Today we’re joined by Alice Raine. Bestselling author of the Untwisted series and now writing another trilogy, The Revealed series will be with us shortly – book one (Unmasked) will be out tomorrow (21st November).
Onni: Alice – thanks so much for joining us today. Let me start by saying how much I enjoyed the adventures of Nathan and Nicholas in The Untwisted books. What can we expect from the new series – characters, locations etc?
Alice: There are some secrets and twists discovered in the first book, so unfortunately I can’t say too much without giving them away…but the settings are something I can discuss. I like to set my books in places I have actually been, so that I can try and convey the sights, sounds and experiences as thoroughly as possible, and this is no different in the Revealed series, as we visit both the UK and the US. More specifically, Buxton in the Peak district, and Los Angeles in the United States.
The genre is erotic romance again, and in general, the themes are love, romance, and the development of hope and trust. As always though, I mix in some darker, edgier themes to add to the characters back stories. I enjoy the challenge of adding these trickier elements, and the great side-effect is that they help me create tension, passion and drama, and let’s face it, that’s what we all want when we sit down to read a book.
I think (hope) that in this new Revealed series I’ve become better at individualising my characters to make them more ‘real’. You’ll meet Sean, Allie, Jack and Cait, but I’m going to keep quiet about how those four are related – you’ll have to read to find out!
Onni: What made you want to jump into another trilogy – did you know as soon as you had the idea for Unmasked that it would be a trilogy?
Alice: Squeezing details, plots and character development into a single book can be tricky, so I like the concept of writing a series because I can really get my teeth into the stories and characters and use the longer length to expand the ideas. Plus, I tend to like to include 4 main characters, so by using a series I can spread the relationship developments across all the books to maintain the interest for the readers.
The Untwisted series actually started off as one book featuring Nicholas and Rebecca, but then, when test readers expressed an interest in Nicholas’s brother Nathan (who was mentioned as a minor part in the first book), I began to extend the stories and created the story of Nathan and Stella. I’m actually really thrilled with the way the series developed, and am particularly fond of the seasonal short stories that I have written to link with the series.
Onni: Do you know at the beginning of writing a trilogy what you want to happen in each book, or are you character-led?
Alice: A little of both. In the very initial planning stages I use a huge sketch pad and try to plot out the rough series of events that I see happening. Of course as I write, this adapts and flexes as new ideas occur to me. Then of course there are the characters, as they develop in my mind and within the manuscripts I do often end up diverting my storylines to include new developments within their backstories.
Onni: Does the writing process for you get easier?
Alice: Perhaps not easier, as such, but certainly clearer – I feel that I’m much better at the planning stages now, which definitely helps with the flow of the actual writing process and reduces overall stress!
Onni: Who is your ideal leading man?
Alice: Gosh, that’s a really difficult question! I think it would have to be a blend: Mr Darcy (Pride and Prejudice) for his elegance and gentlemanly ways, Jesse Ward (This Man Trilogy) for his obsessive desire, Nathaniel Jackson (Untwisted series) for his intense passion and creativity in the bedroom and Tom Hardy (the actor) just because he’s gorgeous!
Onni: Pinterest or Tumblr for your inspiration?!
Alice: Pinterest. (At the risk of making myself sound really old, I don’t even use Tumblr!) I absolutely love the concept of Pinterest though, it’s like having my walls covered in countless pin boards of my favourite images, people and quotes, but without making my house cluttered! As well as using it for inspiration, it also features heavily in my planning, because I like to create boards in the initial planning stages for every book I write.
Many thanks to Alice for that peek into her head – I’ll certainly be delving into Unmasked once it’s out. If that’s whetted your appetite, here’s a snippet!
I was midway through my mammoth vacuuming session and singing along with Mika when the hoover suddenly cut off. Assuming I had pulled the cable from the wall in my exuberance I spun around to remedy it before letting out an ear-piercing shriek and leaping backwards, clutching at my chest as my heart suddenly beat frantically against my ribs.
The hoover hadn’t pulled itself from the wall. No, as I followed the trail of the cable it led me instead to the hand of a very large man, his arms folded and an incredibly angry expression on his face. Swallowing loudly, I briefly scrunched my eyes closed to make sure I wasn’t imagining him, but he was still there when I opened them again. And from the deep frown on his brow, he was still angry. Even through the shock of his sudden appearance, this man was undeniably handsome; a shock of dark hair sat in a ruffled mess on his head, his jaw was defined and lightly stubbled, his lips were drawn into a tight line of disapproval, but were infinitely tempting, and his dark eyes, although irate, seemed to somehow draw me in to the point where I felt the urge to step closer. Thankfully, I didn’t, instead forcefully making my legs stay still.
On top of all of that, it suddenly permeated my consciousness that he was only semi-clothed. Jesus. My eyes flicked over his body and I think my heart stopped for a few seconds before taking off again at such a rate that it was now booming in my chest like some badly played bongo drums. He was wearing nothing but a pair of navy pyjama bottoms.
Crikey, what a sight – so good in fact, that it really should be illegal. His legs were long, the thin cotton clinging to muscles hidden beneath, and the waistband hanging deliciously low on his hips, so it exposed a ‘v’ of muscles that led to goodness knows what splendidness below. Everything looked narrow and tight and… well, inspiring all sorts of delicious thrusting naughtiness to spring to mind.
He was, quite simply, glorious.
My mouth suddenly felt as parched as a dry river bed. Licking my lips, my eyes lingered on his well-muscled abdomen for far longer than necessary, but I couldn’t seem to pull my gaze away as I gulped desperately and absently reached to tug my earbuds out. I didn’t even know him, but the urge to step forwards and run my tongue up the centre of his chest was almost overpowering.
His appearance had definitely sent me into an instant tail spin, there was no doubt about that…
Connect with Alice: