I'm so happy to have Allison Merritt here with me today. She has a new book out called The Sky Pirate's Wife. Let's get to know the person behind the books.
Allison, do you prefer...
Milk chocolate or Dark? Milk chocolate.
Coffee or tea? Tea.
Vodka or tequila? I like vodka, vodka does not like me. Tequila and I have never seen eye-to-eye.
Romance or a Thriller? Romance.
Mystery or Horror? Horror.
Tell us a little about yourself:
I’ve always been a serious reader, so it comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I wanted to be an author as well. I’m from the Ozark Mountains in Missouri where I live with my husband and our dogs. Hiking and photography are two of my passions besides writing.
Did you always want to be an author?
When I was in 6th grade, my best friend said she wanted to be an author. I'm a copycat and declared I did too. It stuck with me and I wrote essays and short stories all through high school and college. I stopped writing after my dad passed away, but a few years later I started up again and I've got three novels written as of right now and a couple I pray never see the light of day again.
What authors had an impact on you growing up and as an adult?
Louis L'Amour, Linda Lael Miller, Nora Roberts, Dean Koontz. I know that's kind of an eclectic mix.
Did anyone in your life influence you or encouraged you to be a writer?
My high school English teachers were very encouraging about my writing. Probably they were just shocked that one kid in the whole school didn't care about sports. My family has always been supportive about it. Mom and Dad knew I was never going to make a career out of anything to do with numbers! Words are magical, math is evil.
What is your writing atmosphere like?
I'm pretty flexible once I get involved in the story. I have a big wingback chair I sit in at home, but I once in a while I like to head the the library and sit in a corner or at one of the cubicles there. I worke better with music, so I typically have earbuds in when I'm writing. A lot of the time my Japanese chin, PeeWee, sits on my lap while I'm working. He's prone to sneezing on the screen, but I think he's just trying to help.
What is your favorite aspect or writing? Your Least Favorite?
My favorite is creating the story. I'm a panster, so I never quite know what's coming next. I rely on the characters to carry me through and they do an amazing job most of the time. My least favorite thing is editing. I can critique all day long, but I don't want to do my own!
Your current book you’re promoting is:
The Sky Pirate's Wife, the second book in the Legends and Lovers Series. It's about one of the secondary characters from The Treasure Hunter's Lady, who would not leave me alone. The hero Captain Alwin van Buren is an airship captain who can't tell anyone that his disastrous airship wreck was caused by giant raptors for fear he'll have his license taken away. So in order to maintain his business, he seduces an airshipping heiress. Sophie Barnes always knew the man who married her would be after her money, but she never guessed that man would be someone she'd come to love dearly. She just has to make him see that he loves her too—all while trying to stop the winged evil that's determined to ruin him.
How did you come up with the story line?
Part of the plot for The Treasure Hunter's Lady had to do with a Native American legend about a giant serpent. I wanted The Sky Pirate's Wife to contain that kind of legend too, so I started researching myths. I needed something that had to do with flying and birds, kind of like thunderbirds, were perfect for the plot. What else would an airship captain fear if not something that could take out a ship?
How do you choose your characters names?
I'm really interested in the entomology of names. One of the best sites I've come across for names is behindthename.com. It tells you when the name was popular, with which countries, and they even have a website with surnames on there as well, which is particularly helpful. I also tend to use a lot of women's names that end in vowels. I don't know why, except that I like the ring of it. That's something I'm trying to watch. For The Sky Pirate's Wife, Alwin van Buren is Dutch because the original draft of the novel was set in Australia and the Dutch pretty much owned the western half of the country. He was already set in stone as far as I was concerned, so I kept his name. It's pronounced Ahl-win, in case you were wondering. Sophie, on the other hand didn't require much research. She was just a Sophie right away. In Greek it means “wise”, but she tends to make a few spur of the moment decisions that aren't up to society's standards.
~The Sky Pirate's Wife~
Sophie knows Van Buren's reputation based on a series of dime novels written about his adventures. Determined to be more than an end to a means, she despises him for luring her into marriage. In fiction, he's a no-nonsense captain on the verge of piracy, but the flesh-and-blood man wins her heart by proving she's worth more to him than her money.
Their love is threatened when Sophie learns Van Buren's airship accident was a result of mythical creatures. Winged predators that appear to have a grudge against him, a fact he deliberately hid by accusing her godfather of sabotage. If she can forgive him for that, they still have to face the danger when they're cornered and at the mercy of beasts and the evil that controls them. The real test comes when Van Buren is asked to make a sacrifice that could destroy them both.
Sophie looked at the book in his hands. No one held the wheel but her. “You let go!”
He grinned. “You're doing fine, zoete. Keep her steady, she's climbing on her own.”
It wasn't the idea of being the only thing that stood between them and another flaming airship wreck that made her tremble. It was his smile. The kind that all women yearned to receive from a handsome man. “You should really take the wheel.”
“My hands are full.” He waved the logbook at her, but replaced it and remained standing beside her. “You're doing very well.”
“Are you certain?” The wind blew her hair and snagged her skirt. The horizon filled her line of sight and she suddenly understood the thrill of piloting a ship. It was like having the same freedom as a bird. She could point the ship in any direction and go wherever she pleased. Nothing had ever made her feel so alive. Except kissing Van Buren. Her head turned his direction like it was on a spring. She covered the sudden movement with a laugh. “I think I'm in love with your ship.”
His eyes darkened from icy gray to the shade of wet concrete. He lowered his mouth to her ear again and put his hand on her back. “Flying is a great deal like making love, Sophie.”
She nearly melted at her name on his lips. “W-why do you say that?”
“It's instinctual. The mind and body work together, creating a moment of beauty. The first time is a little frightening, but once you find the rhythm, the proper technique, you have something very enjoyable on your hands. Something that you feel deep within your soul. Something that you never want to give up. With the right person, the kind of relationship you'd die to protect.”
About the author:
Allison graduated from College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri with a B.A. in mass communications that's gathering dust after it was determined that she's better at writing fluff than hard news.