Alison Bruce has had many careers and writing has always been one of them. Copywriter, editor and graphic designer since 1992, Alison has also been a comic book store manager, small press publisher, webmaster and arithmetically challenged bookkeeper. She is the author of mystery, suspense and historical romance novels.
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Kat Flannery’s love of history shows in the novels she writes. She is an avid reader of historical, suspense, paranormal, and romance. When not researching for her next book, Kat can be found running her three sons to hockey and lacrosse. She’s been published in numerous periodicals. This is Kat’s third book and she is hard at work on her next.
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Twin sisters separated by war, bound by love…
After the death of their father, twin sisters Maggie and Matty Becker are forced to take positions with officers’ families at a nearby fort. When the southern states secede, the twins are separated, and they find themselves on opposite sides of America’s bloodiest war.
In the south, Maggie travels with the Hamiltons to Bellevue, a plantation in west Tennessee. When Major Hamilton is captured, it is up to Maggie to hold things together and deal with the Union cavalry troop that winters at Bellevue. Racism, politics and a matchmaking stepmother test Maggie’s resourcefulness as she fights for Bellevue, a wounded Confederate officer and the affections of the Union commander.
In the north, Matty discovers an incriminating letter in General Worthington’s office, and soon she is on the run. With no one to turn to for help, she drugs the wealthy Colonel Cole Black and marries him, in hopes of getting the letter to his father, the governor of Michigan. But Cole is not happy about being married, and Matty’s life becomes all about survival.
Two unforgettable stories of courage, strength and honor.
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Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, HAZARDOUS UNIONS. What was your inspiration for it?
KAT: Thank you! I’d always wanted to write a holiday themed book, and to be able to do it with another author. When I came up with the idea of doing a Christmas book, Alison Bruce was the person I wanted to collaborate with. Together we hashed out the details of the book.
ALISON: Being asked was an honor. The whole process was a great adventure.
Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist.
KAT: Matty loves to read, so much that she is often quoting Shakespeare and Poe throughout the story.
ALISON: Maggie took her father’s history lesson to heart and often quotes her mother’s German proverbs.
Q: How was your creative process like during the writing of this book and how long did it take you to complete it? Did you face any bumps along the way?
ALISON: I knew a fair amount about the politics involved in the Civil War but I needed to get a regular person’s eye view of the time. So, I needed to do a ton of research too. Most of what happens to Maggie is a direct result of that research and asking myself, how would she react to these situations.
Q: How do you keep your narrative exciting throughout the creation of a novel?
KAT: With Matty it was easy because she is so serious and yet, she is constantly quoting Shakespeare or Poe. I write my characters to be real individuals. Sometimes what they say or do comes naturally.
ALISON: Maggie is the practical one. She’d rather be outgoing like her sister or clever like Miss Patience, but she’s the one who takes care of things and ultimately takes charge. At the same time, she’s young and inexperienced. Some of the decisions she thinks are practical turn out to be anything but.
Q: Do you experience anxiety before sitting down to write? If yes, how do you handle it?
KAT: Yes, sometimes I do if I don’t know where I am going with a story. I usually take a break and re-hash all my notes to see if I can’t find the problem. Once I find it the anxiety goes away and I can write.
ALISON: I don’t get anxious when I write, but I do get a little manic at times either because something is keeping me from writing–like other jobs, the kids, an appointment I’m already five minutes late for…
Q: What is your writing schedule like and how do you balance it with your other work and family time?
KAT: I write everyday when I’m doing a book. This can sometimes be tricky if my boys are busy with sports or I need to work, but I find the time and sometimes that is late at night when everyone is asleep.
ALISON: It’s a juggling act. My kids always come first, but they’re old enough to also take up the slack around the house and they are invested in my books. In addition to being an author, I’m a publications manager, awards administrator, freelance writer, editor and graphic designer. Each job ebbs and flows throughout the week, month and year, so a rigid schedule isn’t practical. It’s a constant challenge to keep all the balls in the air, but it suits me better than a 9-5 job.
Q: How do you define success?
KAT: Success is different for everyone. I’m successful in a lot of things in my life; my family, my friends, my faith, my career.
ALISON: I came across a great quote: “To find out what one is fitted to do, and to secure an opportunity to do it, is the key to happiness.” I’m fitted to be a storyteller and I get to do that. That’s success.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers whose spouses or partners don’t support their dreams of becoming an author?
KAT: That can be tough. Be strong and believe in yourself.
ALISON: My initial reaction is to get a different partner. This may not be practical, however. Honestly, I’m blessed. My kids support my writing habit. My friends and extended family are proud of me. There was a time when they thought I was a little crazy, but they never tried to squash my dreams. Any persistent nay sayers have dropped out of my life.
Q: George Orwell once wrote: “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” Do you agree?
KAT: No. I love to write—to create characters and stories and to have the ability to touch my readers through those stories.
ALISON: I do agree with the driven part but my demon and I are old friends who understand each other and enjoy the other’s company… even if we do yell at each other now and then.
Q: Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?
KAT: I love to hear from readers so please drop me a line on my Facebook page or via my website.
ALISON: I love hearing from people too. Fair warning: I am also a mystery writer. Be nice or you might end up dead in my next book.😉