Interview with Alycia Christine

What is your writing process?
My favorite way to write is by typing at my desk computer with my feet propped up on top of the subwoofer under my desk. I can feel the gentle vibrations of soft soundtrack music through my bare feet as I contemplate each character and the subtle boom of the bass helps to set the mood for each scene.
What is it about the speculative fiction genre that appeals to you?
I love fantasy and science fiction for their powerful ability to let me escape from the world around me. As wonderful as this world can be, I often just want to be able explore a completely different realm full of new cultures and unique creatures. Sometimes I really need the opportunity to spend a minute storming a castle wall or riding a dragon in between moving loads of laundry from the washer to the dryer. Reading and writing fantasy allows me to mix magic into the more mundane moments of my life, but it also leaves me grateful that I don’t actually have to battle a harpy over the territory of my own bedroom.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I was in a unique position in 2014. I had received several rejection letters from publishers and agents over the full volume of SKINSHIFTER as well as many of my individual short stories. However, I also had several beta readers absolutely loving my work and demanding more. I had experimented with independent publishing on an unrelated project, but saw little success with that book because I had no idea how to effectively market the material. I felt far more confident with MUSINGS because I really know the work’s intended audience: fantasy and science fiction lovers like me.

Rather than wait for some big publishing fish to catch interest in my writing bait, I decided to give my readers what they wanted: my work, now. I took the leap of faith to hire a professional editor and publish the book through my own company Purple Thorn Press. My goal in all of this is to give my readers as much quality reading as I can for the best price possible. How far will this experiment go? I have no idea. I only hope to entertain and inspire as many people as I can and financially support my family through my work.
Your older fiction is published under the name Alycia C. Cooke, but Musings is published under Alycia Christine. Why did your name change?
I published my first short stories under the pseudonym of Alycia C. Cooke for two main reasons. The first was the fact that I had published several journalism stories under my more complicated maiden name and I didn’t want to confuse early fiction fans with a bunch of news articles. The second reason was that I wanted to write as Alycia C. Cooke to honor of my late Granny.
However, after many months of contemplation, I decided to publish Musings under Alycia Christine. After nine years, I think it is finally time let my grandmother go and completely be my own person just as she would want me to be. One way to do that is to publish all of my creative work under a name all my own. Since most people already know me from my Alycia Christine art photographs, it feels right to publish my fiction under Alycia Christine as well.
What do your fans mean to you?
I thrive on the communication from my readers. I do happy-dances every single time I read a review or a note from one of them. I cannot hope to succeed in this highly competitive business without the support of my fans. They are quite literally the reason that my family has food on our table.
How can readers keep up with your writing?
Go to AlyciaChristine.com for all the latest updates as well as several awesome extras. I set the website up specifically for the enjoyment of my readers, so please visit! Read my blog, ask me questions, sign up for my newsletter (and its freebies), view my award-winning photography and art, and much more.
Who are your literary influences?
I grew up with Gordon R. Dickson’s The Dragon Knight series, select books from Robert Heinlein, Robert Silverberg’s Majipoor Cycle series, David and Leigh Eddings’s Belgariad and Mallorian series. By way of more mainstream classics, Dad read James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small, Baroness Emma Orczy’s The Scarlett Pimpernel, and Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to me.

In junior high (middle school), I discovered authors like Anne McCaffrey, Michael Crichton, Frank E. Peretti, and Tamora Pierce on my own. In fact, Menolly, the main character from Anne McCaffrey’s book Dragonsong, was the original inspiration for my Skinshifter character Lauraisha.

By scholastic necessity, high school saw me delve into more of the classics: Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte, Lord Byron, E.M. Forster, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ernest Hemingway, Rudyard Kipling, Edgar Allan Poe, William Shakespeare, and Edith Wharton. While I enjoyed some of Jane Austen’s, Charlotte Bronte’s, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s, Rudyard Kipling’s, and William Shakespeare’s work, I detested the other authors. To this day, I will argue the validity of Ernest Hemingway’s supreme writing skills with anyone in the room, but you won’t ever catch me reading his work for enjoyment because I cannot stand being around his characters.

College found me happily adding J.K. Rowling and J.R.R. Tolkien to my personal library. I have read many other authors but Austen, Eddings, McCaffrey, Kipling, Peretti, and Rowling remain my go-to authors for excellent adventures.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I was a terrible reader as a child. When I was in kindergarten, I came home from school every day and cried because I just couldn’t make the teacher’s patterns of letters make sense as words in my mind. To help alleviate my frustration, my parents enrolled me in special education classes to boost my reading skills and my confidence. During my homework hours, Dad would read my textbooks aloud as I followed along while Mom corrected my English papers side by side with me. The combination of those three things vastly improved my reading and writing abilities. By the time I was 11, I could read college level material, but my speed was still three times slower than most of my peers. I hated reading because it was so difficult until my father stepped in once again.

During my summer vacations from school, Dad would read novels aloud to Mom and me as a fun way to pass the time. Every vacation or family holiday became a doubly-special event because each holiday meant a road trip during which Dad would crack open a new adventure. Soon I came to a point in which just reading along with Dad was not enough. In some cases I would actually steal the book and read ahead when Dad was tired.

Thanks to Dad, I grew up with Gordon R. Dickson’s The Dragon Knight series, select books from Robert Heinlein, Robert Silverberg’s Majipoor Cycle series, David and Leigh Eddings’s Belgariad and Mallorian series. By way of more mainstream classics, Dad read James Herriot’s ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL, Baroness Emma Orczy’s THE SCARLETT PIMPERNEL, and Mark Twain’s THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER and THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN to me. Those stories helped me realize a joy for reading that stretched beyond the tedious necessity of the classroom.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
If I'm not writing, I love to read, shoot photography, play video games, drink tea, cook, and watch movies.
What do you read for pleasure?
I love reading fantasy and science fiction of course, but I also enjoy historical fiction, biographies, magazine articles, and Christian devotionals.
How do you approach cover design?
As a professional photographer, I gravitate toward book covers that have real elements in them. This can be quite a challenge when designing or commissioning cover art for my own stories since I mainly write speculative fiction. In each case, I strive to insure each cover has a bit of the fantastic mixed with more normal imagery to give my covers the same special spark of magic as the stories that inspire them.
Published 2014-06-04.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Dreamdrifter
Series: Sylvan Cycle, Book 2. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 143,360. Language: English. Published: September 30, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
Katja’s skinshifting abilities are becoming more powerful, and more dangerous. A rare madness is overtaking the werecat’s mind, making her more savage and unpredictable with each full moon. How can Katja defend her packmates from the dangers of their newest journey when she can’t even protect them from herself? What hope does she have for a cure when a vampire carries the key to her sanity?
Hero's Moment
Price: Free! Words: 12,460. Language: English. Published: January 4, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy
Cameron’s dad, Doug Welch, died days after saving a girl from the fire at the town’s elementary school five years ago. On the eve of the latest ceremony honoring Doug’s heroic sacrifice, Cameron discovers a security video that shouldn’t exist. It reveals Doug risking life and limb once again, but its time stamp indicates that the event occurs years in the future!
When the Medium Shatters
Price: Free! Words: 3,280. Language: English. Published: November 29, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Science fiction » High tech
SHORT STORY. In a future where video and display technology have largely reinvented the way human brains make and store memories, find out what happens when the medium shatters.
The Twirling Ballerina
Price: Free! Words: 3,300. Language: English. Published: November 27, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories, Fiction » Women's fiction » General
As her life ebbs, a mother and her daughter discover solace from an unexpected source—a ballerina figurine whose twirling dance is more than what it seems.
Paper Castles
Price: Free! Words: 6,740. Language: English. Published: November 28, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories, Fiction » Romance » Fantasy
When Kate Bennett first meets Jo Hitachi, she isn’t sure what to think. How can a person make a decent living selling origami in D.C.? But with each new paper sculpture that he makes, the simple artist hints that he’s more than he seems. He’s asking her to trust him, but can Kate really afford to trade in the security of her ambitious career for a life built out of love and paper castles?
Thorn and Thistle
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 44,560. Language: English. Published: December 24, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Romance » Fantasy
All Thorn ever wants is a good sail, a fair wind, and the freedom of the high seas. However, his ship’s latest passenger, the Lady Zana Cynara, might just be destined to ruin his chances at all three. Zana is the keeper of the magical Jade Dagger, a weapon that Emperor Sung wants at all cost. Can Thorn and Zana outmaneuver Sung or will he destroy everyone and everything they are fighting to free?
The Dryad's Sacrifice
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 35,310. Language: English. Published: December 24, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » Dark
The Dryad Council has given Ella and Eliza the greatest honor of their lives. They are the youngest members of their tribe to undertake the pilgrimage to Mount Denth. When the sisters find themselves the unwitting guardians of one of the legendary Keystones during their journey, a simple errand becomes a battle for survival against one of the most powerful vampires in Sylvan history.
Skinshifter
Series: Sylvan Cycle, Book 1. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 132,010. Language: English. Published: December 24, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » Dark
The Asheken deadwalkers have returned to Sylvan soil and this time they seek not just to conquer their enemies, but to enslave them body and soul. An orphaned skinshifter refugee may prove the Sylvans’ only hope for survival, but can Katja trust her new found allies or will their secrets prove even more treacherous than her own?
The Cleaning
Price: Free! Words: 4,060. Language: English. Published: September 17, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
A SHORT STORY “We’re making a safer, cleaner world…” In the Digital Age, printed books have become as obsolete as the public libraries that house them. The government has spent millions of dollars to ensure that all print books are properly scanned and preserved as e-books before they are recycled…all except for the dangerous ones, that is.
A Song for Naia
Price: Free! Words: 1,850. Language: English. Published: June 9, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Science fiction » General
(2.00 from 1 review)
Short Story. Others of Ryad’s people have given up trying to free their destined lovers from the glacier. Only one will dare fight the ice after nightfall and for Naia’s sake he must succeed.
Of Kelpie Lullabies
Price: Free! Words: 5,500. Language: English. Published: June 9, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories, Fiction » Fantasy » General
Short Story. Will a sorcerer’s gift truly prove powerful enough to break the fae curse or will Keiranna be doomed to remain in exile as a monster forever?
Raven's Fall
Price: Free! Words: 1,990. Language: English. Published: June 5, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories, Fiction » Fantasy » General
Short Story. Could a world of dawn be so much better than this domain of dusk? The red cattail could give Raven the answer, but did she dare use it?
Chosen Sacrifice
Price: Free! Words: 6,110. Language: English. Published: June 4, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories, Fiction » Fantasy » General
As one of the dragons' Chosen Warriors, Miya holds a sacred duty to defend and serve the Emperor. But when a storm blows her into the Demons' Realm, her loyalties will be tested by a foe she can scarcely imagine. Miya’s sacrifice might bring hope to her people, but can she keep any for herself?
Musings
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 46,400. Language: English. Published: June 20, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
“My train of thought derailed somewhere in the wilderness of my daydreams and MUSINGS is the result.” –Alycia Christine This special short story collection includes: “A Song for Naia” “The Banner Prophesies” “City of Twilight” “Chosen Sacrifice” “Of Kelpie Lullabies” “Raven’s Fall” “Star Child and the Golden Seed” “The Soul Wrangler” “Sumari’s Solitude” “What Tendrils Echo” “Winter’s Charge”