- This week is a second installation of how some Romance Writers affect so many people and make a progressive social agenda 'normal'. Heck, in many corners, the idea that everyone deserves love is a radical notion! So without further ado, I present ot you, the great Doreen Alsen!!! (crowd goes wild).
1) Hi, Doreen, and welcome!! So I know you are a woman of many talents, and that you always wanted to be a Romance writer. Congrats! What is it about Romance novels that you find compelling to read? How does that connect to why you yourself write them?
I got hooked on romance back in jr. high. I adored Victoria Holt and her gothic stories. Fortunately she wrote a lot of books! I loved the trip back in time, the brooding hero, the strong willed woman who didn't "tame" him but who became his partner and walked beside him.
Kathleen Woodiwiss was my favorite author after that. She was the first one to turn the romance paradigm on its head with her book Shanna. The heroine was the character with all the power and the hero, well, was perfect, never trying to grab the power from her and make her submit to him. Again, they forge a partnership.
That's what I bring to my books. There are two strong characters who overcome odds, internal and external, to build a partnership based on true love and respect. Romance readers get a lot of flack for demanding that happily ever after ending but I don't think the need for a HEA diminishes us as strong women. Happily Ever After takes a lot of work and we celebrate the journey and the partnership.
2) In Charming Dave, one of the protagonist's children is gay and the other has to deal with intense social pressure (I don't dare getmore specific than that!). SO AWESOME to have such rich, real-life struggles in your works. What has prompted you to focus on including some of the important social issues of our time?
Thank you! My characters live in the real world and face real challenges everyday, from dyslexia to anorexia. Ruark, my gay teen, told me he was gay right away. I was the first one he came out to. Teens today face so much pressure as do their parents. And while there are no easy answers, there is hope. Again, there's nothing we can't overcome if we have love and open our ears to hear and not judge. I try not to preach, just make my world real.
3) I personally LOVE your books -- I care about the characters and I find their concerns and worries to be realistic. I end up having compassion for all of them. How do they develop and come to life for you?
Thank you again! They live in my head for a while before I can tell their stories. The characters in MIKE'S BEST BET were part of a "let's put these two in the deep end of the pool" kind of situation. Then they told me what happened. The hero/heroine in the second book, WHAT IAN WANTS, were secondary characters in MIKE and demanded their own story. Dave from CHARMING DAVE was in both MIKE and IAN and he wanted a "happily ever after" ending, too. He needed a very strong heroine, and that's who Ainslie is - s survivor dedicated to do whatever it took to make a good life for her children. She didn't need Dave, nor did he need her, but their coming together as partners in life enhances their strengths.
4) Do any of these characters have a future in your work? Why?
Yes! The heroine of my current work in progress has been a character in all three of my books, barely on the radar, but Hope was there, quietly rebuilding her life after a tragedy. She has a great support system of strong women friends - aka the heroines of the first three books in the series. I think it's important for women to have good friends.
5) What's next for the great Doreen Alsen?
I'm busy writing the fourth book in my At The End Zone series, No Hope in Hell. Hope Monahan is the character I spoke of above. Hope owns and runs an earth-to-table restaurant, dedicated to local cuisine. The hero is a Gordon Ramsey type of chef, only Cajun, who is a culinary superstar opening a restaurant in Addington, MA, my fictional world. They compete against each other in a TV food competition and both mean to win. Hijinks ensue.
Thank you for letting me chat about romance and my books! Anybody thinking of writing romance should check out the Romance Writers of America, a national organization dedicated to the business of writing romance. RWA offers so many things of value to not only veteran writers but to writers still trying to put that first word on page one. There are so many paths to publication these days. It's an exciting time to be a writer!
Doreen Alsen wanted to be a writer her whole life, but took a detour into opera singing and conducting. She decided to write because her romance lovin’ heart couldn’t stand all the dead bodies on the stage at the end of the opera!
Doreen is a member of the Romance Writers of America, the Southern Tier Authors of Romance and the Central New York Romance Writers. Her first book, Mike’s Best Bet earned 4 and ½ stars from ROMANTIC TIMES BOOK CLUB and her second, What Ian Wantsearned 4 stars, also from the ROMANTIC TIMES BOOK CLUB. All her books are available from The Wild Rose Press.
Here’s what critics say about Doreen’s latest release, Charming Dave: “If you enjoy contemporary romance, I’d advise you to hurry and get a copy of Charming Dave. I bet it will charm you and sweep you right off your feet” – Siren Book Reviews “The best part of finding a new author you have not read before is finding there are other books of theirs to try. I thought this was a beautiful story, it had everything you could hope for in a book, romance, humor, drama and a really good story.” –Single Titles Reviews.
In her spare time, Doreen likes to cook, play the harp and teach water aerobics at Island Health and Fitness in Ithaca, NY. She is married to an avid sailor and has two grown daughters. Her best friend is a miniature pinscher rescue dog named Jackson, who sings almost as well as Doreen does.
Doreen’s busy writing her next book, No Hope in Hell, about two chefs who are too proud to fall in love. Check her out at www.doreenalsen.com, Facebook and Twitter for more info on her books, book signings and musings about being a book lover!