Welcome to Alys B. Cohen, this week’s Blog Ring of Power guest! Alys started writing as a young child. From picture books to novellas to fan fiction on a then-state-of-the-art IBM, if it involved writing, Alys wanted to do it. Always an avid reader, early literature favorites include Nancy Drew stories and the poetry of Edgar Allen Poe.
At the age of 12, Alys began participating in poetry readings. At 17, she penned her first full-length book, an inspirational non-fiction on living life with a severe illness. No publication attempt has been made with it.
For several years, Alys wrote short stories and poetry, eventually becoming involved with a part of the San Francisco poetry slam scene.
In 2011, a new story began to take form in Alys’s head. By September 2012, the iron was too hot to not strike. So she went to the living room, fired up her laptop, and within 30 days, had finished her first fiction novel’s first draft. She had finished the second in the trilogy by the end of the year.
A native of California, Alys currently calls Vancouver, Washington, home.
PART 5: WORDS OF WISDOM
Tell us about your route to success – how/when did you decide to self-publish? Did you query an agent first? How did you handle the editing, proofreading, cover design, etc. I did have a plan, at first, to seek an agent and traditional publication. A couple agents told me to rewrite the ending to have Juliette return to her abuser and “reform him with her love” to mimic Fifty Shades. Oh hell no! I am not willing to change the ending. If the traditional market wants abusers to win, then good bye to that path.
What are the most important elements of good writing? To some extent, readers need to relate to your character. This may mean giving the good guys flaws and the bad guys positive traits.
What tools are must-haves for writers? Any writer worth their salt will have a firm grasp of grammar in the language they’re using to write their book. You also need to place quality of words over quantity of them.
Do you have any advice for other writers? If you’re planning on a sequel or a trilogy or any set length of books that is more than a stand-alone, at least write bare first-drafts of them all so that you can figure out of you’re writing yourself into a corner. Once your first book is out there, there is no going back. Pulling a deus ex machina to get out of a sticky spot looks lazy and can aggravate fans. So plan ahead and know your story start to end. Consider planting seeds in your first book that readers can pick up on upon rereading the series.
Ask yourself what a specific scene does for a book. If it’s just there because you like it, nix it and toss it on your website as bonus content. Make each scene count.
What do you feel is the key to your success? I realized early on that this wouldn’t be an overnight endeavor and that there’d be times I wanted to press a pillow against my face and scream. Acknowledging the challenges, and that there will be more that you discover as you go along, helps in overcoming them. Also read. Read, read, read. I picked apart the books I love and figured out what I love about the style. I studied books I despise so I could figure out what I can’t stand about the style. I learned from the writing of other authors.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? Specific? I like to watch Vampire Diaries while eating chocolate, sipping tea, and with my phone in my hand to Tweet. Strange as it sounds, this makes me more eager to write.
What are your current / future project(s)? Right now I’m in the first round of editing SACRED HONOR and am seeking beta readers. Beta readers will receive a copy of Sacred Blood to catch them up.
I am also researching how to write dystopian literature and am deciding if I could write a short series of stories that tie together, or one longer story.
I am also working on a patent that is related to writing, but I cannot share any information on this.
Is there anything else you’d like to share? Much of the jewelry in this book is real. A lot of the pieces are vintage pieces that I bought for the sole purpose of owning the jewelry. This helps me feel connected to the characters. The formal white gown from a pivotal scene is being created in real life. I’ve got a male and female model lined up to create a few scenes for photographs, though my lovely male model was recently signed to a major motion picture. So this is a long-term project.
Is your book in print, ebook or both? Ebook now, print books are on order.
Please let us know where your readers can stalk you:
- Blog: http://alysbcohen.wordpress.com/
- Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAlysBCohen and https:// www.facebook.com/AlysBCohen
- Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/ 6889385.Alys_B_Cohen
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlysBCohen
- Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Alys-B.-Cohen/e/B00H6UNYZK
- Smashwords Author Page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/alysbcohen Other: http://alysbcohen.com/
SACRED BLOOD: Abused and frightened, Juliette St. Claire has never
known love or kindness in her eighteen years. Meeting Tristan LaRocque changes that, infuriating her cruel boyfriend, Nathaniel Jensen.
But Tristan is powerless to help Juliette when merely trying could result in her death.
As threats to her life intensify, Juliette uncovers the mystical secrets they have both kept from her, and she must make some tough choices about the men she thought she knew.
Fiercely passionate and profoundly riveting, SACRED BLOOD is an outstanding story that will leave you rethinking love, friendship, and everything you hold dear.