I had been aware of the work of Agnes Alexander for some time and I was excited to get the chance to find out more. Oh my, did I. What a surprising interview this turned out to be. I hope you enjoy it also.
|Agnes Alexander - from |
Amazon Author Page
Is there anything you feel people would like to know or would be surprised to learn about you?
I’m starting with this question because there are a lot of folks who don’t know that Agnes Alexander is my pen name. All of my early writing was done under my actual name, Lynette Hall Hampton, though most of these writings are out of print. In fact, I started my writing career by writing occasional features for my local weekly newspaper and selling fillers and short items to magazines. I then progressed to children’s books. My first novel was a mystery, and it was followed by several other mysteries. In 2012, I sold my first Western Historical Romance.
The publisher I was working with suggested I should come up with a pen name since I was delving into a different type of writing. I thought about it and decided to honor my grandparents. Agnes was my grandmother’s name on my mother’s side, and Alexander was my grandfather’s name on my father’s side. Now as many people know me as Agnes Alexander as those who know me as Lynette Hampton. Just to keep things interesting, Lynette is actually my middle name. My first name is Martha, though I was always called Lynette. Some of my closest friends still don’t know about Martha.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I would call myself mostly pantser, with a bit of plotter. Though I have never sat down and plotted a book from beginning to end, I think I do some plotting along the way. I actually begin most of my books when a character’s name comes to me and won’t leave me alone until I tell their story. In my new book, THE SHERIFF, I knew immediately I wanted his name to be Buck. I also knew I wanted to tell his story when I introduced him in THE RANCHER, the first book of my Friendly Creek Series. I already had his career, and some of the ideas of what he’d face in book two, but I wasn’t sure how things were going to work out for him in the romance department. I simply sat down and started writing and things began to fall in place.
Is there a writing routine you follow, or do you write when the muse strikes?
I try to write most every day. I know this is impossible for most people, including me, but it is a goal I set for myself. Sometimes I can only add one sentence, but at least I wrote something on that day. I’m not a morning person, so most of my writing is done after lunch, or during those nights I’m up until two or three in the morning. My getting up time is usually around nine-thirty or ten, and the only thing I want to think about is what can I eat without having to do a lot of cooking. But in the afternoon, I seem to come alive.
Another quirk I have is that I like to make lists. Two of my daily lists I fill out are: Words Written daily in 2022, and Book Writing Goal for (Name of the Book). I also like to work on more than one book at a time. For this series, I plan on five books. Book three is almost finished and I’m working on books four & five.
Research, do you find it important?
I not only find it important, I find it absolutely necessary when writing in the historical field. Most of my westerns are set from 1870 to 1899, so you don’t want some sharp reader to tell you that you put something in the book that didn’t happen in that time period. So far, I’ve not been called on the carpet, though in one of my earlier books I did make a mistake. I had a character say ‘okay’. I learned later that word wasn’t used until the early 1900s. My only defense is that I now know better, and the book was one of my first and my readers have moved on.
The only problem with research is that you will often find it so interesting you spend too much time doing that instead of writing.
What life experiences influenced your writing?
I have to say that my parents inspired me to write, though they didn’t know it at the time. I was born, the oldest of three children, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, in a rather sparsely populated area. Both my parents were avid readers. Mother read everything from Shakespeare to Grace Livingston Hill books. Daddy was an ardent western fan. I had all kinds of nursery rhyme books and other children’s stories. I actually wrote my first book when I was eight years old. It was a re-write of Beauty and the Beast. My 3rd-grade teacher introduce the class to a book called COWGIRL KATE. I loved that book and checked it out of the school library until it was suggested I try something else. It was at this time that I decided I’d one day write a book like that. A few years ago, I found that book in a used bookstore and paid $35.00 for a $2.98 book, but I display it proudly on my bookshelf. Though there were other influences, I consider these the top two.
What advice would you give to those who dream of writing, or what advice would you give your younger self?
Harold Lowery (Pen name: Leigh Greenwood) and I were members of the same romance writers’ group and were often at the same meetings. Around 2010 I was telling him that my father wanted me to write a western, but I’d been putting it off because I wasn’t sure I could do it. He looked me straight in the eye and said, “Don’t put it off any longer. Go home today and write it. If it works out you may find you like writing the genre, I did. If it doesn’t work out, then you’ll know you tried.” I decided to take his advice and I wrote my first Western Historical Romance, FIONA’S JOURNEY, a wagon train tale. It came out in 2012. I’ve been in love with the genre ever since. To date, I have 28 published WHR novels, a few short stories, and a novella. Though I’m getting older, I hope to write a lot more before I get my final reward. And it’s all due to the fact that I tackled something that I was afraid to try. My advice to a new writer is conquer your fear and write it. It may turn out to be a best seller or it may land in your desk drawer. The important thing is that you did it and now you know you can write a book.
THE SHERIFF – Book 2 of the Friendly Creek Series was released on June 2, 2022.
Thank you 'Agnes' for a fun, fascinating, and informative interview. It has been a pleasure.
For those who would like to know more, here are additional links: