Welcome, Alyssa Cole, author of Eagle’s Heart, published by Loose Id.
Let's take a glance at Alyssa’s bio: Alyssa Cole is a Brooklyn-based science editor, pop culture nerd, and romance junkie. In addition to writing, she hosts a Romance Book Club and teaches romance writing at the Jefferson Market Library in NYC. When she’s not busy traveling, learning French, and, of course, writing, she can be found curled up in bed with her favorite books, Skyping with her fiancé, and watching cat videos on the Internet.
Watching cat videos? No cat, Alyssa? No, I’m not allowed to have pets! Lol
Here's a blurb from Alyssa’s erotic romantic suspense, Eagle’s Heart: Salomeh Jones is a Brooklyn high school teacher whose attempt to aid an abused student ruins her career and puts her life in jeopardy. Julian Tamali is a special agent hot on the trail of the Albanian mafia boss responsible for a slew of crimes, including the death of Julian's family. When Julian finds a connection between the mafia boss and the disgraced school teacher, he sets into motion a series of events that will change their lives forever.
A night of pleasure throws them into a deadly game of cat and mouse with the man who has kidnapped Salomeh’s student and is possibly providing weapons to terrorists. Caught in a web of passion, danger, and betrayal, Julian and Salomeh must stop the mafia boss or forfeit their chance at redemption---and their lives.
Alyssa, how did you come to name your book, Eagle’s Heart?
The flag of Albania features a double-headed eagle, and the eagle features prominently in Albanian folklore. It’s a majestic creature, and also a keen and fierce one. I felt like the title captured the spirit of the book, as well as Julian’s personality. He’s extremely observant, as well as strong, intelligent, and powerful.
The flag with the eagle is a wonderful tie-in to the country of Albania and your hero Julian. Well done!
I absolutely adored Julian. What jumped out at me in is the pretty sassy dialogue between Salomeh and Julian. Where did that come from?
I really love banter in a story: I think it makes a romance, or any type of relationship, much more fun and engaging for the reader. I enjoy when my characters click in a way that allows for lots of it, and Salomeh and Julian have a great dynamic. The working title of the story was “Fireworks,” alluding to both the night they meet and the fact that they spark off of one another, allowing for fun dialogue.
I like great banter too. And love the title “Fireworks.”
You have some great lines: “Darling, we work for the FBI. Invasion of privacy is my middle name...” “The past is never the past.” “...when a person is poor, the only thing they can control is their honor.” “Being a project manager at an architecture firm doesn’t exactly give you lethal skills beyond the ability to bore people to death.” “Be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” “The world is a scary place,” Marta said. “But that shouldn’t keep you from the good stuff in life, like booze and fireworks.” “I’m going to be consuming mass quantities of processed meat with my sister and her husband in New Jersey.” “She said a good man didn’t need the symbol branded on his body to remind him to be watchful and virtuous.” “Sans toi je ne suis rien.” “When you meet your soul mate, it’s like all the breath leaves your body, and all the sense leaves your head.” “I thought he was a good guy. Are there any good guys anymore?” “Hope. It was worse than any drug.” “She had taught enough Greek tragedies to know that hubris always led to an eventual downfall.” “I think I’ve already gone above and beyond my job description.”
Did your muse channel those great lines?
For the most part, the lines I enjoy the most came to me when I was in “the zone,” just blindly typing away while in the mindset of each character and thinking of how they would interact with one another. However, two of them are paraphrased from a couple of Julian/Salomeh’s favorite writers: "The past is never dead. It's not even past." (William Faulkner) / “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” (Nora Ephron)
Wow, some great heavy hitters to quote from and yet they are perfect. Good job!
You seem pretty comfortable writing about the Albanian mob. Did you do research on Albania? The Albanian mob? The FBI?
I did extensive research on both Albania and the Albanian mob. It was important to me that I get this aspect right because there aren’t very many people writing about the country or Albanian people right now. I read a lot of crime journalism detailing the crimes of the Albanian mob in the United States, as well as case reports from U.N. Officers and other people who had lived in/studied the country. I minored in Poli Sci with a concentration in post-Communist democracies, so I already had baseline knowledge of the region, and the book allowed me to do some really interesting research.
Sigh. I guess there are mobs everywhere. Having Albanian mob works in your story so well, like you said because it hasn’t been written about.
And this word—prosti-tot—caught my eye. Did you research child exploitation?
Yes, I did research human trafficking, which is a huge problem in every country, including the United States. That stuff was hard to read, but I felt it was important to write about. I didn’t want to get on a soap box, but I didn’t want to shy away from the subject matter, and I really wanted to nab the bad guys and give some of these girls a happy ending---Eagle’s Heart allowed me to do that in a fictional setting.
I was actually hesitant to use this term, because it can be a derogatory way to sexualize young girls, but it matched with the personality of the character who says it (Yates, who is a tough-talking agent with a heart of gold, of course).
It is a huge problem in the U.S. and getting more attention. I agree that the word works with the character who uses it. I liked Yates a lot. She has great sass and you’ve given her good lines.
I noticed your heroine, Salomeh, has an interesting name. How did you come by it?
I’d read about Salome and the dance of the seven veils. In the end, I decided that her name shouldn’t serve too much of a figurative purpose in the story, but she does want Bardhyn’s head on a silver platter.
LOL. And yet having his head on a platter fits the story well and you used the analogy perfectly.
How did you get from the career as a science editor to writing?
I’ve always been a writer, for as long as I could hold a pencil in my stubby little fingers. Editing came about as a result of wanting a career in publishing, and the science aspect was just a fluke. It’s been a good one, though, as I enjoy my job and get to learn interesting things all the time. I also have to see images of cancerous mice all the time, though, but that’s probably the only downside.
Now, down to the nitty gritty of writing. What is the hardest part --drafting, editing, research, or marketing? Why?
The hardest part is editing, for sure! Writing is hard, but sometimes the words just start filling me up until I’m ready to burst---then getting them down is easy, and even kind of a relief. But then you have to edit that and make sure that it’s smart, and interesting, and enthralling. That’s no easy task!
What is your newest project? Anything else you want to share?
Right now I’m working on revising the first in a new adult post apocalyptic romance series that has been picked up by Carina.
I’m also working on a Revolutionary War romance anthology with a couple of other authors. For Love and Liberty: Untold Love Stories of the American Revolution is an anthology that focuses on multicultural and LGBT romance from that period. I’m working on it with Kate McMurray, Lena Hart, and Stacey Agdern. Check out my website in May for more info on that project!
Let's do a speed round:
Favorite color: Red
Favorite drink: That purple stuff
Favorite movie: The Princess Bride (excellent choice!)
Favorite accessory: hair-tie on my right wrist
Thank you, Alyssa, for being with Coffee Time Romance and me. I wish you much success.
Find Alyssa at:
Website | Facebook | Twitter: @AlyssaColeLit
Find Eagle’s Heart at:
Amazon | B&N | All Romance eBooks | Loose Id