Alice Orr has spent most of her work life in publishing in one guise or another. She’s been a book editor and a literary agent, a leader of workshops on writing and publishing and a published author. She now lives her dream of writing full time – mostly romantic suspense novels. “Because love and murder are my two favorite plot points,” she says.
Alice is the author of thirteen novels, three novellas and a memoir. Her fiction has received national awards. Her nonfiction book, No More Rejections: 50 Secrets to Writing a Manuscript That Sells was published by Writers Digest Books. Amazon.com says, “This book has it all.”
Her novel A Year of Summer Shadows – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book 2 recently published to enthusiastic reviews. Book 1 of the series was A Wrong Way Home and is now a free ebook on all retail sites. Book 3 will be A Villain for Vanessa.
Alice is married and has two grown children and two perfect grandchildren. She lives with her husband Jonathan in New York City.
What inspires you to write?
I’m inspired to write by the love of it. In no other pursuit – other than prayer and meditation – can I begin working and have hours go by without being aware of time passing. It is a transcendent experience for me. I’m drawn to that experience and it brings me back to my writing place over and over again – no matter how difficult and challenging the writing itself may be.
Tell us about your writing process.
I used to do a lot of things to get myself ready to write. I outlined and used a whiteboard with post-it notes all over it and created detailed character sketches. Now I’ve decided to make the joy of writing as much my motivation as the story itself. The only preparation I do is this. I keep a black-and-white covered quad-ruled notebook for each story. I make notes there before I begin about the three basic things I need to know before I start to write – my two main characters; the setting of their story; the conflict situation that makes this a story. Then I begin to write and let the story evolve – as Stephen King says. I love this way of writing because it’s a process of discovery. The story reveals itself to me as I write and I am continually surprised at what happens as a result. The added blessing is that the stories I now write in this inspired manner are the best stories I’ve ever created. I am most grateful for that.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
My characters talk to me. When I’m writing it is as if I disappear as myself and I am inside my characters instead. I’m inside their situation and acting as they would act there – feeling what they feel – saying what they say. This is something like what I imagine an out-of-body experience might be and it is a new adventure every time it happens.
Who are your favorite authors?
I have too many favorite authors to list. Beginning with Carolyn Keene and her Nancy Drew books when I was a girl. Those stories began my journey to the romantic suspense I write today. Many other writers and their books have inspired and encouraged me along that path. Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca. Josepthine Tey. Mary Higgins Clark’s Where Are the Children. Anything by Nora Roberts or Barbara Freethy. I read a lot outside of my genre too. I never have time enough to read everything I want to read. My mother used to say. “You spend too much time with your head in a book. You’ll never get anything good out of life from doing that.” Sorry, Mom. You were wrong about that.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I was a publishing professional for many years – first a book editor then a literary agent. At the same time – I was publishing my novels with traditional publishers. Then I took several years off to help raise my grandchildren. When I returned to writing – independent publishing had appeared on the scene as a legitimate and viable alternative and I decided I’d like to try it. I’m glad I made that choice because I’m enjoying both my writing and my career more than I ever have before. I feel blessed to have found the Indie life.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think the future of book publishing is more exciting than it has ever been in all of my many years in and around the publishing business. The essence of that excitement – for me at least – is that authors now have power we never had before. We have the power of choice. We can choose to publish with traditional publishers. We can choose to publish ourselves as indie authors. We can choose a hybrid of both. That choice opens the future wide for all of us. I can’t wait to see what that wide open future will bring. Two things I know for certain about that future. It won’t be anything like the past and it will be a great adventure.
What genres do you write?
What formats are your books in?