Been some discussion recently about whether it's possible to write/read a believable, emotionally complex romance--with an HEA--in short-story or novella length. Got proof that it is. Possible. Here's the proof:
The story takes readers from the characters' meeting through falling in bed, falling in love, learning from each other and growing as individuals, and finally to their sweet, inspiring, believable happy ending. Does it all, in 25,000 words. Rock. My. Socks.
Also, and even better, the writer, Alexa Bourne, doesn't mind talking about her book, even to nobody fangirls like me. How cool is that?! She agreed to sit down for a little mini-interview.
The setting of Sunderland, England, really comes alive in this book. Have you ever lived there?
Yay! I'm thrilled it came alive for you. That was my goal. No, I haven't lived there, but I have visited several times. My mother grew up there (left with my grandparents when she was 16) and we still have tons of family there. My hope was to share with my readers some of the things that I love about it.
What was the most challenging part of writing a foreign setting? Did you have to (get to?) do any cool researchy things?
The most challenging aspect of writing a foreign setting is making sure I'm accurate. Of course, some of what I put in there is fiction. (For example, there is no island just off the coast, overlooking the Roker Pier Lighthouse.) But I also wanted to name specific places that really exist so readers could feel right there and learn a bit about such a lovely place. (Penshaw Monument, the lighthouse, Fawcett Street- all real!) For my research, I actually thought back to my own visits to Sunderland, and I also consulted my mom. I asked her to draw a map of the city and for details about some of the places. We spent some great time, as we often do, talking about the city.
You mentioned Aidan’s accent a couple of times, and I got to wondering about it. Is there an actor or youtube clip or something that I could have in the back of my mind when I’m imagining his pillow talk?
You know, I'm the type of author that has to have the story cast figured out before I can really get into the writing. BUT, I never share my vision of the characters with anyone else because what I think is attractive may not be attractive to someone else. I want the readers to picture their own favorite actors in the characters.
Fractured Paradise is a novella-length book, but it packs a complete plot and character development and everything. How she do that? I’m guessing the magic is in the pacing. Do you have any tricks or observations you want to share about the art of writing short(ish)?
Actually, Fractured Paradise started out as a 200-page contemporary romance! I didn't think I could write a shorter story well, but now that I've written three, I find I really like this length. Although, I do still find it hard to fit in a whole story (complete plot and character development) into 75-80 pages. But I like the challenge. I think the most important thing to remember about writing shorter stories is that it's still a story. It still needs everything else a 200- or 400-page book needs, but the author of shorter works needs to be very picky about the words he or she uses.
Aha. So that's the secret: write seventy-thousand words and then edit down! Easy peasy lemon squeezy! *head-desk* But I can't argue with the results. This book is good, and I recommend it.
And also: quickie hot sex in public, FTW. I know, I know, I could have just said that first.