In Conversation with Ally James

From Alaska With Love by Ally James
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From Alaska with Love by Ally James is a delightful book that reads almost like a Hallmark movie playing out in your head. Sara is the nanny to her brother and sister-in-law’s precious and precocious little girl. She’s given up a lot to help them, and they, the adults, not the sweet kid, treat her like a bit of a doormat. She’s aware of that treatment but cares for the little girl so much, and wants the absolute best for her, she’s unable to just walk away. 

However, on a whim, she sends a letter to a soldier, and well, things take on a life of their own pretty darn quickly! Gabe is very much married to the military, and he thinks that’s all he needs from life until Sara’s letter catches his eye and his heart. 

The back and forth via letters, emails, text, and eventually, FaceTime does a wonderful job building the slow burn of their relationship and establishing the seriousness and rightness of their connection. It’s a beautiful thing to watch. Both Sara and Gabe come into this relationship knowing their own baggage and understanding the other’s baggage in a way the long-distance communications made relatable. No one has blinders on, and both are mature enough to know, rushing into the physical part will only complicate things. But, boy howdy, once the damn breaks on the physical part, it’s explosive and not at all like a Hallmark movie!

Ally James, the pen name for Sydney Landon, took some time to chat with me. Check it out, and From Alaska with Love is out now!

Thank you for taking time out to speak with me. I enjoyed From Alaska with Love very much – the progress of their relationship was beautifully paced. Although I was fully sexually frustrated, I must admit, I love how you slowed things down and let them get to know each other before the action happened. That was remarkably refreshing!

How did you get into writing? Is this your full-time job? What did you do before becoming a writer?

I’ve always enjoyed writing as a hobby.  But, about ten years ago when the self-publishing wave hit, I decided to try my hand at finishing a novel.  That book was Weekends Required and it went on to be a New York Times best seller.  

I am very fortunate to be a full-time writer.  Before this, I worked in the accounting field.  

Ally James is a pen name. Can you tell us a little about why you’d use a pen name, the benefits, the downside, the reasoning? And, where does this name come from?

From Alaska With Love is the first stand-alone book I’ve written.  I think a pen name is a great way to reach new readers.  Those that aren’t fans of serial books. It was also fun for me as a writer to try something new.  I think the only downside is getting the word out to my established readers that Ally James is Sydney Landon.

The name Ally James, is the result of a lot of brain storming with my kids.  They love being part of the process when they can.

Let’s talk about Alaska…and my personal favorite, North Carolina (go Tarheels!). Why did you pick these settings? Have you spent much time in either place?

I was born in North Carolina and most of my family still lives there.  So, the state, and the people there, will always have a place in my heart.  

Alaska felt like such a magical setting for a book.  It’s also somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit. Writing about it was the next best thing.  It’s definitely moved to the top of my bucket list now.  

I love our heroine Sara Ryan. LOVE! HER! She is a wonderful character, and watching her grow into her own was nothing short of glorious. I’m a big fan of laughing and her humor resonated with me on a level that made me think you might be watching me in my own awkward interactions! Where did she come from? What do you want readers to get from her?

I like to tell people that all of my heroine’s have a little of me inside of them.  The sense of humor and awkwardness are certainly things I’m known for, so adding those characteristics to my books comes naturally.  It’s also my way of telling others that it’s ok not to be perfect. Embrace your quirks and know that they’re what sets you apart. When I trip over my own two feet in front of a crowd at Walmart (true story), I hi-five the witnesses and laugh.  I’m klutzy and imperfect…but I’m me. 

What’s coming up next from you?

I am currently working on the next book in my Pierced series, Nicoli.  It’s scheduled to release in May.  

About the Author:

Ally James is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Danvers novels, written under the name Sydney Landon.

From Alaska with Love by Ally James, out now!

A soldier has six weeks to convince the only woman he has ever longed for to take a chance on life with him in Alaska….

Sara’s letters were the only bright spot during Gabe’s devastating tour in Iraq. With each new correspondence he fell harder, needed her more, wanted to be with her. Now, after initially rejecting his offer to meet, she’s shown up at the door of his isolated cabin in Alaska looking for…what? Gabe’s not sure what made Sara change her mind, but he knows he never wants to let her go.

Major Gabe Randall is everything Sara Ryan wants but nothing she feels she deserves. A modern-day spinster, Sara hides behind family obligations and the safe, quiet life she’s resigned herself to living. But secretly, even though she may have stretched the truth about who she is in her letters to him, she wants Gabe. Will he still want her when he discovers the real woman behind the pen?

Once they meet, Gabe asks her for six weeks in Alaska. Six weeks to spend getting to know each other, and then she’ll have to decide whether they are better together or apart.

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