Alissa Johnson is a RITA-nominated author of historical romance. She grew up on Air Force bases and attended St. Olaf College in Minnesota. She currently resides in the Arkansan Ozarks where she spends her free time keeping her Aussie dog busy, visiting with family, and dabbling in archery.
First off, can you tell us a bit about you?
Thanks for having me here today! I write historical romance, and my latest work is A Talent for Trickery. It’s the first book in a new Victorian-set “Thief-takers” series.
I was a military brat, so I’m not from one place in particular, but I've lived in the Arkansan Ozarks longer than anywhere else, so I call it home.
Did you always want to be a writer?
I’ve always loved to write, but I didn’t consider doing it for anything other than my own amusement until several years after college. Which also happens to be when I picked up my first romance novel. Late bloomer, I know.
What kind of writer are you? Panster or Plotter?
Pantser, usually. A Talent for Trickery does have a mystery element, however, and that’s an awfully hard thing to make up as you go along. I had to plot hints and clues out in advance, and nearly pulled all my hair out in the process. I have a lot of respect for mystery writers these days.
Where do your ideas come from?
Oh, I wish I knew. Maybe then I’d have some control over how and when they’re dished out. Ideas come in feast or famine style for me. There are times I have more than I know what to do with, and there are times I am absolutely desperate for a good idea, and come up blank.
A la Twitter style, can you describe your book (or series) in 140 characters or less.
Lawman and former lady thief work together to track a dangerous criminal.
What are some of your favorite kinds of stories to read?
I love variety. I’ll read anything you set in front of me. But I do have a particular fondness for romances that pair a bluestocking and a rake.
Do you have a favorite book and if so what is it?
I don’t know that it’s my single most favorite book of all time. I don’t reread it as often as I do other books, but Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time holds a lot of sentimental value for me. I loved the Time Quintent to pieces when I was a kid. Whenever I’m asked about my favorite books, A Wrinkle in Time is always the first that comes to mind.
What are the scenes that are the hardest for you to write? Why?
There isn’t one particular kind of scene I find hard to write, but I find all of them very hard to edit. I can’t count how many times I’ve looked over a scene and thought, this is fantastic. It’s funny, sexy, moving, and…completely irrelevant to the story.
Sometimes great scenes have to be chopped, and that stings.
If you could have dinner with any three authors, who would you choose and why?
Nora Roberts – Because I love her work, and also because I’m dying to know if the little Ozark town in The Witness was inspired by my old stomping grounds Eureka Springs.
Jennifer Ashley & Mia Marlowe – I had the pleasure of working with Jennifer Ashley and Mia Marlowe a few years back on a Christmas Anthology. I was still a very new author, and they were both incredibly patient with me, and whole lot of fun. I hope I get the chance someday to at least buy them a beer.
Last question, are you working on anything right now?
I’m working on A Gift for Guile, and A Dangerous Deceit. The second and third books in the Thief-takers series.
The bluestocking and bad-boy pairing is one of my favorite romance tropes. What are some of yours?
The Lady is a ThiefYears ago, Owen Renderwell earned acclaim-and a title-for the dashing rescue of a kidnapped duchess. But only a select few knew that Scotland Yard's most famous detective was working alongside London's most infamous thief...and his criminally brilliant daughter, Charlotte Walker.Lottie was like no other woman in Victorian England. She challenged him. She dazzled him. She questioned everything he believed and everything he was, and he has never wanted anyone more. And then he lost her.Now a private detective on the trail of a murderer, Owen has stormed back into Lottie's life. She knows that no matter what they may pretend, he will always be a man of the law and she a criminal. Yet whenever he's near, Owen has a way of making things complicated...and long for a future that can never be theirs.
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- The bluestocking and bad-boy pairing is one of my favorite romance tropes. What are some of yours?
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