Weslynn McAllister loves to write clean, upbeat romance novels with happy endings. But another part of her prefers tales on the darker side, heavy on suspense and peopled with evil villains. The solution to this dilemma? Using a pseudonym. While McAllister pens her “happily ever after” stories, her alter-ego, Jamie Cortland, turns out suspenseful romances that keep readers on the edge of their seats.
McAllister was born and raised in Roswell, New Mexico and loved writing for as long as she can remember. “I’ve written since I was a little girl, she says. “Back then, I wrote poetry and little plays.” She moved to Florida when she was 19 and spent two years at St. Petersburg Community College before moving to California and earning a fine arts degree from Laguna Beach Arts School. She worked as a secretary, a graphic designer and a real estate agent and even spent some time as a high fashion model. But it wasn’t until her three children were grown that she started writing in earnest.
Her first written works couldn’t have been more different. “I was working on two books at the same time,” she recalls. “One was Apache Spring, a sweet, touching romance novel. The other was Prophecies of the Ancients, a 450-page sci-fi opera, something like Star Wars. McAllister continued in the science fiction genre for her next novel, Wyatt’s Deck, a time-travel story set in Tombstone, Arizona during the OK Corral shootout. “I love Wyatt Earp, and I love the name Wyatt,” McAllister says. “I even have a grandson named Wyatt.”
Jamie Cortland took over writing McAllister’s next three novels. In What Lies Within, a divorced mother discovers that the man of her dreams is really her worst nightmare. Dying to Dance is the story of two young sisters who relocate to southwest Florida to live with their aunt, a wealthy ballroom dancer. There they meet a handsome, charismatic sociopath who targets one of the sisters in his deadly insurance scheme. McAllister’s latest novel, The Gardener’s Secret, is the sequel to What Lies Within. It tells of a man with a personality disorder who becomes obsessed with a wealthy widow whose husband has gone missing. Hired as her gardener, he mistakes her friendliness for attraction, and trouble ensues. “I always put a good life lesson in my books,” McAllister says. “When I first started, I wrote a lot about love, betrayal and forgiveness. Now I’ve been including characters with mental illness. Many crimes are committed by people with mental issues, and it’s so important that they seek treatment and medication.”
Whether writing as Weslynn McAllister or Jamie Cortland, this talented writer loves what she calls “the journey of writing,” and she is certain to entertain readers who love a good romance.