Interview Roulette: Alice Archer


  1. Write a story—no more than 100 words—based on this prompt: When the levee failed….

When the levee failed, Edwin saw it first, when he went out into the stormy darkness in his pajamas and galoshes to check on his elusive neighbor.

“Matt. Open up.” No answer. Edwin sprinted around back, and that’s when he noticed the dip in the levee behind Matt’s house.

Screw it. Edwin punched out a pane in the back door and felt his way into the strange house, wishing for a flashlight. He didn’t want to scare the guy, but they needed to go.

“Hey, wake up.” Edwin shook Matt’s shoulder.

“Finally,” Matt murmured, and pulled Edwin onto the bed.

  1. Describe one of your characters’ dream vehicles.

Ruben, from Everyday History, would go nuts for a five-seater sled on a snowy day. It wouldn’t even matter if he was steering, as long as the whole family careened down the hill together and landed in a big pile.

  1. If one of your characters were to practice a random act of kindness, what would it be?

About once a month, Estelle, the owner of the little diner on the wrong side of the tracks in Everyday History, would tell someone eating at the counter a little fib. “Well, aren’t you lucky. That lady who left about ten minutes ago paid for your meal.”

  1. You’re on a ship with Mark Twain, Albert Einstein, Catherine the Great, David Bowie, Billie Holiday, and Genghis Khan. But oh no! The ship is sinking and the lifeboat only holds four people. You get to decide—who gets on that lifeboat?

Me, obviously. That’s one. David Bowie and Billie Holiday are next. Their duets haunt or amuse us until we’re rescued. Okay, sure, Catherine the Great can join us, but only if she lets us braid her wig and call her Cathy-Bo-Bathy. We strap Mark Twain to the outside of the lifeboat, because the man is loaded with hot air. The added buoyancy makes it feasible for Albert Einstein to join us. Genghis Khan pushes us along from the water, our feisty motor. Due to his reputation as the male who sired the most children, like, ever, none of the women want him in the boat.

  1. The letter E has been made illegal. Write a description of your latest book without running afoul of the law.

If you woo and walk away, you’ll pay.

  1. Is there a fiction genre you would write only if forced to at gunpoint?

Horror. I’m a wimp when it comes to things that go bump in the night. As a kid, I’d race to my younger brother’s room and wake him if I got scared. Sweet guy. He’d tell me what he’d been dreaming and I’d fall back asleep.

  1. What is the dumbest thing one of your characters has ever done?

In Inkling, Reid gave his troubled brother access to the business bank account. Oops.


Book blurb for Everyday History:

If you woo, win, and walk away, a second chance is going to cost you.

Headstrong Ruben Harper has yet to meet an obstacle he can’t convert to a speed bump. He’s used to getting what he wants from girls, but when he develops a fascination for a man, his wooing skills require an upgrade. After months of persuasion, he scores a dinner date with Henry Normand that morphs into an intense weekend. The unexpected depth of their connection scares Ruben into fleeing.

Shy, cautious Henry, Ruben’s former high school history teacher, suspects he needs a wake-up call, and Ruben appears to be his siren. But when Ruben bolts, Henry is left struggling to find closure. Inspired by his conversations with Ruben, Henry begins to write articles about the memories stored in everyday objects. The articles seduce Ruben with details from their weekend together and trigger feelings too strong to avoid. As Henry’s snowballing fame takes him out of town and further out of touch, Ruben stretches to close the gaps that separate them.


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Author bio:

Alice Archer has messed about with words professionally for many years as an editor and writing coach. After living in more than eighty places and cobbling together a portable lifestyle, she has a lot of story material to sort through. It has reassured her to discover that even though culture and beliefs can get people into a peck of trouble when they’re falling in love, the human heart can find its way in any language.

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