Interview with Stoni Alexander, Author of Dakota Luck
15 Dec 2020
What can you tell us about your new release, Dakota Luck?
First, DAKOTA LUCK was an absolute blast to write! Dakota is an angry anti-hero with a young child. We see his anger early on in the story, along with the tenderness and unconditional love he shows for his daughter.
Providence is an iron-willed heroine who isn’t looking for a man to complete her. She has a full life and a painful past, but that doesn’t stop her from being a kick-ass female lead who stands up to Dakota. These two have a lot of energy when they’re together. J
I love writing stories about people with secrets, men who are driven to succeed, but have a chip on their shoulders. DAKOTA LUCK is an emotional journey of two lost souls who find love, redemption, and forgiveness. It’s an action-packed romantic suspense that involves family and a situation where the hero and heroine are forced to work together to ensure the villain doesn’t win. I’m staying high level and vague so I don’t give anything away for anyone who wants to read it.
What or who inspired you to become an author?
As a child, I was a voracious reader. Since the age of seven, I dreamed of writing stories. That didn’t happen however. I graduated college and got a job. I married, had a son, earned a graduate degree, and continued working in corporate America.
Years later, I credit my husband for encouraging me to take that important first step. I was working in a high-pressure job, but had been tasked with a “special assignment”. It was draining the life out of me and I was miserable. On our daily dog walk after work, my hubs and I had a life-changing conversation. I started writing my first novel that evening. About a year after that, I quit my job. That was a fun day!!! I’m grateful for my husband’s encouragement, and for every day that I get to write. I’m loving this amazing adventure.
What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?
There are so, so many, but here are a handful of books and authors I adore.
I love anything by Malcolm Gladwell: Outliers, The Tipping Point, David and Goliath to mention a few.
The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Book three, The Prisoner of Azkaban is my fave.
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig
The Tell-Tale Heart (a short story) by Edgar Allen Poe
And anything by Stoni Alexander. Haha! I’m often asked which story in my six-book series is my favorite. While I love all my stories, THE HOTT TOUCH, is my favorite. Writing a character as bold and brave and loud as Maverick Hott took time. One day, at about 37,000 words in to the manuscript, I pushed away from my keyboard realizing that the story wasn’t working. I walked away from that manuscript and wrote BEAUTIFUL STEPBROTHER, which is a standalone. When I returned to Maverick, I scrapped the story and the initial heroine. Reworking that novel was a challenge, but once I created Carly, the story fell into place. Sticking with that challenge was so rewarding for me as a writer.
Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?
Oh, boy, so many amazing authors and creative people come to mind. I’d have to go with the Queen of Romance, Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb. I’d have so many questions for her. She has an entire room in her bookstore, Turn the Page Bookstore, dedicated to just her novels. It’s amazing to see. What an accomplishment.
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
Writing…hands down. I love the business of publishing too. Having a Master’s in Marketing helps. The hardest thing for me is plotting. My plots are complicated with more than one villain. The situations have to feel realistic and motivated. I once read a blog where an author explained that she would come up with a plot while on a dog walk. If that were me, I’d have to walk from D.C. all the way to California!!!
But, once I have that plot, I’m in my writing cave happily crafting my story seven days a week, though I tend to write half days on the weekend. Work-life balance is important, but I’m so engulfed in the story, I have to remind myself to engage in the real world.
What is a typical day like for you?
If I’m writing, then I’m butt in chair writing. Period. No Internet save for Merriam-Webster. At the end of my work day—when my brain shuts off or my eyes are tired—I stop. Power walking (on good-weather-days) is a must for the hubs and me, so it’s the perfect transition. It’s like commuting home after a full day at the office.
If I’m plotting, then I do that in small chunks which leaves me time to do other things. I find that also gives my brain the ability to create. I’ll start doing something completely unrelated and an idea will pop into my head. Or my muse will wake me in the middle of the night. I learned the hard way, if I don’t write it down, that idea or the words themselves are a hazy mess by morning!
What scene from Dakota Luck was your favorite to write?
I love the scene at ALPHA HQ where Dakota and Providence see each other for the first time as they really are and learn they must work together to ensure Dakota doesn’t get arrested for a crime he didn’t commit. They are shocked, so angry for being deceived by the other, but so crazy attracted to each other. There’s a lot of powerful energy in that scene, but they’re at the office, so they have to fight against it.
And any scene where Dakota’s daughter, Sammy, is interacting with her daddy was a blast to write. She’s a scene stealer, for sure.
Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?
It used to be: Butt in chair and write.
Not too long ago, I saw a sign that kept popping up in Rodrigo y Gabriela’s YouTube videos that made perfect sense, so I created my own sign and stuck it on my bulletin board. It says: Trust The Process. I think that, above all, is my truth. The story and the words will come.
And I’m grateful every single day that I get to live my dream job.
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