Local writer Alexa Randolph publishes her first novel.
Alexa Randolph loves binge-watching reality shows like The Bachelor and The Real Housewives, as well as the “cheesy love stories” on the Lifetime and Hallmark channels. She took inspiration from both genres for her first novel, With Love, Ella.
“I have always loved romance and the happily-ever-after,” the 23-year-old West Bloomfield resident says. “And I love creating my own fictional world.”
With Love, Ella tells the story of successful party planner Ella Chambers, who is planning her own dream wedding to longtime boyfriend Daniel Collins, a professional football player. But a shocking medical diagnosis turns Ella’s world upside-down and jeopardizes her future happiness. As the promos tease, “Will she and her fiancé finally make it down the aisle, or will tragedy get in the way?”
Randolph has self-published the romance novel on Amazon, where it can be purchased as either an e-book or a hard copy through the CreateSpace service.
She’s sold about 150 copies since its December debut, and Randolph is enjoying promoting the novel, which had a launch party at the West Bloomfield JCC in January. On April 28, she’ll sign copies at Orchard Mall in West Bloomfield.
Randolph has always enjoyed writing but had expected to spend her career as an event planner (like Ella). “It was something I had wanted to do for about five years, but after I actually did it for about six months, I realized it wasn’t what I wanted,” she says. “I’m good at the organizing part but not as good at the design part.”
She left that job to devote herself to writing full time. She’s already penned a second novel, Healing Hearts, and is working on a sequel to With Love, Ella called Daniel Ever After.
Randolph strives to create a chapter a day, writing on her computer for about three hours each morning and another two hours later in the day. “Some days it works out and some days it doesn’t,” she says, “but this is my job right now — full-time blogger and author.”
She wrote her first short story for an assignment in the eighth grade about four friends who grow apart but then come back together. “Reading back, it is so funny because it wasn’t very good,” she confessed.
After graduating from West Bloomfield High School in 2012, Randolph attended Michigan State University, where she majored in communications, enjoyed sorority life for a few years and chaired MSU Hillel’s Jewish Women’s Forum in her senior year.
“I am very proud of my Judaism and my religion,” says Randolph, who had her bat mitzvah at Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Southfield. “Almost all of my characters are Jewish because that’s what I’m used to, but you don’t really know unless there is a wedding and someone breaks a glass.”
With Love, Ella has charming cover art by Ryan Achtman of Novi, who is the brother of Randolph’s boyfriend, Maxx. He nailed her vision on the first try.
“It was the first cover he came up with and it was exactly what I wanted,” Randolph says.
The novel itself — which Randolph dedicated to her parents, Lori and Chuck — took a lot longer, with many rounds of edits and rewrites over a three-year period. The struggle, she said, was worth it. “This last version was definitely what I wanted,” she says.
Randolph blogs extensively on what she describes as a “lifestyle empowerment” blog called Love, Alexa, which is available at alexarandolph.com.
“It’s written for women in their 20s and includes advice from things I have learned, like the pros and cons of social media, and that sometimes, as hard as it can be, it’s important to cut people out of your life,” she says.
That later lesson came the hard way when Randolph realized that not all of her “friends” were happy to witness her success. “There are people who will be jealous and one-up you, people who want to cut you down,” she says. “But you have to live your life how you want to live and not worry about others. Do what makes you happy.”
She said she’s “developing a thick skin” and has “also learned it’s OK to feel a little lost in your 20s and that you learn as you go.” As she muses on her blog, “Now that I am writing full-time and finally starting my brand, it is scary … What if I think I am good at what I do, but in reality, I’m really not? … If it is something we really want and we work for it, there should be nothing stopping us but ourselves.”
Alexa Randolph will be signing copies of With Love, Ella 2-4 p.m. Saturday, April 28, at Orchard Mall in West Bloomfield. Books will be available for purchase, or can be ordered at amazon.com or alexarandolph.com.