Interview with Alyne de Winter

Who are your favorite authors?
I was an actress for many years, often cast in Shakespearean roles. These plays have always had a powerful influence on me. As have Tennesee Williams and Oscar Wilde.
Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber is the book that made me want to write fiction, followed by Tanith Lee's Red as Blood. Both of these collections are fairy tales re-tellings in imagistc language and Gothic atmopshere. I love both of these authors.
Influences on my writing: Grimm's Fairy Tales, Arthurian Legends, British folk ballads, Bram Stoker, Algernon Blackwood, E.A. Poe, Conan Doyle, Fiona MacLeod, Daphne DuMaurier's Rebecca, Suzanne Clark's Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell, Dan Brown's thrillers-- and lots of 1960's horror films mostly from Europe.
Anything Gothic I love!
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Coffee, then my three hours of writing. Every morning I can, I write. My imagination is most active when I wake up, and I love immersing myself in my dream worlds before I face the rest of the day.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
These days, because I work a part time job so I can cut time to write, I write. Then I do marketing things or learn about new ways to market my books. Admin--if I ever make enough money at this to quite the day job, I would love to hire a secretary. So I can wrote more and travel. Europe is my muse and history and the drama of people in places full of history.
I was a professional psychic and healer for 25 years, but i got burned out.
It may sound boring, but I have had many, many adventures. Now I use all of that stuff in my fiction.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I search for Gothics, or I see something that looks interesting. If I don't have a referral, I'll try some books that show next to mine. My taste is very particular and I will sometimes find authors who have passed away, but left behind a fabulous legacy of Gothic novels form the 1960s and 70s such as Virginia Coffman that are being re-released as ebooks.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I was 8 yeaes old. It was fairy tale about fairies living in the woods behind our house. I wrote it with a pencil on lined paper while sitting under a mock orange tree and inhaling the beautiful scent.
What is your writing process?
Three hours every morning.
I begin with story beats, or a simple outine. Let it gestate.
When I'm ready, I take it out and begin to follow the beats. Each one opens a window into the story world and scene plays out in my mind. After the first draft. I put it away and work on something else.
I have anout ten stories beated out at this time.
If its a novel, I use notecards and outline more thoroughly because I write fantasy and have to develope a believable, cogerent world.
Since I also rwrite historical, and cultural stories, I research in depth.
I go with the flwo rotataing manscripts so I always have one to edit, another waiting for revsion, and if I need to get juiced, i write another first draft.
As you can tell, i never have writer's block.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
It was probably a Grimms' Fairy Tale. Because little kids read so many picture books, I figure I must have loved those because I have quite a collection of picture books, mostly fairy tales. They have to be beautiful.
As for real books, I think Treasure Island, or Little Women-- something in that realm. I was one of those girls who wanted to be Jo March. A writer.
How do you approach cover design?
This has been a very difficult area for me because it is so hard to communicate to artists in words, and get what you want.
At first I made my own covers--just to get started--on Pages in Mac. They weren't too great, but not totally horrible either. Its hard to find images like the ones in my head, or models who have the right look, or who aren't making faces. I've been round and round with graphics people on Elance and Fiverr. Lately, I've been getting pre-made covers and having them modified. It saves a lot of time and is very affordable.
I find Gothic is hard to convey to designers. My covers have to be dark, eerie, but no so creepy that readers will expect explicite horror. My work is more psycholgical and strange.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I always hate this question because there are so many books I love. Some are quite obscure. Tanith Lee's short stories and her Secret Books of Paradyse are favorites of mine, Rebecca, El Club Dumas, Dracula---and all those like Carmilla and Clarimonde, I love. Turn of the Screw by Henry James. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.
I read a lot of old books, plays, poetry, history, folklore. I love Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell, I guess that's five with more.
I'm currently reading Beautiful Creatures and enjoying it so far.
What do you read for pleasure?
Yikes! Its all for pleasure. I also write for pleasure and try to make it work as a buisness.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I currently have a Kondle and its fine.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Facebook, I think. Its hard to telle where my sales come from. Im all over the place as much as possible.
Describe your desk
My bed. Macbook on top of tome on bed with ergonomic keyboard on lap and mouse on top of Thesaurus. I can't afford a decent chair, so this will have to do.
Once the bed is made, my kitchen table with vintage cafe chairs that are most comfortable and supportive.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the woods in witchy old Masschusetts. The atmosphere is heavy and rich with mystery. Always an impending storm. Lots of history. Many universities with big libraries where you can find the most amazing books. Old grave yards and green rolling hills. The land speaks with more than nature. There be spirits there.
When did you first start writing?
The minute I knew how. I wrote a play in first grade then got put in the corner for needing the loo, so I was barred from acting in my own play.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I have two new books coming out that are not really new: The Lady in Yellow and Memento Mori.
These were previously published as novellas and got a few nice reviews. The main complaint was that they were not developed enough. So I took that on board.
The Lady in Yellow: Inspired by a photograph by Sir Simon Marsden of a lady in the jaws of a wolf, I thought of how cool would it be to write a book like Turn of the Screw with werewolves. Once I got that idea, the story almost wrote itself. The characters showed up and voila! Now, the 25,000 word novella is 100,600 word novel! This will be out January 6, 2014.
Give the people what they want!
Memento Mori has grown over the years. It was conceived while I was living in London, inspired by the legend of the Black Death as it descended on the tiny village of Eyam in 1666. Brought in on an infected bolt of cloth coming out of plague decimated London, the Death killed almost every inhabitant of the village.
I made Memento Mori a ghost story involving a work of art called a memento mori, a haunted village and a particular ghost who has been waiting for her betrothed to arrive for 300 years. My protagonist, Simon Beaumont, is caught up in the ghost's story and discovers who he is---and was.
This story was also a novella of 20,000 words and is now almost a proper 50,000 word novel. It will be out in the spring os 2014.
Published 2014-01-01.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Haunted Garden: Secret of the Memento Mori
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 51,100. Language: English. Published: October 12, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Paranormal, Fiction » Romance » Time travel
1666: The Black Death stalks a tiny village in Middle England, laying waste the population 1966: Love lorn art student, Simon Beaumont, goes on walkabout in the Pennine Mountains to die. Instead, he discovers a ruined garden in a remote village haunted by ghosts, especially that of a beautiful girl in a long white dress who seems know him....
Brides of Darkness: Tales of Opulent Darkness
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 46,270. Language: English. Published: February 22, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Horror, Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
Tales of Gothic Mystery and Suspense A collection of four short stories and two novelettes about innocents encountering realms of inner darkness. Psychological, atmospheric, mysterious...
The Vampire's Mirror
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 20,290. Language: English. Published: January 1, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead, Fiction » Romance » Gothic
(5.00 from 1 review)
When young nobleman, Stefan stumbles on the ruins of Castle Drag, he ignores the advice of his friends not to enter, and finds an ornate, golden hand mirror lying in the grass. Dazzled by the beauty of the dragon-ish designs, he takes the mirror home as a gift for his fiancé, Lady Analise, a woman whose beauty calls forth an ancient evil that will not be denied....
The Keys: A Gothic ReTelling of Bluebeard with Zombies
Price: Free! Words: 6,140. Language: English. Published: November 12, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Historical, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
At six years old, Lissette attends a concert by the handsome and dazzling concert pianist, Armand Guy de Rais. She is instantly infatuated. Ten years later, their lives destroyed by the French Revolution, Lissette's mother marries her off to a wealthy aristocrat living on a Caribbean island. Could Lissette's childhood fantasy be coming true?
Roses of the Moon: Book One: Dark Reliquary
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 145,110. Language: English. Published: July 12, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Historical, Fiction » Horror » Occult
In this Gothic-horror fantasy, Lady Mara grows up, a neglected princess in a labyrinthine castle haunted by evil. Inspired by the legend of Countess Bathory, Alyne weaves a complex web of ritual, mysticism and dark magic that gradually builds up an intense mythology around the mysterious Lucifer Tree and the dragon-queens who worship gods that existed long before the birth of Christ.
The Lady in Yellow: A Victorian Gothic Romance
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 105,560. Language: English. Published: April 10, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Supernatural, Fiction » Romance » Gothic
(4.00 from 9 reviews)
The Lady in Yellow: A Victorian Gothic Romance! A young governess gets her first job in a stately home in the wilds of Yorkshire, only to discover that the family she serves suffer from an ancient, bestial curse. Revised and Expanded Edition: February 2014
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,390. Language: English. Published: March 16, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Ancient, Fiction » Horror » Occult
(5.00 from 1 review)
This is a short story, a tale of Dark Fantasy inspired by the High Priestess card in the Tarot. The seventh of seven daughters, Sylvana is taken at birth to be raised in the Temple of the Moon Goddess Diana. When she is initiated into the Rites of the Hunt she flees, on pain of death, because she cannot bear the sacrifices. Protected in a Temple of Proserpina, she learns that her life is danger.
Roses, Briars and Blood: A Gothic Sleeping Beauty.
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 16,920. Language: English. Published: March 8, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Fantasy » Dark
(4.50 from 2 reviews)
Blood of a King Blood of a Queen Open a portal To the Unseen. A beautiful Sorceress yearns to be accepted back into society. A barren Queen secretly seeks her magical aid in conceiving a child. The Sorceress gives an elixir to the Queen that is charged with her own essence. This essence grants the babe within the power of magic.
Portrait of a Vampire
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,380. Language: English. Published: March 7, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead, Fiction » Romance » Suspense
(5.00 from 1 review)
Obsession is a Vampire! "Every evening after work, Gina sensed his presence as an eerie, watery light that filled her apartment.The atmosphere pulled her under, into his mind, into his world. It was exhausting. Even after a full night's sleep, she couldn't wake from the dream...Perhaps, if she had something of him she would feel more grounded. She needed something real, like a picture of his face.
Lenore: A Southern Gothic Re-telling of Beauty and the Beast
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 9,400. Language: English. Published: March 6, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Romance » Gothic
Lost in the Louisiana countryside, Jake finds a half-ruined ante-bellum mansion inhabited by a mysterious lady who never shows her face. In exchange for room and board, he agrees to paint the house. In the process, he uncovers her secret, and finds himself increasingly fascinated by his enigmatic hostess, Lenore.