Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Feature: RM Alexander, author of Veil Of Secrecy


Rachel Brackett arrives in Sullivan, Montana with simple goals: relocate, settle an estate, and manage her own antique store. Her parents and friends back home called it running away. That’s just fine with her. 

Rachel’s curiosity leads her into the forest, and she finds creatures who know more about her ominous heritage than she does. The creatures only exist in nightmares – grotesque mutants and shapeshifters. They seek vengeance for hideous crimes in genetic engineering, and Rachel is the prime target for retribution. While Rachel searches for the truth behind the family she never knew, a bounty hunter stalks her every move. Only Leonardo, a figure shrouded in the shadows, offers protection. A were lion with the perfect blend of human and feline features. Terrifying. Impossible. Alluring. 

When Rachel’s home is ripped apart and a friend attacked, it’s clear there is no safe haven. She is no longer running from her past, but trying to survive to make it to her future.


“My name is Leonardo. Please, do not come any closer.” The voice changed locations without stirring a single branch or crackling a single dried leaf.
She turned, scanning the surroundings. “Why won’t you let me see you?”
"Do you need to see to know you are safe? Is it not enough that you are well after hours of unconsciousness? Surely, if I intended to harm you, I would have done so already.” Without menace, the voice changed locations, hanging directly behind her.
Rachel turned, scrutinizing the fading shadows for an outline, a hand or foot, anything to provide a hint of identity. “Yes, but then, how can I thank you for saving my life?”
“There is no thanks needed, but you have just done so without seeing me at all.”
She glanced to the trees, noticing for the first time the tanagers and morning jays no longer sang. Only stark silence, a forest frozen with anticipation. Rubbing her arms, Rachel dropped the gaze.
“You should leave now. There is nothing to fear in the sun. The Others hunt only at night.”
“The Others?” She slowly rotated, waiting for an answer or a clue, wondering if she was speaking to a ghost. Absurd.
“Go south, following the slope. The thickness breaks in a couple miles. When it does, go east along the stream. You will come across a marked path to lead you home.”
Rachel’s stomach swelled into her chest. “How do you know where I live?” Watching her, following her, made him a stalker. A threat.
A charged lull passed. “Do not come into these forests at night. They are not safe. And I can not guarantee you safe passage.”


What inspired you to write this book?

It's a little cliche, but a dream. I dreamed of Rachel and Leonardo for weeks and finally decided to put the story down on paper.

How did you choose your title?

Originally, it was simply just Shadows. It took a long time for me to decide on something less generic. I was messing around on the Internet, playing with words, and finally, Veil of Secrecy came to mind for the first book, and the trilogy as a whole is called the Shadows Trilogy.

Tell us about the cover and how it came to be.

Ah, the cover. That was actually harder than the story itself. I didn't want a cover with humans or wolves, or tigers, anything like that. But that was all I knew at the start. I really liked some photos of misty mountains, but it wasn't eye catching enough. A friend suggested something with red in it, found an image that was close to what she was thinking of, and my awesome cover designer took it from there. It was a lot of back and forth, but finally, we were able to get the image, and fonts, to work for the story.

Did you self-publish or publish traditionally and why?

Veil of Secrecy took quite a journey to publication. Initially, at the beginning of my journey as an author, I didn't think I wanted to self-publish. Ever. I was reading a lot of blogs and articles, all saying the same thing: if you self-publish, you'll never get a lot of attention or see much success. Don't get me wrong, my goal was never to be the next NYT bestseller (although, hey, it'd be nice, right?) But I loved the story, and didn't want it lost simply because self-published novels weren't being taken seriously.

So I sent to a lot of literary agencies, got a lot of rejections, and a couple of requests to go to the next step. The thing was, Veil simply wasn't ready at the time. It wasn't professionally edited, it wasn't proofed by other eyes, and I still had the newborn author thing going that it was the best.

It took a few years, some more revisions, a couple more pairs of eyes and a bruised (read 'checked') ego for me to finally get the book out to the public. And, things have changed in the literary world. Self published books are gaining more respect, which is also a good thing - not just for me, but for all the authors fighting for a voice.

And honestly, I'm so grateful for the journey. I had to grow and mature as an author, the book become more polished, and we're both better for it. (I hope.)

What is your writing process?

I've tried outlining, I've tried being a pantser. And honestly, things flow better when I have the guiding hand of an outline to get me through to the next chapter. So that's what I start with - something loose, just mapping out where each key point is going to fall into the book. From there, I write. It's always at night when the munchkins go to bed, preferably with low music in the background that I can just hardly hear.

How long have you been writing? 

Depends on where you start measuring from. I began writing when I was 10. It was a hobby, something I'd pick up and put back down, doing each for months or even years at a time.

When my oldest was born, something changed and it became something I was more serious about. That's when the first draft of Veil of Secrecy was written and I haven't really looked back since.

How did you get started writing?

On accident. I've always been a reader. But at ten, I picked up a pen and paper and scribbled out this horrible story that no one can ever see. I realized I loved it, and from there ...

What part of the writing process is the hardest for you? 

The initial first draft. It's like giving birth. It's painful, it's difficult. It makes you wonder why in the world you ever wanted to do it. My first drafts make me cringe. They can even be discouraging.

What tips can you give on how to get through writers block?

Read. That's what seems to be what helps me the most. Writer's block is nothing more than an empty creative tank, and you have to refill it. When I get stuck, make myself stop and pick up a book. Sometimes I have to read the whole book, sometimes just a chapter, sometimes just a sentence or two, and the juices start flowing again.

What kind of music do you like to listen to while you write?

Depends on what I'm writing. When I write romance, it's love songs - soft, easy ballads with beautiful lyrics. For the Shadows Trilogy, it's instrumental only.

Who is your favorite author?

I don't have a favorite author, not really. I love books, and I have some authors I read over and over again, but not one favorite author.

What is your favorite book?

That's easier: 11/22/63 by Stephen King. I grew up on King, and though I don't read him much anymore, 11/22/63 is amazing. He's a master of the art.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I'm a Stay at Home Mom and wife, and I homeschool. My family is my first love, and I adore being Mom. I'd like to say I get time to scrapbook, and play the guitar, but those hobbies have all fallen by the wayside. There's just not enough time in the day. One thing I still enjoy is movies - I'm a movie buff as much as I love to read.

What advice would you give an author just starting out?

Something else kind of cliche, because you hear it everywhere. But it is true: Don't give up. Keep reading, keep writing, keep trying. The journey doesn't happen overnight, but it's one you really can enjoy every step in.

Have you had anything else published?

Yes, two romances - Matter of Choice and The Right One. Both are available on Amazon.

What's your next project?

I have a romance series I'm working on, and once I complete the Shadow series, I'll also have another paranormal series coming out. Right now, the romance series is slated for late spring, early summer, and the paranormal series for early to late fall. 


RM Alexander is an author of Sweet / Clean Romances that are sometimes contemporary, sometimes paranormal or suspense, but are always ruled by the heart of true romance. 

With characters who look for love in wrong places and are victims of the worse kind of betrayals while fighting for what they want and believe in, RM's novels promise a good read with unexpected twists and turns.

When she's not writing, RM is spending time with her husband and two small children in Michigan. She loves to travel, especially to Walt Disney World, and can often be found on Twitter or Facebook chatting with other authors and fans.

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