Today, I have fellow eXtasy Books author V.J. Allison in the interview chair. We talk about her upcoming release, Away to Me, a contemporary romance set in Nova Scotia, and reveal her book cover.
Hi Maggie, thanks for having me. All of you know I’m nuts about cats, heavy metal music, purple, and my family. I’m also a huge bookworm, and I can devour a good book in less than a day.
The everyday V.J. is a regular stay at home mom. I cook, I clean, I take care of my 15-year-old son who has autism, and I’m always tripping over our Maine Coon, Marnie. I’m really shy in real life, so I tend to hide at home a lot, and do most of my socializing with everyone online. My husband and I are close, we’ve been together almost 28 years, and will be married 18 years in November. I also love the beach, and pretty much grew up at Crescent Beach and Risser’s Beach, both are in Petite Riviere, NS.
I’m a trigeminal and occipital neuralgia warrior, I fight chronic pain daily. I’m an advocate for prevention of animal cruelty, including cosmetic procedures like ear cropping, debarking a dog, and declawing cats.
2. You write romance. What drew you to this genre?
I love the happy ever after aspect of it. I remember reading my first romance novel in Grade 6, and I was immediately hooked. I knew at that point I wanted to be an author, but I wasn’t sure what genre I wanted to write. That book sealed it for me.
3. Your forthcoming book is Away to Me. How did you come up with the idea for the book?
Oddly, it’s a spin off of a “what if?” scenario that hit me after I finished the first draft of a story that was sort of a sequel to the original version of Stricken. I wondered what would happen if an adopted child went looking for their birth families, and the consequences of it. Since I write romance, I added in another “what if” scenario – the surviving adoptive parent falling for the birth parent, and their love story.
4. Since you write contemporary romance set in Canada’s Maritimes, what elements do you think this genre should contain? Did these elements influence Away to Me?
You have to show ordinary people living ordinary lives to some extent. Nova Scotia isn’t known for its rich and famous, so sticking with characters that people here can relate to is a necessity in my opinion. Another one would be including the ocean and our main industries – fisheries, tourism, carpentry, and all other spin-offs. Talk about the towns and describe them, that way the locals can picture the exact street in your mind, and everyone else can get a sense of what it’s like living in this part of Canada.
5. Away to Me will release early this fall. Can you share your writing process for this novel?
Goodness, it was one of the easiest stories I’ve ever written. I had just gotten a rejection for what is now Stricken from a publisher, and was writing what is now called “Play with Me” (novella that needs a lot of work!) when this idea hit me – it was early 2014. It wouldn’t leave me alone, and I set “Play with Me” aside to work on it. It came together so quickly – from Neil’s personality and his background, to the names, and finally, Kelsey’s reasons for giving Rikki up for adoption.
Once everything was set, I wrote it during the one or two days a week I am able to write (mostly Fridays during the school year when I’m home alone), with a few minutes of quick editing before I started writing. I have to be alone to write, because I get distracted so easily. I was sneaking in some work here and there when the guys were home but it was mostly editing and revisions.
This story and its characters were in my head, constantly, and I couldn’t write their story fast enough.
It came together in about 3 months, writing part time. That’s a record for me. *laughs*
Away to Me was supposed to be a practice story. I never thought I’d submit it to eXtasy Books and have it accepted!
6. Let’s talk about the main character. What do you love most about Neil Falcon and what makes you want to shake him?
Neil is the kind of guy that stands up for those he cares about, and is loyal to the death. He’s a big sweetheart with a heart of gold. He’ll take a bullet to save his daughter, or Kelsey. However, he has a stubborn streak a mile wide, and isn’t always as forthcoming with his feelings, wants, or needs as he should be.
7. The same for Kelsey Wagner. What do you love about her and what makes you want to shake her?
Kelsey is a tough woman. She’s opinionated, stubborn, and loves cats. She is also loyal until betrayed, then she becomes indifferent and cuts off the person for good. She has a lot of bravado, but has a fragile side. What drove me crazy about her was her unwillingness to see how much Neil loved her from the start, and how she couldn’t see she was a great mother to Rikki.
8. Without giving away any spoilers, what was your favourite scene to write for Away to Me?
The last full love scene. It was a fun one to write.
9. What makes Away to Me different from other contemporary romances?
First of all, there are not many romance stories set in Nova Scotia. That alone makes it stand out. Neil and Kelsey are regular people, neither are rich or famous, and they are relatable to most readers.
10. If a reader asked why they should read Away to Me, what would you tell them?
Kelsey and Neil are as real as you can get. There is some humor included, notably the dog’s antics, so it’s not a heavy duty read, there are a lot of lighter moments in it. It’s a story about love, growth, and letting go of one’s fears and past.
11. What do you enjoy most about writing?
I love creating unique characters and sharing their journeys. Writing is therapy for me, it’s what keeps me sane when my various chronic illnesses flare up.
12. What do you enjoy least about writing?
Editing and revising. Both are necessary evils in my opinion.
13. I enjoy doing random questions, so humour me:
- What’s your favourite movie?
Other than the original Star Wars Trilogy? Star Wars Rogue One, Valmont, Nightbreed, and The Fifth Element.
- What book is currently in your e-reader?
I’m not reading much at the moment, but I have a lot of books by my fellow eXtasy Books and Devine Destinies authors in my TBR area of my Kindle app.
- Who’s your favourite musical group?
- What song puts a smile on your face?
Stricken by Disturbed, Drift Away by Dobie Gray, and Cold Ethyl by Alice Cooper.
14. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I’m currently rewriting “Play with Me” (formerly “Something About Alexis”) and I hope to include that as part of the Tri-Town series. It’ll be easy to connect the two, even though there are no secondary characters in Away to Me I can exploit… However, I don’t talk about any of the secondary characters’ expanded families, so I’m able to get away with it, with some tweaking.
I hope to have this one finished sometime soon. I’m working on it during summer vacation, which is what’s supposed to be my break from actual writing… Normally I use summer vacation to catch up on reading! Next year. LOL
Thanks again for having me Maggie!
And now what you’ve been waiting for: the cover reveal for Away to Me. I’ll let V.J. take it from here!
Hi everyone! V.J. Allison here. I’m so excited to show off the cover for my new book, Away to Me, which is Book 1 in the Tri-Town Series. It will be published by eXtasy Books later this year, so keep watching for it!
Many thanks to eXtasy Books/Devine Destinies cover artist Martine Jardin for her amazing work on the perfect cover. It’s so Nova Scotian, which is exactly what I wanted. I adore it!
The town in the background is Lunenburg, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and home of one of the most famous schooners in Canada – The Bluenose II. The couple represents Neil and Kelsey perfectly… It’s amazing seeing them come to life for the first time. I’m so happy!
Before we do the big reveal, here’s some information about the book:
What would you do if you found out your late spouse wasn’t the biological parent of your stepchild as they had led you to believe? Would you let it go, in hopes the child wouldn’t go looking for their birth family, or would you help them in their search?
This is the dilemma Neil Falcon faced when he first discovered his late wife, Rita, wasn’t the biological mother of his teenage stepdaughter, Rikki.
His decision to look for her roots puts them on a path that leads them to a part of Neil’s past, one he thought was locked away forever.
Away to Me is about family, overcoming one’s troubled past, and finding that one special person to love unconditionally forever.
Here it is, the gorgeous cover for Away to Me, Book 1 of the Tri-Town Series.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
V.J. Allison was born and raised in southern Nova Scotia, Canada, and her work reflects her strong Maritime roots. She is a stay at home mother to a son on the autism spectrum, married to the love of her life, and “mama” to a rescued Maine Coon cat named Marnie.
She has been writing various stories of novel length and short stories since her school days, and sees writing as a vital component to her life.
When she isn’t writing, she loves to read romance and science fiction novels (notably Star Wars); listen to music (heavy metal, rock, alternative); watch various crime and forensic dramas; watch science fiction television shows and movies; and spend time with her large family and many friends.
This self proclaimed geeky rocker chick is a warrior and advocate for various chronic illnesses including Occipital Neuralgia, Trigeminal Neuralgia, Diabetes, Migraines, and Glossopharyngeal Neuralgia. She is also an advocate for the prevention of animal cruelty and is a voice for Autism Awareness.