I recently did an interview with USA Today’s Happy Ever After called Down & Dirty with Alyson McLayne. They asked me some quick and easy questions, and I answered (not always so quick or easy!). Sounds fun, huh? It was! So I decided to post it here.

Let’s go…

Guilty pleasure? Coke Zero. I think the fake sweetener is bad for you, but sometimes it just hits the spot. I also eat waaaay too much chocolate but I could never feel guilty about that. Mmmmmm…chocolate.

First celebrity crush? Sean Cassidy. That flowing hair. Sigh.

First car? A Nissan Stanza. It was very beige, brown and boring—but it was FREEDOM!

Favorite class in school? English or drama. I ended up getting an Honor’s degree in Drama at university.

Dog or cat? This is a hard one for me. Up until now, I’d always had dogs and cats together. Currently I have a chocolate lab cross puppy named Jasper (is he still a puppy at 15 months?). I’d like to get another cat (or 2!) but my husband became cat-hair-phobic because our last cat, Max, was so fluffy we used to call him Monsieur Pantaloons. He would leave fine, white and orange hair everywhere.

Funniest thing a reader has said/done?

“Hi Ms. Alyson,

I just want to tell you that I am making some progress in my writing, but not enough to publish my book…Thank you for the advice you gave me. It helped me make a good story…

I’m now in Grade 9…and I got experiences that I would write in my story…”

I love how she says she hasn’t made enough progress yet to publish, and then we find out she’s only in Grade 9. Boy, wasn’t I a slack-ass—I didn’t publish until I was in my forties!

Favorite thing a reader has said/done? “Highland Promise is a stunning and vibrant romance that steals your breath, makes you laugh harder than ever before and is a full belly satisfying romance that will leave you hooked on this author!!” Wow—thank you!

Last picture you took? A picture of the Harry Potter glasses and wands that I got for my kids at the dollar store. I found cheap reading glasses and popped out the lenses, and the wand I cut down from a fake, decorative twig. They were having a Harry Potter spirit day at school.

Biggest fear? Being vulnerable, I guess, but it’s a fear you have to overcome if you want to be a writer. Once your book is out there, you have no control over people’s reactions to it. They may hate it, and you just have to pull on your big girl panties and take it. But they also may love it, which makes opening yourself up to criticism worth it.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be? Remember in Buffy, season 6, when Willow is relying too much on magic and Tara challenges her to go for a week without using it? Willow says she’ll stop but then secretly uses it when she doesn’t need to—like getting ready in an instant after her morning shower—hair, make-up, clothes, all done. That’s the superpower I want. Snap my fingers and I’m clean and ready for the day!

Least favorite food? Spam. And I say this because my husband just bought a can. He plans to fry it up in a frying pan. This is a thing of nightmares.

Favorite ice cream? Häagen-Dazs—chocolate peanut butter.

Favorite junk food? Cheetos. Mmmmmm

Caramel, kettle, cheese or regular popcorn? Caramel!

What’s in your coffee/tea? Cream and stevia.

What’s on your pizza? Mushrooms and pepperoni with extra cheese.

What’s the dressing on your salad? Ranch or a creamy garlic dressing.

Favorite cookie? Chocolate chip macadamia nut.

Favorite dessert? White chocolate cheesecake.

Go-to cocktail? Bellini.

Best dish you make? According to my husband and son, it’s my chicken vegetable soup. I’m partial to my chocolate brownies and curried pecans (NOT eaten together!).

Biggest pet peeve? When the kids spit toothpaste into the sink and don’t rinse it away. By the time I see it, it’s hardened on and hard to wash away. Grrrrrrr!

Worst habit? Writing or reading late into the night when I have to be up early to get the kids off to school.

Nickname as a kid? My mom called me Lissy Anne. She has Alzheimer’s now and doesn’t remember me, but about 6 months ago, out of the blue, she called me Lissy Anne. What an amazing gift that was.

First author hero? Lucy Maude Montgomery.

First book you had signed by the author? This would probably be Unpredictable by my friend and YA author Eileen Cook. I always buy her newest book and she always signs it for me when we meet for lunch.

Last book you read? A Cache of Jewels and Other Collective Nouns by Ruth Heller. This was a VERY COOL book that my daughter brought home from the school library. Did you know that a group of kittens is called a Kindle? And a group of penguins is called a Parcel? Me neither!

Last audiobook you listened to? Highland Promise by… me! Narrated by the amazing Rosalyn Landor, who is currently narrating book number 2, Highland Conquest.

Last song you downloaded? Roar by Katy Perry—my kids love this video (me too!).

Favorite ’80s song or artist? Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper.

Last concert you went to? Katy Perry.

Go-to karaoke song or singer? I’ve only done karaoke once. I was in New Zealand singing with a bunch of Swedish guys. I think they chose a Beatles song. I was really bad.

Last movie you saw in a movie theater? It was probably a kids’ movie. Cars 3, I think.

Last person you texted/e-mailed? YA author Eileen Cook.

Last Google search? The plot of “Tabula Rasa”, a season 6 episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

Last thing you bought online? Surprise, surprise—a book!

What did you want to be when you grew up? A veterinarian.

What would you be if you weren’t an author? An elementary school teacher or working in some capacity in the film industry (on the film/TV development side).

Hidden talent? I danced from the time I was five until I was seventeen, and then I went back and took classes throughout my thirties.

What TV show must you absolutely see, no matter what? Currently that would be This Is Us. I’ve had too many late nights in a row because of it. I also love Seal Team.

What TV show do you miss that’s no longer on? I recently watched Firefly, and I was so sad/mad when it ended because it was soooo good and it should never have ended after just one season.

Last TV show you binge-watched? The Crown.

Favorite TV show(s) when you were a kid? Scooby Doo.

If you were a Disney princess, which one would you be? Rapunzel. She’s a bit of a dork…so am I.

What movie made you cry the most? Beaches. I’m still crying!

Favorite game/app on your phone/tablet? iBooks.

What’s the handiest thing in your purse/bag (other than your phone)? My earplugs!

I’m addicted to … sugar.

I’m really good at … eating copious amounts of chocolate.

I’m really bad at … putting the chocolate away in my secret hiding place and eating it slowly over the next few months like my 5-year-old daughter (confirmation she was switched at birth).

I don’t know how to use … my Fitbit! Which is pathetic, really, as my 87-year-old dad has one he uses every day (and reaches his 10,000 steps!).

My best friends tease me incessantly about … my inability to remember song lyrics. My husband used to play this game in the car where, if we were singing along to a song, he’d suddenly turn the volume off and I’d have to finish the lyrics. One time we were singing Piano Man and the old man sitting next to Billy Joel in the song ended up “making love to his tonic and beer”. I shall never live that down.

I fear I’d act like a total idiot if I ever met … Ed Sheeran. I think he’s a musical genius.

For the heroes in my books, I often picture … They’re all individual in my head. I don’t picture anyone real.

I sure wish someone would ask me about … Some cool paper props I made for X-Files & Battlestar Galactica.

Thanks for reading!

Take care,


**This blog was originally published on the USA Today HEA blog on February 8, 2018.