Alexa Aston: From Historical to Contemporary, Love Always Prevails!

InD: Have you always lived in Texas?
Yes, I was born in Dallas and I have lived there or a suburb near there all my life, with the exception of the four years that I went to Baylor University (which is about 100 miles south of Dallas). Even my husband is from Dallas. We were even born in the same hospital just 11 months apart!
InD: Wow! What is it like growing up there?
Actually, a little hard because I was growing up during the time of the Kennedy assassination, and when you said “Dallas”, there was a dark cloud that seemed to appear over your head. I remember the first time I traveled to New Mexico and then to Oklahoma and Colorado, by the time that I got to Colorado, I learned not to say I was from Dallas, I would just say, “I’m from Texas”. It was the kind of thing where people blamed all the citizens of Dallas for JFK’s death. I didn’t see a change until the TV show “Dallas" came out. Then all of a sudden, everybody was hopping on board and wanted to talk about JR. My husband and I went to England at the time that JR shot someone on the show and left it as a cliffhanger. We felt like minor celebrities in London! Even on our Jack the Ripper tour when we were sitting at the pub, people would say, “So you're really from Texas, do you know about JR?” It was almost as if they thought he was a real person. But I still love Dallas. I love the Dallas Cowboys and I have known all the players and their numbers since the time I was in the first grade. I even named our daughter after a Dallas cowboy. Her name is Meredith, after the quarterback Don Meredith.
InD: I read that you were a sports fan! Are there other sports that you follow?
When you're from Texas, football is king, but I am also a huge basketball fan. Both the men and women's basketball teams have won the national championship, and I watch almost every Baylor basketball game whether it is men or women even today. And we go to homecoming every year. I love my sports!
InD: Are there others that you tune into? Or are Baylor and the Dallas Cowboys just the ones you follow?
Those are the ones I follow the most. My husband worked in sports for 30 years. He use to work for the Dallas Mavericks, then he switched over to a cable company that eventually became Fox Sports Southwest. So we had the opportunity to go to so many games and sports banquets. But, of course, when he retired most of that went away. So we are mostly TV fans now.
That is how Texas is. You are just raised to be a sports fan. My dad was an only child and I was the oldest in our family. I was a girl and he didn't know what to do with me so he taught me all about sports. Then my husband and I only had one daughter and she is a sportsaholic now, as well.  When she went to college, her parameters were to go out of state for a different experience but somewhere where they had a great football team. So she went to OU, and in her four years there they never lost a home game. They went to Bowl games and championships and she met her husband there so it turned out well.  And now we have two grandchildren, a boy and a girl. They are the loves of my life! Although I don’t use their names, I do brag and include them in my social media.  The newsletters I send out with something about my grandkids in gets more response than any other thing I send!
InD: Being an author is very different than working in most corporate businesses. As an author you need to really connect with the reader as a person before they will commit to loyally purchasing your books.
That is exactly right. I try to be as open as possible on social media, yet keep some things private. I post about the books I am reading or the movies I see or TV shows that we are binge watching. Sometimes I post funny memes, especially historical things. I’ve learned that personal connection is very important. I know one of my very dear long time readers went through chemotherapy treatment a couple of years ago and reread several of my series during that time. She contacted me during her treatments and said, “You don't know me from Adam but we are Facebook friends. I’m going through chemotherapy and when I go into the treatments, I open your books and they get me through it.” So now we text every day. She is very dear to me and always sends me a good morning text. I am so grateful that this gift I feel I have from God can, in some way, make readers happy. I was a reader before I was a writer, obviously, and I remember all of those times that books got me through difficulties in life. The things I learned from books and the adventures I had, the places that I saw and the heroes  I fell for. I did all of that through books. To think now that the shoe is on the other foot and I am bringing pleasure and happiness to other reader’s lives it is just incredible.
InD:Some people say  it is such a waste of time to read romance and fiction books. But I have learned so much about so many topics through those stories that I never would have explored otherwise. A fictional story often imparts more knowledge and lessons than just reading a text book could ever do.
Exactly. I was a history teacher before I started my writing career, and that was how I taught history. I didn't try to bore students by memorizing dates or dry facts. I told them that history is the story of ordinary people who found themselves in extraordinary circumstances. It was the way they reacted to those circumstances that created our history. Now, when I write and do research, I can sprinkle that research in my books. When a reader picks up my books they are getting a romance and character interaction, but they are also getting historical facts that can actually teach them about the era. I have a series coming up next year that is called “Suddenly a Duke”. I had so much fun researching for these books because each of the women featured have an occupation. I have heroines who are a dog trainer, a dressmaker, an artist, a musician\composer, and a Bow Street Runner. I researched all of those topics from that time and try to bring in true tidbits to the story so my readers learn a little bit about what it was like in the Regency era to be in each of those occupations while also still getting a wonderful romance.
InD: I absolutely love that! It is one of the wonderful gifts we get when we read. So you were a history teacher; how long did you teach?
I taught for 30 years and was a consultant for two years.
InD: What age group did you teach?
Mostly high school juniors. I taught US history and advanced placement US history for college course credits.

Read the entire interview in the Dec/Jan 2022-23 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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