Author Interview and Contest Give Away: Allison Merritt
Congratulations on your new release, The Treasure Hunter’s Lady! And thank you so much for the GiveAway!
Can you tell us about the story and how you came up with the idea?
The Treasure Hunter’s Lady is set in 1884 between Boston and what was then Dakota Territory.
Romy Farrington seems to have the perfect life—a world-famous archaeologist father, a pretty dowry and an upcoming marriage to a wealthy businessman. But to Romy, her new life among the elitists is like a punishment.
For years, she traveled the world at her father’s side, exploring new lands and uncovering ancient secrets. It was everything she ever wanted, until a near-fatal encounter with hostile natives forced her and her father into a life of retirement in Boston and an undesired advance into proper society.
Everything changes again when she’s saved from an accident by a brash Texan in a back alley. Abel Courte may act like a care-free cowboy, but he’s harboring a secret—he’s searching for the Diamond of Uktena, a legendary jewel that can cure any disease known to man. He needs information Romy’s father has in order to get to the jewel. When he traces the origin of the Diamond to Dakota Territory, he sets off to claim the treasure, only to find the archaeologist’s fiery redheaded daughter stuck to him like a bug in sap.
In a race against time, Romy and Abel must learn to trust each other as they undertake a cross-country journey that will expose them to lands uncharted by white men, a deadly battle against the fearsome creature in possession of the Diamond and a fight to return to civilization where they might make the greatest discovery of all—love.
The Treasure Hunter’s Lady has kind of a crazy story behind it. A few years ago after a long break, I decided to start writing again and I was researching a historical romance set in Australia. I fell in love with everything I learned about that country (unfortunately, I’ve never been) and around the same time I was re-watched The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I thought, wow, I would love to write a story with crazy paranormal elements and cool technology set in Australia. So the first draft, which is way shorter than the finished MS is set in Australia. When I started pitching and trying to get an agent, they all seemed repulsed by the idea of setting it out of the country and I ended up writing a version set in America.
Well, I would have loved the story set in Australia, but since I’m from Texas, I don’t mind a hot hometown boy either. I have this downloaded on my Nook and am reading it right now.
Looking back over all of the intimate moments you’ve created between characters, which scene would you most like to experience for yourself? What makes it so alluring?
There’s a scene in the middle of the book where Romy and Abel seek shelter in a cave to get out of a rain storm. Romy has just fallen down an embankment and banged her legs up pretty good, but Abel volunteers to run some liniment on them. First they have to get out of those wet clothes. I’m all about leg rubs, especially naked ones that lead to steamy scenes. I could do without the cave though. Fortunately there were no bats in this particular cave, but still….
That sounds adventurous and romantic.
If a reader is unfamiliar with your work, which of your books would you suggest he or she read first? Why?
The Treasure Hunter’s Lady is my debut novel, but I have a couple of short stories up on Amazon and B&N as well. One’s really short, like you’d find in the Woman’s World magazine and it’s free, one’s a short novella that’s contemporary and the other is a western with a little bit of a love story.
Which genres do you write in and why?
I once read a numerology report that said I’m a jack-of-all-trades. That’s so true. My heart belongs to historical romances, but I like to break loose from time to time. I’m labeling The Treasure Hunter’s Lady as a steampunk romance, which has a historical base, but brings in some wacky technology and has paranormal elements. I also really want to write a contemporary romance, I just need to figure out the characters and plot—I’m thinking cowboys. I have a couple of contemp short stories that were a lot of fun to write.
Cowboys are good. I love the voice of a good cowboy.
What are you currently working on?
Right now I’m working on the follow-up novel to The Treasure Hunter’s Lady. It’s called The Sky Pirate’s Wife and features the airship captain from THL as the hero. I’m about three quarters done with the first draft. I’ve also got a historical paranormal novella going on.
What gets you into the mood to write?
Go ahead and laugh, but hearing theme songs from movies like The Eye of the Tiger (from Rocky)or The Climb (from Hannah Montana the Movie—which I haven’t seen, but I really loved the song), get me jazzed. Also, instrumental soundtracks. I think, these fantastic characters made this journey from point A to point B. I’m the hero of my own story.
I am laughing at this question not at your last answer. Because you always make me hungry with your Facebook posts. LOL Favorite snack or drink while you write?
Anything easy to grab. I can’t handle a fork or a spoon while I’m typing, but I can spare a few seconds to cram a handful of Cheerios into my mouth. Anything that comes out of a box ready to eat is my friend.
Any words of advice to aspiring authors?
Don’t be afraid to learn. If there’s something you want to do or try in writing, ask around, find out about it on the Internet, join groups and just get in there and get your hands dirty. I did pretty much everything on The Treasure Hunter’s Lady by myself. The cover, the formatting, the file conversions, marketing, but thank heavens I had help with editing. It was all because I wasn’t too timid to get in there and learn it. It’s kind of freeing to learn something new and it keeps your mind sharp.
Good Advice and so true.
What are you currently reading?
Ooo, I got an e-reader for Christmas, so my book reading world has really opened up. I just finished Zombies Don’t Cry: A Living Dead Love Story by Rusty Fischer. I have a couple of other contemporary romances lined up to get into, but I’m not sure which one to pick yet.
And finally, is there anything you would like to share?
Just big thank yous for everyone who helped me along the way. I’d be sitting drowning in a puddle of tears without my writer friends and my family. You guys are the best.
Ally – it was a pleasure to have you here. You’re welcome anytime.
The Treasure Hunter’s Lady is avaiable at
Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/130781