Writer Wednesday– Alicia Dean

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Writer Wednesday– Alicia Dean

I’ve known Alicia Dean for over a year, but I’ve never met her in person. She’s a long distance member of the local RWA chapter* I belong to. When the annual writing contest was dumped in my lap last year, Alicia answered my frantic pleas for help. I will forever be grateful!

*Heartland Romance Authors meets in Lee’s Summit, Missouri on the second Saturday of the month. If you live in the Kansas City area, check it out! I’ll most likely be there since I’m the president. 😉

Not only was Alicia more experienced with contests–she runs the Finally a Bride contest for her local RWA chapter, OKRWA–but she’s also a published author. She published Heart of the Witch traditionally along with several titles through The Wild Rose Press  She was the whole package and someone I looked up to as an example of what I wanted to achieve.

Thank you for having me, Denise. I’m so happy to be here, and thank you for such high praise.

I’m honored to have you!

Recently, Alicia jumped into the self-publishing pool with her release of Death Notice (The Northland Crime Chronicles Book 1)  followed it up just this month with the sequel, Death Offerings (The Northland Crime Chronicles Book 2)

**You can get Death Notice from Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Death Offerings is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble as well. 

To top it off, Alicia’s book Soul Seducer, is launching a new romance line in June for Adam’s Media! I am honored and thrilled that Alicia asked me to blurb her book! Let me tell you, it’s good!

Thank you, Denise. To hear those words from a writer of your caliber means a lot to me. And, I’m honored that you agreed to blurb my book.

Okay, now I’m blushing. Thank you for your very kind words!

Alicia, your career path is what I’ve been spouting for several months. I believe that successful authors of the future will both self-publish and traditionally publish. You published with Dorchester first, then self-pubbed. When did you decide to self-publish and why?

I had an agent who tried to sell Death Notice and while we had a few requests for a revise and resubmit, and some publishers who considered it, we weren’t able to sell it. It didn’t fit The Wild Rose Press guidelines, so I decided to test the self pub waters.

How did your agent feel about your decision to self-publish?

I was with Meredith Bernstein at the time I self pubbed, and she was all for it, since she couldn’t find a home for my book. I have since signed with Jewelann Cone of the Cascade Literary Agency. She is also open to self-publishing if we’re not able to sell one of my projects.

You write both paranormal and romantic suspense. Since I write multiple genres, I get this. Do you prefer one over the other?

I do. I love paranormal, but suspense is where my true passion lies. I love a good thriller/mystery/suspense. My favorite authors are suspense writers.

I know this is so cliché, but what inspired you to write or come up with the idea for  Death Notice.

I wanted to write a suspense series, but I didn’t want my heroine to be in law enforcement. I decided to make her a newspaper columnist, writing obituaries to be specific, and I thought of how eerie it would be for a killer to put their future victims’ names in an obit column.

How do you like to connect to your readers?

I love to hear from my readers through email or Facebook or twitter. It thrills me when I receive an email from a fan that lives across the country. I also love getting reviews from my readers, even if they’re not favorable. I always want to know—good or bad—what people think of my writing.

OR, if you meant ‘make a connection’ as in a psychological or metaphysical way, it would be:

I love writing stories that evoke emotions in readers. If I have a scene or a character or a moment that resonates with readers, that reminds them of something personal, it’s a huge rush.

I meant literally, but I am so glad you added the metaphysical connection! I feel exactly the same way!  So what’s one of the most memorable experiences you’ve had with a reader?

I received the following email, and it really touched me.

I just finished reading your latest book Death Notice and I loved it! Finished it in one sitting, I just couldn’t put it down. I cannot wait for the next one!

Thank you for sharing your gift of storytelling.

To know someone enjoyed something I wrote so much, and thanked me for sharing my ‘gift’ of story-telling, which is my dream/passion, was awe-inspiring.

What are you plans for the future?

I am going to write sequels to both Soul Seducer and Death Offerings. I’m also involved in a novella project that will be self-published with wonderful, successful authors such as Claire Ashgrove, Mel Odom, and Sharon Sala.

And now Alicia gets to ask YOU a question. Answer in the comment section and you’ll be eligible for a $5 Amazon gift card!

Who is the one character in a book you’ve read who stands out the most and has struck a chord with you and why?

Readers have until midnight Friday April, 6 CDT to leave a comment for Alicia and be eligible to win!

More about Alicia and her book below:

———————–

Find Alicia on the internet:

AliciaDean.com (but her website is being redone at the moment)

Twitter link is: http://twitter.com/#!/Alicia_Dean

Facebook author page is: Alicia Dean

Buy links and a link to my trailer:

trailer: http://bit.ly/GByIJa

 

Blurb for Death Offerings:

 

For more than twenty-five years, a series of unsolved murders has haunted newspaper columnist, Monroe Donovan. One of those victims was Monroe’s best friend, Katie, who was snatched from Monroe’s back yard when they were only twelve years old. Hours later, Katie’s body was found, but the killer was never caught. The most recent murder was over two years ago. It seems the monster has finally stopped.

After a promotion from obituary columnist to crime writer, Monroe begins publishing a series of articles on the murders, hoping to uncover information that will lead the police to solve the case.  But, rather than helping find the killer, it appears the articles might have woken a sleeping maniac. A young girl is brutally slain and the M.O. is eerily similar to the others…except the killer has added a twist that points directly to Monroe.

When more young girls are murdered, and someone close to Monroe is kidnapped, Monroe becomes embroiled in a game of cat and mouse. But what the cat doesn’t know is that the mouse can play games, too…and with stakes this high, Monroe is determined to come out the winner.

 

Excerpt:

Chapter One

 

I think about dead people a lot.

It makes sense in my line of work—I’m a crime writer for the Northland Chronicle, and my former job was writing obituaries—but that’s not the reason.

I don’t think about dead people because of my career, and I didn’t choose my career because I think about dead people. They both just sort of happened, independent of one another.

Maybe it’s partly because my entire life has been shrouded in death. Not only is my father a mortician, but my mother named me Monroe, after Marilyn, the dead sex goddess. Growing up, I hung out at the funeral home a lot with my father. I went to my first funeral when I was five—my aunt Karen—and touched the body when my mother encouraged me to do so. When I was in school, the kids called me Elvira, the Queen of Death. I presently live next to a cemetery.

But mostly, my connection with the dead is about what happened to Katie. Katie, who was one of my childhood friends. Katie, who was only twelve when she was snatched from my backyard and murdered. Katie, whose murderer was never caught.

I don’t just think about the dead, I see them. Not in the same way as the boy in the movie. I see their pictures on the web. Each and every detail etched into my memory, ready for retrieval and study.

Specifically, I think of dead girls—young, murdered girls.

It’s not as creepy as it sounds. I think about them because they deserve to be remembered and to be mourned. But also so I can learn all about the hows and whys of their murders. I hope by doing so, it will help me learn the who of Katie’s.

For the past six months, I’d been writing feature articles on unsolved murders. Mostly, the stories were about young girls in and around the Kansas City area. The series was finished. I’d covered all the unsolved murders of young girls in Missouri and Kansas. It didn’t stop me from researching the details of others. I couldn’t seem to help myself.

Although I should have been working on material for tomorrow’s article on the rise of street gangs in south Kansas City, I was reading about the six-year-old murder of Jessica Browning. Her case had been solved.

Shutting out the sounds of the newspaper office that floated around me, I read the details on my computer screen. Jessica was fifteen when she was murdered, but in the photo displayed with the article, she looked to be about twelve or thirteen. She wore a white, puffy-sleeved, baby-doll blouse. Her brown hair was shoulder-length and badly cut, with bangs that were longer on the right side than the left. Still, she smiled, all white teeth and freckles.

Jessica lived in a small town in Pennsylvania, but was kidnapped from a school field trip in New York City. The class had gone to the Empire State building and somehow, somewhere among the many floors, the confusion, and large number of high school kids, a maniac had gotten his hands on her. Her raped and mutilated body was found a week later, among a pile of rubbish in an alley.

The man they’d finally arrested was an ex-convict out on parole for rape. He’d been found guilty of second degree murder and was now serving a twenty year sentence. He hadn’t ‘planned’ the murder, so no life sentence or execution for him. In our justice system, murderers were rewarded for spontaneous acts of evil.

“Monroe?”

The voice came from my left, and I shook out of my trance. My boss, Adam, stood next to my desk. Strands of blonde hair fell over his tanned forehead, and his full, sensual lips were drawn into a frown.

“You okay?”

I tucked my hair behind my ear and squinted up at him, trying to blink the computer blindness from my eyes. “Yeah, sure. What’s up?”

Adam didn’t respond right away. He stared at me like a Leprechaun stares at a pot of gold. Not only was Adam my boss, he was also my ex-boyfriend. He’d cheated on, then dumped me, but his affections were rekindled last year. I’d inadvertently saved him and his fiancé—the woman he’d cheated with—from a psychotic killer.

Shortly after, Adam broke up with the fiancée, gave me the promotion he’d been promising me, and declared his undying love. Much to his surprise and disappointment, I was officially over him by that time. His baby greens no longer had the power to weaken my knees. Not since I’d fallen for Detective Lane Brody.

“A body was found at Riverside Park,” Adam said. “Possible murder victim.”

“You’re giving it to me?” I asked, even as I came to my feet and grabbed my purse. Phillip Conan was the other crime writer, and it was technically his turn.

Adam grimaced. “I thought you might want this one. Young girl. Phil will get the next two.”

A young girl. My insides froze as Katie came to mind. Had the killer resurfaced?

No reason to think so. Not yet, anyway. This case could be totally unrelated. The last victim with a similar MO had been over three years ago. Maya Pittman. Seventeen years old. One of her teachers—with whom she’d been having an affair—was questioned and released. No one had been charged with the crime.

Whoever had committed the murders was still unknown. Maybe he’d died, maybe moved on to another area, maybe had a change of heart. Regardless, he’d never been caught, so…

Anticipation and dread warred inside me. I’d find out soon enough.

“Thanks.” I flashed Adam a smile before brushing past him and heading toward the door.

“Hey,” he called out.

I paused and looked back.

Sadness was etched on his too-pretty-for-a-man face. His lips quirked in a humorless smile. “Say hi to Lane for me.”

 

26 Comments

  1. Calisa Rhose says:

    You know how I love this series, Alicia! Congrats on another successful publish! What an awesome fan email to boost your confidence.

    Ok, memorable character, huh? Let’s see- when I was younger I discovered a pirate continuity series. I can’t remember who the author was (and hubby did the unthinkable and tossed all of my keeper shelf books in the dump one year while I was away for a weekend retreat!). The heroine had long dark hair and silvery-green eyes. Feisty and always in trouble, the series chronicled these two’s lives from the time she was around 16 and he kidnapped her off the street (isn’t that how most pirates get the girl? lol) and all the way through their dreamy lives and the birth of their only child. Book four, the final one, was their now-grown daughter’s story. She took over the ‘family business’ of pirating. I want to get that series again. I was totally hooked on the hero, head over heels…hm, maybe that’s why dh trashed them? lol 😉

  2. Roni Adams says:

    I love Alicia Dean and am fortunate enough to have her as a personal friend. Her books are always spooky and always fantastic. My personal favorite, an old one she wrote years ago is “Nothing to Fear”. I was lucky to be her critique partner on it and I love it to this day. Of course her regular romance “A Knight Before Christmas” is another favorite because I do tend to like the traditional romances. So happy to see her career moving forward in a variety of venues.

  3. Alicia Dean says:

    Thanks again for having me, Denise. I will have limited computer access today, so I might not be able to pop in often until later this evening. I’d like to thank everyone in advance for stopping by. This is fun!

  4. Alicia Dean says:

    Hi Calisa, thanks so much. Calisa was one of my Beta readers for Death Notice and Death Offerings. She did a fantastic job.

  5. Alicia Dean says:

    Roni…so glad to hear from you. (Roni is a fantastic writer herself, and a dear friend). I appreciate the kind words. Nothing to Fear was released by The Wild Rose Press and was actually the first book I ever published. TWRP was kind enough to take a chance on me, and I’ve had several titles published through them since. I have a story coming out with them on August 8th, as a matter of fact. I’m VERY excited about this title. It’s called Thicker than Water, and it’s part of a series ‘The Tales of the Scrimshaw Doll’ that I’m doing with my fellow OKRWA writers. (Calisa has a story out now in the series called HOME)

    Sorry. This sounded like a whole other blog post, LOL. I was just happy to hear from Roni, and touched by her kind comments about Nothing to Fear and A Knight Before Christmas. (She’s not much on the real suspenseful stuff, so Knight was more her style )

  6. Hi, Alicia,

    Just popping in to say hello and tell you I read Heart of the Witch and loved it, as well of several of your TWRP stories. They always have a unique twist to them. Suspense is my favorite genre, too, and I am glad to hear some agents are open to authors self-publishing books when they’re unable to find a home with a publisher. Here’s wishing you all the best (as always!), and congratulations on the release of Death Notice!

  7. Diana Layne says:

    Calisa! Your dh threw out your keeper shelf? And he’s still your dh??? Lucky guy. If you remember the name of the series, that sounds great, let me know. My favorite character of all time was Wolf from Love Cherish Me by Rebecca Brandywine. Loved him, loved the book, still read it again sometimes.

    Alicia, looking forward to your new book, I know it’s a good one!

  8. Alicia Dean is one of my favorite people, and I am so excited over Death Notice and Death Offerings! I’ve read both of these books, and they are exceptional. I love her characters as well as her believable, memorable storylines.

    I am a lover of classic horror, and my absolute favorite character in a book would have to be Dorian Gray, in Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray.” Erik, in Gaston Leroux’s “The Phantom of the Opera,” might be a close second.

  9. miss mae says:

    Your Comments

    Alicia is fantastic! Both as a writer and editor. I got to know her when she was my editor at The Wild Rose Press. I’m happy to hear she’s also going the self-pubbed route, as that’s what I’ve chosen as well. 🙂

    Favorite character for me? Gotta be Sherlock Holmes. Like Alicia, I love a good mystery, and Doyle will always be number 1 in my book! (no pun intended!)

  10. Alicia! This is going to sound completely like an endorsement, but I don’t mean it that way. It’s really the truth.

    The character that has connected with me the most, is actually your hero from Death Offerings. He’s such an honorable guy, and his emotional struggle was very ‘real’ to me in a lot of ways. I kept thinking about him for days after the read. I still think about him, but I’m not quite obsessing as much 😉

  11. Joya Fields says:

    Awesome information, Alicia. Wow, a killer who sends obits before his victims are dead? Verrrrry creepy. Very creative of you, too! Best wishes for continued success and lots more fan letters. 🙂

  12. Laura says:

    another great author for me to check out…def. excited to read some of her stuff 🙂

  13. Hi Alicia,
    Great interview. I got hooked on your writing style with your short story, Truly Madly. I wish it was a longer story. Kept me intrigued. Tears of the Wounded is also one I’ve recently read. Next, I’m reading Death Notice. Love your style.

  14. Barbara says:

    Hey – nicely done!

  15. Alicia Dean says:

    I just have a second, but wanted to comment and thank everyone so much for coming by. You guys are great. I’m so happy to see some of you I haven’t heard from in a while. Thanks for all the kind words.

    Claire! I’m truly, truly flattered and touched. I always worry about my characters not resonating with people and to know that Lane did with you means the world to me. Love ya!

  16. Love the premise for this new series – I have to read these books! I have to agree with Roni. I recently read Nothing To Fear. You had me going. I wasn’t sure which woman was going to get killed, and which one would be the heroine. Got to love an author who keeps you guessing!

  17. Alicia Dean says:

    By the way, I don’t know how to change the profile pic to my latest cover. It still shows ‘Death Notice’ which is the prequel to ‘Death Offerings’ I’m a dummy about blog stuff. 🙂

  18. Interesting and encouraging interview, Alicia! Can’t wait to read your new work.

    Since my writer’s heart is into YA at present, I’m reading a lot of books geared toward that market. The characters must resonate with young readers but I find I’m also totally engaged. Loved Hazel in John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars. Fantastic book. Great to hear about you!

  19. Hi Alicia (she waves) – Good to ‘see’ you here. I loved Death Notices. Best of luck with all your projects. It sounds like you’re sure keeping yourself busy.

  20. Diana Layne says:

    Alicia, I think you go to gravatar.com or something like that to change your pic.

  21. derekd says:

    Your Comment
    Enjoyed the interview, ladies. I feel fortunate, as I’ve gotten to do a little bit of beta reading for Alicia, in addition to picking up a couple of her books. Haven’t read your paranormals yet, Alicia, but love your suspense!

    The most compelling literary character I’ve run across in years is Lisbeth Salander of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series. Strong, independent, resourceful and very wounded.

  22. Alicia Dean says:

    Sorry I’m just now getting back. Thanks so much to all of you for your comments. I love hearing about the compelling characters that stick with you.

    Jannine, I love it that I took you by surprise! Thanks for your support. (Jannine is a wonderful author, by the way.)

    Janet…I miss you! So great to hear from you. Still working on the YA stuff, huh? Hope it’s going well for you.

    I appreciate you stopping by, Callie and Diana. This has been so much fun.

    Derek…you did beta read for me, and I want to thank you for that. And for the kind words. If you ever check out my paranormal, hope you like it too. (Soul Seducer coming out June 4 is better than my other paranormal )

    I have never read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but I’ve certainly heard raves about it. I love reading about strong, wounded characters. I should check that out.

    Thanks again everyone…hope you have a great evening!

  23. Hi Alicia! I have been VERY lucky….luckier than most! I have been reading Alicia’s stuff since she started writing…I think at about 10 or 11??? I am one of her little sisters. Her & I have been close our whole lives. I can’t put into words how thrilled I get everytime something good happens to her. She is & has been good her whole life. Her writing is amazing, but there are tons of other amazing things about her. Congrats sister on all the good that is coming your way. You deserve every bit of it! I love reading your books & it’s impossible for me to pick my fav. Probably Heart of The Witch is close, but Nothing To Fear will always be close to my heart….maybe b/c it’s a little more my style! Love you so much!

  24. Natasha Deen says:

    Great interview, ladies–really enjoyed it!! 😀

    Death Notice & Heart of the Witch were amazing. Alicia, you have such a talent for the creepy, it’s…creepy, lol.

    Hope the sales skyrocket and the words flow easily for the next Alicia Dean thriller!!

  25. Alicia Dean says:

    Hey sis, thanks so much. I am so appreciative of your support and the closeness we share. Love you!

    Natasha…you’re a sweetie. Thanks for the kind words. Yes, creepy is my thang 🙂 Good luck with your books, too. You’re an amazing writer!

  26. Judy says:

    Hey Alicia is one awsome lady. great postDenise. As for fav character. You took me back a long way. Lantern in her Hand. A praire fiction story that was my first full read….in one sitting. I loved the heroine and have never forgotten her except for her name. I still see her dipping her hand in a stream, down stream from a sawmill, pushing away the sawdust and lifting the poisoned water to her lips. And her dying but her husband, long ago dead, coming for her. It was so beautifully written. I still fear dirty streams.

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