Monday, April 14, 2014

Blog Ring of Power--Alys Cohen

Today for the Blog Ring of Power, Alys Cohen will tell us about her writing life. You can find the rest of her interview at these links:

About YouThe Creative ProcessAbout Your Current Work: Words of Wisdom

What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine? Do you use pen and paper or computer? Work at home or at the library/Starbucks, etc.

My writing process lacks regularity.  My actual writing happens on my Macbook Pro.  I do a bit of editing on my iPad Mini, which resides in my purse and goes everywhere with me.  I take notes in a little leather-bound notebook or on my iPhone.  Yes, I’ve drunk the Apple juice.  Since I use so many Apple products, my software is all Mac-based, which has resulted in some confusion with betas and editors.  I keep track of the operating systems and word processors my betas and editors use in a different notebook. 

I write when the urge hits, which is often.  Sometimes I get a few minutes.  At other times, I’ll have hours.  My favorite time is at night when the world as I know it is asleep and I’m less likely to be interrupted.  I am also more energetic at night.

How do you balance writing with other aspects of your life?

I don’t sleep much.  I’m one of those people who can get by on three or four hours of sleep every thirty-six.  Unfortunately for me, if I don’t try forcing myself onto a regular day schedule, that sleep will happen during the day when I have be out and about.  I am generally hyper-organized and can multi-task like my life depends on it.

When do you write?

I think an easier question is when do I not?  If I’m not at my computer, there’s a good chance I’m tossing ideas.  I have an odd ability to think in detail about two different topics at once, an ability which comes in handy quite often.

How much time per day do you spend on your writing?

I’ll go for the easy answer and say a solid four hours per day is spent with writing as the primary recipient of my focus.  If I start adding in hours where I’m doing my regular job while plotting, then we’re getting into obsession-territory.

What has been the most surprising reaction to something you’ve written?

I had an early beta reader, a man, tell me he didn’t understand before why women stay in abusive relationships.  The early chapters of Sacred Blood made him rethink and finally understand.  It’s pretty amazing to be the one to help someone rethink abuse and for that person to stop blaming victims. 

What is the strongest criticism you’ve ever received as an author? The best compliment?

In one edition of Sacred Blood, the book opened with a domestic violence scene.  My goal was to shock the reader.  But a respected friend and fellow author told me that, even though abuse is horrible, he couldn’t really summon up any care for the characters because they are strangers.  I realized he’s right.  While most of us would say we’d care deeply, we have largely conditioned ourselves to put up walls to an extent to preserve ourselves emotionally.  So I rewrote the beginning so that we get to know Juliette a bit first, and to see the dynamic between her and Nathaniel. 

I think the best compliment I’ve received is that Juliette’s character arc brought tears in a reader who swears she doesn’t cry easily because Juliette’s growth inspired her, and then Juliette’s final decision twisted this reader’s heart and left her wanting more than the epilogue.

Other than your family, what has been your greatest source of support?

Trick question.  To me, family is those who love and support you.  Regardless of genetics, those who’ve supported me I consider to be my family.

How do you deal with rejection and/or negative reviews?

Well, no one book will be everyone’s cup of tea.  I know people who don’t care for Angela’s Ashes, the Harry Potter series, of Lord of the Rings.  This is okay.  I’m not offended that there are people out there who don’t care for Sacred Blood.

As for negative reviews, I’ve written a blog post about this topic.  Negative reviews are important.

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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.


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