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Guest Focus

Alicia Graybill


Q. How many novels do you normally have going at one time? Do you switch off writing them?

A. It mostly depends on if there’s a deadline or not, and how close it is. I’ve been working a lot lately on Brilliant Moon, book 2 in the Macawba County Pack series. It was supposed to be published in April but, unfortunately, stuff got in the way.


Q. Do you normally find images to represent characters as motivation?

A. Definitely. Adobe Stock images are helpful. Sometimes a Facebook friend will post an image and I’ll say, OMG, that’s so-and-so! I always picture my character in my mind but I can’t always find an image to match. I wish I could draw or paint because I’d love to see portraits of my characters.


Q. How you do find character names?

A. This is actually my favorite part of writing besides titling my books. I used to use the New Age Baby Name Book but now I use a combination of two sources. 1) 100,000 Names for your Baby and 2) Names for RPG – a free app that provides male and female names from several nations as well as for elves, orcs and other mythical creatures.


Q. In what space do you normally write? (room, desk, bed, couch, Starbucks?)

A. I’m kind of excited because things will be changing soon for me. In the past, I’ve usually written in the living room on the couch with the TV on for noise. Recently, I’ve bought a small desk on wheels to use in my bedroom. I’m also hoping to have a more permanent desk in the dining room so I can have files, storyboards, and other research there. I’ll still have the television on or maybe some music for inspiration.


Q. How do you go about pulling yourself out of a writing slump?

A. If I’m lucky, something I read or watch will provide me the spark. That said, if that doesn’t happen, I find the best way to cut a writing slump short is to write. Not necessarily on a particular project but writing anything: a Facebook post, a letter to a friend or family member, even just an Amazon review of something. Writing is a muscle. You have to use it or it will atrophy. But if you injure that muscle, it requires work to rehabilitate and get back to where you were.


Q. How do you deal with negative reviews on one of your books?

A. It’s hard when someone criticizes your work. I try not to read reviews but curiosity gets the better of me sometimes. A bad review is still a sign that someone read your work. Just remember that their opinion, is just that. If they read your book on another day or wrote the review a day or two later, it might have turned out differently. No one review will break you. Sometimes, they might even have a point that you can benefit from. If you have the drive to write, though, nothing—certainly not a bad review—should stop you from writing.


Q. If you were going to step out of your comfort zone, what might you try writing?

A. I’m not really sure what I would try. Maybe a play or a musical? I’ve written horror, fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, romance, westerns, though I haven’t published all those (yet.) I’d love to include more diverse characters. I would like to write asexual and aromantic characters. I’ve also been dabbling in short stories, a medium I used to be very successful at, but that I’ve fallen out of practice writing since I started writing novellas and novels.


Q. What is your favorite book you have written and why is it your favorite?

A. As much as I love my published works, there’s a fantasy duology I’ve been working on for years starring a young mage named Winter. I will eventually finish it and publish it. I don’t have a title for it yet but it could be summarized as a cross between Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar books and the Harry Potter series. I’m allowing myself to really enjoy the world-building.


Q. Tell us something about the Macawba Pack series.

A. In Bright Moon, the first book in the series, we meet Deputy Ryan Neely who finds a young man chained to a wall in an abandoned farm-house. Ryan thinks the young man is a teen and, at first, is uncomfortable with his feelings toward him. When the young man won’t or can’t give him his name, Ryan calls him Shane. Ryan finds out that Shane is a Wolf-shifter. In order to spend more time with Shane, Ryan devises a plan for Shane, in his wolf form, to become Ryan’s K9 partner.

All five stories in the series end with a happily for now. The final story ends happily ever after. The second book in the series is a somewhat light-hearted tale that wraps up some of the loose ends from the first book. While the overarching story is the relationship between Ryan and Shane, each book has its own plot. After Brilliant Moon (the one that’s coming out in August), the third book is tentatively titled Black Moon. If that sounds dark, well, maybe it is.

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