Welcome and congratulations to my friend and author, Alexa Day, on the release of Illicit Impulse. Your first book! Well done. It was wonderful to observe your process from a contest entry to finished book to CONTRACT! So happy for you!
Thank you! It’s definitely been a long trip to publication. I don’t mind all the crazy excitement, of course, but I hope the next time won’t take quite so long.
I'm a bit of a title-freak (they are brutal to create) so I have to ask. How did you select Illicit Impulse?
I actually didn’t choose the title; I was going to go with Project NSA (you know, for No Strings Attached). My editor vetoed that pretty quickly. Illicit Impulse is her idea. When I told friends what the new title was, everyone said, “Oooo! Il-LIC-it IM-pulse!” She’s obviously got a better ear for titles than I do!
Can you and Grace tell us how you met?
I actually met both John and Grace through Tal Crusoe. I heard Tal’s name in my head for weeks before he appeared for me as a character. But for Tal, I probably wouldn’t have heard this story at all. The idea of an oxytocin suppressant had been teasing me, but it didn’t take shape until Tal appeared. He’s a little more outgoing than John and Grace are, and Tal also doesn’t mind oversharing about literally everything the three of them did together. Good to work with folks like that.
Was the collaboration between the two of you a smooth process or did you have to work through some ground rules?
Generally, things worked out pretty well with the four of us, especially after Tal spilled the beans about how the three of them really interact with each other. I let the three of them steer the conversation for the most part. There was one story no one wanted to talk about – something that happened on a particular evening. I had to convince everyone that we could not move forward unless I heard The Truth About What Happened That Night. Once we had an understanding about that, I think I was able to convince them that I would handle it … I don’t know, appropriately?
Readers always think a writer's books are autobiographical and we writers know that assumption to be, at best, only partially correct. Would either of you like to elaborate, pro or con?
As soon as I learned about oxytocin, I wanted to see an oxytocin suppressant! I’d always felt it wasn’t fair that women couldn’t “run around” the way that men could, but I always thought the difference was societal. I never dreamed it was biological hardwiring! I figured the only place I’d ever see an oxytocin suppressant was in fiction, so I knew I wanted to write it into reality for some fortunate character. That’s about the extent of my personal intersection with the story, though. I’m not the lucky, lucky woman that Grace is, but good fortune has a price, right?
How about a little taste of what we can expect in Illicit Impulse?
Grace met John's gaze. “Tell me what you need me to do.”
His skin heated again. What was wrong with him?
“I need you…to take the pills…”
She lifted a fine eyebrow. “And?”
“And then have sex…”
She grinned then, her teeth very white against the burgundy of her lipstick. “With Tal. Right?”
He shrugged. That was, of course, who he’d had in mind. But what he needed already defied the fundamental tenets of scientific research. He definitely wasn’t going to go further out of bounds by telling her who to have sex with.
Grace chuckled, a throaty sound that might have been genuine amusement or something a bit less pleasant. “John, I hope you’re not thinking I’ll take these and then my eyes will be opened and I’ll see Tal doesn’t want to be in a relationship.” She put the pills back on the table next to her glass. “I mean, I know you have some kind of issue with him.”
“Issue” didn’t begin to cover it. Tal only saw her at his place, and only at night. After two years, she’d never mentioned meeting his family or going away for the weekend or celebrating an anniversary. Never mentioned flowers or Christmas gifts. So far as John knew, Tal never even took her to dinner. As happy as Grace said she was, John knew she deserved more than what she had.
“Grace, I’m not trying to pull anything. I need someone who’s not in a relationship. I need someone who’s willing to tell me everything. I even need Tal.” He hated the way that felt in his mouth. “Look, I don’t want you to get hurt. That’s no secret. And if these pills make you see things a little differently, then so much the better. But I really just need your help.”
“Good. Because I know Tal doesn’t want a girlfriend. So we’re all on the same page.”
John nodded, lifting both hands in surrender. “Right. I get it.”
“Okay.” Grace pursed her full lips. “If I do this, what would happen after the sex?”
John swallowed, hoping she didn’t sense the sudden rush of discomfort that seemed so painfully obvious to him. “Then you report back.” He cleared his throat. “To me.”
A mischievous giggle bubbled out of her. “You want me to have sex with Tal and then come back and tell you about it.” Coming from her mouth, the idea sounded ridiculous. “I presume you would need this to happen more than once.”
“Well…there are eight pills in a pack.”
Grace picked up the blister pack again and stared at it in silence. As John scrambled to scrape up the last of his persuasive powers, she said, “Deal.”
The tension that had been crushing him released its grip. She’d do it. “Oh, Grace. I owe you big time.”
She tucked the pills into her purse and laughed. “I have a feeling the pleasure’s going to be all mine. Just don’t be too disappointed if nothing changes between me and Tal,” she said. “And don’t be too shocked when you hear about what we do together.”
Whew! I'm thinking Grace has got John's number, don't you?
To find out more, you can purchase ILLICIT IMPULSE at:
Ellora's Cave: http://www.ellorascave.com/illicit-impulse.html
Casting Call – what actors would you cast for the three main roles in Illicit Impulse?
I always have a hard time with this question! To me, the three of them just look like John, Grace, and Tal. But if Hollywood came calling, I imagine this is what I’d come up with. Tal looks a lot like Jensen Ackles from Supernatural; Tal is a little bigger. If Tom Welling’s eyes were brown, he’d look a good bit like John March, but John’s not quite as big. Grace looks a lot like Viola Davis as she appears in the United States of Tara; Grace’s hair is a little shorter.
Alexa, can you share anything about your next project?
The next book is a follow-up to this one. To say an awful lot more, I think, would give something away about Illicit Impulse, so I hate to say too much about it. For now, let’s just say that someone is not getting married, and someone is going to Jamaica. Might be the same person, might not. I hardly know myself.
Now, as seems to be a tradition for guest blogs, some fun questions:
Your dream car? I’ve always wanted a 1965 Ford Mustang convertible! I saw one for sale once years ago on the side of a country road, and I’m still kicking myself for not buying it.
Ideal City of Permanent Residence? I’d love to go to Shanghai, if I could find a way to move my three cats there (you can only bring one to China). If the Chinese government doesn’t allow me to move all my cats, I’d move to New York City. They’re both such beautiful places, full of life, and the food is fantastic. The people-watching is awesome, too.
Favorite author(s)? I love Scott Turow’s work. He does such a great job of drawing the reader into the story, alongside some characters who are in pretty tough situations. So often, in his books, the characters make one tiny mistake that snowballs into something huge, something that sucks down everything they hold dear. And like that old TV show used to say, “You are *there*!”
Last movie you went to see in a theater? I saw Jack Reacher this past Christmas, and I really enjoyed it. I just hate that movies are so expensive now. I’m saving up now to see Star Trek Into Darkness this summer.
Last live concert you attended? Wow. I don’t remember – it’s been that long! I do remember that my date that evening was a fantastic kisser.
Favorite season? Autumn. Just warm enough to have fun outdoors, just cool enough to have a bonfire. Plus school supply season, the beginning of field hockey season, and all those changing leaves. It’s a feast for the senses!
About the Author: Alexa Day has tried the practical approach. She's always written, to pass the time or to stay awake in class or for the annual creative writing assignment, but all the while she was looking toward a sensible future in the so-called real world. Then she discovered that it's just as easy and much more fun to be fanciful and unrealistic.
Since then, Alexa's life has been about figuring out what's next and asking why not? So far she's drawn a paycheck as a bartender, a newspaper reporter and a belly dance instructor—and she's taken up plenty of other experiences for free. Alexa tries to find a little excitement in every day, from that first bite of something tasty to those first steps off the plane in a foreign country.
Alexa's interracial romance fiction features bold, adventurous, driven heroines who are also taking on the world on their terms, when they encounter the ultimate fantasy: hot romances with the strong, sexy men who are made for them. Check out Alexa Day's stories for romance served hot, with a swirl!