Saturday, 2 March 2013

Interview: Alissa Callen

This week, I have Rural Romance author, Alissa Callen, joining me here on the blog to talk about her writing journey and the books that saw her through on to publication. Alissa is an author for Escape Publishing and Random House.

A picture of Alissa beautiful thoroughbred, Banjo.

Welcome, Alissa!

Thanks so much for having me. :)

Well, let's get started. First, tell us how your journey began and a little about how you got here?
I’ve always written, but it wasn’t until my youngest started school that I had the time to glue my fingers to the keyboard. Once a teacher and a counsellor, I remained interested in the life journeys that people take. Life doesn’t always deliver a happily-ever-after and so romance was the perfect genre to make sure that no matter what happens to a character, they are guaranteed a happy ending. I’m a country girl and love the Australian bush, so it was also only natural that my settings are rural and small town ones. :)

That's great. :) So, what was your reaction to getting The Call?
Disbelief. As it was an email, I kept staring at it thinking I’d missed something. Whenever a submission reply came in, I always looked at the last paragraph as that contained ‘the verdict”. But when I didn’t see the words I was expecting I really was thrown (but in a good way :) ).

It's a bit like that isn't it. You can always believe the rejections, but never the acceptances.
Now what was the hardest thing for you to learn during the writing/publishing experience?

Navigating cyberspace. I am still not on twitter and am only just getting my head around Facebook and blogging. For someone who didn’t even have a website pre-publication it’s been a very interesting ride. The publishing landscape is changing and so too is the need to be cyber-savvy. As both my new releases are eBooks, I have also been delving into such things like digital-specific promo as the world really is a worldwide marketplace.
You're not wrong there! I know a lot of writer's who struggle to navigate the cyber world. But it really is vital for them to do so.
Tell us, what's your favourite part of the process (editing, the revealing of a cover, meeting your readers)?

Each part of the publishing process brings with it, its own rewards. It is magical to see your cover for the first time and so heart-warming to learn that a reader has enjoyed your books. And despite the ongoing hair-pulling, I must confess, I actually rather like edits too. I know. I need to get out more  :)
I'm sure you're not the only one haha.
Do you preach plotting or pantsing (yes, I think I just made up a word :P)?

How a book unfolds is very much an individual process for each writer, but I personally like road signs so would call myself a plotter. But if I do go down a side road that isn’t on the grand plan, then I am very open to just pantsing (great word :)) and seeing where it will take me.

Pantser moments can add a little magic, I have to agree. Now, out of your two novels, Beneath Outback Skies and What Love Sounds Like, who is your favourite hero and why?

Tait, the city-boy who isn’t all he seems, from Beneath Outback Skies would my pick by a margin from Kade in What Love Sounds Like. :) Even though Tait might come across as a little heavy handed at first, he only ever has the heroine’s best interests at heart.

Haha, he sounds intriguing. Now, I hear you are the creator of facebook group, Books for Country Girls and Guys. Can you tell us a little about the group?
We are so lucky to have rural fiction as a home-grown genre and the idea of the Books for Country girls and Guys facebook page it to locate all the rural fiction news in one spot. Pinned to the top of the page will always be a list of all the upcoming releases so readers will know exactly what is coming out and when. It would also be fabulous to share rural fiction with the world and am thrilled to say we have many overseas likes from such countries as Canada, America, UK, South Africa, Mexico and France.

What a great idea. So there you have it readers, if you're looking for what is coming hot of the press, head on over to the Books for Country Girls and Guys facebook page.
Now lastly, and as always, do you have any words of wisdom to share with the aspiring writers out there?
Am far from an expert let alone being wise :)
, but one thing I have to say is, to believe in, is to be true to yourself. Write your story your way as if there is no-one else who will write quite like you.

Thanks so much for joining me on the blog today Alissa. I will you all the best with your novels and look forward to seeing more from you in the future. :)
As for my readers, I'm glad to see that you have popped by today. If you have enjoyed this interview and would like to find out more about Alissa and her novels, feel free to explore any of the below links!



  1. Hi Alissa and Whitney,
    Great post, ladies! Alissa, I'm looking forward to reading both these lovely novels of yours.Great advice too - to believe in yourself and write like no other. Having a unique 'voice' is what will keep romance and rural writing alive. Wishing you all the very best with your two releases and may there be many more to come.

    Whitney, I can't wait to see you celebrating too. We're very proud of our youngest member of RWA :D

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Juanita! I love being apart of the RWA family. Such wonderful people and it doesn't matter where they are in their careers, they're always willing to lend a helping hand or a few words of advice. :)

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  2. Sorry cyber-gremlins are visiting me this morning - will try again to post a complete reply -
    Thanks so much Juanita for stopping by! It is so great to see your fabulous Escape cover all over iBooks and can't wait to read it:)

  3. I can attest to how great these books are! Well done Alissa, may there be many, many more! =)

    1. Hi Mel,

      thanks so much:) Couldn't have written them without you:)

  4. Lovely to meet you Alissa, and to find out more about you. The books sound great - more for my buy list :)

  5. Hi Kez, many thanks for visiting:) And lovely to cyber-meet you too!