You had a career as a makeup artist, esthetician and educator for a major cosmetic company before you became a writer. Now, you’ve been signed with Simon & Schuster. It must be such an exciting time for you. What pushed you to pick up your pen or laptop, if you will and make the leap?
It’s very exciting, but a bit overwhelming to be honest. But, I am having a blast! What pushed me to start writing was reading actually. I had taken a break from reading fiction, for quite some time actually, and it was Twilight that brought me back into my love of a good story. As I watched Robert Pattinson and his career take off, I thought about what it must be like. To be a young man in Hollywood, the town laid out for him, but what if he wasn’t interested in any of that? What if RPatz was spending his nights watching Golden Girls with a much older woman? Seemed like it could be a funny story, and it just unfolded from there. The Unidentified Redhead was my first ever attempt at writing. I found my voice later in life as a writer, but I found it. And it’s continuing to evolve, I am just enjoying the ride!
One of your hallmarks as a writer is incorporating humor in with the romance and romps. I love your quote about Caroline your female lead in Wallbanger — “Just like my male leads it is IMPERATIVE that my female lead be AS fun as they are sexy.” Why is humor with the romantic story important to you?
I think because I have always seen the funny in everything. I have always been surrounded by people with a great sense of humor; it seems natural to me to enjoy anything and everything. For this very reason I have had to stop meetings I myself was running, because I have cracked myself up saying a word like “duty” to many times. When Chandler had a similar episode on Friends, I died! I thought, “YES!” Someone else gets it!
Was there anything in your previous career that led you to have your female character, Grace Sheridan from the Redhead Series be an actress?
Sure, absolutely. I grew up doing theater. I majored in musical theater in college and I moved to LA after college with every intention of pursuing that as my career. Things didn’t work out that way. There is a lot of Grace in me for sure, it’s tough to write for her sometimes because it can be very personal. But it’s good too, I like playing with her.
When you wrote the first book, The Unidentifed Redhead did you anticipate it having a follow up book or did that develop within the flow of your writing the book?
The Unidentified Redhead and The Redhead Revealed were originally one book that was simply too long, so we split it into two. I always knew I wanted to continue the story of Jack and Grace, Book 3 is finally coming soon!
On to one of my favorite book boyfriend books, Wallbanger… Your description of Simon immediately brought Henry Cavill to my mind.
“Simon Parker. He’s 28, travels the world as a photographer, makes a mean meatball, and has a killer sense of humor. Dark hair, wicked grin, tall and lean with speedbump abs. Outdoorsy and athletic, he’s got a soft spot (read: hard) for women of all shapes and sizes, and has a collection of old big band records.”
He sounds adorable and charming, did you have any inspiration for his character?
I did, both from Hollywood and real life. When I started writing Wallbanger, I had just left a job where I traveled almost nonstop for work. I was gone every week, usually from Monday-Friday. Mr. Alice and I got very good at a long distance relationship, and I wanted to write a story about a couple that met unconventionally, but then embraced their individual lifestyles. There is nothing I like less when I am reading a romance novel than a couple who is perfect. No one ever snores, no one ever hogs the bed, and they can’t be without each other even for one night. Let me tell you what, sometimes it is really freaking NICE to have a night all to yourself. And, I never liked the idea that a couple that was apart more often than they weren’t couldn’t be just a strong as a traditional one. What works for some doesn’t work for all, know what I mean?
As far as Simon himself, he was inspired by a guy I went to high school with, someone I dated briefly when Mr. Alice and I were on hiatus. We were not good as a couple, but we had a blast together and we were always good friends. He made me nervous, and I loved that. He also did amazing things as he got older, he traveled the world. I would see pictures of him scuba diving off the coast of Argentina, or fishing in Canada, on a beach in Thailand. He was unconventional, and so very cute. We lost touch, but he was always one of my very favorite people on the planet. I found out last year he passed away from cancer at 38 — a runner, a cyclist, a mountain climber, and he passed away. I sobbed when I found out. He was always someone I assumed would bounce back into my life. He is 100% my Simon.
And for our readers, who haven’t read Wallbanger, let me share your description of Caroline, because I think it gives a great introduction to the book, as well.
“Caroline Reynolds has a fantastic new apartment in San Francisco, a KitchenAid mixer, and no O (and we’re not talking Oprah here, folks). She has a flourishing design career, an office overlooking the bay, a killer zucchini bread recipe, and no O. She has Clive (the best cat ever), great friends, a great rack, and no O.
Adding insult to O-less, since her move, she has an oversexed neighbor with the loudest late-night wallbanging she’s ever heard. Each moan, spank, and–was that a meow? — punctuates the fact that not only is she losing sleep, she still has, yep, you guessed it, no O.”
Clive becomes a pivotal character in her relationships, what inspired you to have her pet become such a key character?
Pets are such an important part of our lives, and as someone who has only furry children, I needed to make sure that I honored that relationship. Especially for a single girl, nothing can be more demanding than your silly cat. And then, blending your furry family with a new guy? Oh man, that can make for endless entertainment.
As mentioned earlier, Henry Cavill seems the perfect image of Simon. What do you think; could you give the nod to Henry as Simon if Wallbanger was ever made into a movie?
I could give much more than a nod. Ahem…
You seem to have great fun with your followers on Twitter. How has social media impacted you as a new author?
Social media is key, and we have a blast on twitter! It’s so nice to be able to hear first-hand from readers what they liked, what they didn’t like, what they want more of. And for me, I have always been a reader first and a writer second, so I love social media as a way to get the word out about the books I am reading too!
And last, but certainly not least. We all need to know… has your boyfriend made an honest woman of you yet?
I think we are getting very close, that’s all I can say for now, but stay tuned. ;)
Big things are ahead for Alice Clayton and I urge you to read her books — you will love them!
By Jen F