Sunday, 18 October 2020

Interview With Author Alene Nation

Today I have an interview, with fantasy and sci-fi author Alene Nation who stops by to chat about her books and writing. Enjoy.

Interview With Alene Nation

Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself

I’m retired. For a long time, I have worked in health insurance offices due to my degree in Computer Information Systems. Twenty years ago, I owned and ran a small screen print and embroidery shop. This is where I learned how to use my design talents on my covers. I have always read fiction and non-fiction books for the past 60 years. My genre is realistic science fiction and urban fantasy. I have also added a travel mystery series and wrote a non-fiction true story.


Could you tell us a bit about your latest book? 

My latest book is the fifth urban fantasy about a thirtyish aged woman who is a widow, called The Magic Within. She sees little people and ghosts that no one else can see. Her unusual friends are the ones who lead her into trouble or save her life. In this story, she has to save her boyfriend’s daughter from a kidnapper. One day she steps into a hidden library and enlists the help from a wizard.


How long have you been writing, and how many books have you published to date? 

I always wanted to write but never knew how to publish until I found an excellent writing club in 2011. Since 2013, I have published 16 novels and several novellas and short stories. I attach the short stories to my monthly newsletters.


Of all the books you've written, do you have a favourite? 

It depends on my mood. They are all mysteries, some cozy and some thrillers. I love writing and exploring what could be in our quest of space. So, this is fun and examining how we might live on Mars or the Moon.

I wrote my first urban fantasy as a NaNoWriMo test. Which means I had to write 50K words in 30 days. After finishing the story in 11 days, I knew I had a talent for writing. Since the character lives in a little town not far from my home, I know the people so well and what they would do.

After I took a fantastic trip to Europe, I met my next character and wrote two stories about her (my) experiences.

My only nonfiction is based on a true story in northern Idaho in 1971 where I grew up.

What is my favorite book? That’s like asking who is my favorite child?

I’ll pick Fatal Error because it’s based on actual occurrences and a lot about robots in the future. The danger is real.


Do you have a favourite character? If so, why? 

I’ll have to choose Detective Alex Blackhawk because he’s strong, smart, and won’t give up in his search for his suspect. I would say my favorite female character would be Alice Morgan who worked on the Moon and Mars. Next in the UF series, it would be Hobnobby, the gnome. Now he’s not the MC, but he uses magic to benefit others and he’s a little sneaky. 

Why did you decide to write in the urban fantasy & science fiction genre?

I have always liked mysteries and spooky stories. Just as I’m about to end writing one of my books, I discover a twist that has to be told. I’m interested in science and the progress our country has made. I’m a deep Star Trek fan since 1960.


What is the hardest part of writing science fiction? 

Getting the scene times in order. On the whole, I find writing it quite easy.


What do you enjoy most about writing in the urban fantasy genre? 

It’s easy and relatable to people I know.


You write in several genres. Do you have a favourite? And if so, why? 

It depends on what I want to express. If I want to continue my SF series to explain the galaxy beyond, then I’ll do that one. If I think my character has to have an unusual encounter with the fantasy world, I’ll write that one. For example, my character, Susan Edwards and her friend Hobnobby had just trapped a terrible witch inside an old mirror. Done and settled? No, I had to write the next book about the witch’s escape and what Susan was going to do. Like life, my stories go on.


Who is your intended readership? 

Probably 30-70 age group. I do have a couple of YA and NA SF books for the 16-22 age group as well.


Are there particular challenges in writing for your core readership? 

I don’t see one, I remember what I expected at those ages. It helps too when I watch shows or read about that age range.


Why did you write this book? What was your inspiration? 

The first science fiction book was a test for my writing class. It was a story I had continually thought about. The same happened when I wrote the first urban fantasy. I had every scene memorized before I began NaNoWriMo.


What did you enjoy most about writing your book? 

Finishing, re-editing where I change scenes around, and that final sale.


What did you find most challenging about writing your book?

If I need to know how a machine works. I had to research tunnel digging, a grain mill operation, and the unique surface formations on Mars.


Did anything surprise you about the process of writing your book? 

In the beginning, it was the formatting and the publishing, but I have that down pat now.


What did you hope to accomplish by publishing your book? 

Entertain and make people think


When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? 

After a year in my writing class.


Can you tell us about your writing process? Where do your ideas originate? Do you have a certain writing routine? 

As I said above, I’m retired and have lots of time on my hands. If I don’t have any appointments to keep, I sit down after breakfast and write until Lunch. After Lunch, I pick up the mail, and do a few house chores, and write until 4:00pm. I don’t do any writing at night. That’s my time off to watch mystery shows or Forensic Files for ideas. On Saturday, I’ll set my promos on Facebook.


What is your greatest challenge as a writer? 

To remind my hubby not to test the fire alarm during NaNoWriMo. He did one year and since then I remind him before November 1st. Once in a while between hitting the stores and housework, I need more time.


Do you have a favourite author, or writing inspiration? 

I loved reading Agatha Christie ad Isaac Asimov. Georgette Heyer is another favorite with her beautiful long sentences. I was told not to do long sentences for today’s readers, so I don’t. I have read all of Rita Mae Brown’s books, which gave me the inspiration to write what my SF animals are saying.


How do you research your books? 

Google for details listed above. When I’m sitting in the doctor’s office or at the airport, I watch people and decide what type of character they could become. After 60+ years of living, I have seen a lot.


What advice would you give beginning writers? 

Read, read, read as much as you can. Books will always help you with your grammar. As for publishing, use KDP as Amazon sells 75+% of all the books in the world. Use Grammarly and ProWriting Aid before you let anyone else read your book. Try to find beta readers after you have read your manuscript over ten times or more. Give them a free book and ask them to help correcting your errors. Start with ebook, the formatting is easier than print. Ebooks are the fastest sellers on the publishing market today.


Do you have any amusing writing stories or anecdotes to share? 

Several odd things that I have experienced have found their way into my books. I had a small Corelle dish break in front of my eyes. If you own some, then you know they aren’t supposed to break. Then I read in the newspaper that Peru had an earthquake at the same time. That scene went into my UF book. Another time, I lost my ship card while in Europe. Talk about panic. The stewards were kind and replaced it for me. That scene went into my travel book.


What do you like to do when you're not writing? Any hobbies? 

I did commercial embroidery for many years. I still do totes and shirts once in a while, but writing has taken up most of my time. My husband and I used to travel a lot before covid happened. So, before I send out my newsletter, I write and attach a new short story each month. After a year, I put all of the short stories into one book.


How did you become interested in science fiction/urban fantasy? 

Movies, TV shows, and books I have watched and read.


Are you working on another book? 

I will for NaNoWriMo this November 2020. I may write one novel, a novella, and a few short stories. Last year, I wrote over 80,000 words in 30 days using this writing system.

What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you care to reveal? 

My next projects are the books I start in NaNoWriMo. The SF book will be first.

I just discovered They are the best for sales. Just use the bargain offer. In that one day, I had more downloads than I have had from that one book in years. I keep a section on my blog for writing tips that anyone can look over –

The average fiction book is sized 6x9” but I have tried 5x8” and I like that one better. For the series, keep all of them the same size.

Write a lot of novellas and put them into kindle unlimited. I use the free days with great success.


You can find more about Alene Nation and her books at these sites.




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