When Brad Sorenson crossed paths with Zoe O’Loughlin at a high school graduation party, the connection was undeniable. He noticed her when no one else did; she inspired him to want more out of life. But it would be years before they’d meet again…and in the most unlikely of places. Brad was looking for a good time online, not love. But Zoe was so sweet, so kind. Everything about her was perfect—until she fell in love with him. Zoe doesn’t know why Brad left her standing in an airport; he won’t return her calls or texts. With her self-esteem and dreams shattered, she can’t imagine ever loving anyone else. A single phone call changes Brad’s life forever. Now he wants just one thing: to make amends with the only woman that’s ever mattered. Will his first love give him a second chance or will Zoe turn her back on love for good?
Will second chances be extended, or are the lovers to be parted? Michelle Alstead, author of ‘After Love Leaves’ knows all of the secrets behind the romance of Brad and Zoe and hopefully she will drop a few little hints to us in today’s author interview. Michelle, thanks for joining me today, I appreciate that you’ve taken a little time out of your busy day to chat with me. The first thing I’m eager to chat about with you is how the underlying seeds of this novel started? Can you let us in on how it formed?
This novel was inspired by a true story.
A true story, that is a marvellous! I don’t get to see enough novels around here based on true stories which is a shame because often much fact is crazier than fiction. As this is based on a true story, how did the characters initially evolve?
They came to me while dealing with the end of my own relationship.
Working through your own emotions with the end of the relationship and the creation of these characters must have been challenging and difficult at times. What did you feel was the most rewarding aspect of working through this novel?
Taking people out of their daily lives and into a different world while hopefully inspiring them to think about their own choices.
And if you had to narrow it down to a single important message that you wanted your readers to really think about with their choices, what would it be?
Real love brings forgiveness.
And I hope that both Zoe and Brad find real love at their end of their journey, either with or without each other. I won’t ask if Zoe and Brad are going to feature in your next work because it might give the ending of ‘After Love Leaves’ away, but without sharing any spoilers, can you tempt us a little with your current writing project?
It’s a thriller series, a young adult series.
I hope you’re getting thrills writing it! Apart from the chance of thrilling yourself with your plot, why do you write?
I write because the muses won’t leave me alone until I do.
*Laughs* Keeping your muses at bay is a very effective motivating method for writing! In order to keep you motivated do you also make sure that you know the ending before you start writing?
Yes. I never start the book without knowing exactly how the story ends.
As you know where you’re headed do you set word counts to keep track of your writing progress?
Yes, I aim for 3,000 (words) per chapter. Sometime I’ll split the chapter up over three days, aiming for 1,000 words at a time.
1,000 words at a time is a rapid, productive pace. Do you use music to keep your head in the game?
No, I need quiet.
Do you use any other techniques to help you work through writers block?
No, I take a break until the inspiration returns.
And when the inspiration has returned in full and you’ve finished a complete draft of your work, how does the editing process unfold?
I write a chapter. Re-read, edit and send it to an editor. He sends it back. I re-write and send it to a second editor.
Wow, two editors, now that is dedication to the editing process, and a strategy that I don’t believe that I’ve encountered before. Other than employing multiple editors, do you have any other tips in the writing or self-publishing areas for other authors?
Don’t give up.
And I’m glad that you haven’t given up on today’s interview. Just before you go I’d like to take a little time to work through our quick fire question set to delve into a little more into who you are as a person outside of writing. I’m in the mood to start with philosophy today; do you have any philosophies that you live by?
Be nice and if you can’t be nice – walk away.
An effective an art that I feel has been lost sometimes in today’s culture. Would you have a cast party with the characters in your book if they could come to life?
What is your favourite quote?
I took the road less traveled and it has made all the difference.
The wisdom of Frost! Always a fantastic consideration. Are you a valuable asset on a quiz team?
Awesome, I shall add you to the growing list of super quiz team members. What is your zodiac sign?
What is your favourite ocean?
Are you an introvert or extrovert?
Have you ever danced in the rain?
Are you left or right handed?
If they made a movie from your book who would you choose to play the main characters?
Chris Evans and Katherine Heigl
Solid choices there. What is your occupation, and how does it influence your writing?
I’m a web developer and trainer. My occupation inspires me to seek out a creative outlet.
I’ve always through of development as creative a pursuit as writing. Or at least it’s creative when I write code! How are the colours in rainbows made?
Diffraction of light
And finally, I’m going to pull out the hard-hitting question what is your favourite flavor of ice-cream to end today’s chat?
Michelle, thank you again for pushing back the veil on the world in ‘After Love Leaves’ with me today. And best of luck with your upcoming work in the teen/ thriller market.
Want to find out more about Michelle Alstead? Connect here!