have no control. Absolutely none. I’ve argued with my characters and tried to get them to do things they don’t like, but it never works. They rule, and I leave them to it. I must admit they’re usually right…

Is writing your full time job?
No, and I’m not 100% sure I want it to be full time. I work as a payroll officer with a great bunch of people who fully support my writing ambitions, and the job gives me a lot of freedom. I don’t have to write to please anyone but myself, and I love that. The only problem I have with my ‘day’ job is that it takes up all of my free time!

If you could go back in time and meet one famous person or legend in history, who would it be?
This was a hard one, but I’m going to say Winston Churchill. He was an intelligent man with a dry sense of humour, and he wasn’t afraid to say what he thought. I like that.

There are millions of new books released every year. What in your mind makes yours stand out from all those millions in your genre?

My heroine is an Aussie botanist in DC, and my hero a middle aged, balding (but good looking!) FBI senior agent. An unusual combination! They share a breath-taking ride of highs, lows, twists and turns, until they arrive at the end - or is it the end? I haven’t met characters like mine anywhere else, and they drive the story with their own, unique motives and viewpoints. Roses covers a period of over two years, though it’s an average length book. Retribution is over a much shorter time frame, but has its own incredible story that will keep you guessing until the final chapters.

Have you found a great free way to market your work that you think other Indies will benefit from?
I suck at marketing, but when Roses came out as a paperback, I took it to work to show my colleagues and left it lying on my desk. I had a steady stream of people come in to check it out - and I made a few sales from that! Leaving it lying around in plain view worked a treat! I’ve also found that posting regular content to my Facebook page has slowly grown interaction with my followers. Most of my posts are quotes of some kind, and not directly related to writing, and I think it’s a gentle way of getting people to regularly read what you post without it all being about my books. I don’t know about the rest of the world, but Aussies are inclined to be turned off by constant barrages of ‘buy this’. You tell an Aussie what to do, and they’ll do the opposite!

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Alison's next book: Seeing Red will be released on Alpril 26th. You can find more information on her website.