Author Interview: Elford Alley

stock photography with writing 'author interview' on the right side; pictures are of a book with pressed flowers, a man holding a book, a stack of books and a man reading a book.

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Interview:

1.      Paperback, hardback, audiobook?

Hardbacks look great on the shelf, but I always opt for the paperback. I’m also a big e-reader.

2.      Pick a genre, any genre!

Horror! That’s always been my first genre of choice. History is the second, and nothing informs horror more than history. Folklore/paranormal is the third, I love the stories. That said, I also try to read a little of everything.

3.      What is the first book you remember reading?

Oh, that’s a tough one! The first one I remember (aside from picture books) really resonating with me was a collection of scary story for kids, I think it was called Still More Tales for the Midnight Hour.

4.      What book shaped your childhood most?

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark left a huge impression. Goosebumps also had a major impact as well, and of course like many people I graduated from those to Stephen King around middle school.

5.      When did you first start writing?

When I was about ten. I carried a notepad everywhere I went and constantly worked on my “books.” When my mom started college about that time, I got the old manual typewriter when she graduated to an electric one. I wrote a lot of stories on it.

6.      What made you want to write? Does it still hold true?

I had a hard time learning to read actually. I was in a remedial group for a while. I remember the teacher trying to cheer us up by saying we worked harder while the rest of the class just watched movies. When I brought this up to a classmate, he quite correctly said, “That’s because we already know how to read, dumbass.” When I finally got the hang of it, mostly due to the hard work of my parents, I became obsessed with reading and wanted to make my own stories.

7.      What book/poem are you most proud of creating?

Apartment 239. A horror-comedy novel that actually blends both genres well. I’m pretty proud of pulling that off.

8.      Did you publish your first book or is it for your eyes only?

My eyes only! Don’t worry, it has been purged from this world with prejudice. In fact, there are several, including a 500-page YA book, that will never see the light of day. You won’t find any trunk novels when I die, damn it!

9.      How many books/collections have you published so far?

Two novels on Wattpad Paid Stories, one novella and four collections on Amazon. Not too shabby.

10.   What genres do you write in (or hope to)?

I write in horror. I want to write a historical fiction and a western one day, and have a few ideas and tons of research.  I’d also like to write a regional haunting book, the kind you see at gas stations and tourist traps. One day…

11.   Do you do research for your writing or is it all in your head?

I research for sure. However, most of it ends supporting maybe one or two sentences in the work. Or outdates quickly. Like Apartment 239, it has a few cracks about Texas’ gun laws that are now out of date because they’re become even wackier.

12.   To plan, or not to plan your plot?

I definitely plan. The blank white space is the enemy, a rough outline gives me direction, even if that outline will likely change substantially.

13.   What route of publishing have you chosen? Do you plan to stick with it?

As of now, I am self-published. However, I would like to work with a few indie presses and maybe that will happen with the novellas I’m working on.

14.   If you could live inside another author’s universe, which one would you pick? (Ex: Middle Earth, Narnia, etc.)

I’d live in Discworld. It has all the problems our shitty world does, but there are witches and Death seems like an okay guy.

15.   Do you currently have a WIP?

Yes! I’m working on a haunted house novella called We Are Never Leaving. I have a few others in various stages of completion, like my slasher Kill House or my UFO novelette They’re Coming to Get You.

16.   Tell me about the character you’ve created who is dearest to your heart.

Maverick Casey from In Search of The Nobility, TX Wildman. He’s an idiot and trying his best. He’s my most relatable character and the most like me, honestly.

17.   What do you consider your *current* magnum opus?

High Strangeness, the sequel to Apartment 239. It’s my weirdest by far.

18.   Do you have a favourite romance in your books? Or, if yours features no romance, tell us about your favourite character friendship!

The couple in We Are Never Leaving. We meet them several years into their marriage, but they’re still madly in love. I like that.

19.   Do you listen to music as you write? Recommend a favourite writing song.

Yes! It changes depending on the story. I have Mountain Goats stories, Run The Jewels stories, Eels stories, and so forth.

20.   Do you have any character art for your books, whether by you or another artist? (Be sure to credit/link if you can!)

I do! A fellow author created an image of Acid Cat, a chemical-burned feline in Apartment 239. Created by Christopher Opyr (@cwhutton), author of Calling Mr. Nelson Pugh.

21.   If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

Read everything! Not just the genre you want to write in. You never know how a book from another genre could add depth to your own work. Write frequently, and know that your story will really come together in the re-writing. Also, celebrate the success of your peers and they’ll do the same. We’re on a dying planet with a civilization twenty years from total collapse. There’s no time to be bitter or jealous.

22.   Have you entered any writer contests? Tell us about your experience!

I entered The Wattys on Wattpad in 2017 with Apartment 239 and won that year. That actually opened a few doors for me. Otherwise, I don’t enter many contests. I do submit to quite a few anthologies, and made it into four this year!

23.   Who are your top 5-10 favourite writers?

Oh man, there are so many! I’m going to list some of my favorite indie voices:

Matt Barbot

Daniel Barnett

Sonora Taylor

Joshua Marsella

Red Lagoe

Brandon Applegate

Eric Raglin

Kyle Winkler

TL Bodine

Shane Hawk

And so, so many more. I could give you a 100 names easily.

24.   Link us your book/twitter/goodreads or wherever we can best connect with you!

On twitter I’m @elfordalley.

On Goodreads, I’m here: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15340908.Elford_Alley.

You can find links to my novels and collections at elfordalley.com.

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