Author Spotlight Interview: Stoni Alexander
Hidden Gems romance ARC readers love romantic suspense author Stoni Alexander, and we recently had the pleasure of chatting with her. It was an absolute delight. Read along and get to know more about Stoni’s books, inspiration and life outside of writing!
HG: How would you describe yourself to somebody who isn’t familiar with your writing yet?
SA: I write sexy romantic suspense and sexy contemporary romance. That’s the short answer…but I’m an author and I should be able to do better than that. I write about tortured alpha males and strong-willed independent females. My heroines are working professionals who don’t need a man to complete them, but they aren’t opposed to love either.
There is a lot of passion in my stories and a LOT of emotion. There’s conflict to overcome (both internal and external) and I create a story when my H/h end up working together (in addition to being engaged or married).
HG: How awesome! What’s not to love?! Speaking of your characters, can you tell us more about the hero and heroine in Dakota Luck which releases on October 29th?
SA: My latest book boyfriend…le sigh…
Dakota Luck is my most complicated Hero to date. He’s leading two completely different lives. Real Estate Broker and Daddy by day…and a ruthless vigilante by night. I love writing about the conflict between good and evil. This is my 2nd stab (haha, pun intended) with an antihero and I’ve kinda become addicted to them. He’s smart and an amazing dad, but he’s carrying around a lot of anger. I’m smiling because he was a joy to write!!!
My heroine, Providence Reynolds, is also very multi-layered. She comes with her own backstory and well,…I’m not sure how much I want to say without giving away the plot. Like all my other heroines, she’s a career woman. This story was super fun to write because there’s a little of the enemies-to-lovers component I love so much. This full-length novel includes members of her family as secondary characters. She’s very complicated, and quite the bad ass! 🙂
HG: They definitely sound like characters I want to get to know! How do you come up with your character names?
SA: What I love doing is getting my couples together and keeping them both on the page as much as possible. Early on, a mentor told me that the couple has to be broken up at some point during the story. They stay apart until close to the end when they reconcile. I don’t agree with that. Once my couple gets together (lust first that is IMPOSSIBLE to ignore, and then the relationship evolves into love), they are a team. They must work together to defeat the villains (yes, more than one) and I create scenarios that force them into the same home, too. I love those close quarters…
Okay, let me answer your question…
Ahh, naming my characters! I was just doing that before we started chatting! I love this part. Well, I love all the parts to writing, but let me address this one:
The male lead comes first. He’s got to carry my story, so I look for names that are unusual or ones that I especially like. From The Touch Series, there are six books with six H’s. Colton, Crockett, Jagger, Ashton (goes by Maverick), Sin (Sinclair), Dakota. I tend to like names with hard K or C sounds. Names also help me picture what the H looks like…
For my gals: My first heroine in The Touch Series is Brigit. Since then, I’ve gravitated toward what I consider elegant names that can be shortened to male names. Alexandra (Alex), Taylor (could be man or a woman), Carlyle (Carly), Evangeline (Evan) and Providence (no nickname, I found that name while driving past a church!) The names need to suit how I see the character and her personality, and also work well with the Hero.
For my next series, my hero comes from Dakota Luck, Book Six of The Touch series. I’m super excited for HG readers to meet him! His name is Stryker Truman. I’m finalizing my heroine’s name.
HG: That’s so fascinating! And to go back to your previous comment for a moment, I love that you mention you don’t force your characters to break up during the story. I appreciate that! Sometimes that part of romance novels can feel forced, so I love that you don’t push it!
As Dakota Luck is Book 6 in The Touch series, do the novels need to be read in order? Can they be treated as standalones?
SA: Great question!
They are standalone novels that can be read alone. I’ve been with HG for all six books in this series and Hidden Gems ARC readers haven’t always read the other novels, but they’ve had no problem jumping into the middle of the series, then going back to catch themselves up, if they like my stories.
Having said that, I do think readers will enjoy the series if they start with the first book because I bring characters back as the series progresses. When I started with Book 1, two of those secondary characters became the leads in Book 2, etc. These six Heroes went to college together, and while they’re in their 30’s, they’ve remained close friends and business partners. Two of them are twins and two end up becoming brothers-in-law. It’s been an absolute blast creating them and finding their true loves.
HG: That’s awesome. I’m sure readers love “catching up” with their favorite characters. Our readers enjoy getting to know the authors too, so let’s help them get to know you a bit more! What was your dream job when you were younger? When did you take the plunge into being a published author?
SA: My dream job was to be a writer. I was an avid reader as a child, so when I turned seven I decided I wanted to pen children’s novels. That did NOT happen. I went to college, then grad school. I was working full time and having a busy career. I popped out for about a decade to become an actor and that’s where I met the hubs. It wasn’t until years later, that I realized I HAD TO WRITE in order to be fulfilled. So, I penned a novel after a life-changing convo with Johnny. That novel was not published, but it was the beginning of my absolute best, most enjoyable career to date. I cannot, absolutely cannot, imagine myself doing anything but writing.
I penned that first, unpubbed book a few years before I published my first novel, in 2017.
HG: What do you like to do when not writing?
SA: Think about writing! HA! I love doing some of the marketing aspects of being an author in an exciting, always-evolving publishing biz. My hubs and I are avid power walkers. Our son got me on my bike recently and we had a blast! Writing is sitting, so I like to stay active as much as possible. I keep in close touch with friends and family as well and see them as much as time allows. I’ve also got some amazing writer friends!
HG: I love that! Sounds like you balance it all well! Before I let you get on your way, for readers that want to find out more about your stories and future projects, where should they go to connect or learn more?
SA: I am one of those rare breeds that doesn’t hang out on social media much at all. I have a FB account and readers can connect with me there. I’ve got a website where they can check out my novels and sign up for my occasional newsletter. They connect with me on BookBub and Goodreads as well, but that’s more to follow or review/recommend my books. I hear from readers the “old-fashioned” way. They send me emails or reply to my newsletter. Contact@StoniAlexander.com is the easiest way to say hello. I hear from readers every week!
I wanted to close with how much I love being a part of the Hidden Gems family. HG readers are awesome and very loyal! They are the best. Thanks again for your time!!!