Behind the Pen: Alyssa and Ryan

It’s always fun to create a new heroine. I usually like to base her on someone I know or gather parts of people I know. Sometimes I use a name of a good friend or borrow someone’s name that is pretty exotic (Nikkia, Liane, Zerrin, etc.).

Enter Alyssa.

Alyssa McHale is not your typical heroine. She may come off as a bitch but really, she’s just guarded. I guess her male counterpart would be Scott Reed without the BDSM. She doesn’t have the typical long, flowing hair that so many heroines seem to have. Nah, this sista rocks her natural locs. She’s also a vegan.

Yeah. Vegan. Not a typo.

She’s the first vegan heroine I have written. I’ve noticed in a lot of romance fiction, the heroine is assumed to be a meat eater. I don’t think I’ve ever read a vegetarian heroine, come to think of it. Anyway, back to Alyssa. She’s based on someone I know – a good friend, Natalie. At first I wasn’t going to write a heroine who was vegan or make her vegan lifestyle a key part of the story. Then I thought about it – if this is her, why wouldn’t this be a major part of her story? If I were a vegan, I would think everyone would know about it and respect my way of life.

It’s interesting doing research on a Black vegan. I found a few blogs (Thug Kitchen is pretty entertaining if you want to take a peek and BlackVeggieVegan is also another good source) and follow a few people on twitter. But there’s not a lot of resources for a Black person to research the vegan lifestyle if they choose to go down that path. And I’m not talking just clothing and food but also hair care. Needless to say, I have my work cut out for me.

In terms of Alyssa’s looks, I actually had one person in mind when I write her. I’m trying to imagine her with locs –


Ryan’s character was a little easier to figure out:

eastwood18f-5-web eastwoodtwo

That’s Scott Eastwood, as in Clint Eastwood’s son.

The yet-to-be titled fic should be out sometime in July, hopefully. As with all fiction, this book is estimated to be around 50K words and will be priced somewhere between $3.99 and $4.59.

6 thoughts on “Behind the Pen: Alyssa and Ryan

    • veraroberts says:

      In terms of hair care, it’s a huge difference. Black people tend to have very kinky and curly hair, while White people have very straight hair. So being a vegan and not using any animal products will also affect how we’ll take care of our hair! 🙂

      • Rincewind says:

        Oh did not think abt the hair do’s at all. Was just wondering what difference the food was but now I get it. Not anymore dazed and confused… 🙂

  1. Kim Scott-French (@Ksfgyrl6) says:

    Love the idea of a vegan! It could provide some interesting and comical moments in the story. Gabrielle Union is a great pick – I can see her with locs. Scott Eastwood jeez! Where did you find him – that cigar pic is beyond sexy!! I can’t wait to read this one – that pic will quickly make it’s way into my fantasies – LOL.

  2. misspmh says:

    I follow Thug Kitchen on tumblr and he/she is hilarious yet informative.

    Can’t wait to read this one! Score for the, loc-wearin sistas😄

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