Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My week of author spotlights continues with Alexandra Sellers

Well, it's been a fun week of visiting authors...Tammy Dennings Maggy, Emma Meade, Tracy Kauffman, and now the spotlight turns toward Alexandra Sellers.  I always enjoy showcasing visiting authors and introducing my readers to someone new.  Oh, the joy of discovery, right?  Welcome, Alexandra!  

Thank you, Alexandra, for taking the time to stop by Kisses, Caresses and Whispers in the Night today.  I really appreciate your time.
Thank you for having me.  I really appreciate your interest. 
Can you tell us a little bit about your newest release?
Captive of Desire: The Writer's Cut, is the back title release of one of my earliest books.  It's the story of a Canadian journalist and a Russian dissident, who find each other after years apart and then must come to terms with each other's betrayal.

It's 'the writer's cut', by the way, because I hated the editing that happened to it and have restored the cuts and deleted the tweaks that my then editor imposed on me.  It may be that no one but myself would notice the difference, but somehow, after all these years, my heart is now at peace about this book.  I've resisted making big revisions of my own, though. I think every writer looking back on their early work feels the temptation to improve, and I certainly did.
 But I wanted to keep faith with the book I wrote then.  

(I've also just finished another Sons of the Desert story, by the way, but I'm not sure when it will be released.)
What inspired this book in particular?
The power of love has inspired all my books, and Captive of Desire in particular--I was so in love with my hero!  And also an outrage about prison conditions not merely in the then Soviet Union but all over the English-speaking world. 
How many books have you written?
Written? a few over 40.  But published I think 39. 
What inspires you as an author?  
If you mean, what can set a book going--it can be a conversation, a photograph, a house, a person I've met, the way the wind blows, something in the news...there's no end to inspiration in the world.
What draws you to this particular genre?
There are many sources of power in the world.  I prefer to concentrate on the power of love.
Are there any other genres you can see yourself writing and why/why not?
Oh, I'd like to write lots of different stuff.  I suffered a setback in my career ten years ago with a traffic accident, at a time when I was just embarking on a book outside romance.  I am now getting back into that place--I'm halfway through a thriller and there are two other books on the back burner that are right outside romance (but still inspired by love).  Wish me luck!
To you, what's the most challenging aspect of being a published author and why?
It's not coming to me...sorry!
How important is reader feedback to you? Do you let it deter you from writing what's in your heart?
No one can please everybody, and neither can a book. Of course reader feedback is important, but my first duty is to my characters and their story.   
If you could go anywhere in the world right now with one person, all expenses paid, where would you go, who would you take and why? (this is hypothetical by the way--I'm not a lotto winner! LOL)
I'd go on board a sailing ship bound for everywhere.  Is that cheating?   
Are you more of a chef or a take out person?  
That depends where I am.  London has great take out, and Vancouver, too, but the village where I live in Crete has none--unless you count my friend Katina's delicious boureki and gemista.  And for sure I prefer her cooking to my own.  My husband is a better chef than I am, too.  But I do miss Rose Tandoori Indian takeaway!
Tell us 5 little known facts about yourself. 
I once wrote a Cat language textbook: Spoken Cat and Relevant Factors in Worldview

I've studied homeopathy and cranialsacral therapy and practise on friends and family.

When the crime is big enough, I carry a grudge.

I was going to travel to Afghanistan with a friend the year before the Russians invaded, and I didn't go.  It's one of my great regrets.

Ever since reading the books of Essie Summers as a teenager, I've wanted to go to New Zealand.  I still haven't made it.

An excerpt of Captive of Desire
"Have you looked at my friend Vaclav's paintings?" he asked her at last. And when Laddy shook her head, he said, "Come. I will show you." And the electricity between them was so powerful that she knew that his putting an arm round her waist, light as the touch was, was an involuntary movement; she knew with a direct, certain knowledge that he could not prevent himself from touching her in that moment, any more than she could stop her own body's moving towards him so that her hip and leg brushed his as they walked.
He paused in front of the painting of a woman who stood in a simple pose, facing the viewer, waiting. That was all, except somehow one sensed the woman was watching the approach of her lover. Her eyes and part of her golden body were in shadow, but Laddy knew that the woman was looking at a man she loved passionately, and in every line of that naked body was evidence of a battle she was fighting with herself to wait, to wait and make him come to her.
Laddy drew in her breath through opened lips and felt Mischa Busnetsky glance down at her. They said nothing, and he guided her gently but firmly to the next painting.
A woman on her knees, her arms up and her lips parted, but this time the shadow falling on her was in the shape of a man's leg and hip, and when she realised the significance of it, Laddy felt her insides turn over. For a moment she closed her eyes.
"You are young," his deep voice came from over her head. "How old are you?"
"Seventeen," she breathed, her whole body aware of the contact between them at leg and hip, and his hand, burningly strong at her waist.
"In the West that is old enough to have learned about love," he said quietly. Laddy caught her breath.
"Have you learned about love?" he asked, quietly, gently, and she breathed, 
"It will not be long before someone will wish to teach you," he said. "You are so beautiful, so alive." There was quiet regret, resignation in his tone. "I would like to teach you about love," he said, and Laddy felt as though she had been struck in the stomach. She looked up at him; he was looking down at her, the same quiet regret in his eyes as she heard in his voice.
"But these things are not to be," he continued, his voice now causing a warmth to flow through her body, his voice caressing her and her body responding.
Her eyes, wide, gazed into his, and she felt that he must kiss her. "Look at the picture," he commanded quietly, doing so himself, and she looked at the picture of the enraptured woman with parted lips.
"This is a look I will never see on your face," he said. "But this is how you would look for me if I taught you about love."
No one around them in the crowded apartment was taking the least notice of them, and Laddy realised, with a kind of drunken joy, that what he was saying to her, in English, could not be understood by anyone in the room except her father, who stood by another wall engrossed in conversation.
"Here I can make love to you only with words," Mischa said. "Shall I do this? Shall I tell you how my mouth would touch your hair, your soft lips, your full young breasts? Shall I tell you what we would have together if the world were not what it is at this moment?"
She said breathlessly, "Mischa—"
"Look at the painting of my friend Vaclav," he commanded again. "This is a woman who is in love with a man body and soul, as you will someday be, but not for me. But if it were I, if you looked at me like this, how would I keep from touching your lips?" And he reached out and his fingers lightly touched the oil-on-canvas lips of the woman kneeling in the golden glow and the shadow.
Laddy's mouth burned as though it were her lips that he touched. His hand dropped to his side.

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About the author:
A writer and editor for the past 30 years, Alexandra Sellers has written over two million words for print, both fiction and non-fiction, including articles, reviews, training material, brochures, websites, mini-series ‘bibles’, blurbs, obituaries, short stories, and over 35 books. Her novels have been translated into more than 15 languages. She has also written and produced murder mystery experiences, and for several years taught her own course in How to Write Romance.
Alexandra Sellers has been a full-time writer since the publication of her first novel in 1980, writing novels that are both spiritually and emotionally intense. In 1997, her novel A Nice Girl Like You was nominated by Romantic Times for a Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Silhouette Yours Truly. Three years later she received the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for Series Romantic Fantasy.
The common theme that runs through her novels is the cosmic union of male and female: the reuniting, through deep romantic love manifested in the sex act, of that universal soul which was divided into male and female at the moment of physical creation, and which has been searching for its other half ever since. Her novels also express a fundamental belief that love conquers all.  Sellers is a writer who uses the canvas of romantic novels to present her ideas not only about love, but also about the world.
She was born and raised in Canada and educated there and in Britain. After training in London at RADA, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, she spent seven years as an actor on stage, radio, and television. She later attended the School of Oriental and African Studies, or SOAS, a faculty of the University of London that specializes in the cultures of the Middle East and Asia. Sellers was the first student to study for a double degree in Persian and Religious Studies; she was awarded First Class Honours.

Alexandra first started dreaming about exotic locales at the age of 10, when she first cracked the cover of a small collection of tales and pictures called The Arabian Nights. The stories were taken from The Thousand and One Nights, and names like Samarkand, Shiraz, and Baghdad still carry a magic for her which no amount of current history can overshadow. 
Her favourite hobby is foreign languages, of which she has studied eight: French, Farsi, German, Arabic, Hebrew, Greek, Italian, and Latin. Her talent for languages (along with her sense of humour) was also expressed in her book Spoken Cat and Relevant Factors in Worldview, a self-teaching language primer of the Cat language. 
Other areas of interest for Sellers include: health and alternative medicine; English grammar; linguistics; theatre/arts; Middle Eastern languages, religions, and history; Regency England; Jane Austen; psychology; dreams; storytelling; academic writing. 
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