Interview with Ally Blake, Author of The Secret Wedding Dress

Please welcome the talented Ally Blake to the virtual offices today!  Ally’s latest release is The Secret Wedding Dress, which is published by Harlequin under their new KISS line. 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Ally Blake] Redhead, footy fan, mum to three beings of pure delight, putty in the face of Italians & firemen, believer in love, luck & fairies.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for The Secret Wedding Dress?

[Ally Blake] The Secret Wedding Dress was born of a single image that slammed into my sub-conscious one day – a woman standing in a lift, holding a wedding dress that she owned, when into the lift walked the most gorgeous man she’d ever seen ;). I just had to know; who was she, why did she have that dress, and what kind of man would go after a woman he knows owns a wedding dress?!?!?!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Paige?

[Ally Blake] Ambitious, loyal, emotionally-stunted. (The hyphen makes it three words ;))

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Gabe had a theme song, what would it be?

[Ally Blake] I listened to Jace Everett constantly as I wrote this book – he sings the theme song from TV show True Blood. In fact I heard the voice of Joe Manganiello – Alcide from that same show – in my head every time Gabe hit the page. Not a bad way to make a living!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Paige is never without.

[Ally Blake] An escape route ;).

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Gabe’s bedroom?

[Ally Blake] Since Gabe travels, a lot and to some truly remote places, I’m not sure he’d would much notice what was or wasn’t in his bedroom. The three things Gabe’s bedrooms MUST have are his own bed. And his pillow -flattened to the point he probably didn’t even need the thing. And his mattress with the man-shaped dint right smack bang in the middle that fit his spread-eagled body to perfection. Unfortunately for Gabe, for much of the book they are lost in transit, so he has to make do with sleeping elsewhere…amongst other things ;). Thankfully he’s a man with a good imagination!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Paige’s greatest regret?

[Ally Blake] I’m not sure Paige has any regrets at the beginning of the book. Her life is pretty much exactly how she always wanted it to be – with a great job and a gorgeous apartment, she’s set up so that she doesn’t need anything from anybody. It’s only with the looming marriage of her best friend, and worse, the new man in her life – big, bad beautiful Gabe Hamilton – making a mockery of her desire never to fall in love that she sees what her life could be, if only she found the guts to let it.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Ally Blake] I envy John Le Carre’s clever turns of phrase. I think Dick Francis writes the most wonderful, laid-back, gorgeous heroes. I love Rachel Gibson’s va va voom. I adore Kristan Higgins’ lightness of touch, Sophie Kinsella’s laugh out loud humour and LaVyrle Spencer’s warmth. If my books find a splash of any of the above, I’m a happy writer.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Ally Blake] Coffee, computer, white noise – I do my best work in noisy cafes!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Ally Blake] The past months I’ve devoured Rachel Gibson’s entire backlists and adored every book to absolute bits! Tangled Up in You and True Confessions were particular favourites. Fantastic stories with feisty heroines and men to make you melt!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Ally Blake] I’ve been a reader as long as I can remember, but I believe I owe my absolute soul-deep adoration to my Grade 7 teacher who chose John Christopher’s Tripod Trilogy for the end of year book report. My report for the first book ended up covering the entire trilogy and led me to read John Christopher’s Sword of the Spirits books which I still class as absolute favorites today. So much so my son’s middle name is named after the hero!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Ally Blake] With three little kiddlywinks, my non-writing time is pretty much owned by Play-Doh, colouring in, and playing hide-and-seek. In rare kid-free moments I love yoga, cloud-watching, eating M&Ms, snuggling on the couch with the hubby knocking back half hour TV shows, barracking for the Collingwood Magpies AFL team and researching future heroes on Pinterest ;).

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Ally Blake] For the latest book release news, the best bet is to pop over to my website – www.allyblake.com. For behind the scenes stuff, head on over to my Pinterest boards. Or come say "hi" at Facebook, Twitter, or ally@allyblake.com.

Thanks so much for having me, and happy reading!

[Manga Maniac Café] Thank you!

You can purchase The Secret Wedding Dress  or any of Ally’s backlist from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the links below.

About the book:

A wedding dress…but no bride!  Paige Danforth isn’t interested in setting herself up for an unhappy-ever-after-thanks to her father’s betrayal, the closest she’ll ever get to walking down the aisle is as a bridesmaid. But one bridal sale later, Paige is left clutching her own champagne chiffon wedding dress! Clearly she needs to end her self-imposed dating drought….

Enter ruggedly sexy neighbor Gabe Hamilton. He wants Paige in his bed and nothing more-no promises made, no promises broken. But will this big, bad adventurer stick around when he discovers not only skeletons-but the wedding dress-in her closet?