Rochelle Alers has been hailed by readers and booksellers alike as one of today’s most prolific African American authors of romance and women's fiction.
With more than sixty titles and nearly two million copies of her novels in print, Ms. Alers has also been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Emma Award, Vivian Stephens Award for Excellence in Romance Writing, the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award and the Zora Neale Hurston Literary Award.
She is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Iota Theta Zeta chapter. Her interests include gourmet cooking and traveling. A full-time writer, Ms. Alers lives in a charming hamlet on Long Island.
Q&A with Rochelle Alers
Rochelle Alers, 1999
Photo Credit - Troy Johnson
A. I decided to become a romance writer after reading more than 2,000 novels over a ten-year period. I’ve always been a voracious reader, but after reading The Flame and the Flower and Sweet Savage Love I found myself addicted to the romance genre. But what I did not realize was how difficult it was to write to formulaic rhythm of the category romance novel. It took several rejections before I finally got it right.
I began writing my first novel in 1984, took a year to complete it and although I was published for the first time in 1988 it was another seven years before my first attempt became a reality. That novel is now the very popular and best-selling Hideaway.
Q. You’ve set your books in some
very exotic locations. How do you come up with these locations?
A. When I plotted the first book of the Hideaway legacy I wanted it set in Florida to acknowledge my Southern roots and to deploy characters who claimed not only their African heritage, but other ethnic groups who are a microcosm of what makes an African-American unique. The characters are not only multi-cultural, but also bilingual. Each character was assigned a location based upon their ethnic background. Their ability to speak a language other than English added to the authenticity and believability of the plot. The five books in the series have two overlapping plots with settings in: Florida, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Brazil.
Q. What was your favorite locale for a
romance and why?
Q. How do you balance a full-time
career and a writing career?
A. With a lot of discipline and determination. I get up at 5:00 and write for two hours before readying myself to go into the office. I discovered writing at this hour is preferable because my mind is usually fresh after a night of sleep. I write on weekends if the creative juices are really flowing, and/or at night only if Im on a deadline. Thus far Ive been quite successful with this routine. I celebrated my tenth year as a published writer this past December with twelve books in print as of July 1998 (ten within the past four years).
Q. What are your favorite hobbies and how do
you incorporate them into your romance writing?
Q&A Courtesy of BET Books Arabesque Romance News - May 1999