Interview with Ali Harper Massey

What do you read for pleasure?
I read a lot of thrillers, detective novels and horror novels. I read general fiction as well. Stephen King is one of my favorites. House of Leaves by Marc Z. Danielewski really knocked my socks off. I enjoy any book that keeps me guessing, even if the story makes me uncomfortable.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
There used to be a huge stigma attached to self-publishing. But now? Who cares? If I write a good book and I market it properly, the book will sell. I don't need a powerful publishing company to confirm my worth as a writer. I will let my readers decide if I'm any good.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Writing is time-consuming, frustrating, and often maddening. The best part of writing is when I finish a scene I was struggling to write. Sometimes I'll reread a scene over and over again until I realize it's perfect the way it is. I don't need to change a word. That is incredibly rewarding.
Are you ever worried your readers will make false assumptions about you and your book?
Yes, absolutely. Every author puts tiny pieces of themselves into their novel. It's natural. I see my own personality come through in two of my main characters. My life is very different from theirs, of course. Sometimes when they speak I can hear my own dark humor or my vulnerability coming through the pages. I sometimes worry that people will think poorly of my mother after reading my first novel. The main character in my novel has a terrible mother. My mother is incredibly kind, sweet, and loving. I'm happy to say Rona Webb is a fictional character.
Are you going to write a second novel?
Yes.
Do you have to be a little "off" to be a gifted artist?
I strongly believe there is some truth to that. Writing a novel, or dedicating your life to any creative endeavor, is not normal. It isn't a safe bet, it takes patience and balls, and the willingness to expose yourself to anyone who wants to take a look at something that may end up being terrible. And dedicating a huge portion of your life to something that probably won't make you any money? That's insane.

So it doesn't surprise me when I read about writers who sleep three hours a night, avoid social gatherings whenever possible, and eat ritz crackers and diet coke for dinner.
What is the best advice you could give any new writer?
A little quote from a man named Ernest Hemingway: “The first draft of anything is shit.”
Published 2015-07-03.
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