Today’s super star guest for Let’s Talk Books is none other than Aussie author Alyssa J. Montgomery. Alyssa is a new-to-me-author, having other discovered her writing with through her current Royalty Series. It’s been an absolute blast hosting Alyssa on the blog today and I can’t wait to get stuck into the rest of her books and some of the ones she mentions here; my TBR Pile will never end!
Alyssa lives on acreage south of Sydney with her husband, three children and a menagerie of animals. As well as writing, she works as a Speech Pathologist in her own private practice and has been a professional pianist and international flight attendant. Her hobbies include gardening and playing tennis, but most of all she loves to travel overseas with her husband and children, and get together with friends and family. She writes contemporary romance for Escape Publishing as Alyssa J. Montgomery, and uses the pen name Alyssa James for her medieval romances.
What are you currently reading?
Lisa Kleypas’ Again the Magic
What was the last book you bought?
Sophie Jordan’s All the Ways to Ruin a Rogue
Do you prefer to read books in print or electronically?
What do your bookshelves look like? Do you have an organisation system (genre, colour, author…) or are you just happy to go with the flow?
I have a wonderful lot of bookshelves in my dedicated “writing” room. One section of book shelves houses my contemporary Harlequin series books that I’ve read (stacked by author first name in alphabetical order), the middle section houses all my TBR pile as they come (and some photo albums) and the third section holds the historical novels I’ve read, some reference books for writing and a few folders containing my children’s’ portfolios from school. These are exclusively my bookshelves for romance. My husband has his own bookshelves in his study for other non-fiction genres (which I’ll also read), and any how-to or non fiction books are in a separate sitting room in bookshelves. The kids have their own in their rooms…so we are a huge book family!
How often do you read?
Generally every night before I switch off the light.
Describe what you would expect to find in your dream book?
Romance, humour, a dash of intrigue and of course a to-die-for alpha hero.
How do you choose what to read next?
My TBR pile is so extensive I admit I have just gone to the section at times, closed my eyes and reached out!
So you’ve started a book and discover it’s not for you. Are you more likely to discard it or finish it?
If you could read any book again, for the first time, what book would you choose?
That’s the toughest question so far. I really love regency romances and I can’t say one book springs to mind from my adult years. I love Aussie authors Stephanie Laurens, Anna Campbell and Cassandra Samuels. But, a series I adored as a child which I haven’t re-read is Anne of Green Gables, so maybe that one.
Putting all the hectic schedule of life on hold and being able to escape my “To Do” List. Reading can be physically and mentally relaxing yet mentally stimulating at the same time, and it can be really emotionally fulfilling. My favourite part about reading I think is the exclusive “me” time I’m snatching out of a hectic day. It’s my pleasure after I’ve done all the other important things for everyone else. It’s my reward!
Can you tell us a bit about your writing style. Are you a pantser or a plotter? Do you prefer to write in 1st or 3rd person? Are you an early riser writer or a late night owl writer?
I definitely used to be a plotter but my style has changed. These days I have a rough idea of my characters initially and their goals, motivations and what sort of conflicts they’ll have in the story, however I’m tending to start writing, get three quarters the way through the story then sit down and go back to plotting.
I did a course with Cherry Adair on “Plotting by Colour”, which I found very useful. I’m up to chapter ten of my next submission (Book 4 in a royalty series for Escape publishing), but I’ve decided that this weekend I’m going to go back to using my plotting chart to really pull it apart and look at it again.
I definitely write third person rather than 1st, and whilst I am an early riser (to feed animals, make school lunches and get kids off to school before I start in my speech pathology private practice by 9am), I am a late night owl writer. I much prefer writing when the household is calm and quiet and all the essential jobs are done for the day.
Was there any particular book that inspired you to start writing?
Not really, but definitely a category. My two elder sisters were always reading the Harlequin Mills & Boon Presents/Sexy series stories and they actually challenged me to write a romance.
Do you have any advice to other writers out there?
If writing is your dream stick at it. It was ten years before I was published, and there are two pieces of advice that resonated with me. First, my husband suggested I phone Harlequin and ask them whether there was something I could do to help me on my writing journey. Romance Writers of Australia was suggested, and I joined RWA and was put in touch with the Sutherland branch. It was through the support of other writers there, particularly Enisa Haines,that helped me improve. I entered RWA contests and got great feedback from judges which also helped me on my way.
I went to a workshop given by Melanie Milburne and I remember her saying “the delete key can be your friend”. I said that to myself again just yesterday as I hit that key. Hopefully my current story will be stronger for it!!
And lastly, what are you currently working on?
The wonderful Kate Cuthbert from Escape Publishing asked me to write a royalty series. The Defiant Princess has been published, the second story The Irredeemable Prince will be released on June 5th and the third story The Formidable King has just been contracted. I’m currently working on the fourth story which is about Prince Marco from this “Royal Affairs” series. At this stage the untitled story about Prince Marco will be the last in the series. Then, Kate’s given me another project!
To learn more about Alyssa J Montgomery, visit the following social media sites: