Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Writers' Wednesday Welcomes Alice Cummings

Joining us this week is Alice Cummings, who writes as Allison Merritt. Alice is a member of Ozarks Romance Authors (ORA), which she also serves as web mistress.

An award-winning writer, Alice just finaled in the 2011 WETA contest. In 2010, she placed second in the Missouri Literary Festival’s Short Fiction Award and received honorable mention in the WETA. That annual competition is sponsored by ORA.

Thank you for being here today. Your current manuscript, THE TREASURE HUNTER’S LADY, takes place in Australia. Would you please tell us a little about the work and what draws you to the location.

The TREASURE HUNTER’S LADY, set in Australia, is a Victorian adventure romance with fantasy and paranormal elements. The heroine is an English amateur archeologist who’s been ordered by her father to give up her hobby and get married. She’s adamant about making a great discovery and sets out to find a legendary stone called The Soul of the Rainbow Serpent. She runs into a handsome Texan treasure hunter who’s come to Australia because he needs to find the stone to cure a life-threatening disease.

In the beginning of their journey, the two rarely agree on anything, but through the dangers they face, they find themselves falling in love. Reaching the stone is difficult enough, but they also have to beat a madman who wants to sell the treasure for profit. In the end, their love is the only thing that can release the true power of the stone.

I’m fascinated with Australia, although I’ve never been there. While there are plenty of ways to have set this story in America, Australia such an unusual and exotic setting to place characters that the plot fell in place really fast. The first draft only took about a week and a half to finish, I was so excited about the project. It’s different from a lot of adventure novels in that I added some airships and steam-powered equipment, plus a mythical serpent goddess.

A week and a half for the first draft? I’m always in awe at those of you who can write so quickly. This sounds like an exciting book. An English heroine and an American hero on the trail of an exotic stone in Australia. I’d love to know the paranormal elements. What’s your next project?

Last year for National Novel Writing Month I wrote a follow-up novel to THE TREASURE HUNTER’S LADY called THE SKY PIRATE’S WIFE, which is about an airship captain bent on revenge after his enemy tries to kill him. He tricks his enemy’s stepdaughter into marriage and while he plans to use her dowry to enhance his business and leave her in England, he finds himself falling in love with her instead. It needs a good healthy dose of editing. I’m also planning a third installment about one of the minor characters from the second book, but I’m not sure if I’ll be writing it for NaNoWriMo this year, which starts in November or if I’ll start it sooner.

From the sound of it, you have a full schedule. Several people have said they use the NaNoWriMo to get rough drafts down. Good luck with the edits and with this year’s challenge.

What one tip would you offer writers?

Learn to use actions to offset your dialogue. Don’t rely on he said/she said or any of those other dialogue tag crutches. Your readers will get more involved in the story if you can make them feel like they’re really in the scenes right along with the characters.

Spot-on advice. Thanks again, Alice. It’s been great having you here.

Be sure to visit Alice at her sites.


  1. Sounds like a couple of interesting books that I'd like to read. I am pulling for you in the contests and in getting them published. You are a great writer!

  2. Good interview Becky! I know your books will be on bookstore shelves one day and I can't wait to read them.

  3. Your books sounds wonderful! Steampunk, right? That is a fascinating genre. Good luck with all your writing:)
    Great interview, ladies!

  4. Hi Ladies, thanks for stopping by.

    Sage, I so agree. Becky's two books sound very interesting.

    Wanda, hi. Your books will be up there one day, too, I have no doubt!

    Jennifer, you're right. The plot does sound a bit like steampunk, doesn't it? It might very well go under that genre. There's some fantast/paranormal, too, Alice said. It's the surprise when the h/h find the stone.

    And if everyone hasn't picked up Jennifer's debut RAFE'S REPEMPTION, look for it at Wild Rose Press.

  5. Becky, I love, love, love your story plot & can't wait to read it. And of course, I envy, envy, envy anyone who can write a book in a week and a half. May the muse never leave you. Another great interview from one of our members. Yea!!!
    Diana Locke

  6. I'm jealous of anyone who can write a book in a week and a half. I'm lucky to do it in a year and a half.
    Great interview - an intriguing story line.

  7. I'm an archaeology nut! So I know the first one appeals to me, but the second one . . . you had me at airship captain. *g*

  8. Sorry I'm chiming in so late. I can only access Barb's blog from my laptop and I'm usually working in my office on another computer. Sigh.

    Becky, I love your plot and this isn't the type of genre I'd normally read but I would definitely buy this book. How in the world could you write a first draft in 1.5 weeks??? That blows me away. Is it a full-length novel? How many words?

    Congrats on your writing awards and keep up the great work.