Monday, May 25, 2015

Querying & Indie Author: Alythia Brown

Happy Monday, everyone! Today we have with us Alythia Brown, an author who does it all—she has one book currently out with Crescent Moon Press, and is currently seeking representation for her new novel Heartbreaker for Hire.

Alythia Brown
Twitter: @alyconnerbrown

How long have you been writing?
I've have been storytelling since Kindergarten! No, seriously, I 'wrote' picture books and would read them aloud to my class. I know everyone says they've been writing since childhood, but I still remember sitting in my mom's room for hours when I was in fifth grade because we bought our first computer. (Oh, that makes me feel old!) I managed to write about one hundred pages of my very first (and very horrible) novel. 
But in the sense of pursuing publication and representation, this year is my ten-year mark. Crescent Moon Press published my first novel, DAKOTA CAPTIVE, in 2013, but I'm back on the hunt for representation! 

What’s the blurb for Dakota Captive? Where can we buy it?
When the evil spirit of Jumlin returns with his army of Offspring, the Earth Spirits are summoned to protect the Sioux. Unbeknownst to Charli, these Earth Spirits are a sacred secret. So she probably shouldn't have spied from behind a rock when they shifted from their animal forms. She shouldn't have taken pictures. And she definitely shouldn't have gotten caught. And they're not going to let her go until some creepy witch doctor, or something, erases her memory. 
So all she has to do is try to keep her big mouth shut, get her memory erased and go home, right? Wrong. Because Jumlin's Offspring are stalking Charli. And since no one can explain this unusual behavior, it becomes imperative to enter the Other World for sanctuary. Now if only she can figure out why she's beginning to fall for one of her abductors on top of everything else... 
You can find DAKOTA CAPTIVE here!

What inspired the project you’re currently querying?
Actually, I was listening to a country song. (No laughing!) I can't remember the artist, but she was singing about how much she was going to enjoy watching a new girl break her ex's heart because his cheating ways were bound to come back around to him. And I thought, 'Hmmm…. Someone would pay a lot to see that arranged. Someone could make a living reaping the benefits…' And thus HEARTBREAKER FOR HIRE began to take life in a fantasy setting.

What’s your elevator pitch for the project you’re currently querying?
Twenty-year-old Kaia Featherfoot is a professional heartbreaker. Turns out, there are plenty of scorned maidens eager to send ex-lovers a taste of their own medicine for a reasonable price. But when she gets an assignment to break the king's heart, she realizes only too late that she may be in over her head. 

What are you working on in the meantime to keep yourself from checking your email every three seconds?
Well, I have three kiddos under the age of ten, so life can become busy for me all on its own! I've been hiking, volunteering, making macrame projects (something about tying hundreds of knots is soothing for the querying soul), and going out with my family. 
I've been querying HEARTBREAKER FOR HIRE for about two months and I'm just now beginning a new project. I know the best advice for querying authors is to begin something new, but I think I needed a small break--to go on adventures and refuel my creativity. Currently, I'm plotting potential sequels for H4H, but I've also begun a completely new project just in case the one I'm querying doesn't sell.

What are three books that have shaped you as a writer?
Maya Angelou's writing voice has moved me since I was a child. I grew up reading her poetry—appreciating the depth of emotion breathed into every word. I know you asked for a book title, but her words alone definitely shaped me as a writer. 
I fell in love with Terry Brooks' MAGIC KINGDOM OF LANDOVER series when I was ten! His work helped me hone my world building. 
LITTLE WOMEN by Louisa May Alcott is another. Although completely different than the books I usually read, her story is a comfort. In many ways, it ran parallel with my life. I grew up with spunky sisters and a liberal, independent mother who taught us to value our individuality and character over material possessions and appearances. We're also distant cousins to Alcott, so I feel a strong connection to her as a writer! 

Are you a plotter or a pantser or an all-of-the-above-er? What is your writing process?
Plotter. The first novel I completed was a let's see where this thing goes kind of story and, to this day, I can't tell you what it's about. Once I broke down a plotting process that worked for me, I never went back! (Vogler's method was extremely helpful for me. I outlined it here.) I'm like the mouse from IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE and I will quickly lose focus without a map.

What advice would you give to a writer about to take the plunge into querying?
Expect and accept rejections as rungs on a ladder, bringing you closer to your dream. There will come a time when you doubt yourself and your work. I think that's the mark of an artist--someone who is willing to continue improving no matter what--not the mark of someone who has failed. 
Once your work is out, you wait. And wait and wait and wait... Everyone tells you to begin something new. And you should. But if you just can't seem to—if you're just a little too burnt out from querying—don't worry. Anything forced won't be anything good. Go live life! Getting away from your desk will only improve your world building.  (Just make sure you always have a small notebook handy.)

How do you take your caffeine?
Coffee. And too much of it.

Thanks so much for taking part in the interview series, Alythia! Best of luck with your querying journey!

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