The Author – In Her Own Words

Hi, everyone. My name is Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra (yes, I know…it is a mouthful). I am originally from Cuba, lived in many places/countries throughout my life, and am now living in beautiful North Carolina.
It is so difficult, sometimes, to say things about yourself, but let me try. I love all things medieval. I love history. As a matter of fact, I have a masters in medieval literature–12th century French Romances to be exact (Chretien de Troyes, etc.). I actually had the privilege of going to the Biblioteque Nationale de Paris to study from the original manuscript of Chretien. Doodling, everyone, is not a modern invention, let me tell you. Apart from the glosses, there were quite a few interesting doodles from, I imagine, bored monks.
I have been an avid reader since I was young, devouring Greek myths, fantasy, and anything on which I could get my hands. I speak several languages (Spanish, French, Italian, German) and can read Latin, Middle English, and Old French.
I started writing when I was thirteen. My first short story was a science fiction one set on Mars (I was into Asimov, Clarke, Bester, et al at that moment of my life) and my second one was a paranormal novella, at nineteen, which was a rare leap for me since that genre really did not exist at that time. When we lived in France, I finally decided to get serious about my writing and began to write my recently published novel, The Coin, where I set all the action. I wrote it because it is the type of novel I also very much enjoy reading: the romantic suspense. 
My influences have been everything I have read in my long life, but major have been Greek myths and authors such as Mary Stewart, Phyllis A. Whitney, Victoria Holt (this will date me), Anya Seton, Dick Francis, Nora Roberts, Christina Skye, and so many more than I can’t begin to list them all.
On a more personal note, I have worked as a professional dancer, reporter, singer (commercials/ choir/cantoring), adjunct professor at the university (FIU), and middle school teacher. My students always told me, “Mrs. Sierra, you’ve done everything!” Not quite. I still have a lot more to cover in life.
Maria Elena