Monday, August 10, 2009

FEATURED AUTHOR: Kianna Alexander

Editor's Note: When I put out a request for a roommate for Slam Jam 2008, this young lady stepped up and offered her room. We hit it off immediately and I knew I’d met a future writer. Her enthusiasm for her writing, revived my own. This was her first slam and she knew she was going to sell her book. I had fun sitting back watching her experience slam and being excited about being a writer.

I was not surprised when she contacted me about selling her book. I knew it would come to pass. When a writer has excitement about her books, she won’t stop until she find someone who thinks the same thing. Kianna is one of those writers and I knew she'd find someone who loved her story as much as she did.

I’m excited to introduce my new friend to you and I look forward to seeing more books by her. -- Thanks Kianna for inspiring me.

Who is Kianna Alexander?

A woman, a mother, a wife, and a self-proclaimed Southern Belle

She may not be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but she can write a tall tale in a single sitting. Born and raised among the pine trees of North Carolina, Kianna has always been a voracious reader. Cereal boxes, billboards, and other unconventional sources fed her unquenchable appetite for the written word. Soon, as she entered adolescence, Kianna realized that she enjoyed writing the words as much as she enjoyed reading them.

Married to the military, she now resides in Alaska, where she plans to write more, care for her family, and craft, all while bringing Southern hospitality to the frozen tundra.

Skye's the Limit

One woman’s deepest, darkest secret is keeping her from living the life she desires. Skye Lynne Holdron used to be an outgoing, bubbly,ambitious person, until one fateful night in 1989 changed her from the inside out. Fifteen years later, she still suffers from nightmares and anxiety attacks. In order for Skye to find her way back to herself, she must first deal with the suppressed memories that plague her. But when the threats begin, she fears that her efforts, and perhaps her life, may be cut short.

What would you like readers to take away from your book?

I want readers to realize that no matter what has happened in their past, they can overcome it. We've all had painful things happen to us, but you have to confront them, deal with them, and move on with your life. Don't let the past hold you back.
Also, I hope readers come away with a healthy perspective on assertiveness. It's okay to stand up for yourself, and to expect people to treat you with respect.

Why did you choose to write this book?

I've been writing since I was about eleven, starting with a long stage play called "The Dream." It was based off of a dream I had about being married to a television actor(who shall not be named!). Even though it was just adolescent fancy, I realized I loved spinning tales. I veered off into poetry in high school, then in my junior year of college, I took up prose. It's my favorite by far, and way better than my attempts at poetry.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned that having a method is very important when you sit down to write a book. Whether you're a "pantser" (off the cuff type) or a "plotter", you've got to have some idea of where you're going before you face that blinking cursor.

I also learned that getting out and going to conferences and writer's groups to meet like minded people is a valuable thing. Attending last year's Romance Slam Jam in Chicago was easily the best investment I've made in my career, just based on the people I met. (I must admit I acted like a total fan-girl around Beverly Jenkins.) The workshops were icing on the cake. And, going to weekly writer's group meetings gives me some much needed cheer leading, from people who know what it's like to write.

What was your favorite scene/chapter from the book?

Hmm. I would have to say the beat-down near the end. I won't tell you who's dishing and who's taking, but it was so much fun to write!

What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?

That writing is work, but you can do it. Lots of folks come up to me and say, "Oh, I have an idea for a book, I just haven't written anything." Well, I have, and it ain't no cakewalk. Writing is a labor of love, but I survived. You will too, but you have to put pen to paper.

What is the best lesson you have learned from another writer?

These are my top two: Beverly Jenkins showed me the value of research for historicals, as well as some of the best sources. Marcia Colette advised me to write what I love and not worry about the naysayers.

What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?

Dealing with an editor who made an awful lot of red marks, and some comments I found insulting. I spoke with her directly, and kept it PG. I don't think it was intentional, she just needs to work on toning down the sarcasm and contempt in her comments. But, in the end, I just made the changes I thought were valid, and rejected the rest.

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

I'm a craft queen. Blame it on years of Girl Scouting. I sew, cross-stitch, paint in oil, and am looking to take up quilting. Although I don't think I'll find the time!
I stand at attention in the movie theater. Civilians without any connection to the military don't know this, but any movie shown at a base theater begins with the National Anthem, and everybody stands: kids, moms, and service members alike. As a military spouse, service to country and patriotism rule my life. The next time you see a service member, thank them. Don't forget to thank their spouses and kids, too, because the whole family has to sacrifice.

What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?

The best way to get improve as a writer is to write.

Rejection letters will not kill you.

That pursuing a writing career was a legitimate choice for me, even if no one else agreed.

How do you reach new readers?

I have a lot of web presence. I'm have my own website, along with a personal blog. I also blog with a group, the Roses of Prose, every Tuesday. In addition, I'm on Author's Den, Facebook (under my real name), MySpace, and now SORMAG! I'm also looking into doing some signings in the local area. Since I'm in Alaska, that will be interesting, but I'm hoping to get home to North Carolina before year's end for a big release party.

Also, when people ask me what I do, I tell them I'm a writer, and I try to always have business cards, postcards, or something to give them. Most people are pretty excited to meet a "real live author." Some people look truly amazed, like they've met a unicorn or something. ;)

If you could have dinner with 3 authors to talk with about their writing (living or deceased) who would you invite and why?

Shakespeare. Who wouldn't? It would be great to know where he got his inspiration.

Danielle Steele. She's been in the game for a long time, and I'd ask her how she developed that staying power.

Edgar Allan Poe. I love his stories, they're very evocative. I'd love to get inside his head.

Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?

DO write as often as you can, even if it's only a few minutes a day. The more you write, the better you become.

DON'T let others discourage you from pursuing publication. Even if you're not confident in your skills, you can still learn the craft through practice, taking classes, and getting advice from published writers.

How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)

My website is (The link to my blog is on the homepage.)
The Roses of Prose blog can be found at

You can search my "Kianna Alexander" to find me on Author's Den, MySpace, and at my publisher's website,

As far as email, send your comments to, or use the contact form on my site.

Our theme for this month is STAYING OUT OF THE SLUSH PILE. What is your advice to an author who is ready to submit and doesn’t want to end up in the slush pile?

ALWAYS follow the publisher's guidelines, if you don't they will scrap your work in a second. Also, be professional in your interactions with the staff, you never know who is going to read your email. Some editors or agents will also get peeved if you pester them about your submission, so sit on your hands and resist the urge to send that tenth email of the day asking about your work.

Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?

I'd love to. Next on the schedule at Red Rose is a historical about a runaway slave woman, and a light skinned black doctor in 1859. Jonathan has been passing for white all his life, but when the beautiful Naomi collapses on the doorstep of his practice, he's left reeling. When he begins to fall for her, he has to decide if he can accept his heritage. Meanwhile, Naomi has to choose between the freedom and safety waiting on the other side of the Canadian border, or the embrace of the handsome doctor.

I also have a jazz-themed romantic suspense series in the works, called the Queen City Gents. It's going to be a wild ride of jazz music, crime, and passion. My wonderful agent, Misherald Brown of ML Brown and Associates, is actively shopping it.


'Cilla said...

Congrat Kianna and LaShaunda.. Love the article and I look forward to reading your book :-)

Teresa D'Amario said...

Congrats Kianna! We miss you in North Carolina!!!

Patricia Sargeant said...

Great interview, Kianna! Congratulations on your release.

It sounds great! Edgar Allen Poe is one of my favorites, too. :)

Best wishes for continued writing success!


Lisa L. Leibow said...

I can't wait to buy my copy of Skye's the Limit next week! It will be here so soon. Hooray!

Your up-and-coming projects sound wonderful, too. Wish I didn't have to wait for those...{grins}

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