Interview with urban fantasy romance author Alisha Costanzo

I
have Alisha Costanzo visiting the blog
today. We’re chatting about her urban fantasy novel Loving Red.

First, a bit about
Alisha:
Alisha
Costanzo is from a Syracuse suburb. She earned her MFA in creative writing from
the University of Central Oklahoma, where she currently teaches English. She’s
the author of Blood Phoenix: Rebirth,
Blood Phoenix: Claimed, and Loving Red, and co-editor of Distorted. Underwater, her new anthology, is undergoing serious edits for its
2016 release. In the meantime, she will continue to corrupt young minds, rant
about the government, and daydream about her all around nasty creatures.
Welcome, Alisha. Please
tell us about your current release.
Loving Red is a fast-paced,
alternating third-person point of view of the kidnapping, escape, and battles
between the Celampresians and the Assetato focusing on a newly budding romance
between a shifter wolf and a human. Kaia is a strong female protagonist who can
hold her own, and Severins is a tough yet sensitive male who defines what it
means to be a soldier. Together, they fight for their lives while trying to
protect a missing Assetato agent, a shifter bear, the man who broke Kaia’s
heart.
What inspired you to
write this book?
Severins
Bouvier was literally made for Kaia Skarin…on Facebook. Four years ago. For a
long while, I was a role-play addict. My second role-play character was the
charismatic, perverse bear named Dev Peltier from Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark
Hunter series. I loved him. Being him. Unleashing the sex-crazed man in my
head. And the females didn’t know what hit them.
I
was merciless. (Which is fitting, since Kenyon’s novel featuring him is
entitled No Mercy.)
Worse,
when Dev met Kaia—Little Red—one of my best friends and writing partners, we
created a ton of character couples together. Man did we have chemistry.
He
couldn’t fall in love with Little Red, but he did. And a private romance brewed
between them that was all too obvious when they flirted on post to the dismay
of not only fans, but his mate from the novels.
The
solution was Sev, a male fashioned in part after Dev (hence their similar
names, look, and general attitude, which I suppose will become more clear in
the coming books rather than this one) and in part after my former soldier
husband, who makes a cameo in the novel as Private Webb.
Their
on-post romance flashed quick and hot without much trouble other than the
approval of his four-year-old daughter, Shawna. Much of their book came from
outside the posts, but their characters were deep and developed before I tossed
them into craziness.
Excerpt from Loving Red:
From
Chapter Eight:


Sev’s scent grew stronger before he moved. His
soft groan moistened the back of her neck. Hitting a bump jarred Kaia’s head,
making her hiss when it met the floor of the trunk.
“Are you alright, beautiful?” Moving behind her,
Sev’s arms came around her, settling her ear and cheek against the meat of his
forearm.
“I’d say not. I’m trapped in this trunk with you.”
Although if she thought about it, Sev tried to save her, or that’s what she
assumed. “How did you know they were after us?”
“After you. I just happened to be in the way.”
“Well, how did you know they were after me?” Of
course he’d have to correct her. She didn’t let this fluttering overcome her
common sense, although she finally understood why women stayed with abusive
men. Some kind of compulsion pushed her to sink back into him.
“I could smell them.”
Right. “Is that some type of intuition?”
“You can call it that.”
“Well, can you smell where they’re taking us?”
“Doesn’t work quite like that.”
Harrumphing, more turns shoved and slid them
around the trunk. Her life had been pretty boring before Sev found his way into
it. How could she be sure this wasn’t his doing? In fact, why wasn’t he trying
to escape? Instead, he seemed more focused on making her comfortable.
“Why did they leave your arms bound in front and
mine are tied behind me?” The cuffs around her wrists warmed against her skin.
“For speed, I presume. You can never tell how well
a sucker punch will put someone down. Here, let me see if I can get you out of
yours.” Sev shifted behind her, taking his arms back and following the length
of hers with his hands.
Goose bumps bloomed in the wake of his touch.
Get it together, Kaia. You don’t want anything
to do with this man.
His fingertips found her cuffs, but he jerked
back.
“Well, they certainly covered their bases.”
Shifting, Kaia leaned toward him, although the
darkness kept her from seeing more than the outline of his form. “What do you
mean?”
“They used silver.” His pause gave him time to
find her chin; his thumb traced the dip below her lower lip. “I’m highly
allergic.”
A loud bang reverberated through the trunk. “Mate
on your own time,” a light and airy female voice called back.
Mate? Did they think she’d get naked and fornicate
in a trunk? Well, maybe if she’d been there on her own volition, but not when
she’d been kidnapped.
Kaia rolled again, giving her back to Sev. Taking
a deep breath, the reality of the situation dawned on her. She lay in a trunk
with an abusive man, bound, and awaiting what she could only assume to be
torture at best and death at worse. Eyes closed to the darkness, anxiety
strangled Kaia, sending her into the type of panic attack she hadn’t succumbed
to in decades.
Chest heaved. Breath stalled. Choking on fear.
There had to be a way out of this. Her family had
money—not loads, but enough to pay a million dollars. Or she could school them
in money laundering if that’s what they needed. She certainly had the skills.
But God, what if it wasn’t enough?
A sharp breath punched her in the gut and sent her
gasping. Sev’s hands found her shoulders and neck, sweeping away the hair at
the nap and leaning in to plant a kiss. His arms circled her once more, and her
back met his chest.
“Breathe with me. Feel my chest. Match my rhythm.
In. Out. In. Out,” Sev’s whispers repeated, coaching her back to a shallow but
calm pace. “There you are, beautiful. Nice and calm.”
What exciting story
are you working on next?
Book
three in my Blood Phoenix series,
which explores the connection between Ria, my vampire-phoenix hybrid, and my
super tall, Scandinavian leprechaun, Boden. This gives the novel it’s namesake:
Imprinted. After Ria killed a young
man she’d pulled into her terrifying paranormal world, she has to continue to prove
herself worthy of her vampire status by hunting a pack of wolves. She works to
balance her love for the three men that make her stronger, for her best
friend’s safety, and for a new renegade she wants to help so badly but can’t.
And finally, her quarrel with Felix comes to a head.
When did you first
consider yourself a writer?
It’s
funny. I’ve been writing for a long time. My friends and I used to have stacks
of stories that took over a complete shelf in my closet. I started my first
novel when I was seventeen and rewrote it four times. I spent ten years in
college focusing on art and communications and writing, of course. But I didn’t
actually think of myself as a writer, a real writer, until I spent a semester
editing my thesis for my MFA. The time I spent on tweaking and reading and
tweaking and shifting and tweaking taught me how long the process takes and how
far beyond the fun, inspiration of discovering a story I must go to advance my
narrative. It was work. A lot of it.
And I finally felt like a writer.
Do you write
full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than
write and how do you find time to write?
I
do not write full-time, unfortunately. However, I do work with writing
full-time. I’m a writing professor at the University of Central Oklahoma, and I
teach freshman composition, but not that boring, dull stuff. I like to focus on
pop culture and satirical cartoons/stories (South
Park, Family Guy, Futurama, Doctor Who,
and more), and I have a lot of fun
developing my students’ skills. My job is rewarding, and I’m thankful for that.
Outside of school, I also have a small press that I run as the editor-in-chief.
So I’m engulfed in writing every day.
I
tend to write during the summer when I’m not teaching classes, and I
participate in NaNoWriMo’s July Camp. This lets me hammer out a novel, edit a
novel and an anthology, and weave in some short stories during the span of a
year. Carving out time during the year can be difficult, but the stories just
won’t let me put them off for long.
What would you say is
your interesting writing quirk?
I’m
such an academic hippie, and it shows. I comment on the environment and the
flaws of humanity as a species, which plays into my major satire-love, so I
tend to incorporate references to others’ creations as well, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Twilight, and Dracula, and some less popular allusions
that only true vamp geeks get.
As a child, what did
you want to be when you grew up?
I
actually wanted to be an art teacher. I suppose I didn’t veer too far off course.
Anything additional
you want to share with the readers?
I
appreciate and absolutely love connecting with you. Thank you.
Links:

Thanks, Alisha! Happy
writing.

2 thoughts on “Interview with urban fantasy romance author Alisha Costanzo

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