Debut Author Alix Rickloff Talks About Lost in You

The Riskies welcome debut author Alix Rickloff whose first book came out this August. I’ve known Alix for several years, beginning when she joined Washington Romance Writers. It has been a great delight to see her travel the path to publication. Ah, Alix, I knew you when….

Alix will give away one signed copy of Lost in You to a lucky commenter who will be chosen at random, so be sure to leave a comment. The winner will be chosen by noon Monday Sept 22 and announced here on the blog.

1. First of all, Alix, tell us about your debut novel, Lost in You. I know it has “something other” than your typical Regency Historical.

Definitely not your typical Regency Historical! With Lost In You—released at the beginning of August—I introduce you to the world of Other, humans bearing the blood of the Fey and Mortal worlds. Living among the Regency bucks and Society dames of Regency England, these men and women have to try and fit into the human everyday world they inhabit while dealing with the shadowy realm of the Fey who tend to make their cunning and sometimes dangerous presence known all too often.
In this book, Conor Bligh is a soldier belonging to a brotherhood bound together to guard and protect the divide between the Faery and Mortal worlds. When a demon is released from the reliquary that serves as his eternal prison, the task of capturing him falls to Conor.
Ellery Reskeen is an army brat who’s just found out she’s the only one with the power to imprison the demon. What she doesn’t realize is that doing it will cost her life. And that the man she thinks is charged with her protection is actually the one sent to sacrifice her.
It’s got magic and action and messy family relationships and even a crazy aunt in the attic. A little “something other” for everyone!
Sorry, couldn’t help myself.

From Publishers Weekly: I like paranormal historical romance, and Lost in You kept me involved to the end. It has strong characters, warm family relationships, and just the right touch of elusive fae magic.– Joysann

2. Tell us how you came up with the idea for Lost in You.

I’d been writing straight Regency Historicals and had completed four manuscripts, the last with a hint of a paranormal twist. But for whatever reason, none had sold. I decided I wanted to try something completely different. Something that would combine the best of the regencies and the paranormals I loved to read. With Lost In You, I created an alternate universe of men and women who bear the blood of two worlds. I called them my Regency super-heroes. And they were such a blast to write, I knew I’d stumbled onto a good thing. I also decided I wanted an inner conflict for my hero that seemed insurmountable. What’s more insurmountable than knowing you either have to kill the woman you’re falling in love with or see the world destroyed? Talk about a tough decision!

From Romantic Times: Rickloff’s debut sweeps readers into a dark, dangerous and sensual realm where legend and passion mix to perfection to create a compelling, original love story.

3. This is your debut book! Tell us about your writing journey and about getting “The Call.”

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. My mother still has stories I wrote and illustrated in the fourth grade. And I read voraciously. Mysteries. Sci-fi. Fantasy. Historical fiction. Romance. But the stories I loved best all had that happy ending and the hero and heroine together at the end. It took until after college for me to realize the stories I wrote tended to fall into that same romance genre. And even then, I fought it. It took joining RWA for the light bulb to go off, and I understood that I couldn’t write any other kind of story. That’s when I finally embraced my inner romantic.
By the time I got the “Call” I’d written four Regency manuscripts, the last finalling in the 2007 Golden Heart contest, although sadly not picked up by any editor. Luckily, while I’d been waiting to hear back, I’d finished up the manuscript that would eventually become Lost In You.
Now I’m a complete mess when it comes to explaining a plot so that it makes sense, so when I initially pitched the idea for Lost In You to my agent, she sounded less than convinced. But once we talked it over and she read the story, she was as excited as I was to find it a home. Last September she called to say that Kensington had made an offer to buy the manuscript for their debut author program. Having pitched to Kate Duffy and heard her speak many times, I was thrilled to get an opportunity to be a part of the K family. It’s been a crazy, fun-filled, anxiety-ridden ride since, but I wouldn’t change it for the world!

4. What were the research challenges for Lost in You? Did you research faeries or did you make up that world?

It’s funny, but I think I worry more over getting the Regency-era details correct than anything else, and I spend countless hours at the editing stage, trying to double-check those facts. The fantasy aspect of the book is my own soup of Celtic legend and fairy lore. I pull from all kinds of sources and as long as I get the basics right, I feel free to spin out in infinite directions and really create my own magical universe. The trick now that I’m three books into the series is keeping it consistent, so in that regard, I’ve begun trying to catalogue what I’ve done in the past so I don’t contradict myself and pull the reader out of the story with a “huh?” moment.

5. What do you think was risky about your book?

When I sat down to start Lost In You, I pondered the question: what can I do to shake it up? To make this book something completely different? And aside from adding such a wild new element to a genre as cherished as the Regency, my largest concern became the way I interpret that genre.
I’m a get-in and get-out kind of historical writer. I paint my period with broad brushstrokes, giving the reader what he or she needs to know to embrace the time period, but I’m not going to bog down on the lace of her gown or the intricacies of cravat folding. You’ll just have to assume her lace is lacy and he knows exactly how to tie a Mathematical that would make Beau Brummel proud.
I also tend to flex the language of the time period. Etymology is correct, and I edit as best I can for any anachronisms, but I let my characters speak in a more modern tongue that might cause some readers to cringe. I tried fighting this urge, but as the words flowed onto the page, the story began to take a shape of its own making, and I finally gave up trying to shove my characters back into their 19th century-speak and let them have free rein.
Hopefully this doesn’t turn off readers of traditional regencies, but actually lets them see that the genre can be pulled in a lot of different directions without losing what we all love about it.

6. What is next from you?

I continue the series begun in Lost In You with a second book coming out in July 09. Until I Found You centers on Morgan Bligh, Conor’s cousin whom we first met in Lost In You, but who gets a story of her own when she’s paired with ex-assassin and ex-lover Cam Sinclair. And finally this week, I typed “The End” on my latest manuscript. I’m now in the editing process while mulling over ideas for where I want to go from here.
If things work out, there are two characters from Until I Found You that I’d love to showcase in their own book. But I also have some ideas for a new series that would introduce some fresh faces.
So many of them are clamoring for their own stories that—fingers crossed—I hope I’m able to stick with them for a good long while yet.

Thank you so much for inviting me to chat with you all. This has been wonderful!

Come and say hi to Alix and ask her more. Remember, you could win a signed copy of Lost in You

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Louisa Cornell
14 years ago

Alix, this sounds fascinating! I love Regency romance and have a soft spot in my heart for the fey (my Welsh ancestry, I guess.)

And you have certainly come up with a conflict that I as a reader and a writer am dying to know how you solve!

Which is harder to keep track of – the Regency rules and strictures or the world you have created? Is the world something that you developed as you wrote the story or did you lay most of the groundwork before you got it down on paper?

Gwynlyn MacKenzie
14 years ago

The Bond Girls Rock! Way to go, Alix. You do the 2007 GH alumni proud. Now I need to get to B&N and find your book; the Celt in me can’t resist Fae stories.

Wishing you much success.

Pat D

Diane Gaston
14 years ago

Good morning, Alix and everyone!

Gwynlyn, thank you so much for telling everyone that Alix was a Golden Heart finalist in 2007! I totally should have mentioned that!

This is a very creative effort. I haven’t finished the book but I started it and I am VERY impressed. When my w-i-p is done, I’m gonna pick it up again.

14 years ago

Alix, I’m a fellow member of WRW (but as yet unpublished). You said you completed four manuscripts prior to selling. For how long were you writing before you sold? Congrats on the 2007 GH final.

Christine Trent

Michele Ann Young
14 years ago

Alix, I think you have nailed a wonderful concept. I love regencies and I too love to read paranormals. This sounds like a must read to me.

Best of luck with it.

Jane A.
Jane A.
14 years ago

I like historicals and I like paranormals, but I’ve never read a paranormal regency (though I know there are a few out there). Your premise sounds interesting, I love stories of the fae so I’ll have to pick up your book.

I’m curious, the general assumption is that paranormal sells the best these days. As your previous straight historical manuscripts didn’t sell do you feel that the paranormal element in this one is what helped you get published? I’m not a writer, just curious about trends.

Thanks and good luck with your series!
Jane A.

14 years ago

Hi Alix, great interview. I love a good historical romance and I love paranormals, but I have never read one combined. I am looking forward to your book because I think it may be a little different.

Linda Banche
14 years ago

Sounds interesting and definitely different.

Alix Rickloff
14 years ago

Good morning and sorry to be so late in arriving at my own party, Blame it on computer glitches which have now hopefully been solved.
I’ll try and answer all your questions, but forgive me if I leave someone out.

Louisa – At this point, getting the Regency details right has been the hardest. There are too many readers out there who can spot a mistake a mile away. My own world still being new to them, I have a little more leeway to pull what I need into the mix when I need it. That will change as I delve deeper into the stories and already I find I am having to keep closer track of the magical universe I’ve created. I did tend to adjust as I wrote the story–I’m a pantser and can’t outline to save my life–although there were certain things I had in place at the beginning that didn’t change.

Chris – Welcome to a fellow WRW member! I had been writing forever and had completed 2 manuscripts, but it wasn’t until 2002 that I joined RWA, WRW and really began to focus on craft and the business of writing with the goal in mind of publishing my work. And thanks for the congrats on the GH final. I have to say it was a thrilling experience to be involved with such a talented group of women.

Jane – Statistics say that historical still lead paranormals in books published, so I don’t think that alone was the reason I sold. And it wasn’t just the paranormal element in Lost In You that was different from my previous work. It was as fundamental as my writing style. I had been told time and again by editors that my work was fabulous, but–that killer line we all hate to hear–not strong enough. I took that comment and ran, doing everything in my power to bring some spark to my work that apparently wasn’t there in previous novels.

Diane,Michelle,Virginia, and Gwynlyn – thank you so much for your kind words. I hope you all enjoy the book. As I said, it was a blast to write. And you’re right, Gwynlyn – us Bond Girls rock!

14 years ago

Congratulations on your debut release. Every time I read about a new author with their first (and upcoming follow-up) novels, it gives me hope.

(please don’t enter my name for the draw – still basking in risky good fortune)

Alix Rickloff
14 years ago

Never give up hope. I’ve got a file full of rejections. And no doubt, that file will grow. When a rejection appeared in my mailbox, I would spend a day yelling, punching things, and complaining how those agents/editors wouldn’t know a good thing if it dropped in their laps. Then I’d suck it up, get back in the chair, start writing, and send the next submission out. Remember–if it was easy, everyone would do it!

Elena Greene
14 years ago

Welcome to the Riskies, Alix, and thanks for the lovely interview. This blend of fantasy and Regency sounds very intriguing–congrats on coming up with such a winning combination.

14 years ago

Hi Alix. Great interview. Good to see you here. Congratulations on your debut book. Sounds great. I love the cover.

Cara King
14 years ago

Thanks so much for visiting, Alix!

I’m always curious about the reading tastes of authors and readers, particularly what one might call cross-genre tastes (i.e. which romance authors are particularly popular with SF fans or authors, and that sort of thing.) So, as you mentioned that you read SF and fantasy, and as LOST IN YOU has fantasy/paranormal elements…would you mind sharing who some of your favorite SF or fantasy authors are?

(I’m also curious because Diane and I have recently talked about our love for Lois McMaster Bujold…and when I go to SFF cons, there’s Regency dancing and tons of Heyer fans…so I love to find the intersections in our worlds…)


Louisa Cornell
14 years ago

Alix, I love your method for dealing with rejections. I need to try that. The key is to get back in the chair and write. Although the screaming and punching sounds very therapeutic!

Gerri Bowen
14 years ago

Hi Alix, my cousin sent me an autographed copy of your book, knowing I’d love it! Can’t wait to read it! 😀

Megan Frampton
14 years ago

Alix, thanks for visiting! Your book sounds really interesting, I love multi-genre stories.

Alix Rickloff
14 years ago

I’ve always devoured sci-fi/ fantasy and asking me who I like is opening a Pandora’s box, so let me try and narrow my answer down.

*Tolkein’s a no-brainer.

*Anne McCaffrey and her early Pern books. Loved those dragons!

*Mary Stewart’s Arthurian books. Her take on Mordred in The Wicked Day was absolutely fantastic.

*Robin McKinley is another one I read and re-read. Her novels are shelved in Juvenile and YA, but I love them as much now as I did back then.

*Joan Vinge is very heavy, dense reading, but she sucks you in.

*Patricia Kennealy-Morrison’s Keltiad universe is amazing. She lost her focus a bit in the later books, but the first bunch are on my keeper shelves.

Now aren’t you sorry you asked?

Alix Rickloff
14 years ago

Screaming and punching are necessary–at least in my world. They go along with whining self-pity which I also do very well when I get a rejection, just ask my husband and my crit partners–all of whom have to listen to my griping, give me hugs, then tell me to suck it up.

You obviously have a very smart cousin! I’m so glad you have the book. Enjoy and stop by my website sometime to let me know how you liked it.

Louisa Cornell
14 years ago

Alix, I always throw myself at least a half-day pity party when I get a rejection. It involves Cokes, ice cream, chocolate, barbecue potato chips and long periods of time spent in bed watching DVDs with my very understanding dogs and tolerant cats piled into the bed with me. Also very therapeutic!

Eva S
14 years ago

Regency and paranormal, my two favorites together!!Can’t wait to read the book, I hope there will be more….

Cara King
14 years ago

Now aren’t you sorry you asked?

Not at all, Alix! (I’m only sorry I didn’t manage to reply before now — you may not even be reading comments anymore!)

I LOVE Robin McKinley, BTW. That is, I confess I’m a couple novels behind, but she’s still one of my favorite authors — particularly with THE BLUE SWORD, one of my all-time favorite fantasies (and a great romance, too!)

As to Anne McCaffrey, I’ve only ever read her Pern books — and her Menolly books are among my favorites ever. (I liked the others, too, but not nearly as well.)

And I should try the others, too!


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