Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Interview and Giveaway with Alice Clayton, author of the Redhead Series (you know - the series I've been fawning all over!)

As you well know, I am a new fan of the Redhead series by Alice Clayton:
The Unidentified Redhead (my gushing review here), and
The Redhead Revealed (more gushing here).

Ms. Clayton was kind enough to agree to a chat and is giving away e-books at the end of the interview:

The first book, The Unidentified Redhead, takes place in LA among movie industry types. The second book, The Redhead Revealed, takes place in New York (mostly). Do you have any background in the industry?

I was lucky enough to spend some time in LA right after college, and I absolutely loved it. I do have friends in the industry, but what you quickly realize when you live in LA is that everyone is in the industry in some way. Your waiter is an actor, your banker teaches acting at night, and everyone knows someone. There is something really magical about Southern California, especially Los Angeles. But I think that you have to experience it in the right way, because there are certainly parts of LA, like any city, that are less than magical. I still have great friends there, and whenever I go back, I make sure to take one of my favorite drives. I love to drive any of the canyons, Laurel, Coldwater, Benedict, Topanga...and I love to take Sunset all the way from Hollywood to the ocean. Stunning. New York City is a different matter entirely. I used to spend time in Manhattan on business trips, and I would be lying if I said I didn't always "pad" that trip with an extra day or so...hope my old employers aren't reading this! While LA is a driving town, NYC is a walking town for sure. So when I would visit, I would make sure to get out and walk as much as I could. The first time I visited NYC was when I was still in college, and a friend of mine traveled there for New Year's. He was studying opera at the time, and we were both trying to decide where we wanted to move after college...LA or NYC. We were complete tourists on this trip, we stayed at the giant Sheraton on 7th, and I spent each night just staring out the window at all the lights. Of course we spent New Year's Eve in Times Square with thousands of other idiots, and while I am glad I did it once, I don't need to do it again! Oddly enough, the next time I visited, years later, I was in NYC on the same day, flying in on a last minute business trip on New Year's Eve. I got in late that night, and walked around for hours, all around downtown. I was by myself, in a city I knew nothing about and no clue how to get around in. I walked and walked, stopped into a little sushi place that I could never find again, and lost myself in the city. New Year's Day I found myself once again alone, burying myself in work, and that night for dinner I grabbed a cab and headed down to Little Italy. Alone on New Year's, I ended up in the basement of this tiny little restaurant, sitting with the owners family. I spoke zero Italian, but as they passed me red wine and plates and plates of food, I felt completely at home. One of the biggest cities on earth, and I was eating with family. Not my own, but family.

I have to ask because I adore Grace – Did you write yourself into her character? Or any of the other characters?

There are definitely things about Grace that mimic some of my own experiences, but she is her own girl. Now the character of Holly is based on several of my best girlfriends, even my sister! Holly is my favorite character in these books, I adore her. I am so blessed to have such strong women in my own life, and I wish everyone had a best friend like Holly.

And Jack – oh Jack! Such a sexy, smart, all-around swoon-worthy guy. Are there any Hollywood types that were your inspiration for Jack? And even though I can’t really picture accents in my head when I’m reading, that wasn’t a problem in this book – at points I actually could hear him speak. What is it about men with accents that we women find so sexy?

Jack is...wow. Jack is a wonder for sure. What stamina! Ha! Someone asked me once, if there was a movie made out of The Unidentified Redead, who would play Jack? In my head, he like a British Scott Speedman. I have to admit, he is one of my swooners! And the accent, oh boy, what is it about an accent? I recently watched one of my favorite movies from childhood, Grease 2 (don't judge) and I realized that I drew so much from that when I was a kid. I wanted to be Michelle Pfieffer after that, and I wanted a boyfriend that had that fantastic accent. To this day, I get a little twitterpated when I hear an accent. Sigh...

Grace is several years older than Jack. At one point someone refers to her as a “Cougar”. How do you feel about that term? (Is there a term like that for older men/younger women? Mountain Lion? Bear? <---um, wait, I think “Bear” is already taken, LOL)

I am all over the place on the term "cougar". If you think about it from a purely sexual standpoint, this arrangement makes perfect sense. Woman and men at their sexual peak, enjoying themselves. I say rock on. Get it. Swing from the chandeliers. At the same time, there is a predatory notion attached to this word, that I don't necessarily agree with. Men have been dating women considerably much younger than them for years, why aren't they called Orcas? I love how you address real-world insecurities that women face every day and put a humorous slant on them. I think any woman who has self-image issues can relate to Grace on some level. Grace’s best friend Holly is also an amazing friend and great support system. Will we be seeing more of Holly? Do I see a potential hint of romance blooming there? Every woman I know, and this includes women that look perfect on the outside, have image issues. Think about the last time you heard a woman be given a compliment. "Hey, that skirt is fabulous, you look great in it!" "Ugh, have you seen how big my ass is?" "Wow, your hair looks really pretty today," "Pfft, I barely even had time to wash it today, it's so flat!" We seemed conditioned to bat down any compliment we are given, it's shocking when you start to become aware of it. And YES to Holly, there is definitely more in store for her. One of my great friends, who knows by the way that Holly is based partly on her, keeps asking me, "When is my girl gonna get some?"

And let’s not forget the sexin’. These books are very hot – Grace and Jack have amazing chemistry and love to act on it! Do your friends and family read your books? If so, do you get weird comments from them?

Well my father has yet to read it, let's just say that! He has heard things, many things, so he bought several copies...but will not read it. And that is ok by me! The rest of my family and friends, they are enjoying it for what it is. Some really like the spicier parts, some skip over them. My poor mother, several times she seemed as though she wanted to ask me more questions, but then wisely changed the subject. Sex is part of life, and I like a good sex scene as much as I like the funny scenes and the schmaltzy scenes. I wanted it all, so I wrote it all.

Have you always known the storyline from the beginning or do you just write as it takes you? Do you know how many books will be in the series? When is the next book coming out? I need to add it to my “stalker calendar”!

Stalk away my friend! Right now I have a total of 4 books planned for The Redhead Series. I am working on Book 3 as we speak, and hope to have it out to you sometime next summer. I originally planned just the first 2 books, but once they were complete these two seemed to have so much more to say, so much more to do! So on we go!

For me, this book was a total escape from reality – I felt like I was there, interacting with the characters, and thought about them when I wasn’t actually reading the book. What kinds of books do you like to read? I always wonder if writers read in their genre or prefer to stay away when reading for pleasure.

I read a little of everything, although until very recently, I didn't think I was a romance reader. Turns out I was wrong, and I am a sucker for a good boy-meets-girl. I actually just started a 52 Week Book Challenge, a book a week for the next year. I am in Week 2 right now, and really enjoying just reading for pleasure again. You can follow along with me on my blog at aliceclayton.com.

You have a playlist on your blog of songs related to the books. I’ve recently started a segment on my blog called “Friday Funk” wherein I feature a song that reminds me of a book or fictional character. What is it about music and books that goes so well together? Is it because, just like books, songs tell stories?

Music is huge to me, and I almost always have something playing wherever I am, whatever I'm doing. I have said this before, but I tend to see things in Cinemascope, and I always heard a soundtrack when I was writing Grace. So on my websites, there is a chapter by chapter soundtrack that accompanies each book. It's worth checking out, especially when rereading certain scenes. Everyone that rereads the Prodigy scene in Book 1 thanks me later...

Is there anything you’d like to showcase or promote?

I am working on a new project that will be going up sometime after the first of the year, but it's not a book. Secretive huh? Stay tuned, it should be a fun ride!

Thanks so much Alice, for stopping by; I'm looking forward to more of Grace and Jack's adventures!!

The giveaway: Omnific Publishing has graciously offered to give away 3 sets of The Unidentified Redhead and The Redhead Revealed in e-book format! *jumping up and down*

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Contest ends November 30.


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