I’m very happy and proud today to publish this interview.
Aleatha Romig is famous not only for her dark stories as in “Consquences”, “The Light” and “Infidelity” series but she also writes fabulous sweet and romantice stories “Plus One” and “One Night” are proof enough of her talent.
She is very active on social media and her husband Mr Jeff is well known among her fans. As she said: they are a team.
When I read Consequences years ago it was a revelation. It was unique at that time and Aleatha set a trend.
She’s never ceased to amaze me and that’s why I was stunned and amazed when she agreed to answer my questions.
I could not interview Aleatha withou asking some questions to Mr Jeff too and they both have been very good sports.
I must say Aleatha has been very generous in her answers and it’s been an incredible interview to read!
So a huge thank you to Aletha and Mr Jeff!!!
I hope you’ll enjoy.
Let’s get to know you better as a person first:
- How was little Aleatha like? A wild child or a book nerd? Maybe an athlete?
Not too wild. More a girly girl…played with dolls, Barbies, as I got older, I became more of a TomBoy…riding bikes and always outside.
- Favorite authors and books for little Aleatha?
Absolute favorite was Laura Ingalls Wilder – Little House on the Prairie books. Loved the TV show too, but read all the books, even up to when she’s married with her daughter.
- What’s the one thing you can’t live without?
I would say…my computer. I’m addicted!
- What’s a typical day at the Romig’s house?
I’m more productive in the morning. So I wake and basically go straight to work. Writing, marketing, social media, editing… Then about mid afternoon, I’m ready for a break. I’ll often go back and keep working, especially when I’m in the middle of writing until about 5 – 6. Then my daughter calls…she calls every day. That’s my signal to stop, make dinner, and pour myself a glass of wine. Exception…evening takeovers. An author works non stop!
- Could you explain how someone goes from dental hygienist to writer? These professions are so far from each other (except maybe editing could be like cleaning teeth??) so was writing always something you wanted to do but chose a more “expected” path to feed you and your family?
I never considered being a real “author” as in a profession until later in life. I actually enjoyed being a dental hygienist. I was one for nearly 30 years. I even taught at Indiana University School of Dentistry for 12 years. It’s a great profession and I was blessed with wonderful co-workers and great patients. They become your family! And yes, it did well to help feed my family. Mr.Jeff has always worked too…we both worked until now, that we work together.
It wasn’t until the economic crash of 2008 that I began writing. Mostly because I was lonely. Our two oldest children were away at college. MrJeff was working nights and our youngest went to bed at 8 pm. Our daughter says that I wrote to control a fiction world because I couldn’t control my own. Controlling Claire’s world became my obsession. I never thought anyone would read my story or others after it. Consequences was purely my release.
- What made you take this leap of faith and publish your first book? How many trials and errors and how many years before publishing Consequences?
One night I clicked “Do you want to publish a book?” on the internet. It was the best and worst decision of my life. If I hadn’t made that leap of faith, I would probably not be here today. However, Consequences was initially published by a Vanity publisher and I do not recommend that to anyone. It’s truly a scam to get want to be authors to pay exorbitant fees for ridiculous marketing. Thankfully, Consequences began to sell about a year from publication. It was published August of 2011…sales didn’t start to take off until 2012. By then, I had won back my rights and was ready to release TRUTH…the entire series is self published and I couldn’t be happier. The readers were what made Tony and Claire’s story come to life!
Now let’s speak about your books and your writing:
- Why the choice to publish a book about anti-hero? From what I see Mr Jeff seems a pretty incredible guy so I guess he was not the one inspiring you… or maybe he has a dark side that we don’t know of LOL. So yes what pushed you to write this story? Were you influenced by other dark books or series?
Prior to writing, I was a thriller reader. I never intended Consequences to become a romance, dark or not. It was originally written as a stand alone psychological thriller. The readers made it into a dark romance (a genre that really didn’t exist until 2011, because it didn’t exist in traditional publishing)
LOL…no, not based on Jeff! Though he would like me to be more punctual!
- Who inspired Tony? Was he difficult to “flesh out”? Was it difficult to stay true to his personality as the series progressed and still let him evolve? What’s the “trick”?
I would say that Tony was inspired by a combination of King Henry XIII (I was watching the Tudors at the time) and Victor Newman from Young and the Restless! Yep…
Once a character comes to life in my head, they live there. They speak to me. I don’t speak for them. So, no, it wasn’t difficult to stay true to Tony. Tony is Tony. He isn’t a monster who meets a woman and changes. The Consequences series spans 8 years. It was a slow transition, one that he fought as well as pushed to achieve. Claire was the only one to love him despite himself. It took him a long time to understand that and then to accept it.
- How do you explain the success of Consequences? Did you expect it? And do you remember your thoughts when you realized it became a huge hit?
Did I expect it? NO! I thought my mom and maybe three of her friends would read. I believe that the success of Consequences was because in 2011 – 2012 it was TOTALLY different than most books. At the time, self – indie- publishing was just beginning. Traditional publishers didn’t believe in changing their tried and true formulas. Consequences was completely outside the box.
I was approached by publishers who said, “We’re interested in Consequences. We like it because it’s different. But, we will need you to change it.”
I didn’t do it. The fact it was different has made it succeed.
- Your husband Jeff is very active and present on Facebook. He really takes part in your everyday work and is a “public face” that your fans got to know and like. How did this happen? Other authors have very helpful husband too and I think it’s mandatory to have their help but I don’t know of any other author having her spouse collaborate and be public like yours does. On a personal note I find it incredibly charming and endearing.
MrJeff is great. We’ve been married for over 30 years. We were high school sweethearts. We’re blessed that we can work together like we do. We enjoy traveling. We enjoy meeting readers. I can’t imagine him not being with me. He not only does that, but he runs our household. He manages our finances. He formats all my books and basically allows me to do what I want to do…write. We make a great team.
- Question for Mr Jeff: How was Aleatha when she first published Consequences? And now do you see changes? Does she have any ritual before publishing a book?
When she first published Consequences, she was working full-time. Now, she works more hours, but from home. Rituals? She likes to get away from everything on release day. She’s stressed!
- I love Tony but what I loved above all else is your incredible capacity to write stories filled with twist and turns. Secrets, betrayals, deceptions, hidden agendas you master everything to keep us on our toes. Not only in the Consequences series but also in the Infidelity series and even The Light series. You have the knack to weave intricate web of deceptions. How do you do it?
Do you have it all planned from the start? Have a white board filled with sticky notes and arrows pointing between them like any good FBI series? Do you build your plot alone or does Mr Jeff play an active role in the plotting? Or someone else? Or does it come from your childhood and some series or books or writer that “imprinted” on you?
Thank you. I know Consequences gets a lot of publicity, but I think The Light Duet was a GREAT story. I loved the research I did on cults…I loved the characters. And to date, The Infidelity series, in my opinion, is my best work.
Consequences, the series, I wrote for over 4 years. Infidelity was 5 books (LONG BOOKS) written and released 4 months apart…a year and a half of living, breathing, and dreaming that story. I pray one day I can write something as good. Currently, I’m writing RESPECT, which is a stand alone Infidelity novel: The making of a man. Oren Demetri’s story. I’m loving it. Writing the lighter books helped me move on…but writing the twists, turns, layers…it’s what I LOVE.
I am a complete pantser. I do not plan at all. I knew where the next book would end as I wrote the Infidelity series…and the Consequences series. I knew the final ending for Infidelity…one couple, not the other. I don’t plot. I don’t plan. I use chicken scratch in a notebook. (My editor is trying to get me to make master sheets…but I don’t listen)
I let the characters come to life…and they tell their story. They constantly surprise me. I will sit down to write and they’ll take me somewhere else.
When I began Infidelity, I had 5 covers, 5 titles, and two names: Lennox – Nox, and Alexandria – Charli. I didn’t know ANYTHING else. But as I wrote, my 4 POVs came alive, each having a distinct voice. Like in the LIGHT duet…each character had his or her own voice. I just let them tell their stories.
- Now about your series “The Light” once again where did you find your idea? You wrote about two female characters this time Sara and Stella. Who inspired you to write these heroines? You managed to enthrall even readers usually not fans of thrillers or suspense again how do you explain this? What’s your magic trick?
No one inspired me…I wanted to write about strong women. I feel Sara and Stella are amazingly strong, surviving their own situations. I’m glad I enthralled readers. I think the story is about the strength it takes people, men and women, to survive what comes their way. While it would be easy to say you wouldn’t have adapted as Sara did, sometimes adapting is the best mode of survival (think of Claire). And then, there are women like Stella, that no matter how dangerous the situation, her gut tells her to keep looking.
I have no magic trick, but I’m glad you enjoyed.
- Jacob, Tony, Nox (from the Infidelity series) are all part of what I would call your “dark and suspenseful” series. They are complex heroes. In shades of grey. Now Malcolm from One Night is what I would call “a very good guy”. There is not one thing I would not love about him. So tell me: what kind of hero is the easiest to write about? And the most interesting and fun to write about?
Easiest…Malcolm and Duncan (PLUS ONE). It’s much easier to just be sweet. It’s also fun to write, kind of a palate cleanser. After being so immersed in INFIDELITY, I needed a break. The most interesting are the more complex characters. Tony will always be special, because he’s my first. However, Jacob and Nox are more true alphas…willing to risk everything to protect the love of their life while keeping her safe and showing her that she is the center of their universe. Jacob is more a man’s man…down to earth, where Nox is the billionaire type. But they are both GOOD men. Yes, they have secrets and shades of gray, but that’s what makes them complex and layered. That is why as a reader you WANT to get to understand them better.
- Malcolm is the perfect hero: handsome, fit, loves kids, smart, compassionate, caring, good in bed and he is patient with Mandy really waiting for her to be ready and pushing gently when he can. I have to ask: who inspired Malcolm? Does he exist in real life? If so can I ask him to marry me? 😉
haha…you’re not the first to ask. Sometimes in romance, especially “lighter” romance, I believe the goal for the reader is to escape into a world where you’d want to live. To get away from real life and get lost in a fantasy. Malcolm is a fantasy. He’s a male Mary Poppins – “Practically perfect in every way” And he was exactly what Mandy needed. I truly enjoyed writing their story. It was not only sexy, but real, and faced real life issues…I hope more people will give ONE NIGHT a chance.
- Why go from dark books to lighter? What was the trigger? What is the easiest to write? What’s the most rewarding? Did you fear to be “labelled” dark, twisted, suspenseful romance writer?
I’ve answered this…but the trigger was INFIDELITY. I have never loved and been more totally immersed in a series as I was Infidelity. When I finished it, I cried. I mourned. I missed my characters…I still do. I needed a break. Writing over 1600 pages…5 full length books as complicated as Infidelity was exhausting. The reward was fantastic. The readers loved the story as much as I did…but I was stuck. I couldn’t move on.
And then, life happened. I was stuck in a cloud of discontent…
I needed something.
Before I was a writer, as a reader, I’d read 2 – 3 dark thrillers and then I’d read a Janet Evanovich…I loved the light break.
So, I decided, for me, more than the readers, I would write light. It helped…It got me out of my fog. It wasn’t so much as being labeled, and it saddens me when reviews begin…” I like ____ genre from you best.” Because, I don’t want to be labeled. I don’t want every Aleatha book to be the same as the last with different names in a different town. I’ve worked hard to separate my light from my dark with their covers… I’ve found new readers who are afraid of my dark. I know I have dark readers who don’t want to read my light…but the great thing is…there are always more books. I have more dark coming. I have more series and thrillers and more light. I want to write it all, because it helps me… Imagine your head filled with dark all the time? I want to be known as a unique author of unique stories that span different genres.
- Mandy in One Night is a very loveable character. She is a great mom and every mom on the planet can walk in her shoes and understand her fears and struggle. Was Mandy inspired by someone you know?
Thank you. I think female characters are more difficult to write than male. Most of the readers are female. They will forgive the unforgivable in a male. (ie Tony) but they – the readers- will knit-pick the heroine to death. “She’s too dumb” “She’s too smart” “She’s too pretty” “She’s too thin” “She doesn’t communicate” “She whines all the time”. It’s seriously a very fine line.
Mandy wasn’t inspired by one individual, but many. I was raised by a single mother, so there’s probably something in that. I loved Mandy’s supportive family. She had a tough road, but so much love and support that it made it understandable that she would put herself last on her list. I believe there are MANY Mandy’s out there…now we need more Malcolm’s.
- One Night focuses on the struggle to be a single parent, on the day to day worries and the difficulty to be “back on the proverbial saddle”. What would you say is the most difficult in motherhood? Single parent or not what’s your advice to be a great mom but keep being a woman and a wife? And could you share with us some memories about your kids? The worst fear they gave you? The proudest moment?
I think parenthood is HARD work! I never had to do it alone. MrJeff is a FANTASTIC father and dad! He was the coach, the dad in the stands. He changed diapers. He loves and disciplines…we both did. We were a team. I can’t imagine the struggles of doing it all alone…yet, as a child raised by a single mom, I know it’s possible.
I think that even when there are two parents, there are times when being a mom supersedes being a woman. Even in a good marriage, life can wear you out. It takes an understanding man to recognize that it isn’t about him…life is tiring.
I’m constantly proud of our children. Our oldest is 28, happy in his relationship and happy with his work. He’s a good man. I couldn’t ask for more. Our daughter is strong and happy. She is 26 and getting married next spring. She bought her own home at 23 and loves her work and her fiancé. Our youngest is 21 and on the autism spectrum. He makes us happy everyday with his accomplishments. Parenting doesn’t end when your children become 18. We hope to be involved in our children’s lives for as long as we live. We’re blessed that they all call and talk or are with us and talk daily.
- What will be your next project about? Leatha or Aleatha? Or a collaboration with another author? An anthology? Something else?
October 17 I’m excited to be part of THE VAULT…a box set of 22 brand new stories from 22 authors! My contribution is UNCONVENTIONAL…it’s definitely darker than my “lighter ones” but it does have a fun twist. I hope everyone will give it a chance. I promise to blow your conceptions out of the water. If you loved or hated Tony…wait until you meet Vic!
And then, I have a surprise release coming the beginning of November. It’s a full length definitely dark standalone…connected to characters you know and love! Stay tuned. I just listened to the audible…OMG…I can’t wait to share it with you all!
I would like to release one or two “lighter” ones a year. That’s my hope, but right now I’m concentrating again on my more complex stories. I’m almost done writing RESPECT, which will release in January of 2018 (and is available on Amazon and iBooks for preorder) and I believe that even though it is an INFIDELITY stand alone novel, it may be the catalyst for my next series! Stay tuned!
Now to end on a lighter tone …
- What’s Mr Jeff’s most endearing character’s trait? And most infuriating?
Mr Jeff is the kindest most hardworking man you’ll ever meet. He would give you the shirt off his back, if you needed it. He’d build your deck or help you with hurricane repairs. His most infuriating…I better not say. LOL
- Mr Jeff now: what’s Aleatha’s greatest quality? And little quirk?
Aleatha’s greatest quality is… very driven and passionate about what she does. Her “little quirk” is she used to get up and shower and go to work. Now…she can go for a long time without the showering part or even getting into clothes…so I get to do all the running. LOL
- As I’m on a Book Boyfriend Challenge right now and chose Tony for one of my book boyfriend I have to ask you what book boyfriend and /or celebrity you would choose as:
-Biker; King (T.m. Frazier)
-Billionaire; Tony, Nox, Oren, Duncan
-Actor; Real life…any of the “Chris” lol. Old school: Harrison Ford!
- Name one book (or more) that changed your life and why.
Gone With the Wind…my favorite. JR Ward – The Black Dagger Brotherhood: An Insider’s Guide – changed my life! JR Ward wrote in that book about how she didn’t follow the rules of publishing. Her synopsis was too long. She wanted to do what hadn’t been done…
That inspired me to pursue Consequences, even though I’d been told by people in RWA that it wasn’t a romance (it wasn’t) and I shouldn’t publish it. (I did!)
- Favorite quote?
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
Once again a huge thank you for your time! I’m always blown away reading your books and it’s an immense honor to have you answer these questions.
Thank you!!! <3
All my love to your family and Mr Jeff of course 😉
Find Aleatha on Facebook -> https://www.facebook.com/AleathaRomig/
Buy link for One Night -> http://amzn.to/2xO5SEU