Author of the Month

November 2017 Author Of The Month: Alexa Land

I’m a true believer in happily ever after, and writing is my passion. My character-driven books include the best-selling Firsts and Forever Series, which is set in San Francisco. I grew up in Southern California, spent over a decade in the Bay Area, and now call a small town in Oregon home. My son and I share a vintage cottage with an indifferent cat and a hyper dog, and I spend my days writing about men falling in love. My books will make you laugh and shed an occasional tear, and they always deliver a satisfying HEA.

So, what have you written?

I’ve written the Firsts and Forever Series, which are contemporary romances set in San Francisco, and the paranormal books Feral and The Tinder Chronicles.

How many books to your series?

My new release, Take a Chance on Me, is book fifteen in my Firsts and Forever Series! In fact, next month marks the five year anniversary of both the series and my career as an author. Way Off Plan (book one in the series) came out in December of 2012.

What do you love most about the writing process?

I love it when characters surprise me. I write with only the roughest outline and let the characters take the lead, and I never know what they’re going to say or do. That joy of discovery is so much fun!

What are some jobs you’ve held? Have any of them impacted your writing? How?

I’ve had such a meandering career path! I started working at about age 12, when I had a paper route and also earned money by sweeping up at a beauty salon. In high school, I worked in a library, and I scooped ice cream at Baskin Robbins. When I was in college and right after, I worked with autistic children and in group homes (while holding down simultaneous jobs as a nanny, a restaurant hostess, and a daycare aide). During graduate school, I waited tables, and when I graduated, I worked in city planning and wrote environmental impact reports. Then when I turned thirty, I finally decided to pursue my lifelong love of art and began studying animation and graphic design. I worked in both of those fields before becoming a mom and taking a few years off. In between all of that, I also worked as a temp, a sales clerk in a department store, a college professor, and more. I now consider myself very fortunate to be a full-time writer, and I’m grateful for every single one of those jobs, because they’ve given me an incredibly broad range of experience to draw from when writing my characters!

Have you ever gone to a convention? If so, how was it? If not, do you think it’s something you’d like to do in the future?

I’ve actually just returned from my third GRL (the Gay Romance Literature Retreat). What an amazing experience! I absolutely love getting to meet my readers and fellow authors while spending several days totally immersed in the world of LGBTQ+ fiction. I’m already looking forward to next year’s GRL, and one of these years, I’d love to make it overseas to the UK Meet and EuroPrideCon!

Have you ever written a scene where it has reduced you to tears?

Oh God yes. Several, actually. The one that hit me the hardest was in Who I Used to Be, because it was very nearly autobiographical. In this scene, the two main characters are visiting the AIDS Memorial Grove in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. When TJ talks about the friends he lost to AIDS in the 1990s who are memorialized in the Grove, that’s all drawn directly from my life. The only things I changed where the names and a few distinguishing details. I wasn’t just crying as I wrote that, I was sobbing. The scene is about my dear friend Jim and his brother, who both died of AIDs and whose names are engraved into the Grove’s Circle of Friends. It was important to tell their story and to keep their memory alive, but trying to get it all out gutted me. Twenty years may have passed, but I still feel that loss like it was yesterday.

A few words about your book

 Take a Chance on Me is an often funny, gentle love story between two men who seem like polar opposites on the surface, but who fit together beautifully once they learn to look past their differences. More than any other book I’ve ever written, I really feel like we’re watching two people gradually fall in love, through small moments and little revelations.

Give us a little insight into your main characters

 The new book, Take a Chance on Me, is told from Quinn’s perspective. He’s a free-spirited 24-year-old ballet dancer who we met for the first time in book 14 in the series (All I Ever Wanted). When he rents a room from uptight police officer Duke, the two men drive each other crazy at first. But they soon realize they not only have a lot of common ground, but they also understand each other in a way few people ever could.

Free-spirited ballet dancer Quinn is sure he made a terrible mistake by agreeing to be Duke’s roommate. The big cop is the most uptight person Quinn’s ever met in his life, and both men begin driving each other crazy from day one.

Before long though, an undeniable spark of attraction ignites between them. But do opposites really attract? Or will their differences prove to be more than either of them can handle?

This gay romance is the fifteenth book in Alexa Land’s best-selling Firsts and Forever Series, but each novel is written to stand alone, so jump in anywhere.

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076ZB6BRW/

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B076ZB6BRW/

In this quick scene from Take a Chance on Me, Quinn and Duke are new roommates. On the day he’s moving in, Quinn loses his mattress out of the back of the truck, and Duke is trying to help him locate it. After retracing their steps, they find the bed has company:

It took us one hour and thirty-three minutes to locate the mattress. We got lost several times and had to keep finding our way back to our original, circuitous route. But then finally, we rounded a corner in an abandoned-looking industrial area and there it was, overlapping part of the street and sidewalk.

The mattress had company. A tiny, light brown Chihuahua sat right in the center of it, and I exclaimed, “Aw, he’s so cute!” Duke cut the engine, and I tumbled out of the truck and rushed toward the compact canine. But when I got within ten feet of him, the dog puffed up, bared his teeth, and started growling at me. “Woah there buddy, we come in peace,” I said as I held up my hands.

When he leapt to his feet and started barking, Duke said, “I’ll call animal control.” He reached for his phone, but I stopped him with a hand on his arm.

“No, don’t do that. He’s wearing a collar, so he probably lives around here.” I took a step toward the dog and raised my voice a couple of octaves as I called, “Hey, puppy. We need that bed, so how about heading home now?”

The dog snarled and barreled toward us, and Duke and I both turned and ran. We scrambled onto the bumper of the truck, then the hood when the furious little animal took a flying leap at us and narrowly missed my red sneaker. “Wow,” Duke said, “that dog hates you.”

“Animals never hate me. You must have done something to piss it off.”

“Oh no. That was all you.” He pulled his phone from the pocket of his jeans and added, “It was probably that high-pitched cartoon character voice you used. No wonder it’s so angry.”

He started to scroll through his phone, and I asked, “Who are you calling?”

“Animal control, like I said. That thing’s a menace.”

“You can’t do that! What if his owner doesn’t find him in time and he gets put down? I’d never forgive you!”

Duke turned to me with his phone poised in midair and said, “It’s a vicious animal.”

“He’s eight inches tall!”

“What if it bites somebody?”

“He won’t. I just pissed him off.”

“He almost took a chunk out of your shoe.”

“But he didn’t,” I said. “Come on Duke, put the phone down.”

“Calling animal control is for the dog’s own good. He could get hit by a car if we just leave him out here.”

“Then we need to help him get home.”

Duke peered over the edge of the truck, and the little animal let out a menacing growl. “How do you propose we do that?”

“Well first, I need to take a look at the tag on his collar to find out where he lives.”

“If you try, he’ll bite you.”

“Not if I establish dominance,” I said.

“What are you talking about?”

“Right now, we’re acting like scaredy cats, so he thinks he can boss us around. I need to convince him I’m the alpha dog, and then he’ll fall in line.” I jumped off the truck, and when the Chihuahua lunged at me, I waved my arms to try to appear as big as I could and started barking. The dog stopped in his tracks and stared at me with his bulging eyes, and then he turned and ran. I exclaimed, “Shit, I overdid it! I was going for alpha dog, but I guess I landed on big, scary werewolf!”

I took off after the dog, and Duke yelled, “Why are you chasing it?”

“I have to make sure he gets home safe!”

For an animal with four-inch legs, the Chihuahua was pretty damn fast. I sprinted down the street, then cut through an alley and across a vacant lot in hot pursuit. After a minute, the industrial area gave way to a modest residential neighborhood. The dog was maybe thirty feet ahead of me when it darted into a yard. An old man was watering a weedy lawn, and he exclaimed, “There you are, Tank! I thought I told you not to go out on any more of your adventures!” The yard was surrounded by a waist-high chain link fence, and the man closed the gate behind the little animal.

Find Alexa Land on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Alexa-Land/e/B00AR2EJ76/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008216261875

Twitter: @AlexaLandWrites

And on her blog: http://alexalandwrites.blogspot.com/

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