Alicia Anthony

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1. What made you want to become a writer?

I have always been a writer. Not professionally, of course. But I was the kid in grade school with her nose in a book and the one in college that would rather write the essay than take the exam. And to this day I’d choose email or text over talking to someone in person or over the phone. I think I’m the epitome of an introvert when it comes to that. Written words tend not to betray me as much as spoken words, I guess.

I didn’t start thinking of writing as a potential career until after my grandmother passed away. Looking back on it now, I think I wrote as a way of processing the grief I felt during that time. But the more I wrote, the more I realized that becoming a fiction author was more than a far-fetched whim. It was something that I had to do, that I might excel at, even. I’m pretty sure my grandmother had a hand in that. She always believed in me, in my potential, so I like to think she gave me the push I needed.

2. What is your genre or writing style and has it changed over time?

I write suspense with a twist. Whether it’s a psychological twist or maybe a romantic one, there’s always an element that defies what might be considered genre expectations. I like to read books that surprise me, with twists I don’t see coming, so that’s what I work to create in my own stories.

I’m an elementary school teacher by day, so I’ve tried my hand at some children’s stories, but they tend to veer off down dark alleys, so I’ve decided to stick with adult fiction for now. My first couple manuscripts have some sixth sense elements mixed in. But my current project is a more straightforward suspense novel.

3. What has helped you the most in the writing pursuit?

I hope this doesn’t sound like a commercial, but I just finished my MFA through Spalding University’s Low-Residency program and have learned so much from the people I’ve met along the way. Not only the mentors and teachers, but the community of writers that exist within that program and beyond. They are there with kind words when I start questioning myself and my work and they are always willing to read when I need a beta reader. I would not have made it this far without that network of support.

But more importantly, my family has been a backbone of support for me. My husband and daughter have given up countless hours of family time so I can write and they’ve never once made me feel guilty about it. That has been, and continues to be, priceless.

4. How would you describe your writing practice?

I’m fairly disciplined when it comes to my practice. As a wife and mother with a full time career, I have to be. The summer months are more relaxed, of course, but through the school year I get up early, usually around 3:00 A.M. to write. The house is quiet. The coffee is hot. We have two Miniature Australian Shepherds that lay at my feet and snore while I type. It’s relaxing. I don’t necessarily enjoy getting up that early, but I’ve learned that if I don’t get the words on the page in the morning, it doesn’t happen.

Like most writers, I do always carry a notebook and am always thinking about the next scene or the character development or how to reveal the next plot twist. Even if I’m not sitting at my computer my brain is constantly working on the project. It’s not really something that ever stops.

5. What are you writing now?

Right now I’m working on my third novel, tentatively titled Fractals. It’s the story of a teenager forced to take on the system that is supposed to protect her after the death of her father. It’s still new to me, and I’m a pantser, not a plotter, so I can’t tell you much more than that right now. I can promise there’ll be some great twists and turns along the way, though.

6. Where can someone find out more about your work?

My manuscript, Inherent Lies, has been named a finalist for the Killer Nashville Claymore Award, which will be announced on August 20th, but you can find out a little more about that novel and my previous manuscript on my website at www.AliciaAnthonyAuthor.com.

You can also find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AliciaAnthonyWrites and on Twitter @AliciaAAnthony where I’m happy to strike up a conversation.

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