A Journey Through Love and Life – An Interview with Alyson Root

Alyson Root shares how her life in France, personal experiences, and love for writing inspire her novels, including heartfelt stories, diverse themes, and authentic characters in The French Connection series.

Alyson Root’s journey from the heart of England to the romantic landscapes of France is as captivating as the stories she writes. Her life experiences and deep personal connections vividly breathe life into her novels, making each one a heartfelt narrative infused with authenticity. Root discovered her passion for writing in her mid-thirties, inspired by her love story with her wife, Angélique, which gave birth to her debut book, A Dance Towards Forever. This marked the beginning of The French Connection series, reflecting their shared adventures and the charm of their French surroundings.

In this exclusive interview with Reader’s House Magazine, Alyson Root opens up about the influence of her adventurous life on her writing, the profound themes in her novels, and the unique characters she creates. From the enchanting streets of Paris to the emotional depths of chronic illness and the joyous spirit of Christmas with a dog rescue centre, Root’s stories are a testament to her versatility and passion. Join us as we delve into the world of Alyson Root, exploring the inspirations, challenges, and heartwarming moments that shape her remarkable works.

You’ve had quite an adventurous life, moving from England to Paris and then to the west of France. How have these experiences and your current lifestyle influenced the settings and characters in your books?

Taking that leap of faith and uprooting my life is the primary influence of The French Connection Series. Living in Paris gave me so much content. Each book in The French Connection Series has a part of me in it. A morsel of truth to the way my life changed when I met Angélique (my wife). Even after we moved to the west of France, I still had so many memories and new experiences to work with. Which helped me write the series.

In A Dance Towards Forever, you explore the unexpected connection between Sam and Anna in Paris. What inspired you to set a sapphic romance in the city of love, and how do you capture the essence of Paris in your storytelling?

Meeting Angélique was the catalyst for my writing journey. I met and fell in love with a French woman, and she supported and rooted for me as soon as I voiced the idea that I’d like to try my hand at writing. It felt utterly natural that I would centre my first book in Paris, the city of Love and also the city she lived in. As far as it being a sapphic story, there was no decision. I wanted to write something that represented us. Capturing the essence of the city was easy. After a night walking the streets, soaking in the atmosphere, the words flowed effortlessly on to the page.

Broken Parts Included deals with themes of chronic illness and the search for love. What motivated you to write about these challenges, and how do you ensure that your characters’ experiences resonate authentically with readers?

Broken Parts Included was a catharsis for me. For the past three years, I have been dealing with women’s health issues, and I was so frustrated with the lack of help and support from doctors. I had to write this book for my sanity. Writing gave me a release. It was a book solely written for me as a coping strategy. The amount of people who messaged and emailed thanking me for highlighting an issue that is so rarely spoken about, let alone made the centre of a story, overwhelmed me. Lydia, the main character, resonated with so many readers because her tale was one, they could relate to on a personal level. For some, their story matched Lydia’s. Others found it significant simply because it delved into a taboo subject. Writing a romance that tackles body dysmorphia, periods and mental health aren’t the norm. I’m just happy it touched so many readers.

Your Christmas love story, The Wisdom of Bug, features a dog rescue centre and a pet supply empire. Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind this unique plot and the role that the character Bug plays in bringing Evelyn and Alyssa together?

My eldest dog was the inspiration for this book. He is such a character with so many unique traits, I just had to write about it. Plus, my favourite time of the year is Christmas. I kind of took all the things I love and mashed them together. Any dog lover knows a dog can reach a part of you that sometimes another human cannot. They are loyal and love unconditionally. I’ve lost count the times both my dogs have comforted me just by their presence. When I came up with the concept of The Wisdom of Bug, I loved the idea that this strange little guy had the ability to bring two people together.

Keeping Carmen Ruiz involves a complex journey of love and self-discovery across the United States. How do you approach writing such a multifaceted story with multiple characters and intertwining plotlines, and what message do you hope readers take away from it?

Keeping Carmen Ruiz was not a straightforward story to write. Writing a two-book series with three main characters was a challenge that I thoroughly enjoyed. I should say that it was a little easier than writing the first book, Finding Molly Parsons, because I at least had the characters fleshed out and their personalities set. When I write a character, I do my best to get into their mindset. I try to think like them, feel like them, so it was an emotional rollercoaster there for a while. The books are deep and powerful. I went through every emotion Carmen, Molly and Faith did. There were times I sat writing with tears streaming down my face.

As far as the message I hoped to get across, that’s easy. Family isn’t always blood related. As a person in the queer community, I know firsthand what it is like to choose a family. Having people in your corner that understand you fully is invaluable.

You run a small campsite and holiday home in France and enjoy Scuba Diving in your free time. How do you balance your writing career with these other passions, and do these activities ever find their way into your books?

I am extremely fortunate that I can write full time. The holiday home and camping are a seasonal extra. In the beginning, the holiday let and camping gave me financial stability as I tried to break into the self-publishing world.

Being several books ahead helps me. I write quickly and therefore have a catalogue of books that are finished, but not released. I schedule my books and therefore leave myself with ample time to write more. This allows me to split my time to pursue hobbies and other things. Scuba diving made it into the second French Connection book, Diving Into Her. I thoroughly enjoyed sharing my love of diving with readers and sincerely hope that some of them were inspired enough to give it a try.

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