Name: Alysha Kaye
Where you live: Austin, TX
1) How long have you been writing? I have been writing ever since I was very young. I filled notebooks upon notebooks with short stories and poems. If you’re a fellow only child, I think you’d agree that we tend to form extravagant imaginations and intense creative outlets from a very young age!
2) What or who was your inspiration to write? Books were a much-needed escape for me. I used to read as much as I breathed (too bad now I have a job and obligations, haha). Each book I read inspired me to write. When I was in middle school, my English teacher submitted one of my stories to a magazine and I won first place! I’ll never forget thinking, “Oh…something can actually come out of this hobby of mine?”
3) Which genre do you like to read? Why? I love realistic fiction just because I find it easier to relate to. I do enjoy fantasy and some sci-fi, but I find it more fun to get lost in the raw, real world of fiction.
4) Do you write this genre or others? Why? It’s funny because I’ve always thought of THE WAITING ROOM as realistic fiction, until my editor informed me that it’s actually considered fantastical or paranormal. It’s so odd to me, since the novel is centered around two very normal, present-day characters. But she was right—it’s not exactly realistic to appear in a strange room after you die…
5) Who are your favorite authors? Salinger will always be my classic, go-to answer. But I’ve recently become a huge fan of Audrey Niffenegger and Mark Zusak.
6) How do you create your characters? There is definitely a huge element of real-life inspiration. I don’t think it’s a conscious decision though. For example, I didn’t realize how much my ex-boyfriend influenced the main character, Jude, until after my editor sent back notes and I was forced to closely re-read my own novel!
7) Do you give them names before you develop them? Usually, yes.
8) How do you choose your characters names? Most names I use are names of friends, family, and acquaintances. I’ll meet someone and think, “Wow, that’s a great name, I need to write about that name…” and tuck it away for later.
9) Do you edit as you write or after you get your manuscript written? After it was written. I finished my novel very quickly and let it sit on my laptop for over three years, collecting dust. I didn’t edit a single word until my editor sent it back with lovely red marks throughout it!
10) Do you have an agent, publisher, or self-publish? I decided to self-publish for a few big reasons. I didn’t want to wait any longer to get it out—I’d already let it sit there for three years, after all. I interned at a publishing house when I was in college and kind of hated how the system worked. I wanted creative control (choosing my own cover, for example).
11) What advice have you received to help you and what advice would you give a new writer? The best advice I’ve received has been from English teachers (which definitely played a role in me becoming a teacher). I wanted to major in Creative Writing and publish novels…everyone else seemed to think I was crazy, but my teachers were so supportive! They said, “Do it. It doesn’t matter what people think.” And it really doesn’t. People still think I’m crazy. I could’ve just listened to them a long time ago and given up, but I’d be unsatisfied for the rest of my life. Sure, it’s extremely difficult to make it in publishing. But if you’re not willing to try and fail, then you’re never going to achieve any kind of success.
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