Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Spotlight Author with Allison Chase

Wow has this been a busy month! Besides working hard on research for my next book, I have been busy trying to get things settled for our new house. It never seems that I have enough time to do the things I want or need to do. One thing for sure… I am very excited about today’s guest. I have Allison Chase here with me today, and she has so much to share. So let’s talk.

Hi Allison. I am so happy to have you here where you can tell us all about your upcoming release.

Hi Micole, thanks for having me again! It’s been a while, since July, and I hope everyone had great summer and beautiful autumn – my favorite season when I lived up north. Thanks for asking about my upcoming release, which will hit the shelves on December 7! OUTRAGEOUSLY YOURS is the second book in my Victorian series, Her Majesty’s Secret Servants, about the four Sutherland sisters who were once the childhood friends of Queen Victoria, and now serve Her Majesty in delicate matters that require discretion. In this story, second sister Ivy is asked – ok, commanded – to recover a very important item that’s been stolen from Buckingham Palace. The queen wants it back pronto before anyone, and especially her secret beau, Albert, finds out that it’s missing. But in order to track this item down, Ivy has to cut her hair, don trousers, and head off to the all-male world of Cambridge University. She’ll not only have fool everyone she comes in contact with, but she'll come head to head with a brooding nobleman-turned-scientist the students fondly refer to as "The Mad Marquess of Harrow." Why do they call him that? Well, partly because of his tendency to blow things up and shoot sparks through the skylight in his lab. The other reason has to do with his deceased wife…and the fact that no one seems to know where she's buried. Some believe the Mad Marquess might be trying to use electricity to resurrect her….

Here’s a little teaser of OUTRAGEOUSLY YOURS.

A rare stone gifted to Queen Victoria by her secret suitor, Albert of Saxe-Coburg, has been stolen, and possibly delivered into the hands of the Marquess of Harrow a man whispered to be slightly mad. Her Majesty asks Scholarly Ivy Sutherland to assume the role of science student “Ned Ivers, win the marquess's trust, and recover the stone before news of the theft ruins the royal courtship…

Since the death of his young wife, Simon de Burgh, Marquess of Harrow has dedicated himself to science. Finding an assistant whose intellect and passion match his own proves an unexpected boon, until he discovers that Ned is actually a woman. Simon is incensed then intrigued. Unable to resist his growing desire for Ivy, which she undeniably returns, Simon knows he must end her charade before it leads to scandal Instead, Ivy convinces Simon to work together to recover the stone...and unwittingly plunges them both into a more dangerous game. Now they're risking their lives...and their hearts... in a race to stop a sinister murderer before he kills again.

Where does your inspiration come from?

Geek here! I admit it. Especially when it comes to English history – or anything English. I only need to poke around a history book and I start getting ideas. As I initially began researching the Victorian era, I came across references to the developing technologies of the times… The driving theme in OUTRAGEOUSLY YOURS is the emergence of Victorian science and physics, and the beginnings of electricity. Sound stuffy? Guess again! The era ushered in the beginning of modern technology as we know it, and the inventions were…well…often pretty outrageous (pun intended). I’ll admit I took liberties and even stuck a toe or two into the realm of science fiction. The result is a wild ride that was lots of fun to write. Rest assured my heroine isn’t sitting awestruck in a corner while the hero sends electricity sizzling through the wires. Oh, no, no! Not only do they engage in some mutual sizzling together, but Ivy is every bit as brainy as Simon, and she gets right into the thick of things, playing with currents and magnetism and all those fabulous Victorian gismos and gears.
What are you working on now?

Since the summer I’ve been writing book three, RECKLESSLY YOURS. This one involves horses and the Royal Ascot, an ancient family curse, and the mysterious threat against the Sutherlands that's been dogging them through each book. Readers will have met the hero, Colin Ashworth, in OUTRAGEOUSLY YOURS, and now they’ll have a chance to see him in action as he tries to hold his contentious family together and return a mystical colt to its rightful home before the curse takes it toll. Colin's father gave the colt to the queen as a gift, but Colin has stolen it back, and it's Holly Sutherland's job to find the animal and return it to Victoria. The only problem is, this horse thief is also a thief of hearts, and Holly is faced with the choice of betraying her love or betraying her queen. It's quite a dilemma!

Give us a glimpse into a writer’s life.

When viewed from afar, writers are REALLY boring! We sit and pore through books. We stare at computer monitors. We stare into space. We tap the keyboard. Oh, but if you could only get inside our heads, you’d be amazed! Adventure, danger, passion, not to mention countless lives and personalities, all swirling through our brains. A lot of authors juggle writing with “day jobs.” I’m no exception, although I am lucky enough to be able to work from my home office. I edit for a small publisher, which means lots and lots of computer time. I try to offset that everyday with a little workout and some tension-relieving yoga. I’m still pretty new at it, but I’ve become a huge advocate. Oommm!

Is there anything special to your writing process? Pictures? Music? Any tricks of the trade?

Oddly, no. I don’t use pictures, storyboards, or any fancy plotting devices. I do keep notebooks for my research facts, and another for jotting down ideas, sketching out scenes, or working out those pesky little plot snares. If I’m really feeling stuck, I’ll whip out my AlphaSmart. But otherwise I’m pretty basic. As I mentioned above, I try to exercise every day because I find it loosens up the brain as well as the muscles. On days when the neighborhood is noisy, I’ll stick on my headphones, but otherwise I like silence. An empty house is always a plus.

Have you ever felt so connected with one of your characters you’ve had a difficult time moving past their story? Explain…

The first book I ever wrote was a Medieval set on the Welsh marches. Falcons in Flight was the title. I had such a passion for that time period and setting (still do, really), and without having learned a thing yet about plotting, pacing, etc., I just wrote and wrote for almost two years – it was a big book until I trimmed it down. I felt like I was leaving old friends when I finally moved on to my next manuscript. I still think about Lord Robert and Lady Juliana, and maybe someday I’ll revisit their story, do some heavy reworking…and who knows?

What is your favorite thing about being an author?

The writing aside, what I love meeting other authors and experiencing that bond we all share. No matter how much you try to explain writing to someone who doesn’t write, you'll never quite make them understand all the heart and energy that goes into a book. There’s really nothing like swapping war stories with others who "get it." I also love meeting readers who tell me they’ve enjoyed my books. What can be more rewarding than knowing you’ve touched someone’s life even in a small way?

Do you have any advice on writing, getting published, or finding an agent?

First, I would urge any aspiring writer to join a chapter of the RWA, attend workshops, and learn as much as you can, both about the craft of writing and the industry in general. Start meeting people and making contacts early on. Use Facebook, Twitter and all that. Have a website – a simple inexpensive one will do – and/or a blog. Basically, establish a presence. I’d also recommend entering contests, first for feedback, and later with the goal of being judged in the final round by an editor. That’s how I sold my first book, by the way, so it does work. Don't linger too long over any one manuscript. Finish a story, edit it well, start submitting, and while you wait for replies, begin a new manuscript. Always keep plowing ahead. I didn’t sell until my fifth manuscript, but later I sold numbers 4 and 3, in that order. Join or establish a critique group. I’ve been meeting with mine for about fifteen years now and I could not have made it this far without them – I can’t stress that enough. They are an incredibly talented group of writers, but even more importantly, they’re good friends. We support each other, help each other grow as writers and cheer each other on through good times. If need be, we literally drag each other through the hard times and make sure no one ever just gives up.

What does your family think of your job?

I’m so lucky in this respect! Everyone, from my husband and daughters, to my parents, to aunts, uncles and cousins, are really, really supportive. They’re all proud of “the author in the family,” and when my books come out everyone scrambles for their copy. My parents buy a stack and send them to their friends. My cousin recently told me that the last time he visited our aunt, she showed him her collection of my books with a naughty little gleam in her eye. It makes me sad to hear of romance writers who are reduced to writing in secret because of disapproving family members or a disapproving community. Romance celebrates life, and as writers we should always feel able to celebrate our accomplishments. In fact, thank you, Micole, for helping us do that!

Now tell us a little bit about Allison Chase. Who are you? What do you do when you’re not writing hunky heroes and romantic love stories? Hobbies?

Writing hunky heroes and passionate stories actually takes up most of my time! But a lot of the activities I enjoy actually tie in with my writing. I love to travel (not that we’re getting a chance to do much of that lately). I love to see new places, especially ones with a long and rich history. Even if those places aren’t directly related to a work in progress, I always find that getting away from my home environment helps stir my creativity. I love to read, of course, mostly historical romance and historical fiction, but not exclusively. I also enjoy romantic suspense, mystery, thriller, and paranormal, and nonfiction – history and biography.
I mentioned exercise. My husband and I also own archery bows – now that’s my idea of a sport! Unfortunately, our neighbor of the past 17 years just moved, and we’re thinking the new people might be somewhat taken aback to see the occasional arrow flying through the hedge. So maybe no archery for a while. Lately I’ve taken to watching cooking shows, which is strange for me because I’m usually the “throw some chicken in the oven and steam some vegetables” type. I love winter comfort food like stews (even though I live in Florida, lol), and anything that can be cooked in one pot or casserole dish. Hey, does anyone out there have any yummy, easy recipes to share?

Thank you, Allison. Where can our readers find out more about you and where they can get your books?

Thank you, Micole!

For the latest on releases, excerpts, reviews, and links to purchase my books, visit me at From there you can link to my blog (, as well as my Facebook, Twitter and Myspace pages. Readers can also contact me personally from my website. I’d love to hear from you! I want to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving! I’ll be cooking a turkey this year, with my raisin-walnut stuffing and homemade cranberry sauce. Does anything smell more heavenly than the house on Thanksgiving morning?


Oh my gosh, my mouth is watering! Thank you everyone for stopping in.




Nancy J. Cohen said...

I love heroes in disguise stories, and this one sounds fascinating with its mix of science and history. Love the premise of the queen's 'secret servants' too. Will be sure to add this title to my bookshelf pronto!

Vonnie Davis said...

What an interesting post. Yes, only writers understand other writers. I'm so glad I'm married to one as he supports my writing passion. Good luck with your new release.

Allison Chase said...

Good morning, ladies, and thanks! Nancy, this book features a heroine in disguise. The twist is that the hero sees through her ploy pretty quickly, but keeps the upper hand by not telling her he knows.

Vonnie, two writers in the house! Wow! That must make for some interesting and spirited conversations. You're so lucky to be able to share your writing passion with the same person who won your heart.

Micole Black said...

Good morning ladies. It's so nice to see new faces here. Two writers in the house is really cool. It would be nice to have someone else that understands how our brains work. ;-)

Thank you Allison for being my guest today. hope all of you have a wonderful day.



Lise said...

What an incredible wealth of great writing, wonderful craft tips, enthusiastic support and terrific advice for writers. This was a very worthwhile post, a fun interview and definitely helped remind me about the wonderful community we are all a part of. Write on, ladies, to great success and happiness!

Micole Black said...


Allison has given some very helpful information. Thank you for stopping by. I am glad that you enjoyed your stay. ;-) Hope you will stop by again.


Allison Chase said...

Lise, I hope the advice helps someone out there, because it's exactly what worked for me, along with never giving up on my dream! Thanks for commenting!

Cynthia Thomason said...

Great post, Allison. I love a little science with my romances and I can practically see the sparks flying from the Mad Marquess' dark, mysterious laboratory. Can't wait to read this book and the next one, too. So glad you have good family support around you. It shows in your writing.Cynthia

Anonymous said...

Can't read to read your new book, Allison! I'm going on 12/7 to buy two -- a perfect holiday gift for my sister. Please keep more stories coming -- Sharon

Allison Chase said...

Hi Cynthia and Sharon, so good of you to drop in! I really appreciate your support! Sharon, I hope your sister enjoys the story!

Mary Ricksen said...

You write period tales that manage to thrill your reader. And that ain't easy! I am so impressed with your talent and wish you the best of luck with sales! Amazing Allison, Just amazing!

Allison Chase said...

You're so sweet, Mary, thank you!

Traci said...

Great post, Allison!

Murphy said...

Hi Allison!

What a great premise. I'll be looking to pick this one up. Gee, it seems since forever - from when we spoke at the conference in July. Had fun there!

You are so right about connecting with other writers. I actually took your advice a few months ago and started judging and entering contests. I have learned so much! Met so many great people and figured out that I don't have to be a famous published author to do a review -- so PLEASE keep me in mind? I love your work! All the best with this next one!

Murphy (AKA- Margeanne)

Allison Chase said...

Hi Traci, glad you found time to come by! Thanks!

Margeanne! It's great to hear from you, and I'm so glad you've taking those extra steps toward becoming published. BTW, are you asking to review Outrageously Yours? :) Stay in touch!

Carol Stephenson said...

Love, love noblemen-turned-scientists stories!!! Can't wait to read it, Allison!

:) Carol

Allison Chase said...

Too funny, Carol. It just so happens I'm reading a NASCAR story right now - Chasing the Truth. Ever hear of it? :-)

Allison Chase said...

Just popping back in to say goodnight, thank you everyone who stopped and commented, and a big thank you, Micole, for having me on your blog again. All the best to you, and good luck with your writing!

Zelda Benjamin said...

Your stories are wonderful with such an interesting twist. Can't wait to see what the sisters are up to next.

Anonymous said...


can't wait to read this story! I love your work.

Karen Kendall

Julie Tran said...

Sounds interesting. I'll be sure to pick it up