Welcome! You're in for a special treat today on this month's author spotlight. Alice Orr, the author of the Riverton Road romantic suspense series, is here to chat about publishing, writing, and romance. Grab a cup of coffee and join us!
First, let me tell you how thrilled I am to have Alice here on Creating the WRITE Reality. We met last October while signing books at the Book Fair during the New Jersey Romance Writer's Put Your Heart in a Book Conference. They seated us alphabetically, so Alice and I were tablemates. Still being a fairly new author, and not a member of the local chapter, I didn't know a lot of people there. Alice kindly extended a dinner invitation for me to join her and some of her friends. We had a lovely evening filled with good conversation over a nice meal. I was thrilled to recognize a kindred spirit. It was clear to me how passionate Alice was about her work, and how supportive she was to other authors through teaching and sharing her wisdom. This can be a daunting industry, so finding strong, supportive relationships is like striking gold.
I'm so happy to have met Alice. We've stayed in touch since last year, and I'm happy to call her a friend. We'll be meeting again this weekend at the next Put Your Heart in A Book Conference to reprise our lovely dinner experience.
I've also had the pleasure of reading the first book in the Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series, A Wrong Way Home. The review is below. Knowing Alice, it made me smile to hear her voice in the pages, while following Kara and Matt's journey back into each other's arms. More about that below.
So, let's get started and talk shop. I'll try not to ask too many hard questions 🙂
How do feel your unique perspective as a former editor and agent in the publishing business has shaped you as an author?
I think this happened for me the other way around. My experience as an author shaped me as a book editor and literary agent. I’d been publishing in various venues for several years before I first became an editor and then an agent. I understood what it was like to put my soul into a piece of work and send it out into the world for a thumbs-up or thumbs-down for one gatekeeper or another. Those gatekeepers gifted me with both the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. I learned all the way down to the marrow of my bones what each of those felt like. I also learned that how the verdict was communicated was almost as crucial as the verdict itself. By the time I became a gatekeeper myself, my compassionate side had been full-on activated. I did my best to emulate the Good Witch Gatekeepers rather than the other kind. I sincerely hope and pray I managed to do that.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing new writers today? What do you feel is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as an author?
We all face the same biggest challenge. We have to keep our psyches on our side. That requires doing serious battle with the Big D’s – Doubt and Discouragement. They are time wasters. They are effort wasters. Worst of all, they are spirit wasters. This is a very tough business, no matter how we choose to approach it, traditionally or independently. We can’t help but doubt ourselves occasionally, any more than we can help being discouraged occasionally. The trick is to get off those nowhere trips as fast as we can. We must to turn to our greatest resources – ourselves and each other and, if you don’t mind me saying so, our higher power. My favorite saying is, “Fall down seven times. Get up eight.” So when you’re feeling down, just get back up. And, if you’re having a problem with that, don’t hesitate to be in touch with me at www.aliceorrbooks.com.
What do you feel has been your greatest triumph?
My most precious triumphs have to do with my family. We’ve been through our share of challenges, including my year-and-a-half struggle with cancer. We stumble and stagger at times but, with each other’s help, we end up on our feet. Speaking of help, my husband Jonathan and I were blessed with the opportunity to help raise our grandchildren for thirteen years. It was the best decision we ever made and, without question, our greatest triumph.
What inspired you to write the Riverton Road series?
I have to admit it was a business decision. When I returned to writing fiction after a sixteen-year hiatus, I’d decided to try Indie Publishing, and I knew the best way to succeed there was with a series. The unexpected result is that I absolutely love writing series, much more than I did writing single titles. I’m so involved with the world I’ve created in the Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series that I enjoy it almost as much as my real-life world. I’m writing Book #3 now. I’d envisioned a four-book run, but I have a feeling this world may have far longer legs than that for me.
What is your idea of a perfect romance in a novel?
My perfect romance is always a battle between equals. Without struggle there’s no story, and I want that struggle to be intense, powerful and dramatic. They’re falling in love with each other, but they’re also falling into conflict with each other. They’re at razor-sharp swords’ points on one hand, and unable to keep those hands off each other at the same time. Meanwhile, since I write Romantic Suspense and love that sub-genre, there’s murder in the mix, which of course makes everything – you guessed it – even more intense, powerful and dramatic for my poor already beleaguered couple. God bless them because, the more trouble they have to slog through, the more happily my writer’s heart beats.
What do you find to be some of the biggest misconceptions about the romance genre?
Our biggest misconception, and the misconception of too many others, is that we need to be more literary or more honored or more anything other than what we already are. The Romance Genre is an entertainment medium, and entertaining people is a righteous motivation and righteous work. Always has been. Always will be. So there!
What do you love most about being an author?
What I love most about being an author is the writing itself. The rest I do because I have to – the marketing, the research, the schmoozing. I get some kicks out of some of that some of the time. But I get monster kicks out of writing just about all of the time. I’ve learned that feeling blocked means one of two things – I either need a break or there’s something wrong in the piece and I need to fix it. Even when I go through those rough spots, as soon as I fess up and face up to the need for rest or revision, it’s back to writing my heart out again and feeling blessed to be able to do so.
You will be running a workshop at the New Jersey Romance Writers’ Conference this month. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
The title of my workshop is We’ve Got the Power! – How Choice Changes Everything About Publishing Today. That’s a long enough title to say it all. If you want more details, you’ll have to be there.
What are the top three pieces of advice you would give other authors?
DON’T GIVE UP. DON’T GIVE UP. DON’T GIVE UP.
What would you like to see happen in the industry?
After many years on the editor-agent side of the desk, I’ve stepped outside the Industry into the Indie diaspora. Things are tough out here, but they were also tough back there. What I’d like to see happen inside the traditional publishing industry is that it be more fair and respectful and humane toward authors. I always had the feeling that the author was the pawn in the game. I may have a rough road ahead, but it’s my game now and instead of being a pawn I’m my own queen. I’d never say never re: going back to the trad side but, for now, Queendom suits me mighty fine.
I understand Book 3 in the Riverton Road series is in development. Can you share a bit about it?
As always in this series, the story is about family and romance and murder. A Villain for Vanessa is, in particular, a story about tangled roots and that affects all three of those – the romance and the family and solving the murder case. Pat Conroy once said he thanked God for giving him a dysfunctional family because that, in turn, gave him an endless fund of story material. In reference to A Villain for Vanessa, I totally agree with Pat, except I’d thank God for Tangled Families instead.
What’s next for you, Alice?
Wow! That’s a heavy question. I guess I have to blame the years I once spent as a Hindu for not having an answer. I am actually a live-in-the-moment gal. I know that sounds schmaltzy, but it’s true. What comes next for me is whatever comes next for me. Stick around. And follow my blog at www.aliceorrbooks.com/blog. I’ll let you in on the next adventure when it happens.
BOOK REVIEW: A WRONG WAY HOME
Series: Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series
Print Length: 300 pages
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date: February 10, 2015
Kara Cartwright returns to her hometown on the same night Anthony Benton is murdered. But she doesn’t know anything about that. She only knows she vowed never to come back here to Riverton, New York or to see Matt Kalli again.
Matt has made a vow of his own. He’ll never forgive Kara, the woman who loved him then betrayed him nine years ago. And he can’t forgive himself for the way she’s stuck in his heart.
All that these two have in common is their hatred of Anthony Benton. Now he’s dead and they could be suspects. People they care deeply about could be suspects too. That gives Matt and Kara something else in common – a desperate search for the real killer before he strikes again.
A Wrong Way Home is the 1st book in the Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series set in and around Riverton, New York, a town in the remote North Country. Danger and romance featuring the Kalli family, the four Kalli brothers and the fortunate people who find safety and a warm welcome at Kalli Corner on Riverton Road. A Year of Summer Shadows is the 2nd book in the series.
Alice Orr keeps us riveted as former lovers, Kara and Matt, are reunited in their mutual quest to find the killer of Anthony Benton, a shady businessman who many people in Riverton want dead. Separated by circumstances perceived as betrayal, Kara and Matt harbor a smoldering passion for one another buried beneath a layer of anger and hurt. Whenever they get too close, tragedy or unpleasant interruptions separates them again, making their union hard won and satisfying. Both must face up to their shared history and make amends with their part in order to move ahead and seize the life they've always wanted with each other. Matt keeping Kara safe, and Kara letting him, opens the door to rediscovery as they careen closer and closer to the killer.
The small town elements of Riverton warm the plot and remind us of both how close knit communities may share news faster than CNN, but that the warm and support, are unequaled.
Alice Orr has set up both Riverton and the Kalli family nicely. This setting is one that offers the reader a welcoming return, as well as a family to return to for many more books. Looking forward to A Year of Summer Shadows!
“Alice Orr is a brilliant writer who has a #1 best seller hidden in her pocket. I look forward to more of her work,” says one reviewer. Alice loves to write. Especially romantic suspense novels and blog posts. She's well known as a workshop leader, book editor & literary agent. Now she lives her dream of writing full-time. Alice has published 13 novels, 3 novellas & a memoir so far, with a new novel in progress. She wrote her nonfiction book, No More Rejections, as a gift to the writers' community she loves. A revised edition is also in progress. Amazon says, “This book has it all.” About her romantic suspense, Amazon says, “Alice Orr turns up the heat.” In addition, Alice presents workshops on writing for publication &/or pleasure. Most of all, Alice wants to hear from readers. Visit her website at www.aliceorrbooks.com. Alice has 2 grown children & 2 perfect grandchildren & lives with her husband Jonathan in New York City.
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