Happy Monday, Friends!
I’m excited to talk to Alexa Verde today about her latest book, Love Me. It’s set in the awesome fictional town of Chapel Cove, Oregon, “where life begins at forty.” Grab a cup of tea (or coffee) and chat with us.
About the Book
Welcome to Chapel Cove, Oregon, where life begins at forty.
The biggest disaster of her life or the beginning of something wonderful?
Growing up, Kristina Vela never imagined she’d meet her fortieth birthday divorced by her cheating, manipulative husband, and without a house, degree, or career. Back in her hometown, Chapel Cove, to start anew, she’s given up on men. Then she meets grieving widower Greg Matthews and his adorable five-year-old daughter and helps them renovate a house. Just when Kristina feels she can love again, her ex gives her an ultimatum. Can she choose between her own happiness and Greg’s?
Former snowboarder Greg Matthews is moving to Chapel Cove so his daughter can be close to her grandparents. After his wife died, his heart closed to romance. As caring and compassionate Kristina helps him repair his house and his life, he might be falling for her. But if she decides to leave, will he survive a second heartbreak?
Toni: Welcome, Alexa! I’m so excited to talk about your latest release, Love Me. Let’s talk about your heroine, Kristina Vela, first. What would her dream job be and why?
Alexa: Happy to be here, Toni, and thank you so much for inviting me!
It takes a while for Kristina to find her dream job because for many years she dedicates herself to raising her twins and taking care of her rather demanding husband. When he leaves her and she finds herself starting over at forty, she recalls the dreams she had in childhood and decides to become an interior designer. Growing up in a dilapidated house, she wants to help people make their homes beautiful and full of life, laughter, and happiness.
Toni: I always thought being an interior designer would be cool. How does her ethnicity influence her background and/or the story?
Alexa: Kristina is a Latina and cooking delicious Mexican food is partly how she remembers good parts of her childhood (not so good part was constant arguments between her parents and her mother’s complaints). Coming back to her roots is an important part of Kristina’s spiritual growth. This is how she returns on the path to the person God wanted her to be. Her ex-husband didn’t like her to listen to Tejano music or use Spanish words, and it was one of many ways of him controlling her, but now she can listen to the music she likes, pursue the career she wants, or talk in Spanish to her brother or cousin to her heart’s content. She speaks Spanish fluently and can make great fajitas and tacos!
Toni: You’re making me hungry! 🙂 How does your own ethnicity influence your writing?
Alexa: I’d say rather my nationality influences my writing because I try to incorporate pieces of my Eastern European culture in many of my books. In real life, I’m a blue-eyed blonde living in south Texas, so I stand out like a sore thumb even before I open my mouth (I have a strong accent). But I found Hispanic community as friendly and hospitable as the warm and sunshine weather here. Many of my characters are Hispanic, and I learned to speak Spanish and even got a degree in it. I decided to be grateful to God for creating me just the way I am. Yes, it’s difficult to be different when we have that deep-rooted desire to belong, but God made us diverse for a reason and we should embrace it.
Toni: Amen! One of the things I loved about this story was the age difference. What made you have Kristina be older than Greg?
Alexa: After verbal and emotional abuse from her husband, she feels insecure and unsure of herself. The large age difference with the man she’s now falling for only adds to this internal conflict. However, the age difference doesn’t bother the hero in the least. I wanted to show that when it comes to love and affection, it’s really not about the age, social status, or appearance. It’s the heart that matters. Kristina has a wonderful, loving heart that was hurting for a long time. In the end, she is the right person not only for the hero, but also for his little daughter, Chelsea.
Toni: Aw! What would your characters eat for breakfast and why?
Alexa: That would be a tough choice between chocolate-filled brioches and tacos. Kristina loves anything chocolate (I wonder where did she get that from?), as well as fish tacos, beef tacos, chicken tacos, okay, you get the idea. Of course, she’d never make fish tacos now because Chelsea is allergic to shellfish.
Toni: I approve of tacos! 🙂 How long does it take you to write a novel start to finish, including editing process?
Alexa: It can be from a month to a year. A lot depends on how much time I have to write!
Toni: That makes sense. And last but not least, how can readers help you on your writing journey?
Alexa: I love this question! Readers’ support means so much to me, and it also help other readers find Christian books they might enjoy. Here are some ways that would help tremendously:
– writing a review (even several words count!)
– recommending books on BookBub, GoodReads, social media, and/or in person (the word of mouth matters so much!)
– mentioning the book in readers’ group on social media
– following us on Amazon
– commenting on author’s posts to make them more visible and sharing the posts
– participating in giveaways
– subscribing to the newsletter and forwarding it to friends
– just sending me an email saying they enjoyed my books.
It keeps us authors going. Besides, publishing is extremely competitive these days, and support for books is needed like air! I want to say heartfelt thanks to many of my wonderful readers who are already doing many of those things. I love you.
Toni: Those are great tips! Readers, do you have any questions for Alexa?
About the Author
Alexa Verde writes stories of love, faith, and mystery to warm your heart. She’d love it if you subscribed to her newsletter (every subscriber gets a free Christian romance after confirming the subscription as a thank-you gift). She penned her first literary masterpiece, a rhymed poem, at the ripe age of eight, and since has had twenty books and 200 short stories, articles, and poems published in the five languages that she speaks. She has bachelor’s degrees in English and Spanish, a master’s in Russian, and enjoys writing about characters with diverse cultures. She’s worn the hats of reporter, teacher, translator, model (even one day counts!), caretaker, and secretary, but thinks that the writer’s hat suits her the best. After traveling the world and living in both hemispheres, she calls a small town in south Texas home. The latter is an inspiration for the fictional setting of her popular series Rios Azules Christmas and Secrets of Rios Azules.
She hopes and prays that her stories will bring joy to her readers. Heartfelt thanks for interest in her books!