Jen: Today we welcome Alexis Fleming to Romancing the Book. Alexis, will you share a short bio with us?
Alexis: Alexis Fleming’s world is peopled with interesting characters and exciting possibilities that come to life in each and every book she writes. Her first love has always been romance, whether on this world or the next. Hot, sizzling relationships with a dash of comedy and a few trials and tribulations thrown in to test her characters. She writes sassy, fun erotic contemporaries, as well as paranormals and fantasies where you’ll find yourself coming face to face with anything from sexy shifters to beings from other planets. You can catch up with Alexis at http://www.alexisfleming.net or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/alexisfleming
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Alexis: I’m thrilled to pieces that Totally Bound is bringing out Mayhem & Mistletoe for Christmas. I adore writing Christmas stories. They are so much fun and it’s a chance to allow my quirky brain to run riot. The idea for this story came out of a conversation with my daughter about the whole politically correct thing and whether we were allowed to say Merry Christmas any longer. What if Christmas was cancelled? What if it became illegal to celebrate it? That’s when Mayhem & Mistletoe came into being, with a few twists and laughs to turn the idea on its head.
WANTED FOR TOO MUCH CHEER: Misty Toll. Dealer of mistletoe, aka happy juice. Be extremely careful. Too hot to handle.
When Christmas is declared illegal, Misty Toll finds herself dealing mistletoe to fund Santa’s revolution to bring back Christmas. But Santa’s addicted to his own product, Rudolph’s red nose is from too much Vodka, and there’s a bunch of a rabid revolutionary elves on the run. Then there’s the delicious scrooge, Zane Mason, the new man hired to work on the deer farm. The same farm where she’s hiding Santa’s reindeers and her secret stash of mistletoe.
What’s a girl to do but go with the holiday cheer…
Excerpt from Mayhem & Mistletoe:
Zane couldn’t believe his luck. The boss had told him to get close to Misty Toll, but he hadn’t expected it to happen quite like this. Hell of a way to start an investigation. He’d expected another boring job, but if it continued like this… Wow, baby, sex on legs.
He dragged his mind off his rapidly rising libido and tried to think of the case. Australia had been one of the last countries to declare Christmas illegal, but with the election of the Personal Instigation of Somber Souls political party—PISS if you were of a mind to be irreverent—a couple of years ago, that had all changed.
The new leaders had taken a firm stand, having decided that the escalating rate of violence in the country would be curbed if people stopped acting on their emotions. Along with all of the other celebratory holidays on the calendar, part of the new regime was to ban Christmas. It was a proven fact that more crime happened during that particular vacation time—increased burglaries, more violence against persons, home invasions. The list went on and on, and that was before the authorities took into account the suicides committed by the heartsick and lonely.
The American Government had loaned him out for an extended period to the Australian police force. He’d been a deep undercover agent for a long time and had an outstanding record for squashing emotional crimes in the United States. Which was how he’d ended up in Australia, working undercover again. Hell, he was so deep in, no one but his immediate superiors even knew his real name. He’d figured he’d only be here for a couple of months, but he’d already racked up three years and counting. Not about to let him go once they had him, they’d used his expertise to train the new agents for PEED.
Christ, he hated using that acronym, but it was too big a mouthful to rattle off Provisional Elimination of Emotions Department when he tried to tell people where he worked. To be quite honest, once upon a time he hadn’t seen anything wrong with Christmas. He had some great memories of this particular seasonal holiday.
Hell, his father had been a shopping mall Santa Claus for years. Until some drunk, high on crack as well as alcohol, had taken a knife to him in the middle of a robbery. When the case had come to court, the guy had tried to argue that he’d needed the pittance Zane’s father had collected to feed his kids. What a load of crap. It had been greed, plain and simple, and had left a bitter taste in Zane’s mouth and a big hole in his heart. Which was how he’d ended up working for PEED.
Although he did feel sorry for the parents who just wanted to bring a little Christmas cheer into their kids’ lives. They were the ones hurt by the new laws. Maybe it was time to change jobs, because sometimes he hated what he did for a living.
Jen: Are there any other writers, published or not, in your family?
Alexis: I am beyond pleased that the kids have followed me into the writing business. In fact, I was thrilled when my daughter, Kelly Ethan, started writing. She is now published with Totally Bound Publishing, Samhain Publishing and Allen & Unwin in Australia. My son is published in non-fiction and I have just found out my great-niece has found her voice and loves disappearing into the stories she crafts.
Jen: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Alexis: I guess I’m a bit of both. I usually have a good idea where I want a story to go and scenes cluttering up my head before I start. I do sit down and plot the first three chapters before I start writing. After that I let the story run, let the characters tell me what they want to do. Usually, it works, but there have been occasions where the story has veered off track and then I have to go back and work out where I went wrong. Sometimes I think it would be way easier if it was all plotted out before I start, but I’m afraid my head doesn’t work that way.
Jen: How do you remember ideas that come to you at odd times?
Alexis: If you check out my mobile phone, you’ll find stacks of notes, ideas, character sketches etc. all saved in my Memo section. Lol I’d be lost without that phone. I also carry a notebook and pen in my handbag wherever I go. Then there are the times I wake in the middle of the night and have to jump out of bed and grab a pen and paper because I just had this brilliant idea. My husband once told me I scared him witless when I sat up in bed one night (I was sound asleep) and yelled out a character’s name. I had been struggling to name this character for a while so hubby, being well-trained by then, jumped out of bed and wrote it down for me.
Jen: What’s the most interesting comment you’ve received about your books?
Alexis: I am always very grateful when a reader emails me and tells me how much she enjoyed my story, but there’s one email that stands out in my mind. One that I’ll never forget. A reader contacted me to say she and her partner were having issues in their marriage, in particular the marriage bed. She convinced her hubby to read a couple of my books to show him that yes, sex can be serious, but it can also be light-hearted and fun, too. She said it gave them both a much more relaxed view on that side of marriage.
*gulp* What a responsibility. I was blown away, but if it helped them, in whatever way, shape or form, I’m glad.
Jen: What do you do in your free time?
Alexis: In the last few years since my husband died, I seem to have had a lot of free time. I should have used that time for writing, but I lost the plot there for a while and simply couldn’t write at all. I’m not certain I really did anything constructive with my free time then. I am now starting to come out of the fog that clouded my brain for so long and my free time is given over to reading, gardening, painting the house, sewing and whatever else has to be done. I am the world’s biggest procrastinator, but it’s time to get my life ordered again. I now have my daughter and son-in-law and three grandchildren, plus a cat and a dog, living with me. This is a very new thing for all of us and my daughter and I are learning we have to structure time, not just for writing, but also for relaxation.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Alexis: I’m working on finishing the second demon story for my Lucifer Inc. series with Totally Bound. I had hoped to have it finished by now, but real life intruded for a while. Now it’s time to get my butt back in the chair and complete it. Then it will be onto the third one in the series.
Then there’s the thriller I’ve started that I’d love to get back to. And another Australian-set novella to complete a series. Then…then… Okay, too many ideas and not enough time. Lol