Today’s interview is with the delightful & charming author, Alyse Bingham. She has written an anthology of three stories, titled The Trio, that is sure to please the most discriminating readers. She writes in diverse genres, from romance to SF. Though the stories are relatively short, they are gems of writing, and will whet your appetites to read more from Alyse in the coming years. Besides being an author, she has a blog I highly recommend you checking out, where an interview with me just happens (coincidently, of course) to be featured. Now, let’s get on to the questions!
Douglas R. Cobb: Alyse, who are some of your favorite authors, and which ones would you say have influenced your own writing and/or inspired you the most?
Alyse: Among my favorite authors are Ted Dekker, Tamera Alexander, and Lee Goldberg. I think the first two have inspired me to write, but all three have probably added some flavor to my stories . . . and conversation. You can just ask my carpool group . . .
Your anthology of three stories, appropriately enough titled The Trio, is your first published book, but you write with a very polished style that is sure to attract you legions of loyal readers. For anyone who has not yet had the good fortune to read The Trio, could you please tell our readers more about each tale?
Well, thank you! The first is about a woman who – for lack of a better, more lengthy way to put it – pretty much screwed up her life and threw away the love of a good man. It’s her reflection on her life just before– well, I can’t tell you that, you’d have to read it. The second is about a program assisting her maker pull off a break-in. The third is about a nun who leaves the abbey for love, but then begins to regret her decision.
Do you have to wait and let inspiration come to you, or are you able to let the ideas flow and come to you as you write?
Oh goodness. I wish. My problem is that I’m a full time student (sophomore) and – unfortunately – I get my best ideas / breakthroughs for stories and papers around . . . 12 to 2 AM. There are times when I don’t write fiction for weeks, or even months at a time because I hit walls. It’s a travesty.
Do you prefer to write stories in the Romance genre, or science fiction/fantasy, and why? Is there some other genre you think you might like to give a try some day?
I love reading Christian romance, and I love pretty much any and all sci-fi / fantasy (The Hobbit, anyone?), and I think writing both is just a blast. Originally, I tried to do one story (which is now in draft 7 . . . at least) that is now sci-fi as historical fiction, because I love it. Unfortunately, historical fiction does not love me. Personally, I find the actual historical limitations too much to deal with.
I have never before tried to write a short story or novel with two female characters as the main ones (more or less main ones) before I wrote Lily, Unleashed and Lily and PAWS: The Ghosts of Summer. I had thought it would be more difficult for me to write from that perspective, but as I got into writing the books, it became much easier for me than I thought it would.
Do you personally have a preference as to making your main characters male/female? Do you find it more difficult sometimes writing from the POV of a male main character?
Honestly, in my longer works I do try to give other views, including male ones. I guess I just didn’t get the chance in this book. Although, “Infiltration” was originally told from Dante’s point of view, but my classmates liked it better with Harpe’s point of view. >Shrugs.<
You asked me when you interviewed me what importance I placed on how the cover of a book looks. I’m going to ask you the same question, and I was wondering if you designed the “eye-catching” cover yourself and took the photo used of an eye?
I did design it, but I did not take the photo. It was actually purchased from bigstockphoto.com. Lovely site for finding cover art. I used Microsoft Paint to add the title and my name, although picnik.com may be my first choice next time as far as editing goes.
Was the reason you chose the cover you did because you wanted to convey that the eyes are the windows to our souls, as the saying goes?
Haha, wow, in the words of one of my past professors, that’s much more clever than I was being! I chose it because, well, all three of my main characters are female, and there was a certain . . . ‘knowing-ness’, I suppose, about the model, but she still retained a mysterious anonymity. And the blue was pretty . . .
What gave you the idea to become a self publisher and put out your collection of stories at Amazon’s Kindle Store?
I own a Kindle myself, so it was really one of the first things that popped into my mind. That and it’s much faster (and cheaper!) than conventional publishing, although I’m still a sucker for old, awesome-smelling ink-and-paper books every now and then. I also have my book available in Barnes and Noble’s Nook store, as well as Smashwords.com.
What sort of advice would you give to anyone who wanted to see their words gain a wider audience as an ebook or traditional book?
I would imagine that ebooks would be somewhat easier to market given that they’re easier to access, what with links and all. But even if your book is in print, there are still steps you can take to gain popularity amongst readers. You could do interviews like this, post info about your book on (related!) forums, have a Youtube channel (which I am in the process of setting up) with contests and vlogs and such to distribute free copies (people will tell their friends, I know me and my friends swap books all the time). If your ebook is published on Amazon, there are forums for us authors with threads designated to garner sales. Not so sure about B&N. They probably do, I just haven’t checked it out yet.
I noticed that some of the people who reviewed your ebook really liked your story about a nun (I’m not saying they didn’t like the other stories). Have you ever considered becoming a nun, or is the story more straight out of your imagination?
Oh merciful heavens, no! Haha, I love God, and I try to obey Him, but I don’t think becoming a nun is the way for me to go. This one was born in the fiction class (actually, all three of them were), and all I remember about the assignment was it had something to do with a seashell, and I was listening to the Revenge of the Sith soundtrack, and “Ruminations” happened to be playing. It seemed a good fit.
Finally, Alyse, could you tell the readers of my blog if you’re currently working on further short stories or possibly a novel, and if so, do you have a title in mind for it, and any ideas on when you might have it at Amazon/elsewhere?
I’m actually working on about four at the moment, but there is only one with a clear plot so far. The title isn’t set in stone, so I won’t give it here, but it’s a (rather involved, sci-fi, roundabout) retelling of Phantom of the Opera. Why? Because I love Erik, and he deserves a gal. Period. Haha, but seriously, I have been working on this book ever since freshman year of high school, so yeah, it’s been a rough journey, but it’s getting there! As for a release date . . . I have no idea. Just stay tuned to my Twitter!
Thanks once again, Alyse Bingham, for agreeing to an interview with me at What’s New In Book Reviews! Your name is one that I’m sure will become well-known by people who enjoy reading great literature, and I’m definitely looking forward to reading more of your stories/books in the future!