Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"I can never figure out the murderer in TV murder mysteries" - #Interview with @aliciarasley

Tell us about you.
I've been a writer for a long time, and have been through the publishing wars and have the scars to prove it. I have had 10 books published by conventional publishers and now am an independent publisher of my own work.

I have a bit of a mission to other writers, to help fiction-writers find their voices and plot their books. There are dozens of free articles about the craft of writing at my website archive: www.rasley.com, and thousands of posts about writing and editing at my blog: www.edittorrent.blogspot.com

So anyone who loves to write and read can get some great information free at those two links.

Tell us about your book.
Poetic Justice is a book for book lovers! The hero is a rare-books dealer, the heroine is the heiress to an antiquarian library, and the villain is an evil librarian (and there aren't many of those!). They're all after the same prize (a lost play in Shakespeare's own hand-- and yes, it really exists), but while John and Jessica want to save it, the villain is bent on destroying it.

The book is set in the Regency period, which coincides with the Romantic period of literature, where British readers had recently revived the admiration of Shakespeare. It's a literary adventure, with more than a bit of romance.

What inspired you to write this particular story?
I'd recently seen a few plays of Shakespeare performed in Stratford, and a friend-- who was a Shakespearian in graduate school-- mentioned this "lost play." I was fascinated by all the forensics involved in proving Shakespeare's authorship, the testing of the paper, the handwriting analysis. CSI Stratford-on-Avon!

Who is your greatest inspiration?
Patrick O'Brian writes in the time period that fascinates me (the years of the Napoleonic War), and though his story form is muscular and masculine, his prose and especially his dialogue are as elegant as Jane Austen's. I would love to achieve that mix of sophisticated style and action-filled scenes.

What is your current project?
I'm writing an espionage series set in the Napoleonic war, featuring a Shakespeare-loving spymaster and the lost girls he recruits to do his spying.

What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment as a writer?
I won the RITA award for Best Regency Romance, and then more recently, my women's fiction novel The Year She Fell was the #1 Kindle bestseller, helping (I hope) to draw a few more readers to electronic publishing. But more important than those, I think my greatest accomplishment is just hanging in there despite publishers that went bankrupt, agents suffering from major depression, editorial lines that disappeared out from under me, and the general indifference of the industry.

Have you experienced any setbacks for your writing along the way? If so, will you share with us.
Well, yes, I've experienced many setbacks in my writing. I seem to have a knack for unerringly making the wrong career decision. I took a multi-book contract when it was a bad idea, and didn't take one when it would have gotten me past a marketing disaster. I stuck with several agents who were clearly not up to the job. I switched to non-fiction self-help just as everyone was getting bored with that. If there was a disaster about to happen in publishing, I was right there.
But I realized at some point that all I have control of is my own writing: My quality and my work habits. So I've just kept writing, and kept reading, and now I think that the independent publishing trend is going to let authors and writers connect without so many middlemen. And if I mess this up, well, I'll have no one to blame but myself! I want to focus first on improving my writing skill with every book I write, and second on discovering how today's readers determine what fascinates them in fiction.

Tell us 5 random things about you the person, not the author:
1. : I have six brothers, and not surprisingly, I grew up reading "boy book" -- Tom Swift and the Hardy Boys. I liked Frank Hardy best because he was older.
2. : I can never figure out the murderer in TV murder mysteries.
3. : I'm still searching for a book I didn't get to finish when I was a kid. I don't remember the title, but one character was a broomstick that came to life as a babysitter.
4. : I live on a river, which is lovely, but has become infested with very loud Canada geese.
5. : I got my first computer in 1983. Atari 64. Yes, 64K. It cost $1400, and the printer wouldn't print underlines.

Where to connect online
Twitter : aliciarasley
Facebook : Alicia Rasley
Website : www.rasley.com

Where to buy