Welcome to my blog Alix Nichols.
We both have the love of romance and Mr. Darcy in common. So my first question is: why do you think women today are still reading and writing romance? Many women today are pseudo-feminists if not wholly so, and yet we have this desire to read stories of happily ever after. Do share your thoughts.
Hello Zeenat, Thank you for the hosting this stop on your blog! Now, to your first question. It’s true that a lot of women today want it all: equal rights, a fulfilling career, a loving relationship and a family life. There’s nothing wrong with that. Technology has made the traditional division of labor obsolete in many parts of the world. Thankfully. As for enjoying romance books with a happy ever after, I would describe it as human rather than feminine. Because I suspect quite a few men would enjoy romance too if they dared read it or admit it. Just like a lot of women enjoy thrillers, science fiction and action movies (I, for one, do). But that’s the easy part. The darker and more complex part of the conundrum the fact that many women want empowerment AND an Alpha male. They’d like their boyfriends and husbands to do the dishes AND open doors for them. They want them to be sweet AND authoritarian, trusting AND jealous, rakish AND loyal, seeking their opinions AND all knowing… There’s a certain type of romance books that, no doubt, contributes to the myth that such a man exists. I don’t write that kind of romance.
Living in Paris, reading and writing romance. Sounds like a perfect dream. What’s that like? How much of your Parisian life translates into your books?
In many ways, Paris is like any other large city. It’s hectic, polluted and crowded. It rains 80% of the time. But it’s also insanely beautiful and fun. I hope I’ve managed to translate its beauty and its energy into my books.
What If it’s Love…ah, the million dollar question. Tell us about this book.
“What If It’s Love?” is the first novel in the Bistro La Bohème series. Its heroine Lena is a bookish, introverted heiress who comes to Paris to nurse a broken heart. The hero, Rob, is a handsome, charismatic and penniless waiter at the Bistro La Bohème, where Lena becomes a regular. They meet there and start an unlikely friendship that soon blossoms into love. Until she discovers his dirty secret. The title of the book is a line from a beautiful poem by Marina Tsvetaeva, a 20th century Russian poet.
Your second book is called ‘Under My Skin’…what’s that about?
“Under My Skin” picks up where “What If It’s Love?” left off. It’s a story of the rocky relationship between Jeanne, La Bohème’s spirited bartender, and the geek-turned-hottie Mat. It’s my Parisian version of “Four Weddings and a Funeral” .
When and how did you first get published? What was that journey like?
I published my first two books “What If It’s Love?” and “You’re the One” (a novella in the Bistro La Bohème series) in June 2014, directly to Amazon. Having read and heard enough stories of endless querying and rejection, I decided to completely forego the traditional route. I’d rather let the readers decide for themselves if my stories are good enough than have that decision made for them by agents and publishers.
When is your next book coming out?
“Under My Skin” is coming out in October 2014.
Which is your favourite character from your own books and why?
Lena is the one closest to me. Rob is the one I could definitely fall in love with. Jeanne is the most endearing. But I think it’s Amanda (the “villain”) who’s my favorite. She’s so much fun to write!
Reviews. Bane or blessing?
Definitely a blessing. Even a bad review is better than none.
I figure if you’re fond of storytelling, you’re fond of movies. What’s your all-time favourite classic?
I’m glad you asked! My number one favorite romcom is the 1995 BBC version of “Pride and Prejudice”. Because Colin Firth IS Mr Darcy! And because it’s excellent from every point of view. But there are so many other great romance movies out there! Check out this page on my blog for a list (trailers included) of my favorite little-known gems: http://www.alixnichols.com/inspirations.html.
If you could pick one iconic woman to play the heroine from one of your books, who would it be and why?
I’d pick Emily Blunt to play Lena.
There is a definite prejudice against romance writers amongst writers. There is the belief that smart women don’t read and write romances. Julia Quinn, one of my all-time favourite romance writers, as you may know, is a Yale graduate. She negates that stereotype quite effectively, I’d say. How do you respond to this kind of presumptions if you come across them?
I agree with Julia Quinn, who’s one of my favorite romance writers too, by the way. Courtney Milan – another favorite of mine – has a degree in Physical Chemistry from UC Berkeley. Eloisa James is a Harvard-trained Shakespeare scholar and university Professor. She recently wrote a great article on why romance novels are “more than worthy of respect”. You can find it here: http://www.vulture.com/2014/05/romance-novelist-eloisa-james-interview.html.
You are going on a holiday. Which one book, hero and heroine would you take with you?
What is your advice for other romance writers?
I’m not comfortable giving advice at this point. Give me a year.
How do you write? Is it more inspiration or do you work hard at it?
It really depends. Sometimes scenes and dialogues just come to me. They play out in my head without any conscious interference on my behalf, and all I need to do is write them down. Other times, I can spend four hours on one paragraph.
Which romance not by you, do you wish you could’ve written? What do you love about it?
Courtney Milan’s “The Governess Affair”. It’s extremely well-written, poignant and… compact. I love compact stories.
Give us one quote from your book, which you are particularly proud of.
I’m not sure if I’m proud of it, but I certainly agree with Rob when he says, “People think they come to Paris because they’re in love with it. But in truth, they come here because they want to fall in love. And while they’re waiting for that to happen, they default to Paris.”
Thank you Alix, for sharing your interests and giving us an insight into a romance writer’s life.
Thank you for your thought-provoking questions! I’m very happy to be featured on your blog.
Series: Bistro La Boheme
Publication Date: June 2014
No. of Pages: 244 Pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Can a Paris bistro heal a broken heart? Charm, wit and poignancy abound in this gripping contemporary romance. Introverted heiress Lena moves to Paris to nurse old wounds reopened by her neglectful boyfriend. Enter Rob, a charismatic and handsome Frenchman who waits tables at La Bohème — a café on Lena’s street — and has big dreams. He makes her laugh and forget her insecurities. She stirs something infinitely tender in his soul. Before they know it, they’ve fallen for each other, even though both had good reasons to fight the budding love. But their passionate romance is cut short when she discovers his dirty secret…
“Can we be friends again?” he asked.
“So you think we were friends?”
He nodded. She arched her brows.
“And you think you can be friends with me and Amanda at the same time?”
“Can be a health hazard, what with all the sparks that fly.”
He grinned. “Never mind Amanda’s taunts. She’s like that with everyone.”
“Spiky. But she’s a sweetheart, once you’ve grown on her.”
“I wonder how I could ever accomplish that.” Lena smiled, a speck of sadness still lingering in her eyes.
He stared, mesmerized. He could never get enough of that smile. A cloud hiding the moon must have shifted, because suddenly silver light poured over the terrace turning it into an enchanted place.
“What happened to your hand?”
He followed her gaze and saw that the knuckles of his right hand were smeared with blood. Shit. He could bet there’d been none after he punched the wall. He covered the abrasions with his other hand.
She grabbed his wrist and yanked his hand closer to her face.
“Have you disinfected them?”
Rob didn’t register her question. He looked at her delicate fingers holding up his hand. Then at her face. She was squinting at his hand, trying to assess the seriousness of his cuts. Her gesture was devoid of any erotic subtext. And yet the contact of her skin scorched him, just like when he held her hand at L’Espace. It stirred an impulse inside him that was both feverishly raw and infinitely gentle. It made his heart bump against his ribcage as if demanding to get out. He gazed at her hands holding his. The urge to run his fingertips over her skin, from her nails down to her wrist and then inside her palm was too overwhelming to resist. . .
“So have you?” she asked.
Rob blinked and looked up. “Have I what?”
“It’s just a graze.”
“I have a disinfectant in my suitcase,” she said.”I can fetch it–”
And release my hand?
“Stay,” he blurted out. Shit.
“I mean, I also brought some, so you don’t need to bother. I’ll disinfect as soon as I get back to my room. I promise.”
“OK,” she said softly and let go of him.
Buying Links: Amazon.com: http://bit.do/KSYB
Author Bio: Alix Nichols is an avid reader of chick lit, romance and fantasy, caffeine addict and a badge-wearing Mr. Darcy / Colin Firth fan. She lives and works in Paris, France. When not writing, she reads romance (what else?) and spends time with her family.
Goodreads Giveaway: Open for US, CA, GB and AU https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/102853
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Open WW. Ends September 7th.