Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Alicia Dean - An Author Interview in the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Alicia Dean. She is the award-winning, bestselling author of the Reapers of Boon Series, The Isle of Fangs Series and The Northland Crime Chronicles.

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Romance, Horror

Website: Alicia Dean
Author's Blog: Alicia Dean
Twitter: @Alicia_Dean_
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Google+: Check Out Google+
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Author Description:
I live in Edmond, Oklahoma. I have three grown children and a huge network of supportive friends and family. I write mostly contemporary suspense and paranormal, but have also written in other genres, including a few vintage historicals. I have three stories coming out in 2014; Without Mercy, a standalone suspense thriller, available September 26th, Caster's Unfriendly Ghost, a paranormal romance short story, available October 6th and Ruined: Martini Club 4 - The Twenties, available toward the end of the year. I have written a vintage romance short story set in 1957, End of Lonely Street, that will be available January 8, 2015 (on what would have been Elvis Presley's 80th birthday). I am working on Books 3 in both the Isle of Fangs Series and The Northland Crime Chronicles series. I expect both to be released in early 2015.

Other than reading and writing, my passions are Elvis Presley, MLB, NFL (I usually work in a mention of one or all three into my stories) and watching my favorite televisions shows like Vampire Diaries, Justified, Sons of Anarchy, Haven, The Mindy Project, and Dexter (even though it has sadly ended, I will forever be a fan). Some of my favorite authors are Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, Lee Child, Lisa Gardner, Sharon Sala, Jordan Dane, Ridley Pearson, Joseph Finder, and Jonathan Kellerman…to name a few.

I love, love, love my readers and cannot thank you enough for your support.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

Congratulations on your book: Without Mercy. Rumor has it that you have another book on the horizon called Ruined: Martini Club 4 - The Twenties. Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

Thank you! And thank you for having me on your wonderful blog. Yes, that rumor is correct. :) Tentative release is early February, 2015. Ruined is part of an anthology I am writing with three of my author friends. Each story features a different heroine, one of a group of four friends who flee to New York City from England in 1924. In Ruined, my heroine, Eliza, flees after the new Earl of the manor where she is employed attempts to force himself upon her and make her his mistress. Unfortunately, once she arrives in the Land of the Free, she finds herself in an even more calamitous predicament.

You have a good following on twitter. Since you started before the social media buzz, what impact has social media relationships had on your current success? How did you build your following in your niche? How much has it changed your book launch process?

Social media has increased my exposure and I have gained new readers from my activity on Twitter and Facebook. But the thing I love most is that I can interact with my readers through social media. It's opened up a whole new world. Some of the ways I have built my following are socializing on Twitter and Facebook, making guest appearances on blogs, and sponsoring contests, to name a few. It has changed my launch process quite a bit. As part of my process, I now compose tweets to share, including lines from my book, I create Facebook announcements, I schedule blog spots, etc.

Do you maintain a reader list? What are the methods you use to find your readers and create the list and the relationship? Do you use social media, forums, newsletters and/or support groups to build your list?

I do not maintain a reader list, per se, but I have compiled a list of email addresses of people to whom I send announcements about my new releases, sales, etc. The way I built the list was simply to add email addresses over the years as people requested that I keep them updated on my releases. Sometimes these requests came via fan letters. Additionally, I have a form on my website where those who wish to be updated can input their information, and I will add them to my email list. I wouldn't say I use social media or newsletters or support groups to build my list. It's more of an 'as requested' basis.

You have great covers. They carry a theme and your brand with them. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

I hand over the basic theme and a short blurb. I also give ideas about the 'vision' I have for the cover. I have been very blessed as far as cover artists I've worked with. Usually, the cover they create is even better and more accurate than what I envisioned. The only hands-on approach I would say I have is that I review the covers and make minor suggestions about changes. A few times, I have asked for reader opinions between a few cover choices. I have found readers love getting involved in that part of the process.

Several of you novels have been converted into audio books. What has been the impact on your regular sales? Has the audio books gained a new audience?

I can't say that the audio books have noticeably impacted my sales, nor have I become aware of gaining a new audience. I have had a few readers contact me to say they were pleased to find my stories available on audio books.

You have written several short stories and novellas. Can you tell us if they had an impact on the sales of your novels? Are shorty’s one of your styles of writing or are they created to give readers a sample of your work?

It is difficult to measure the impact of short stories and novellas on novel sales, so I can't really say. However, that isn't the intention of the shorter works. Yes, they are a style of writing, and sometimes a story can be told in a shorter word count and I feel that if a writer stretches it into a novel, they are probably leaving in a lot of boring parts. I will say, though, that some of my short stories and novellas were created as part of a particular anthology or project with a limited word count. Some of them might have been better had they been more fully developed.

I like the idea of bundling a series of novels. You have put together a set of your novels called Killer Love Boxed Edition. What was the impact on your other sales? What was your main objective in bundling your novels?

I believe that there was somewhat of an impact on my other sales, although again, that's difficult to measure. A bundle is a great way for a reader to get a discount price on more than one title by the same author and therefore, determine if this is an author they would like to start reading. They will then seek out other titles by that author. My main objective was reviving some older titles. The stories in Killer Love are my earliest works, and they are all similar to one another in that they are Romantic Suspense. I thought it would be a good thing to draw some attention to the older stuff, even for new fans who'd only read my recent releases.

Between your book writing, blogging, marketing, editing service, family and all the other things that can get in your way, how do you manage your time? Do you have a set schedule or do your sort of play it by ear?

That is an excellent question to which there is no precise answer. I manage my time the best I can by simply trying to focus on whatever needs my attention most at any given moment. No, I do not have a set schedule. I most definitely play it by ear.

What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?

In the past, I have made a book free from time to time, for a limited time, in hopes of bringing in new readers. My main goal was to expose my books to a different audience. I didn't necessarily run into obstacles, but I have determined that free books are not really all that advantageous to writers or the industry as a whole. I think that readers have come to expect free books, and many times, do not even read them. I'm afraid it has made our work as a whole slightly devalued. I never say never, but I do not intend to make any of my books free in the future, other than for some kind of contest/giveaway.

Yes, I have been involved in other giveaways, such as a contest for a Kindle Fire, Amazon gift cards, Free books, etc, and I find them a good way to give a little something back and hopefully catch the eye of new readers. This is different than simply making a book free, it is a fun way for readers to become familiar with you and hopefully win a prize. As a matter of fact, some author friends and I have a Facebook game called Fiction Fanatics Feud where we post three 'Family Feud' style questions each week and allow readers to guess the answers. We provide our website links so readers can visit and find out how to enter to win our monthly contest. Each month, we draw two names. The first place winner receives a $50 Amazon Gift Card and the Second place winner receives one free ebook by each of the ten authors. It has been a great way to meet new readers, and everyone seems to have a lot of fun.

One of the most sought after services for indie authors is editing and you provide a Freelance Editing Services. Can you tell our readers how they can get involved with you and your service?

Yes, they can email me at And/or they can visit this link where I provide details of my process and my fee, and a contact form:

I offer low rates, and a sample of a 10 page edit so that writers can see my work and decide if we would be a good fit. I enjoy freelance editing. It has allowed me to meet some great new friends and discover some fabulous stories.

Author's Book List
Without Mercy
How far will a mother go to protect her child?

When an apparently random bank robbery turns out to be a sinister plan, single mother China Beckett is thrust into a nightmare.

A group of mercenaries take over her life, threatening her young daughter and everyone they love. Each time China makes a mistake, someone dies. She’ll fight to the last breath to protect her child, but with no idea what move will be the wrong one, that might not be enough.

As the lives of China’s loved ones are jeopardized, she must take action, although she has no idea where to turn—and time is running out. But then, a startling truth is revealed and China discovers that the only person who can save them might be a ghost from the past.

*** Warning: Explicit language and graphic violence ***

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Caster's Unfriendly Ghost - Hauntings in the Garden
A year after her husband’s death, Emily Tillman is ready to start dating again, and hopefully, find what she’s always wanted—marriage and children. But the man who broke her heart five years ago is back. And he’s anything but the marrying kind.

Confirmed bachelor Reese Caster is perfectly content with his life—and he’s finally over Emily, the one woman who almost made him commit. Now, his world is rocked when her dead husband shows up, demanding that Reese pursue Emily to keep her out of the clutches of her latest suitor—a jerk who is only after her money.

Being around Emily again has made Reese reconsider his bachelor life style. But now that the threat of the other man is gone, the pesky ghost wants Reese to break things off. Can he and Emily find the love they were denied, or will the ghost of her dead husband destroy their chances?

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
Liberty Divided - The Isle of Fangs Series, Book 2
A young girl is murdered on Sang Croc Island and the only eye-witness claims a Vampire was responsible.

Desperate to keep the news quiet and local tourism alive, Island Authorities insist Liberty and Eli join forces to find the rogue vampire.

Liberty has worked hard to put Eli out of her thoughts.

Eli knows claiming Liberty as his own would end the Van Helsing line of Hunters.

When a second victim is found, half-alive, all evidence points to a past Eli can no longer evade and a truth Liberty can no longer deny.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
Liberty Awakened - The Isle of Fangs Series, Book 1
Liberty Delacort doesn't believe in Vampires. Then she meets the father she never knew, just before his death, and learns she's the last of the Van Helsing bloodline.

Eli, a 300 year old Vampire, doesn't believe Liberty has what it takes to stand between the humans and the Evil Ones on Sang Croc Island, and orders her back to the mainland.

Ryan, a friend of Liberty's late-father, disagrees and insists that Eli provide the promised training.

Now the Full Moon has come and Liberty must stand in the gap. But unbeknownst to her--she's fallen for the wrong vampire.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
Death Notice - The Northland Crime Chronicles, Book 1
A killer is using The Northland Chronicle to announce his victims. When Monroe Donovan, former crime reporter busted down to the obit desk by her boss and ex-lover, receives another obituary with a "wrong" future date, she sees a story.

Detective Lane Brody sees a suspect in Monroe, accusing her of hiding her connection between her ex-lover and the latest victim, while Monroe can't deny the attraction between herself and the unhappily married Detective. The same kind of attraction that landed her in obits.

Then Monroe walks in on her former lover and his girlfriend, half-naked and being held at knifepoint by the killer.

Now Monroe can only hope Detective Brody stops suspecting her and starts looking for her—before her name appears in the obits.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
Death Offerings - The Northland Crime Chronicles, Book 2
Detective Lane Brody and Monroe Donovan, The Northland Chronicles' newest female crime reporter, are face-to-face with a chance for happiness. Then Brody's wife—incarcerated in a mental institution after murdering the man she took as a lover—begins to recover.

Now Monroe wants to put distance between herself and Brody, but Brody is under orders to keep Monroe close in order to nab the Penny Killer who leaves macabre gifts on his victims in Monroe's name.

As the body count rises and the Penny Killer grows more enamored with Monroe, Brody decides if he can't spend the rest of his life with the woman he loves, he'll gladly die to protect her.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
The Vampire Diaries: Divine Enemy - Book Two
This title is Book 2:

Elena Gilbert is no longer a vampire and is now trying to learn to live with the grief over her brother, Jeremy’s passing. There is also the sobering knowledge that in her previous incarnation she caused so much suffering and death. On top of all that emotional baggage Elena experiences another frustration: A strange, alluring woman arrives in Mystic Falls; the kind of sorceress who can enslave men with a single knowing glance. Is she simply a seductress or someone -- or something -- more threatening? Yet another evil threatens Elena’s hometown. A mysterious psychopath is stalking Caroline.

Suddenly powerless, a mere human being, Elena reaches out to the dark side, imploring Stefan Salvatore for guidance and help. But he’s with Rebekah now. And Elena begins to understand that she’s probably lost him forever. Complicating matters, Tyler and Klaus are prepared to fight over Caroline’s safety. Perhaps even fight to the death. With Mystic Falls suddenly a cauldron of furious, exploding passions, Elena must somehow summon the human strength and cunning to protect friends and banish newfound enemies.

An urgent, at times breathlessly suspenseful mystery, Divine Enemy is an exciting story inspired by the bestselling Vampire Diaries series. Start the series with Book 1 (What the Heart Wants).

Order the Book From: Amazon
The Vampire Diaries: What the Heart Wants
This title is Book 1:

Golden girl Elena’s dark side takes over and Stefan and Damon struggle to keep her from the destruction that will surely come from loving to her ravenous heart’s content. Now the former prom queen knows what so many girl ghouls before her came to understand: Life sure can suck when you’re a teenage vampire. One more complication that makes nightlife in Mystic Falls an intoxicating brew of heartache and longing: on one hand, Damon is quite happy that vampire Elena is no longer suffering from her brother Jeremy’s cruel death. On the other hand, he’s crushed to discover that, when he turned off her humanity, the act seems to have killed whatever feelings Elena had for him.

But is Jeremy really dead? Not if Elena’s best friend, the obsessive, scheming Bonnie has her way. Fans of The Vampire Diaries books and People’s Choice-winning television series will be thrilled to discover there is way more life (and love) after death in Mystic Falls. Follow the series with Book 2 (Divine Enemy).

Order the Book From: Amazon
Cupid's Beau
Ivy Pierce is a Cupid who prides herself on doing her job well. Except when it comes to a certain human male, Grant Crawford. Although she doesn’t understand why, each time she’s supposed to shoot her arrow into his heart, her stomach hurts, her chest hurts, and she feels….sad. Cupids are never sad.

Humans who are not looking for love only get three chances to find it. And after Ivy sabotages Grant’s last chance, her boss, Aphrodite, sends her to earth to right her wrong. She has until Valentine’s Day to help him find his soul mate.

But the more she’s around him, the more she wants him for herself, even though she knows that can never be. A Cupid and a human? Unheard of.

As V-Day draws closer, can she sacrifice her own happiness to help the man she loves find his?

Order the Book From: Amazon
Soul Seducer - Reapers of Boon Book 1
She spent her entire life fighting death. Now she’s falling in love with him…

Audra Grayson became a nurse in order to help save lives. But one night after a brutal beating, she almost loses her own. The near-death experience opens a door between the world of the living and the world beyond. Two Grim Reapers invade her life. One is charming, with the angelic blonde looks of a saint and the black soul of a psychopath. The other is dark, dangerously attractive and, in spite of her distaste for his reaper duties, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to him.

When Audra's patients begin to die unexpectedly and her loved ones are threatened, she will risk her life—even her soul—to save them. But can she risk her heart to an inhuman being whose very purpose is to take those she is trying to save?

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Thicker Than Water - Tales of the Scrimshaw Doll
Sometimes, secrets refuse to stay buried--

A ten-year-old accidental killing and an ancient cursed doll are only part of Julia Bennett's problems. When she returns to her hometown of Covington, Oklahoma for an old friend's funeral, she's thrust into the middle of a murder case--and discovers she never stopped loving her high school sweetheart.

Jake Devlin is now the sheriff of Covington and faced with solving a murder. He isn't surprised to find Julia in the middle of things. She still seems like the troublemaker whose reckless mistake caused a man's death years ago--and who broke his heart when she left him without so much as a goodbye.

Jake makes it clear he's over her, and Julia can't wait to leave Covington behind. But when another friend dies, she knows she must stay. Can they put the past behind them and stop a killer before he claims another victim?

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
Tears of the Wounded
Can their love survive a hostile teenager and a madman bent on revenge?

After a violent incident in her past, Abby Bishop wants nothing more than to live in peace. She wants it so badly, she ends a relationship with the man she loves to avoid conflict with his resentful fourteen-year-old daughter.

Wil Garrett gave up his career as a bomb squad officer for his daughter, who needed him safe and alive, after losing her mother to suicide. But when evil invades their small coastal town, Wil is plunged back into the violent past he left behind. Now, he must break the promise he made to the two people he loves most in the world…in order to save their lives.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
A Knight Before Christmas - The Three Kings
The Three Kings, Book 2

The last thing Heath King wants is to return to Kansas City for the holidays. Being in his home town holds too many bad memories, and now there are new bad memories in the making, among them a sister he never knew about--proof that his father was unfaithful. But the most difficult thing he’ll face is running into Nicolette, his best friend’s widow—the woman he’s loved since the day he met her.

Before Nicolette Morgan has time to fully grieve over her husband’s death, a blackmailer enters the picture, demanding she pay him or he’ll ruin the lives of everyone she loves. Nicolette sees no way out until she unexpectedly encounters Heath King. When she turns to him for help, old feelings are rekindled and she realizes she never stopped wanting him.

As Christmas approaches, Heath must find a way to stop the blackmailer…but can he also rescue the love he lost fifteen years ago?

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
Find the Magic - How to Plot a Story in 10 Easy Steps
How to write a novel? That is the question. There are probably as many answers to that question as there are people who ask it.

Wanting to write and actually doing it are two very different things. I am well acquainted with the sometimes grueling process of churning out a story. Over the years, I have tried many methods for creating and completing manuscripts, and have tweaked and honed it down to a workable (for me) process.

Using specific examples from one of my own novels, Without Mercy, I share my method in this mini how to book. The first eight steps actually deal with plotting while the last two are designed to help expand your outline into a well-developed draft. There is no one, perfect way to create a story, but there will be a method, or methods that work for you. I’m not sure if this is the one, but it works for me. Only you can decide if it also works for you. Fingers crossed that it does!

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Nothing To Fear
Jade DiMarco?s dreams of `happily ever after? are shattered the night she discovers her husband is a psychotic criminal. After his attempt on her life is thwarted by an unlikely rescuer...the mysterious `El Lobo?...Jade is forced to begin a new life in the Witness Protection Program. Terrified that even the US Marshals can?t stop her husband from finding her, she takes up martial arts and shooting lessons while living under a false identity. Just when she starts to feel in control of her destiny, FBI agent Luke Butler appears, throwing her off balance with questions that sound suspiciously like accusations.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO
Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the following blogs:
HBS Author's Spotlight
eBook Author’s Corner
Top Shelf Author Advice
Mystery Reader’s Circle

Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.


  1. You have such an amazing body of work. I admire your productivity and your blog is super-informative. Thanks!

  2. Thank you so much, Susan. You're too kind! :)

  3. The Fiction Fanatics Feud has been a lot of fun. We don't have Richard Dawson, but we do have the same fun questions and an opportunity to play for a while and meet new people. Alicia I love your new covers! I hadn't seen the new ones for your Island of Fangs series. They're great! Thanks for sharing your marketing magic with us.

  4. Yes, it is a lot of fun! :) Thanks. I'm pretty fond of them myself. I appreciate you stopping by!

  5. Thanks for sharing about your work and about how building a career takes persistence.

    1. You're welcome. Thank you for stopping by. Yes, it does take persistence! :)

  6. Great interview. I agree that the free book craze has probably run its course as a useful tool to sales. I just wish I could figure out what the next fad will be and get a jump on the game! Thanks for your insights.

    1. Thank you, Jannine. Haha, yes, wouldn't it be nice to have a head's up on the next fad? :)

  7. Great interview, Alicia! I learned something new about you and loved getting your input into some of the industry questions. You have so many irons in the fire, it's hard to keep up. LOL

    1. :) Thank you, Linda. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Uh, yeah, tons of irons in the fire, but I love what I do. (Otherwise, I might go crazy, right?) Thank you for stopping by!

  8. I love that you've accomplished so much by "playing it by ear". �� I'm impressed by the diversity of your writing and look forward to your upcoming series, Ruined: Martini Club 4-The Twenties!

    1. Aw, I don't know that I've accomplished all that much, but playing it by ear is about the only way I know to do it. :) Thank you so much for the kind words, and for stopping by!

  9. Alicia, you amaze me not only with your passion and drive as an author and editor, but with your generosity with other writers (time, ideas, support). Like Fiction Fanatics Feud -- we've had the opportunity to meet and get to know some wonderful readers all over the country. Hopefully they've had as much fun as we have!

    1. Thank you, Leah. That is so sweet! I have been very blessed in the support and friendships I've made along the way. I love Fiction Fanatics Feud, and I agree, I hope they are having as much fun. :)

  10. I have wondered about some of the same topics that are covered in the interview, and was happy to see your viewpoints! Insightful!

    1. Thank you...I'm glad you found it insightful, Liz. I appreciate you stopping by.

  11. This is such an informative post, Alicia. I love the new covers for the Chronicle books! I do need to pick up some more of your books and do some catching up this next year. Thanks for putting out Find the Magic. I'll be digging through that one soon.

    I like your insights to social media usage since I struggle with the 'what's the use' syndrome a lot where it's concerned. Best wishes on your many projects! :)

    1. Thank you, Calisa. I'm very pleased with the new covers. Hope you enjoy Find the Magic. Best wishes to you too!

  12. Man, I enjoyed this a lot! Very interesting and informative--I feel like I have the inside scoop on Alicia Dean ;) Fantastic interview. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Haha, yes, my secrets are out. Thanks for stopping by, Anna.

  13. Great interview, Alicia. Lots of great information here. Thanks for sharing.

    1. You're welcome...thank you! Glad you found it informative.

  14. Terrific interview! I always learn more about you, Alicia. Love the new covers for the Liberty books. Your books are so diverse yet the commonality is the heart-pounding suspense. Wishing you all the best.