Joining me today in The Loft is the author who writes under the name Alana Lorens and Lyndi Alexander. Alana has led a full life as a prolific author, floral designer, journalist, and family law attorney. Her stores of romance, the paranormal, fantasy, suspense, and science fiction include the Pittsburgh Lady Lawyers series, which draws on her years as an attorney in the state of Pennsylvania, and "That Girl's the One I Love," a novella set in Asheville, North Carolina, her current residence. The mother of seven children, Alana currently resides deep in the woods with her youngest daughter, two crotchety old cats, and five kittens.
S: Good morning, Alana! Thanks for joining me today. We have a lot in common. We're both authors, as well as former journalists and lawyers.
So, let's start with an obvious question. Why did you become a writer?
A: It was really the only career that ever appealed to me. Sure, I made pizza and funeral arrangements, but my first real piece was written in fourth grade, where I described how my cat killed and ate a rabbit. Come to think of it, I might have been headed for a career of horror writing, but fortunately, I chose romance instead!
S: Do you write in other genres?
A: I do. As Lyndi Alexander, I also write fantasy, sci-fi, and paranormal novels. But I’m not a hard tech person. Whether I’m writing romance, suspense, or space opera, my stories focus on the characters as humans or aliens or whatevers. I have readers who say, “You know, I don’t usually like a specific genre, but your stories aren’t like the rest of them.” I just try to choose characters I’d love to hang out with, quirky, most of them, and also appealing and deeply compassionate, even though most of them would rather not show their hearts, at least at first.
S: I think many romance writers are influenced by milestones in their own lives. That first kiss is one of them.
Do you remember your first kiss? What was memorable about it?
A: (Laughs.) I do! I was in the playground down the hill from my house in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. David Miller was my first grade classmate. He kissed me under the slide. Then he ran away, grossed out. It took a long while before I tried that again.
S: (Laughs.) My first kiss was in the kindergarten coat room. Someone tattled and we got sent to the principal's office. I had no idea why everyone was so upset. In fact, it still puzzles me!
What is the best or worst thing that has ever happened to you as a writer?
A: I really love telling people I’m a writer. I carry postcards of my books with me that give out all the information. I’ve given them to people at malls, when I was getting a haircut, even on airplanes. I probably had six or seven novels in print before I actually felt comfortable saying, “I’m an author.” It was easier to argue at the Pennsylvania Superior Court! At conferences when I can meet and speak to readers, I am nervous, but also thrilled.
S: How do you get in the mood for writing?
A: I usually work from the desk in my bedroom. I used to have a whole office, but downscaling at retirement, don’t you know? I have some usual music I like to work from-- movie and show soundtracks. I definitely have coffee or tea handy. When I write, I like to stop just before something big is going to happen. When I pick up and move on the next day, I can get the momentum rolling much more easily.
S: If I stopped at that point, I would get no sleep. I would be up all night writing it in my mind.
What inspires your stories?
A: Gosh, just about anything. Some were inspired by my life as a lawyer. One was inspired by a big cultural festival here in Asheville. Several are drawn from my time in Missoula, Montana, and the forests of the Bitterroot Mountains—one a romantic suspense, and others, fantasies about elves. One story about the elves actually came to be because my now ex-husband had a killer headache one night and we spent it in the emergency room. "On the TV" was a story about the area of Montana that I had already written about, but with a fascinating paranormal story of a reality vortex. So. of course. I had to add to the series and include such a thing!
S: What do you consider your greatest achievement?
A: My children. I know I’m supposed to say something career-related, but I raised three families of kids, most while a single mom, and the last with all three kids on the autism spectrum. They are all--even the extra step kids--hard workers, concerned about others, and genuinely nice people. Who could ask for more than that?
S: What do you want inscribed on your tombstone? How do you want to be remembered?
A: Well, first, I don’t really want a tombstone—more likely, I’m a scatter the ashes person. But I have spent my adult life helping others, through journalism, lawyering and advocacy, and I’d just like to know that someone remembers that. I hope when someone mentions my name, that others will have kind remembrances to add and be acknowledged.
S: What inspired your series, Pittsburgh Lady Lawyers?
A: I practiced family law in Pennsylvania for 30 years. The stuff of divorce, custody, and domestic violence is as close to my heart as any of the fields of law. Because I love the city of Pittsburgh, which was just over an hour away, I decided to write the Pittsburgh Lady Lawyers, a series of books featuring women lawyers who practice in the Steel City. Each is a standalone and is fortified with lots of local color from time I spent there. "Conviction of the Heart" was the first, and focuses on a single mother lawyer who’s drawn into a dangerous case involving a violent political official. As I spent many years practicing as a single mom, there are many insights to that rather perilous lifestyle included. "Second Chances" also has a connection to my real life--an older lawyer loses her associate position and has to begin again with the help of a younger man, an Iraq veteran with service-related cancer. I can testify that a May-December woman-man relationship has its perks! "Voodoo Dreams" was spawned after a trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. A young corporate lawyer looking to get away for a week finds herself in close quarters with opposing counsel, who’s also come for vacation. Then the mystery, magic, and danger of the city take over—all the way to rituals in the swamp!
S: Is there anything special you would like people to know about that series?
A: These stories are very close to my heart and life, and I’m proud of them. If you want a taste of the ‘Burgh, or NOLA, or a read with nail-biting suspense, I invite you to check them out.
S: Alana, thanks for joining me today. If you would like to learn more about Alana and her books, please visit--
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Alana Lorens/e/B005GE0WBC/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1