Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.
This week we are featuring Alicia A. Willis, author of From the Dark to the Dawn! To enter to win one of Alicia’s ebooks (your choice!), leave a comment on this post.
Share a little bit about yourself. Married with kids? Empty nester? Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in?
Hello! I am a twenty-two year old home-school graduate. I am working towards my three-year Faith Bible Institute Bible degree and will, Lord willing, graduate in the spring of 2015. When I’m not writing or doing historical research, I enjoy teaching music and being a church pianist. Oh, and I’m a full-time coffee connoisseur!
And share something about your writing. What’s your genre, your areas of interest . . .
I write Christian Historical-Fiction and love every minute of it! Many people see history in black-and-white or as dull dates and facts. Personally, I see it as a colorful mirror to our own lives today, revealing the people of eras-gone-past who were just as real as we are. I consider it a special honor to blow the dust off of history’s deep secrets and bring them to life!
How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?
I started writing as a child of eleven. While I didn’t know at the time that I would someday become an author, I did know that I was supposed to write. I loved it and felt discontent or guilty when I wasn’t doing it. It was slowly, over the years, that the dream of becoming an author was born.
After you started writing seriously–how long was it before you were published?
I think it was around the age of thirteen that I first became serious. I was published seven years later. A long wait, but a very good one. I’m grateful I didn’t delve into the world of publishing and marketing until I was old enough to handle to stresses and appreciate the joys.
Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well? Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write? How many hours a day do you spend writing?
Music and prayer are my two biggest motivators. I love to listen to hymns or soundtracks while I write. Music is such a wonderful tool! As to how many hours a day I write, that depends on the day. I have a very full schedule and have to prioritize carefully. I would say my usual time allotment is from one to two hours a day.
Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be?
No, not really. I don’t think I realized how very large the book market is and how much marketing an author must do. I think I thought that the actual writing part was all there was to it! However, on the positive side, I also didn’t know how many people I would be able to meet. And I love the fact that I am constantly making new friends and connecting with readers.
What are your biggest distractions?
Pinterest? That may or may not be a guilty confession . . .
What was one of the best moments in your career?
It is difficult to determine which moment was the best. I think holding my first title, To Birmingham Castle, for the very first time was probably the most wonderful moment. After nearly eight years of hard work, I don’t think even an author could perfectly describe what it was like to trace my name on the cover of my own book.
What do you least like about being a writer? Most like?
My greatest dislike would have to be charging people for books! It probably sounds strange, but I dislike giving people the “grand total” at book signings and conventions. I much prefer third party transactions.
My favorite part is connecting with new people and inventing new book plots. I especially enjoy the overwhelming feeling of anticipation when I begin a new book. There is just something so special about a blank Word document, just begging for new words to be written.
What advice would you give to new writers?
Remember that God has given you the story you are writing. Therefore, give it your best effort, even if it takes years. At the same time, remember that no one is perfect. If you have done your best, don’t avoid publishing. Get the story God has given you out into the world and into the hands of readers.
What’s on the book horizon for you?
My next full-length novel, From the Dark to the Dawn, releases on July 18th of this year. It was a top-thirty winner in a contest of over three hundred entries, which was a huge blessing. It was written during an emotionally difficult time for me, but I honestly think writing it was the Lord’s way of healing me. And I am very excited to see how He will use it to help and encourage others. I’ll leave you with a quick blurb from one of my endorsers.
“Alicia Willis sketches a stirring tale that delivers a powerful message of friendship, forgiveness and God’s grace. An authentic period piece, it leaves you with a greater awareness that God’s ways are higher than our ways and we are on this earth for His purposes. Anyone with a bend toward historical fiction will thoroughly enjoy this book. Definitely a moving, worthwhile, and edifying read!”
– Josiah Jost, Actor/Writer with Jostie Flicks
Last question, how can readers find you and your books?