Interview with author of The Bad Boy of Butterfly Harbor,

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Denise Alicea

This blog was created by Denise in September 2008 to blog about writing, book reviews, and technology. Slowly, but surely this blog expanded to what it has become now, a central for book reviews of all kinds interviews, contests, and of course promotional venue for authors, etc

The Bad Boy of Butterfly HarborThe Bad Boy of Butterfly Harbor


Can people truly change?

Two things keep Holly Campbell grounded: her precocious son and preserving her forty-year-old family diner in the face of expansion and change. She doesn’t need a blast from the past like Luke Saxon, who’s back in Butterfly Harbor after more than a decade away. The hard-luck kid who nearly destroyed her family, leaving her to pick up the pieces, is taking over as sheriff. She can’t trust him, even if Luke’s ideas for the town’s upcoming anniversary seem to show he’s trying to give back to their community. Has Butterfly Harbor found its unlikely savior? And has the widowed single mother finally found a man she can believe in, rely on…and love?

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Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!

I’m a born and bred Northern California girl and 100% geek. I’ve been telling stories for as long as I can remember so becoming a writer was inevitable. I love creating community rich stories with lots of secondary characters and in most cases, the setting tends to become a major part of the story. I’m also a TV and movie addict and write a bi-weekly column for the USA Today HEA blog. Currently I’m writing contemporary romance, sweet for Harlequin Heartwarming and mainstream (The Tremayne Family Romances for Berkley).


Tell us about your book? How did it get started?

THE BAD BOY OF BUTTERFLY HARBOR just kind of happened. I had just sold a novella to the Heartwarming line and wanted to come up with a proposal for a series of books set in the Monterey area (one of my favorite places on earth). The name of the town hit me first then, after the story started to come together, three of my friends and I took a weekend road trip to Monterey for “research”.  The next week I started writing…and it sold!


How do you create your characters?

It honestly depends on the story I want to tell. Sometimes the plot dictates the characters, other times, the characters tell me what their story is.  For BAD BOY, the town was first, but when I started exploring what the community was about, that it was looking to rebuild and become relevant again, I knew the hero (Luke Saxon) would have to essentially be looking for the same thing. They built on each other.


The character name comes first (Luke’s changed a couple of times, actually because I kept forgetting what it was when I was writing. Never a good sign.).  Then I dig out my go to reference books (16 Archetypes, The Zodiac Bible, and Love Signs) which help me flesh out their internal issues and conflict.  That’s where I spend the most time, working on the internal conflict between the hero and heroine. There’s no story without conflict.


What inspires and what got your started in writing?

Reading and movies got me started writing. The idea of creating stories was addictive and like I said earlier, I’ve been doing that forever. STAR WARS was the first movie that kick started my imagination. Reading Stephen King (from a very early age) got me thinking about writing, then discovering Nora Roberts’ romances gave me my answer. I knew after reading one of her early Silhouettes that I wanted to write romance.


Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)

I write in my kitchen. On an ancient laptop that has no virus protection so I can’t waste time online. I save that for my second computer and designated hours. I have a CD in the laptop of ocean sounds and music that puts me right in the zone (most times). I also like the background sound of the dishwasher. White noise is my friend.  And…I don’t eat or drink (except water) when I write. I think I’m paranoid about spilling on my keyboard. Unless I’m pressing right up to deadline, then the M&Ms come out.


How do you get your ideas for writing?

From all over the place. I get my best plot thinking done when I’m either in the shower or I’m driving, so when I get stuck on plot, that’s what I do. A lot of times I get a glimmer of an idea from watching TV or a movie. I wrote an urban fantasy romance a few years back and the idea for that hit me while I was at a Georgia O’Keefe art exhibit at a local museum. I saw the heroine clear as day…started the book a few days later. That story will probably be my first full-length indie project.


What do you like to read?

I’m mostly a romance girl. Always have been aside from those early years when I read all of Stephen King’s early work. Nora is an auto buy for me, as is Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dean Koontz. My reading time is so limited these days I really have to pick and choose. I’m open to most everything but I have found if there’s not at least an element of romance, I get bored and don’t always finish it.

What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?

Write.  Write, write, write. And read. Then write some more. The more you write, the better you’ll get. The more you read, the better you’ll get, but there’s nothing that will do more for you than planting your butt in the chair and putting your fingers on the keyboard.


Also, and this is a new pet peeve of mine: EDUCATE YOURSELF!  Especially when it comes to the basics of grammar, spelling, and structure.  If that means hiring an editor (if you’re self-pubbing), then do it. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to be traditionally published. I wanted to work with professional editors who were as invested in putting out as good a product as I was. I learn more with each round of edits and each book I finish.


I think writing classes can be of great benefit especially when you’re first starting out. Just remember that you will develop your own system. What works for other authors is not necessarily going to work for you and THAT’S OKAY! Don’t force yourself into someone else’s system because you think you have to. If you plot, great. If you don’t, that’s okay, too. There is no wrong way to write…unless you stop. If you want to be a writer, then you have to write. End of story.


And don’t let anyone tell you you’re doing it wrong. If it works for you, it’s not wrong.


Anything else you’d like to share?

Just thank you for the opportunity to meet your readers.  This really is the fun part of the job, talking about writing and my books, so again, thank you!

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Anna J Stewart

Thanks so much for hosting me today! Great to be with you.


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