Interview with Alley Windsor

When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I'm not writing, I'm usually reading. Books will always hold a sort of magic for me that will never fade. I also watch quite a bit of TV, but I recently realized that I spend a lot of time learning new things on the internet. Something will randomly occur to me and I'll just go look it up on Google really quickly. Two hours later, I'll look up and realize that I was on Google for two whole hours.
What do you read for pleasure?
I love anything with a bit of romance (probably the reason why most of my stories have some kind of romantic element to them). I do occasionally read biographies and other nonfiction, but it's usually always fiction for pleasure reading. My favorite genres within fiction are fantasy and adventure stories.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
1) Lord of the Rings series- These books and the movies gave me the push to start writing my stories.
2) Harry Potter series- Do I even have to say anything about these? The best, most detailed, most tied-together series ever written. I am still waiting for my Hogwarts letter.
3) Percy Jackson series- This might be a kids series, and the movies kind of suck, but I'll always love them for their humor and creativity. Will be reading these to my kids in the future.
4) Tomorrow, When the War Began series by John Marsden- I saw the movie first and had to read the books. I was so hooked I read nonstop and finished all seven in less than a month. Still trying to get my hands on the Ellie Chronicles series that comes afterward.
5) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte- My favorite of the classics, and such a sweet heartfelt romance.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Most of the ebooks I read I come across on the iBooks store. My iPad Mini is one of my most prized possessions and I'm always on the iBooks store looking for new books.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Writing is a release for me, a way to get the random nonstop thoughts in my head down on paper (or my laptop, in this case). I also have a lot of crazy dreams that I mostly remember when I wake up, that I can form into stories, so I write them down. When I write, I feel pulled into the story as if I'm right there alongside the characters, feeling and experiencing everything just like them. This is what I hope my readers can get from my stories. Reading a good book should be an escape for you into another world, and I am happy to offer that escape through my writing to my readers.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small village in the Caribbean. We had a huge house with lots of land, and I was almost always outdoors exploring and playing with my siblings and my cousins. I think that this had a huge impact on my imagination because it felt like I could create my own special world out there in that big yard. It was magical. We also lived very close to the ocean, and my father would take us for walks on the sea wall every Sunday to watch the waves and people flying kites. That also made me feel free and dreamy. I think that growing up in this environment is the main reason why I write mostly fantasy fiction. Those imaginative, dreamy feelings have never left me.
When did you first start writing?
I first started writing in high school. I was watching the Lord of the Rings movies, and I thought to myself, 'You're always having crazy dreams, and you love books, and you're always stuck in dream land. Why don't you start writing stuff down?' So I did. I also did quite a bit of fanfiction back then too.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
God, this takes me back. I can't remember exactly what the first story was, but I was a teenager back then, so it was all about the teen fiction. I think the story was about this high school girl who moves to England from the U.S. to live with her father and his new wife. I wrote about how she dealt with the move and the differences between the two countries, the friends she made and the adventures she had with them (she was a bit of a troublemaker), and her first love. I'm not sure what happened to that story. It's probably hidden somewhere in a pile of papers in the closet of my old bedroom.
What is your writing process?
I am not a very organized writer, but I do try to be better at it. Recently, I've started setting deadlines for myself so that I can actually get stuff done in a timely manner. I want to finally finish the stories I've been working on and off on for years. What I do is to just sit there, and write and write, until my hands start aching. If I become stuck, I'll reread what I just wrote and start making corrections and changes. Or I'll work on something else altogether. Before starting my writing another day, I always go back and edit what I wrote the day before. Sometimes, because my brain is more rested, I get new ideas about something I previously wrote and I can rewrite it then and there.
How do you approach cover design?
I am totally useless when it comes to anything art-related. But as I was just starting out as an author, I didn't want to have to pay someone to design a book cover for me. I was determined to do it myself so I turned to Google. Through there, I learned about using royalty-free images and about free programs any newbie could use to layer art for a pleasing cover. I'm quite proud of this first book cover.
What are you working on next?
There's an idea that has been in my mind for ages now for a fantasy trilogy based in a world very different from Earth. I've even written and rewritten random scenes and chapters from this story over the years; that's how much it's been niggling in the back of my brain. The main characters are from Earth, and they're fighting to help the people of this new world, so the differences between the two worlds are really highlighted. This new world also has different races of creatures, most of whom look down on humans, and so it's up to these human characters to show just what it is that makes humans so strong and able to survive and feel certain emotions. I'm really excited to get the first book in the series out.
Published 2015-02-07.
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