Today’s guest is J. Alex Blane. He’s doing a virtual book tour with Write Now Literary for his debut romantic suspense novel Where We Left off.
J. Alex Blane, is one of our newest and most promising author whose novel Where We Left Off debuted his first break in the literary world of Christian fiction romantic suspense. A Multi-Media developer by trade; “J. Alex Blane is a talented man whose creativity is exceptional!” – Katrina Coleman (Amazon).
An alumni of Wilmington University receiving both his graduate and undergraduate degree, since he could remember, it had always been his dream to write a novel. After nearly eight years of deciding to put a single ballpoint pen to a piece of paper he finally placed the last period at the end of the very last sentence. With that he introduced readers all across the country to Where We Left Off, a story that has evolved into something to this day he will say he never expected and in some cases transcending the definition of its genre. To date, Alex has sold over 17,000 copies and has been recently awarded Northern Delaware’s most Happening Author.
J. Alex Blane currently lives with his wife and his two children in Bear Delaware where they share a small home just right for him to sneak off into a little corner and write more of what he loves and those who have already began asking, yes, the second and third installment of the series.
Welcome, J. Alex. Please tell us about your debut release.
Where We Left Off is a very unconventional story of what seemed to be an unlikely relationship that developed between two people that couldn’t have been more opposite. Mason, a young, handsome and successful real estate developer wasn’t the type of man to settle down and definitely not the type to become vulnerable to feeling anything for anyone. Like most instances, all it takes is that one person, with that one look to change the course of everything. For Mason that was Sydney McCail. As smart as she was beautiful, she was nothing like the women he’d entertainment himself with. She held fast to her morals, and her Christian upbringing and despite Masons disregard for them, he found himself falling for her with each passing day. He would never tell her he loved her …but he felt something. It’s not long until what’s seemingly too good to be true becomes too good to last and it all came at the introduction of Sydney’s father. Secrets, fear, faith and forgiveness shapes the rest of this story in a way that will have you leaping from one page to the other caught in moments of laugher, tears, anger, sadness and warm and fuzzy feeling inside. Where We Left Off will not be what you expect.
What inspired you to write this book?
This is probably the easiest answer to give. My novel, Where We Left Off, is inspired by a true story. While remaining fiction the story was inspired by life; my life to be more accurate. I’m often moved to write through experiences; when I love, when I don’t, when I hurt, when I’m happy and when I’m most sad. The moving finger that writes move to the pulse of your heartbeat flowing through ink from the pen that is so tightly held between your figures as if hoping your tears won’t replace the ink as the words form. In short, the best stories come from those that you’ve experienced full of emotion and authenticity. For me Where We Left Off is one of those stories.
Chapter 17 Excerpt from Where We Left Off:
It was almost as if their conversation from the night before had never ended. They talked and laughed as people who walked in for lunch came and went. She was so eloquently animated when she spoke that it caused him to smile more at her gestures and facial expressions than her actual words. It seemed like once she started she didn’t stop. For him, that was a good thing. The more she spoke the fewer questions he had to think of to keep the conversation going. There were moments when their hands exchanged touches of innocent flirtation, and when there was silence their eyes spoke more than words ever could. He was as lost in her gaze as she was in his.
The waitress made her rounds clearing and collecting her tips from every table around them before she finally reached theirs. “How is everything?”
Sipping the last bit of orange juice from his glass, but never breaking his eyes away from Sydney, “Perfect,” he answered. “Everything was perfect.”
She removed the empty plates and glasses and left the check sitting on the edge of the table. “I’ll take that when you’re ready,” she said, walking towards the kitchen.
They were far from being ready. Even though they had eaten and the plates had been cleared from the table, neither of them wanted to leave just yet.
“So I’ve been meaning to ask you what made you leave me on hold for so long last night?”
“Maybe because you called me at two, o’clock in the morning,” she laughed. “I actually just wanted to see if you were going to hang up or not.”
“Twenty minutes though?” he reiterated.
Shrugging her shoulders, “You could have hung up,” she suggested with a sly grin.
“I could have,” he laughed.
They didn’t think it was a problem, so they sat at the table a little longer than usual once it had been cleared. The check was still sitting towards the edge and neither one of them had paid much attention to it since it had been placed there. After noticing their waitress walk by the table a number of times, Sydney started to feel a little uncomfortable.
“I think we should go,” she whispered. “She’s walked past us five times.”
Noticing the waitress staring back at them from across the diner, he laughed, “I think you’re right. I guess we’ve outstayed our welcome. I’ll be right back” he said, reaching into his pocket to pay the bill.
Sydney waited at the table, completely flustered and thoroughly infatuated. Watching him walk away, she tried her best to conceal her smile but she couldn’t. By then, him being late was no longer a factor. She liked him; she really, really liked him.
Although she hadn’t taken much thought into Mason’s perception of the afternoon thus far, the feelings seemed more than mutual.
Standing at the register, he caught himself smiling at random thoughts, with a light chuckle at remembered jokes as the cashier changed his twenty-dollar bill, leaving a few singles in his hand. The way he felt was so far out of character for him but, ironically, he liked it. He walked back to the table with a different stride in his step, a different look in his eyes, and an overall different approach to this woman who sat across from him. He held out his hand to help her from her chair.
“Aren’t you just the gentleman?”
“I try,” he modestly agreed.
They walked toward the door, close to holding hands but not, though strangely wanting to.
“I’m really glad we did this,” she said, walking through the door he held open for her.
The time had escaped them into early afternoon. It was warm outside with a comforting, cool breeze. Most of the cars had left the parking lot, leaving only a few remaining. She didn’t think any of them could be Mason’s. One was an old Buick and the other minivan she was sure belonged to the noisy family they had walked past on their way out.
“Where’d you park?” Mason asked her, throwing on his jacket.
“I took the bus,” she answered, looking over to the bus stop. “My car is parked in my driveway until I can get it fixed, so it’s public transportation for me for a while.”
“Wow, you really took the bus here?”
“And to think…I was the one on time,” she laughed. “So let’s see, are you the Buick or the minivan?” She asked, pointing and laughing.
“First of all I respect Buick, but I will never ever drive a minivan.” He paused. “That’s me right there.”
He stood at the edge of the walkway and pointed towards the side of the building, where there was a motorcycle parked beside it. It wasn’t an actual parking space, but he made it work. The motorcycle was big enough to accommodate his masculine build, but small enough to fit on the side without making it difficult to walk around. The reflection of the sunlight bouncing off of the chrome exhaust and wheels was blinding as Mason walked towards it.
“Mason, please tell me that’s not yours?” she asked.
He noticed she wouldn’t walk too close to it, and when she did her steps were tense and her hands tight. She had never been on a motorcycle, for obvious reasons. Compared to her four-wheeled car, two wheels and less security meant less safety.
Mason had a sense of arrogance when climbing onto the motorcycle, one that was attractively apparent to her. She didn’t say anything at first, watching him straddle the bike and standing it upright.
“Well, um, please be safe on that thing,” she urged him.
Mason leaned forward on his helmet with a pondering and almost cunning look on his face.
His eyebrow slightly rose as he tilted his head her direction “What else are you doing today?” he asked her inquisitively.
“Nothing,” she answered apprehensively, yet indirectly inviting.
He stood straight up with the motorcycle still beneath him and looked at her with a daring gaze.
“Hop on!” he suggested.
Her eyebrows rose as if he had clearly lost his mind.
“You’re joking, right?”
“Not at all….hop on!” He said again, holding his helmet out towards her.
There was no question; she was nervous. So nervous that when she tried to speak, even as the words formed on the tip of her tongue she still couldn’t get them out past a stutter. Before she could force out a word to express how she felt about getting on, he reached out and took her hand, pulling her towards him. Once she was in front of him he slid his helmet onto her head, leaving the visor open. The look in his eyes said trust me. Everything inside of her told her not to; that she couldn’t, that she would be a fool to trust him. What if I fall off? What if he goes too fast? What if? Even all of her what ifs had no real restraint against his charm and wit. In less than a few seconds she found herself climbing onto the back of his motorcycle and wrapping her arms around him, squeezing him harder than she had ever held anyone before.
She could feel the vibration of the engine moving up her legs as he revved the throttle. “Only around the corner…and you’ll bring me right back, right?” she yelled over the loud rumble of the exhaust.
She felt his chest jump in a deceptive laugh.
“Of course” he yelled, nodding his head with little assurance.
“I don’t believe you,” she yelled out.
He shrugged his shoulders.
“Too late now!”
What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m very excited to be working on the second and third installment following this series. I’m sure most will have a number of questions after reading Where We Left Off, one of which I’m sure will revolve around Jackson (Mason’s brother) and his wife amongst a host of other characters that make brief appearances. When I sat down to write this novel I pictured and asked myself, how would I want to see this if it were a movie, how could I build the suspense for this story while also creating one for the next?
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think the first time I knew and considered myself to be a writer was in the 6th grade. My girlfriend had broken up with me and unlike most of my friends who would just brush it off, I was the hopeless romantic even then, and had to write her a heartfelt letter. By then I was well past the roses are red and violets are blue and more into “feeling your heartbeat against mine”. Long story short she had my math teacher read it and it nearly brought her to tears so much so until my girlfriend felt she had to, if for no other reason than for the sake of love, get back together with me. I knew then that I loved to write but more than that I knew that if I really put my heart into it, people would perhaps love it to. That’s when I considered myself a writer.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I wish I could say I write full time. That would definitely take care of a lot of the distractions making it difficult to find that quite time and space to write. Other than writing I am a Career Development and Admissions Counselor at a University in Delaware. Finding the time to write in between a full time job, family and other extracurricular activities is extremely challenging. But unlike my wife and children I am a bit of a night owl and when they all head off to sleep that’s when my creative juices start flowing, or should I say that’s when the voices start talking, the rooms transform in to new cities, and breeze from the air conditioner becomes the chilling winter air of light snow or rain. I find time to write when the time finds me.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I would say my interesting writing quirk is adding a poetic undertone in random places. I love words and how when they are properly formed together than can make the worst statement sounds so eloquent and direct and an great sentence sound even sweeter. I began chapter 16 somewhat like this when trying to bring to the reader’s attention the time that had passed and the evolution of Mason and Sydney’s relationship: “As the days passed, weeks turned into the season’s end. Mason and Sydney were no longer strangers to each other any more than water was to an ocean. Fall blossomed their romance into winter, as snowflakes shimmered like stars in the night sky.” Where there are places to be creatively and descriptively poetic I tend to dip into my quirkiness.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I can tell you that my mom wanted me to be an architect. I loved to draw and was a very artistic child. I can’t really say I remember what I wanted to be. I will tell you as I grew older I wanted to be almost everything under the son; a music producer, a photographer, a graphic designer, a rapper. I was fortunate to find a university that afforded me a degree in communications and interactive multi media which encompassed nearly all of that. One that I do know is I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit and anything that I really set my mind to I gave 110%. I just wanted to be someone that mattered. Someone that made a difference and ultimately someone that helped people.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Is there anything more I want to share with my readers …yes. I can’t say thank you enough to every single one of you who took a chance to pick up a book by an author that was unknown to you with a piece of work that you had no idea if it would be good or not. Thank you for sharing your days and nights with me and getting to know a few new people hidden within the pages of Where We Left Off. Your words mean the world to me. Thank you.