Author Spotlight

I really enjoyed the time that I get to spend getting to know a little bit more about the very talented author who writes under now just one but to wonderful names, without further delay letís hear from...

Lacey Alexander a.k.a. Toni Blake

It seems as if you have always wanted to be an author. How did it feel to get your first story published and was the process of getting published more difficult than you imagined?
Well, as you may know, I also write romance novels as Toni Blake and have been writing Toni books for a lot longer than Iíve been writing Lacey books. When I first started out, yes, it was very difficult, since romance is a very competitive field, and it took a lot longer to sell than I realized Ė but Iím tenacious, and that helps in this business. And yes, I wanted to be a writer from the time I was ten years old, and Iím very glad I followed that dream. When I decided to take a stab at erotica as Lacey, however, that process went much smoother. I sold my first attempt at erotica three days after submitting it, so that was a big thrill.

Tell us a little about what makes Lacey tick?
Although this may be disappointing to readers who hope to hear I lead a wild, erotically-charged life, Iím pretty much just a normal, down-to-earth chick who feels very fortunate to make my living by doing what I love most. Iím happily married without kids, when Iím not writing I love to do crafts like quilting, cross-stitch, and scrapbooking, and I love to read but donít have enough time for it these days. I also will admit to an addiction to fashion Ė I love clothes and shoes and purses.

When you are writing do you need quiet and an organized setting or can you write anywhere?
I do indeed need a quiet setting. I can be inspired anywhere, and I can get ideas and take notes anywhere, but to really tell the story, I need peace and quiet, and I feel like that has gotten more imperative over time.

How do your stories come to you? Do you know how the story will go from start to finish before you begin writing or does the story develop while you are writing?
I get an amazing number of story ideas while traveling. Iíve always heard that traveling increases creativity and I firmly believe it. I frequently find myself thinking Ė hmm, this would be a great place for a book, and then a character or a scenario just comes to me and I start making mental notes and find myself mapping out a story. And yeah, I always know the basics of the story before I write. Otherwise, I donít think I could craft a very good book. I know plenty of authors can ďfly by the seat of their pantsĒ when writing, but Iím not one of them.

What would a perfect day for you involve?
Riding around in my convertible with my husband on a sunny 75 degree day, grabbing some sandwiches and having a picnic in a park, and maybe taking a long walk together.

What are your favoritesÖfoods, books, tv shows, songs, movies, and other favorites you have?
Wow, thatís a long list!

Foods: chocolate

Books: I love both contemporary and historical romance and I read pretty widely in the romance genre when I have the time. I also love straight historical fiction.

TV: Lost, Criss Angel, American Idol, What Not to Wear, What About Brian, and I tape All My Children and As the World Turns every day and try to catch up on them as I can.

Songs: Too many to name, but I love music Ė mostly alternative and rock, a little country, and I have an interest in bluegrass. My fave song right now is Paralyzer by Finger Eleven

Movies: Again, too many to name, but a few that pop to mind are Sense and Sensibility, Pulp Fiction, and Oh Brother Where Art Thou.

I read you enjoyed traveling. Where is your favorite place to go and where would you like to go that you have never been to?
I have two favorite places Ė Maui and the Canadian Rockies, which are very different from each other but the most beautiful places Iíve ever been, and where I felt the most ďat peace.Ē Although Iíve been to Paris, Iíd love to see England, Ireland, and Italy before I die.

I see that many of your stories have connected characters or are part of a series. Do you find it difficult to keep all the details straight when bringing characters back? I know that I absolutely love stories that are connected!
Yeah, all that sort of happened by accident, but I found I really enjoy linking my books that way. I do have some trouble remembering things like a particular characterís eye color or little issues like that, and youíd think Iíd be smart enough to start keeping a log, but I donít ; )

What does your family think of your writing such sexy stories and have they read your work?
My family has read my Toni work, but not my Lacey work, and honestly, that suits me fine. Iím very proud of both, but given how ďextremeĒ the Lacey work is Ö well, you get the picture ; ) However, theyíre very supportive and very proud of me, for which Iím very thankful.

Do you have one character that you had a hard time leaving when their story was finished?
I really get attached to all my characters when Iím writing them, but Iím usually happy to ďlet them goĒ when I finish telling their stories. I also tend to get more attached to Toni characters, simply because those books are longer ; )

What are you reading right now?
Not Quite a Lady by Loretta Chase

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Two things. Keep learning craft. Even when you think you know all there is to know, thereís still more to learn. Second Ė perseverance. Most people will give up. If you donít, your odds keep getting better, and I firmly believe that for anyone who keeps on trying, you *will* eventually sell.

Do you enjoy hearing from your readers? And how should they get in touch with you?
Yes, absolutely. I can be reached at my email. That said, if youíre a creepy dude who wants to tell me how hot my book got you, not interested ; )

Do you find it difficult to write under two names? How did you decide to write under both Lacey Alexander and Toni Blake?
Actually, yes, itís a challenge since I pretty much have to work twice as hard at everything. I have to write twice as many books, maintain twice as many websites, promote two names Ö you get the idea. And it all started sort of accidentally. At a time when my Toni career was not going very well, a friend suggested I try writing something totally different, just to challenge myself and do something new. Because the erotica market was just beginning to take off at that time, thatís what I chose. I thought it would be a one book thing, and when it sold, I selected another name because I felt it was significantly different than my Toni Blake books and should be ďlabeledĒ differently. Well, about the time my Toni Blake career really started gaining momentum, so did the Lacey career Ė that first Lacey book sold so well that my publisher wanted another, and another, and so on. So suddenly I ended up with two careers, and though it keeps me crazily busy these days, I couldnít be more thrilled.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?
Iíd love to thank my readers for their fabulous support! And Iíd like to thank Joyfully Reviewed, too, because you guys have been behind me from the beginning, which I truly appreciate! You guys rock. Iíd also love to invite everyone to visit my website  where you can learn about my books, read excerpts, and visit my very popular ďGuy Gallery.Ē Thank you so much for a really great interview! I enjoyed it!





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