Alexandrea Weis’s popular first novel, To My Senses, received rave reviews and garnered awards for both commercial fiction and romance writing. A permitted wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, when Ms. Weis isn’t writing novels, she’s rescuing orphaned and injured wildlife. She, her husband, and a menagerie of pets live in New Orleans. Visit her website at www.alexandreaweis.com.
Please tell us a bit about your book, Recovery, and what you hope readers take away from reading it.
I would like the readers to get a feel of what it was like for those trying to recover in post-Katrina New Orleans. To get an inkling of the sights, sounds and smells that overtook the city after the storm. I want people to understand that recovery takes place on the inside, as well as the outside, after any type of physical or emotional upheaval.
Who are your favorite characters in the story?
The two main characters, Nicci and Dallas, were my favorites. Nicci’s interactions with Dallas were always an interesting challenge. But the secondary characters, such as Nicci’s father and Uncle Lance, were a lot of fun to write as well.
Do you have a favorite line or excerpt from your book?
“The world had suddenly become a little darker for me, and for the first time in my life, I feared the future. I had survived the sharp-tongued insults of a snobby southern upbringing, the heartache of my mother’s death, betrayal, intrigue, engagement to a moron, and the loss of the only man I had ever loved. Even the devastation of Katrina had not dampened my belief in the eventuality of good. From all things bad something good does come, I was once told, and up until that moment in my life, I had believed it. But how do you sustain such hope when your faith in the certainty of tomorrow is threatened? What do you believe in when another is killing for control of your destiny?”
If your current release were to be turned into a movie, who would you love to see play what characters and why?
Actually, Buyer Group International, an independent production company, has picked up the movie option for Recovery and hopes to go into production in 2012. They are currently in pre-production on a screenplay I wrote called Blood Will Tell. As far as casting goes, I do not have any specific actors in mind for Nicci or Dallas.
What are your favorite aspects of writing?
Losing myself in the story and the characters. The people I write about always become so real to me. When I am finished writing a novel, I always feel a sense of sadness that the process is over.
Your least favorite aspects of writing?
Becoming so immersed in a novel that everything else in my life seems to suffer. My world becomes that book, and when it is finished it is as if I have to re-orient myself to the world around me.
Who are some of your favorite authors/books?
I love Ian Fleming and all the James Bond novels. The series is a real character study. My favorite author has always been Ernest Hemingway. His use of such few words to evoke so many emotions has always fascinated me. The Sun Also Rises, in my opinion, is one of his best works.
What are you reading right now?
Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff. I am an ancient history nut.
If you could have a dinner party and invite five authors — dead or alive — who would they be and what would you serve them?
I would start with Aristotle. I would love to pick his brain about educating Alexander The Great. I would also invite Ian Fleming so I could learn about how he developed the character of James Bond. Next, would be Tennessee Williams. He was an old family friend and taught me a lot about how to write characters. He was a master at developing characters with underlying emotional issues. I could see inviting Ernest Hemingway because I think his life experiences and his insights about writing would be fascinating to hear. Lastly, Edgar Allen Poe. I think Poe’s use of imagery and his dark, tormented characters made his style of writing unique. Needless to say, with this group I don’t think an elaborate dinner would be an option. A well-stocked, open bar and an assortment of finger sandwiches would probably be all that is needed for an entertaining evening.
What is a book that you wish you could say that you had written and why?
The Sun Also Rises because it is a masterpiece in storytelling and has unforgettable characters.
What is the greatest piece of advice (for writing and/or just living) that you have heard?
Keep writing. It sounds daunting at times, but it is the best advice I have ever been given. The more you write, the better you get at it.