In Invincible, Patrick is an active Navy SEAL who rescues Annie from sex slavery. What kind of research did you do in order to make these important/heavy themes feel authentic for the reader?
ALANA: For the SEAL research, as I said I dated a Navy SEAL in my 20s. We dated off and on for two years and I spent a lot of time with his buddies- including a former NFL linebacker (some reviewers said that wasn’t plausible but I assure you there are many in the Teams). I really wanted to portray the real men who do this amazing job and the challenges of how their career affects their relationships.
As for the sexual slavery, I’ve read a ton of books about sex trafficking, recovery, and drug addiction. Especially when the women are free, Jaycee Duggard, Elizabeth Smart, the ladies in Ohio. Can they find love again? Can they heal? And don’t they deserve to be happy?
We might as well address the elephant in the room. The 1st edition of Invincible, which was released in March, did not have an overall positive response. In fact, after doing some digging, I noticed that some readers and bloggers were down right nasty in their reviews. Most authors would have hid under a rock or cave into the negativity. But you did the complete opposite, maintaining poise and dignity (hmm, I think your dancing background is shining through!). What have you taken from this experience? Is this what inspired you to revisit Invincible and make changes?
ALANA: Thanks for asking this question—I did want to address this. I put my heart and soul into Invincible – and I would never release a book that I didn’t think was great. The original version Invincible had been edited by my long time editor, Deborah Halverson, author of the upcoming Writing New Adult for Dummies, and had also been beta’d by over a dozen writers and bloggers. All the feedback had been positive, except one beta didn’t connect with the material. So I felt confident that Invincible was a solid book when I released it.
Of course I was devastated, and well shocked, by the reviews. And yes, some were just plain cruel. But I kept coming back to the reviews that were kind, saying we love the blurb, we want this to succeed, please try again. So I did it for the fans. I also thought it would make a great point to the Indie community – that instead of getting angry, try to hold back the emotion, listen to the fair honest constructive criticism and become a better writer. I don’t regret releasing the old version for a second—maybe I could’ve written a slightly better version of the book then, but it would no way be the version that I have written now. All the constructive reviews changed my vision of this book and it’s now so strong and heartfelt and I owe it all to the critical reviews.
Speaking of changes, the new edition of Invincible has gotten a huge face lift, makeover-- you get the point! The book is longer and while the 1st edition only was in Patrick's POV, this new version features Annie's POV as well. Can you talk about some of these additions? What else is different about this new extended edition?
ALANA: It is:
- 15000 words longer
- Has Annie’s POV
- Changed Rescue scene
- Changed how Annie returns home to the US
- Changed Pat’s characterization
- Changed entire relationship time line
- Added 3 HUGE twists that change the entire story
- Added an epilogue
Basically I rewrote the entire book. I tapped into the emotional aspect of the characters, and tried to go deeper into their relationships.
I had originally written Annie’s POV in the first edition – but my editor and I decided to take it out – we felt it was spoiling the readers journey by knowing where Annie was at all times and we wanted it to be about Pat. This was a HUGE mistake. So adding Annie’s voice really helps the connection to the characters that the first edition lacked.
Why should previous reviewers/bloggers give this new version of Invincible a chance?
ALANA: Well of course I’d be honored and it would mean a lot to me to be given a second chance. But because I really rewrote it with all the changes that were asked for. I tried to make it the book that the blurb deserved. I hired 3 new editors, new betas. I poured my heart and soul into this book. And I think it would show how much power bloggers have to help authors become better writers.
Thank you Mia!
Alana Albertson is the former President of both Romance Writers of Americas’s Young Adult and Chick Lit chapters and the founder of Academe Advantage, a college admissions & test preparation company. Alana Albertson holds a Masters of Education from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Stanford University. A recovering professional ballroom dancer, Alana currently writes contemporary romance and young adult fiction. She lives in San Diego, California, with her husband, two young sons, and four dogs. When she’s not spending her time needlepointing, dancing, or saving dogs from high kill shelters through Pugs N Roses, the rescue she founded, she can be found watching episodes of House Hunters, Homeland, or Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team.
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