As seen in the February issue of Uncaged Book Reviews.

Uncaged: Can you tell readers about your romantic suspense series, The Coin and The Book of Hours?

The Coin and The Book of Hours are romantic suspense thrillers that revolve around an artist, Gabriela Martinez and Richard Harrison, the man who falls in love with her.
In The Coin, readers see how Gabriela’s life is basically torn apart the moment she finds a coin in the middle of the mountain. That innocent incident thrusts her into a struggle between governments, terrorists, and madmen, all seeking knowledge she doesn’t know she has. Richard Harrison, the intelligence officer assigned to protect her, has all he can do to keep her safe. But when the psychological games to terrorize Gabriela escalate beyond his control, Richard must find a solution, especially since their bond grows, complicating things beyond the difficult. With the assistance of Maurice Nôret, Richard’s counterpart in French Intelligence, it’s a race to catch this killer before he can make his threat a reality—kill Gabriela.
Fast forward four years later. In The Book of Hours, Gabriela’s life is somewhat normal, although the events of four years earlier are still affecting her, propelling her to an important crossroad in life. But at the moment, she’s focused on the auction of her medieval manuscript recreation, one that, banking on her fame, will bring a lot of money for the children’s charity she sponsors. However, when art dealer, Arnold Wickham, catches a glimpse of Gabriela’s new work, he is like a man possessed. Now, he will do anything in order to claim it, and nothing, especially not Gabriela, will stand in his way.
Richard discovers that Gabriela’s life may be in danger from another psychopath, and he takes the opportunity to protect her again. It is a gift, a second chance that can bring them together once more. This time around, however, Richard is not going to be a self-sacrificing idiot, but will fight tooth and nail for her. But, in the shadow of this new threat, the stakes are now much higher, and there is much more to lose. So, if Richard doesn’t stay one step ahead of the danger, their lives, but especially their future, may be forever be lost.

The series is a wild ride, full of adventure, funny moments, and suspense. It also tackles important issues like love, loyalty, insanity, greed, family duty, hate, obsession, and deserved second-chances. It was a lot of fun writing it.

Uncaged: The Coin is one of those rare books that could easily translate to the big screen in my opinion. The right amount of danger, intrigue and romance would be a great story in a movie format. Who could you see playing the roles? Did you have any notable people imagined while writing?

Thanks. I think it can translate well to the big screen, too. I already have the screenplay written. Haven’t had time to pitch it, though.
And who I could see playing the roles? Ah, that is an easy one. When I started writing the novel, a visual of a young Harrison Ford was in my mind for Richard. Later it changed to a young Hugh Jackman. And the reason for those choices is the eyes, and their expression of a depth to the man that goes beyond the physical beauty.
For Gabriela, it was a bit difficult, since the visual in my mind didn’t match anyone. I finally chose Rachel Wiesz for my Gabriela. Again, it’s the eyes.






Uncaged: You are an attending author for Wild Deadwood Reads convention coming in June. Have you been to an event like this one in the past? What are you looking forward to the most?

I have been to many conventions such as Wild Deadwood Reads (but never in the same place twice). But what I’m looking forward to the most is meet new readers from a state I have not visited before. I love meeting people, sharing my experiences as author, and sharing my characters with them. I also love meeting new authors and network with them. It is very satisfying and a lot of fun.

Uncaged: Do you read your reviews? What do you take away from them?

Yes. I read every review. I love reading reviews—great, good, and somewhat good—even the negative ones (haven’t gotten too many of those, thank goodness). Anyway, you can’t please everyone, not all the time and with all things, but I appreciate their honesty. What I found most satisfying is that most reviews agree the characters are strong and that the story was good. Some other reviews make me scratch my head and think: “Say what? Did you really read the novel?” But, like I said, I appreciate everyone who writes one.

Uncaged: Can you tell us what you have coming up next?

I’m working on a detective novel, set in New York City (another place I’ve lived). He’s detective Nick Larson. The novel should be done by February, with a launch of late March/April. It is titled: Hanging Softly in the Night: A Detective Nick Larson Thriller.

Uncaged: What is one of the nicest things someone has said to you about your books?

That the characters and the story made them laugh and cry, and that they experienced everything about the action.

Uncaged: What is your favorite part about being an author? What have you found to be the least favorite?

Creating the story and the characters that live it. Putting down on paper what you have imagined and making it come to life is a real thrill. The least favorite is the time I have to devote to the marketing of the novel. It really takes its toll and takes a big chunk of time from my writing.

Uncaged: What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

Traveling. Exploring new places for future novels. Meeting new people.

Uncaged: What is the hardest part of a book to write? What is the easiest? From start to finish, how long does it take to finish a complete book?

The hardest part is showing what is in my mind to readers without drowning them with pages and pages of unnecessary descriptions. I’ve learned to shorthand it. Sometimes you can’t help but want to share the minutia, and you have to cut to make it tighter and thrilling.
The easiest is creating the characters and the dialogue. Don’t know why that comes easier.
It takes me about a year from start to finish to complete a novel. For the short story collection – that took about 6 months. It’s a process, since you write, edit, send to editor, have your graphic designer create a cover, do the edits, send it to a proofreader, make those edits, check everything, format in various platforms, and then publish. Exhausting and time-consuming. But I take care that what comes out is the best I can give my readers.

Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you?

I’m so grateful to them. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am, and I wouldn’t do what I do. I really appreciate the time they take to read my words and to comment on those words. And I love talking about my characters to them. It’s like sharing family with others who’ve adopted them.

Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra is a romantic suspense author with a unique point of view. Her adventure novels take place in locales across Europe and the United States, reflecting her international upbringing and extensive time as a global traveler. In her duology, The Coin and The Book of Hours, her characters, Gabriela and Richard, walk the same paths as their creator, though her life was never in so much danger. Her short story collection, The Fish Tank: And Other Short Stories, takes the reader on a ride across all genres; but the section, “Soul Songs,” delves into the gut-wrenching experience of exile through fictionalized Cuban Diaspora stories based on Ms. Alonso-Sierra’s own experience of exile. NY Literary Magazine describes The Fish Tank: And Other Short Stories as “a gracefully-written, varied collection of entertaining, touching, suspenseful and thought-provoking short stories. Her prose is vivid and distinct.” The author’s creepy short story, “Retribution Served”, is featured in the anthology Book Dreams: Volume 1, as well, available through all retailers. Ms. Alonso-Sierra’s writing career began circa age thirteen with a very juvenile science fiction short story, but the writing bug hit, and she has been writing, in one capacity or another, ever since. She has worked as a professional dancer, singer, journalist, and literature teacher in both the university and middle school levels (and not necessarily in that order) and holds a Masters in English literature. She loves to hear from readers and, when not writing, roams around to discover new places to set her novels.