Author’s Spotlight: Alyanna Poe Interview

Alyanna Poe, author of Rejects, Eaten, and many more

1. First, introduce yourself a bit. What is your name (or pen name) and where are you from?

Hello! I’m horror author Alyanna Poe. I’ve been a resident of Northern California my entire life, and I’ve been writing since I can remember. In sixth grade I received my first publication in American Poetry Digest 2013 for my haiku titled Nighttime. I think this sparked more of an interest in writing, and a later fascination with Stephen King’s The Stand prompted me to start writing my first full length novel when I was fourteen. I’m twenty-one now and have four horror books self-published, including the title I started when I was fourteen.

2. Next, tell us a bit about your most recent work. Is this your first published book? What is it about and what genre would you classify it as?

My most recent publication is a self-published collection of short stories. I publish one on my birthday every year! Well, starting when I turned twenty, so I only have two so far, but I’m already working on the third!  Rejects is a collection of twenty-one short horror stories that have all been rejected by presses and publishers. I was hoping to use this publication to inspire other authors to take their work into their own hands. A rejection isn’t the end!

3. Tell us a bit about your main character; what are they like, how did they come about, and what are some of their strengths and weaknesses?

Many of the main characters in Rejects deal with facing their identity, something that I frequently deal with. Some are faced with a new reality, some are punished for their actions, and some even meet their fate. 

4. What was your hardest scene to write in this (or any) book?

Honestly, the hardest scene to write was in my current WIP. The main character, Abigail, writes a letter to her brother after he’d been murdered. Half of the letter are things I would have liked to have said to my half-brother before he passed. I don’t think I’ve cried while writing a project as much as I did while writing Adam’s Murder. The entire project brought up feelings I never worked through, and I think I was finally able to grieve.

5. Did you go the traditional route when publishing your book or did you choose to self-publish?

I’ve always self-published. I tried to publish my first book traditionally, but no one wanted it. Reading it now, I see its flaws, but some constructive criticism gave me the confidence to self-publish. I currently have a project titled Home that I’m working on traditionally publishing. Let’s hope I can get past the querying process!

6. What would you say is the most difficult part of your writing journey and what advice would you give to other writers?

Burn out. I’ll go through two weeks or more of burn out at a time, and the only thing that has helped is drowning myself in media. Reading, watching TV and movies, finding new musicians to listen to. I think of creativity like a battery, and sometimes it needs to be refilled. Another great way is to find another medium temporarily. I like to draw, paint, or edit photos in the times words won’t come to me.

7. Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I want each book to be entirely different, besides the series of course. Occasionally I’ll add Easter eggs, but I want each story to make the reader question if this is the same author that wrote this other book. I don’t want people to read multiple of my books and think, “Jeez, this is just like the last book I read by her.”

8. What are some of your favourite authors and books and what inspired you to become a writer in the first place?

Stephen King. Stephen King. Stephen King. Yeah, he’s the go to, but that’s because he’s awesome! Reading The Stand when I was thirteen really opened my eyes to adult horror and apocalyptic horror, eventually inspiring Eaten, my first novel. I’ve always loved writing, and used to write stories as a kid. I think getting diagnosed with Graves’ disease at sixteen made me rethink my options career wise, as I was on track to working for the sheriff’s department, but I couldn’t be more thankful to have had this opportunity to meet these amazing artists and authors. Someday I hope to make this into a paying job that helps others.

9. What would you say has been the best way to market your books?

I don’t know if it’s the best, but my favorite way has been Facebook Marketplace. I sell signed copies locally, and I love meeting people in my area. They’ve all been so supportive.

10. Are there any tropes, clichés, or writing styles that you dislike and, if so, what are they and why?

I don’t think I’ve run into anything I don’t like besides the damsel in distress. As a very independent woman, it’s aggravating to see a woman, who could easily get out of the situation, being saved, and I think it’s used a lot to introduce a romantic relationship.

11. Do you read reviews of your book and, if so, how do you handle negative feedback?

I do! And, honestly, I wrote an article on my blog about a few ways to deal with negative reviews! I love using constructive criticism to improve my writing, but as most one-star reviews don’t include that, if all they have to say is that the book was bad, I either ignore it or make it into an ad. “See why AmazonReader1 didn’t like my book!” You can’t please everyone, don’t try to. When I started getting haters, I realized that I must be doing something good.

12. What are some of your quirks as a writer? Do you like to plot everything out or do you prefer to just “wing it” and see where the story takes you? Do you listen to music when writing and, if so, what do you listen to?

Oh, boy. I used to go by the seat of my pants, but I’ve been working on increasing how many books I write per year. I haven’t done it yet, but based on my last project, I figure I can write a book in two months without pushing myself too hard. In order to get this done, I do have to plot it out entirely, so rather than from A to Z, I have A to B, B to C, etc. I usually listen to music while writing, or sometimes I’ve got the TV on in the background. Unless I need to focus *really* hard, silence isn’t my vibe. I think the quirkiest thing about me is my million lists. I write a list for everything. To-do list, progress list, plot list, project list, feature list, idea list, content list. It goes on and on, and I have so many notebooks, too. It’s ridiculous.

13. What is the best advice you’ve ever had when it comes to writing and what advice would you give to new writers?

I guess to just keep going. That’s what everyone says when I have my doubts, and that’s what I’ve got to say to other authors. It’s difficult to keep going when you feel like nothing is working. I hope that one day you’ll have that revelation that it is all worth it.

14. What’s next for you? Are you currently working on any new books or stories?

Oh, yeah. Editing a manuscript that I’ll be reading for my podcast Indicted Fiction. Plotting out my NaNoWriMo 2022 project. Querying my novella Home to agents. Submitting short stories here and there as well as compiling my short story collection for February of 2023. I also randomly started a poetry collection themed around death but I’m not sure when that’ll be completed. Not to mention I’ll be narrating Adam’s Body for my podcast myself, and I’ve never edited sound before so it’ll be quite the project. I do artsy stuff as well, like painting, promo creation, photo editing, and uploading designs to my RedBubble store, so there’s always something to work on.

15. Finally, feel free to plug your social media, website, and links to Amazon, GoodReads, and other relevant sites below, and detail any current offers available for your book/s:

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