I’m delighted to welcome author Alexa Bourne to my blog today!
Tell us a little about your newest release, Fractured Paradise, the second book in your Honor Guard series. What inspired this story?
This story began as a way for me to deal with my grandmother’s death back in 2003. When I revised it a few years later, it became more about honoring my British heritage. (My mother and grandparents grew up in Sunderland, England, which is the setting of the book.)
Technical analyst Rachel Grant arrives in Sunderland intent on tidying up her grandmother’s cottage, but the disaster she discovers requires more than a gentle sweep of a dust rag. Determined to please the most important person in her life, she trades her computer keyboard for a hammer and nails to make the repairs. She doesn’t count on the chilly reception from the locals who want to claim Nan’s home as their own.
Tour guide Aidan Camden wants to buy the cottage. He’s determined to acquire the property no matter how attractive he finds the current occupant. However, when tragedy strikes, throwing them both into a tailspin, he discovers he wants more than the house. He longs for the sexy American as well. Can Aidan put his own ghosts to rest in time to save the woman who’s claimed his heart?
What are you working on now? Do you have any releases scheduled for this year?
At the moment, I’m revising a partial of a full-length romantic suspense story. In December my 3rd Honor Guard novella, Simple Treasures, will be released. I’m very excited about that one too. It’s a story about a woman who witnesses a crime no one believes happened and it takes place in Edinburgh, Scotland during New Year’s.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
I love all aspects of writing, but my favorite thing is when the characters do or say something completely different from what I want or expect. I don’t plot my books before I write the rough draft, so it really is like unwrapping a gift and having no idea what to expect.
Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, character, or…?
As I said, I don’t plot. I write my rough draft on paper (in notebooks!) and I just rush through it as quickly as I can. For novellas/short stories, it may take me a week or two. For full-length novels, it takes me about a month or 2 depending on what’s going on in my “real world”. I discover the plot and the characters as I write the rough draft. When I get to the revisions, I type it all up and revise as I go. The closer I am to being finished, the more time I spend on the computer. (I usually go through 4-6 drafts, depending on the story.)
What is the best thing about being an author?
Hearing how readers interpret the story and how they enjoy it. It gives me such a feeling of accomplishment, a feeling I never want to lose.
What is your favorite scene from this story and why?
My favorite scene is when Rachel and Aidan are in the church. (I don’t want to say much more because I don’t want to ruin it for people who haven’t read it yet!) I love this scene because they are both at their most vulnerable, although they don’t necessarily realize it, and yet they each become the anchor for the other. (I actually entered this scene in a contest several years ago and it won first place.)
Where is your favorite place in the world?
Glenfinnan, Scotland is my happy place. It’s a beautiful Highland village! It was also the inspiration for the setting in my first book, Her Highland Champion. Actually, I’d be happy anywhere in the UK. If I could pick up and move tomorrow I would.
What is your favorite food to cook or eat?
LOL! I don’t cook….much. My favorite food is Hawaiian pizza!
These are few of my favorite things:
1. Children’s laughter
3. The sound of the waves crashing into the beach
In a perfect world, Rachel Grant would be sitting on the back porch of her grandmother’s English cottage sipping a pint of lager while watching the boats ferry tourists across the North Sea.
But this wasn’t a perfect world.
The small cottage she’d been sent to “tidy-up” stared at her with broken windows, exterior walls missing wooden slats and stone, and a thousand years of neglect. Uncontrolled grasses choked the once vibrant and sweet-smelling gardens. Her sanctuary, Nan had called it? Maybe sometime in the last century.
She dropped her suitcases and flexed her fingers. She’d come to do a little dusting, a little washing, and poof, she would have the cottage ready for her grandmother’s return. But this eyesore required extensive renovations. As a technical analyst for the International Protective Network, Rachel worked with computers and digital research. Manual labor was way out of her comfort zone.
Thunder crackled above, and she squinted up to the sky. An impending storm prepared to drench her at any moment—not that it would make much difference. When she’d rowed out to this isolated, pathetic piece of dirt, she’d soaked herself through. She shivered against the cursed wind, ran her fingers through her hair, and blew out a slow breath. Now what?
She’d given up her seat in front of a flat screen and a keyboard back in Edinburgh to execute her nana’s fanciful ideas of returning to Sunderland. Rachel had agreed only because it was for Nan, but….
“This, I did not sign up for.” Tears pricked at the corners of her wind-burned eyes, threatening to rip her resolve to shreds. Getting here had been hard enough. It wasn’t fair that her island of paradise looked like the summer cottage from a teenage horror movie.
She took a cleansing breath. No panicking allowed. Solving problems was her specialty, after all. “Well, computer problems, anyway,” she mumbled.
“A bit of a disappointment, I expect.” A rich, deep voice with a twinge of an English accent drifted from behind her.
She whirled around. Her hair whipped against her cheeks and made her wish for the hundredth time today she hadn’t packed all her hair clips.
“Sorry. I didn’t mean to frighten you.”
The stranger paused beside the edge of the clearing, and her heart stuttered. Although no one would mistake him for a Hollywood leading man, this guy could command attention by stepping into a room. Or onto an island.
“That’s okay. You didn’t.” She permitted her gaze to wander over him.
He kept his hands stuffed into the front pockets of faded jeans. The wind tore at his gray long-sleeved shirt, outlining the contours of a well-defined chest. Unruly light brown hair touched his collar. High cheekbones accented his deep-set eyes. Not friendly eyes, but no threat lay behind them either, at least none she could uncover.
He pulled a hand from his pocket and held it out. “Aidan Camden of Dawson Tours, your neighbor from across the water.” He tipped his head toward the way he’d come.
Camden. His name sounded familiar, but why? She shook his hand with a hint of hesitation. “Rachel Grant.”
His fingers warmed her skin, his grip strong and confident. Awareness trailed along her arm. Then again, it could be the accent that made her skin tingle. British accents never failed to stir her emotions.
A trace of a smile danced on his lips. “Aye, the American.”
Huh. “You know of me?”
A low rumble of laughter slipped from his mouth, the sound relaxing her from deep within. “Word travels fast here. I saw you paddling your way out.”
Paddling? No, he’d seen her fighting with the oars. Until today, she’d never set foot on a boat, much less held an oar. But she would consider swimming across the Atlantic Ocean if it would make Nan happy.
“Tell me, Mr. Camden, are you in the habit of following foreigners?”
“No, lass, but you’re all the talk of the Roker area. The mighty Grant descendant, come to see about selling the family cottage.”
Alexa Bourne is a teacher by day and a romantic suspense writer by nights, weekends, and all school holidays. She also teaches online classes for writers throughout the year. She is thrilled to be writing for Decadent Publishing and to have the chance to share her love of Great Britain with readers everywhere.
When she’s not concocting sinister plots and steamy love scenes or traveling and exploring new cultures, Alexa spends her time reading, watching brainless TV and thinking about exercising. She loves to interact with readers, so visit her web page, hang out at her blog, follow her on Twitter or drop her a note at Alexa@alexabourne.com!
You can find Alexa at:
You can buy Fractured Paradise at: