Meet author Alyssa Schwarz
Contemporary romance author Alyssa Schwarz is a graduate of the Colorado School of Mines with a Master’s in Geology & Geological Engineering. She also works as a professional watercolor artist along the Colorado Front Range and is a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). Her stories are set in the Colorado mountains, and her debut novel, The Glass Cottage, released in the Fall of 2021. You can find her online at www.alyssaschwarzauthor.com.
Tell us about your newest book.
Dear Beth is sort of a prequel to The Glass Cottage in the Prescott Family Romance series. It’s a sweet small-town story set in the town of Loveland, CO, that centers around a second-chance romance and a 76-year-old Valentine’s Day tradition.
What inspired you to write Dear Beth?
Every year, my grandma used to send everyone in the family a little Valentine’s Day card with the famous Loveland stamp (get it, Love-land?) on the envelope. Since then, my mom and I have continued the tradition, and I thought it would be fun to center a story around the town’s internationally famous letter re-mailing program. To participate, you send your letters to the Sweetheart City’s post office by the first week of February, they put their own special Valentine’s themed cancelation stamp on the corner, and then they send it out to the final recipient.
How would you describe this book to someone in a 30-second blurb?
Amidst the backdrop of a small town’s quirky Valentine’s Day tradition, Beth must decide if she is finally ready to risk her heart again with the man she once loved.
What genre do you focus on?
So far, I’ve written mainly contemporary Christian fiction romance, and my first book, The Glass Cottage, had a small time-slip element as well. As a reader, I love both contemporary and historical Christian fiction. They’re both so different from one another, but they both have the power to speak life and truth into our lives. I’d love to venture more into historical fiction, and I have a few ideas in the works, but I plan to finish this current series first and see how it all goes!
Why do you write?
I’ve wanted to write for as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t until 2020 that God seemed to finally open the door and say, “Remember that dream I gave you when you were a little girl? Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten yet. I’ve opened the doors for you and now’s the time. Go. Write the stories I inspire in you.” It was an exciting and humbling experience, and He’s proven faithful every step of the way.
Who is your main character, and how did you choose that name?
The two main characters in this book are Tye Prescott and Beth Walsh. This book is the second in the series, a Prescott Family Romance, so I knew one of the characters was going to be a Prescott, and I had a vague idea that he was going to be a veterinarian. In all honesty, I probably named him after a character in the show Heartland. And Beth… She is a die-hard Jane Austen fan. Once I knew that, I thought it would be a fun idea to name her after one of the author’s heroines.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing a book?
I have another part-time job, so I mainly write Wednesdays through Fridays. Every day is a little bit of writing, editing, coming up with creative ideas for Instagram posts or marketing plans…
I probably should create more of a firm schedule to stick to, but the helter-skelter method has worked so far!
What is the hardest part of being an author?
Everything that comes after the initial idea for a story. That and time management. And marketing…
What’s the best part of your author’s life?
I love that I get to do something creative. My background is in geological engineering, which oddly enough involves a fair bit of storytelling in itself, but it’s so much more fun getting to dream up stories all day.
What’s one thing your readers should know about you?
I am also a watercolor artist. About a year ago, my mom and I created our own art company, Sundog Studios Co, and we have been blessed to be able to showcase some of our artwork in a few galleries in the Denver Metro area.
What’s one unusual fact about you?
When I was a kid, I used to be afraid of butterflies. I mean when you think about it, they’re just large flies with pretty wings, right?
How have you changed or grown as a writer?
When I started writing, I envisioned Colin Firth’s character in Love Actually. You know, sitting in front of an antique typewriter in his rustic country cottage as the ideas flowed one page after the other. I’d like to say that is a completely accurate picture of the writing life, but I’ve learned it is so much more. When you say you want to become a writer, no one tells you about the days where you wright only one sentence, or the frustration as you stress over where to put your punctuation, or how exactly do you keep your tea warm enough to get you through that entire afternoon of rewrites. In all seriousness, though, I’ve already learned so much from the wonderful community of Christian fiction authors, and I know now that writing is not a singular endeavor.
What is your favorite pastime?
I love to read, bake, paint, and hike. I’d be happy spending an entire day doing either or all of those activities!
Do you have other books? We’d love to know.
Yes! My first book, The Glass Cottage, came out last October, and it’s book #1 in the Prescott Family Romance series. Just like Dear Beth, it is set in another Colorado small town, and involves an antique shop, an old diary, and a little bit of mystery.
What are you working on now?
I am currently working on the next book in the Prescott Family Romance series (title yet to be decided on). Like the other two books in this series, the next book will focus on another cousin in the Prescott family, and it will take place in Estes Park, the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park.
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