Read Alaina's award winning story here and then return to learn more about the author.
----------Interview by Renee Roberson
WOW: Hi Alaina, welcome to the blog and congratulations on placing 2nd in this competition! What inspired the idea behind your haunting story, “Ripples?”
Alaina: It’s odd to not remember. I remember writing it on my phone in the notes app while sitting in the kitchen with my family in 2015. Originally, it was a haunting ending to the Cinderella story. When I picked it back up in 2021, I eventually decided to drop the Cinderella reference because the characters developed beyond that initial start.
WOW: I commend people who can write their well typing on their phone--I think I have a mental block against it. I could definitely sense an underlying darker fairy tale setting in this piece. You are currently seeking publication for your young adult high dark fantasy novel, “The Gillion.” For those who may be unfamiliar with the genre, how would you best describe it?
Alaina: Dark Fantasy is a subgenre for Fantasy. "The Gillion" has all the elements of a Fantasy story but also has dark themes of horror.
WOW: You mention in your bio that your first full-length story remains unpublished. Would you ever consider revisiting it and trying to find a home for it, or do you believe it’s a piece of work that was better suited to teaching you the discipline and craft of fiction writing?
Alaina: Oh! Probably not. “A Letter for Liberty” is probably best left in its binder. I was a big reader of Ann Rinaldi in my youth, and she inspired me to write my only revolutionary war story about a young woman. There was no dramatic arc, just a series of events following the main character. It definitely taught me that I could write and a lot about history.
WOW: That's understandable, but it sounds like the process was helpful for you. I do believe many of us have books that help us learn the craft, but may not necessarily ever need to be published. What are some of your favorite fantasy novels to read?
Alaina: I read everything so I don’t think I can stick to just fantasy! I love the Black Jewel’s books by Anne Bishop. I recently introduced my nephew to Rick Riodan’s Percy Jackson books and was thrilled when he fell in love with them. Not long ago I read “I am Zarah” by Kate W Shea, which I highly recommend. Although it isn’t reading, I get a lot of ideas out of my RPG characters from games such as D&D. It’s an excellent way to build a character and consider their back story and then see how they grow and change from the world around them.
WOW: I have a teen daughter who also likes to participate in RPG (Role Playing Games) and has also mentioned how great they are for character building. Regarding the submission process, do you have any tips you can share with our readers on query letter do’s and don’ts?
Alaina: Do not give up! Get a beta reader for your query letter; you're likely going to miss something and another set of eyes will catch it. For my newer writing I'm working out a query letter first, if I can't sum the story up in a query letter there's probably more work development I need to do before I start writing.
WOW: That's great advice about getting a beta reader for the query letter! Getting feedback from others on that piece is so important because it's the first thing an agent or editor sees. Thank you again for joining us today, Alaina, and good luck on the submission and writing process!