by Regina Richards
Ally, thanks so much for agreeing to be our Ms. April 2014!
Sharing about yourself and your writing journey gives all the members of NTRWA a chance to get to know you better and deepens our sense community. We truly appreciate your willingness to step into the Spotlight and we canít wait to hear all about you!
So, Ally, how long have you been writing?
I started dabbling in 2008 and got serious about writing in 2010.
Do you write under a pen name?
Ally is a shortened form of my given name, Alysia. I decided to create a nickname for myself since my real name is so difficult to spell and pronounce. I just wish Iíd thought of it when I was in grade school.
What genres do you write in?
Historical romance set in Regency England and Imperial Russia, and middle grade and young adult speculative fiction.
When did you join NTRWA?
Iím not sure, but I think late in 2011. Youíre all so welcoming it seems like Iíve been with you forever.
Any domestic stuff you care to share?
I have five rescue dogs and a rescue cat. I tried to be a foster mom, but I kept keeping them! I also have three tween/teens and one husband.
Stories usually have multiple tipping points. Have there been any memorable tipping points in your life or writing journey you care to share?
My first attempt at a book was a young adult paranormal romance. About a year after I got serious about my writing, I had learned enough to know that my book was flawed, but not enough that I could fix it myself. I decided to shove it under the bed and try something new. I floundered for a bit, then saw a notice for a Jane Austen inspired short story contest. It was my light bulb moment. I had been reading historical romance since I was twelve, so why not try to write it? I didnít win the contest, but I got some very positive comments from bloggers about my entry, so I decided to take the heroine from that book and turn her story into a novella, and that is the first book I sold, which is finally releasing on April 28th.
Plotter or Pantser? And why?
I started out as a pantser, but once I sold that first book I was able to submit on proposal, which meant I had to have some idea where the story was going and be able to write a synopsis. Now I use a modified beat sheet from Blake Snyderís Save the Cat. I whine and complain about having to do it and it takes forever, but itís much faster for me to write the book once itís done.
What is your go-to solution for writerís block or that sure-fire thing that takes you from stuck to full steam ahead in your writing?
Walking my dogs, taking a shower, or shuttling kids to school and various activities. Solutions always come to me when Iím in a place where I canít write them down and have to try to remember them, which is always a risky prospect. I now carry a Sharpie when I walk so I can write things on my arm so I donít forget.
Please share a little about where you are now in your writing journey.
I sold my first book to Entangled Publishing in January of 2013 and now have seven more under contract with them. The first book releases on April 28th.
Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you?
Whenever I feel discouraged or stuck with my writing, I read this and it reminds of my goals. This is the text from a commercial for Relentless, an energy drink:
I have virtues, which others may deem vices.
Virtues which guide me, and together have made me.
I embrace pain, suffering, and sacrifice. And gain strength from obsession.
It is true, they have given me scars which I know will never fade.
But for that I am grateful because they show me what is within me and what is within reach of me.
And through all of this, I live each day without compromise, without regret, and without excuse.
So as I endure the misfortune which lies in my path, I chase down my vision without diversion or retreat.
And in the pursuit of my passions, Iím neither timid nor afraid.
I am Relentless.
I will accept no half measures.
If we popped in on you during your writing time, where would you be and what would we see?
A huge mess! I write in my dining room, and thereís a whole table to spread out across, so no need to be neat. Likely I would still be wearing my workout clothes from the morning. There would be at least three coffee/tea mugs strewn about, five sleeping dogs (with one at my feet, and one challenging the cat for the coveted spot balancing on my lap while I type on my laptop).
Ally, thanks so much for stepping into the Spotlight!