Name: Kya Aliana
Where are you from: I grew up in the wonderful mountains of North Carolina.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc: I grew up with my little brother, Kinden, and my little sister, Lexi. My mom homeschooled all three of us and I’m so grateful to her! Homeschooling gave me the freedom to write, and my mom always made sure I got to writing club, book club, and other such events at the library. She really helped feed my creativity and encouraged me to follow my dreams. She was always on the lookout for great books on writing that she could incorporate into our cirruclum. My dad is a glass artist and has always inspired me to follow my dreams. Obviously he encouraged my creativity and supported me every step of the way.
Lexi and Kinden have been crucial in my writing addiction… err, um, career. I started writing my Vampire Thrillogy when I was 14 years old. (Since then it’s been rewritten, revised, and is currently undergoing edits. The first book will be released on Christmas Day). My little brother and sister would come in my room at night and I would read them what I wrote the night before. It was our own little story time! He and Lexi gave TONS of helpful criticism, helped me when I was stuck on the plot, and would flat out tell me if one of my characters did something “wrong”. They have always been so helpful with their advice and inspiring. They wouldn’t let me stop writing if I tried… they always pushed me because they just had to know what happens next. 🙂
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Wow, what to tell… there has been SO much going on in my little writing world that it’s beginning to not be so little anymore. I guess the biggest thing is that my fiancé, Zariel, and I have decided to postpone our wedding so we can move up North. We’ve been in Florida for the last year and a half, but it’s time to move on for our careers. Of course I was looking forward to the wedding, but once I look at the outstanding career opportunities this move offers, it far outweighs the importance of the wedding because Zariel and I are already committed to each other in our hearts and know that we’ll get married when the wedding can be a fun exciting event instead of a stressful one that’s a sidetrack from following our dreams. Right now it’s important to support each other in our careers and help each other flourish! I’m very excited for Zariel to be closer to art festivals, the Corning Museum of Glass where he can take classes, and of course I’m thrilled to be closer to many of my author friends along with driving distance from the NY and PA area where so many book expos and comic-cons happen. 🙂
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve always loved to write and even when I was really little, somewhere in my mind I knew that I would be an author one day. I read S.E. Hinton’s “The Outsiders” when I was 13 years old. I fell in love with the book. Upon reading all her others, and doing some research on Mrs. Hinton, I discovered that she wrote The Outsiders when she was only 15! It was then it dawned on me that I didn’t have to wait to be “all grown up” to start writing.
That night, I pulled out an old notebook and started writing a story. I didn’t tell anybody about it, I just decided to write. I did this every night and before I knew it I had hand-written an entire novel. It’s heavily inspired by “The Outsiders” and titled “The Gang”. I hope to rewrite and publish it one day, but as of now I am focusing on my other books.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
The moment I finished the first chapter in my notebook. I knew that I had a long way to go, but the euphoric feeling that seemed to flow through my creative veins was enough to tell me that this is right path for me.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Obviously, S.E. Hinton. After that, it was the Watauga County Library that kept me going. Their amazing writing programs for teens kept me inspired, motivated, and helped me to improve on the skills and techniques I was struggling with.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
As you know, my first book was about gangs, next I would write The Vampiress Thrillogy, then I wrote a novel called “Impending Doom” for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) through the library. “Impending Doom” would become my first published novel. It’s a vampire thriller that takes place in a small town. All the action happens at a dinner party where the guests are the main course. 😉 I then wrote “Sly Darkness” – a thriller/drama about 4 very different teens who don’t know each other and decide go out in the woods in search of a missing boy. This story is kind of a Breakfast Club meets Stand By Me with an end that will give you chills. 😉 I’m back to Vampiress and making it more geared toward the horror genre as opposed to thriller. So, I’ve always enjoyed thrillers, now I’m branching out toward classic horror, but I dabble elsewhere. I even have a non-fiction story that you can read for free on Figment.com – I love writing anything and everything. I have no doubt that I’ll always focus on the thriller/horror/YA genres, but it certainly won’t be the only thing I ever write. 😉
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Oddly enough, I have a lot of trouble with titles. I usually get about half-way through a story before I know the title… and more often than not, I end up changing it two or three times. The Vampiress Thrillogy has been the title since the beginning. My sister helped me come up with it. The main character is a strong woman who is the prophet known as The Vampiress. It’s the individual book titles I have trouble with. Vampiress Book One is now “Bloodborne” to show that vampires are more of an infection. Originally the title was “Vampiress Book One: A Love Shattered”. This was great when I was 14 and thought that was a thriller because what could shatter love? It must hint at horror… riiiight haha. So then when I first went back to it, I changed the name to “Malicious Intent” – but after about half-way through the rewrite, it seemed like “Malicious Intent” was more of the name for the 2nd book in what’s to come… 😉 When I came up with “Bloodborne” it just seemed to fit.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I have some little bits here and there that I’m sure a few of my readers pick up on. I feel if you try and focus on a certain message, it hinders the creativity of the plot-line and readers will often get bored quickly and not bother to finish the book, much less look for a deep meaning. I do feel that even throughout writing or reading any book, readers learn something. Throughout the dialogue scenes and conflict between characters, they learn what works/what doesn’t work. Even if it’s subconscious, they apply this to their real lives and it shows through their communication.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
I do my best to make my books very realistic. Starting out completely “normal” and then steadily build each supernatural/horror/thrilling element until you are so sucked into the story and absorbed that it feels so realistic to you that you don’t want to sleep. Notice I say “do my best”. I’m very clear that I’m no master yet, but that’s my goal and what I work toward. I hear my readers say that I get better and better at it with each book. I strive to constantly learn and hone my skills and technique. I take workshops every chance I get, talk to writers, and read great books all the time.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
For the most part, no. In my novella, “Adrenaline”, the grandfather character is loosely based off of my own Grandad. I dedicated the book to him and published it on his birthday. I’m so grateful he had the chance to read it before he passed away a couple months later. My Grandad was truly amazing. He always talked to me about anything and everything and supported and encouraged my writing with everything he had. 🙂
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
“The Outsiders” is the obvious answer. After that, I would have to say Stephen King’s “Salems’ Lot” – it was the very first Stephen King book I ever read and my introduction to true horror. It’s after reading that book that I started writing the Vampiress Thrillogy.
After my vampire phase, I was ready to move on. I picked up Jonathan Maberry’s “Rot & Ruin” series on my 15th birthday and was instantly hooked! I love his writing style and how it easily speaks to teens, how absorbed I became in the plot, and how his action scenes flawlessly flowed into the more relaxed scenes where we get to know more about the depth of his characters.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Hands down, Jonathan Maberry. I’ve never read anything by him I didn’t like. I’ve read most interviews with him, as well as articles he’s written. I love what I know on his outlook on life, social media, and writing. He seems to be a positive, upbeat, and exciting man and his writing is exceptional. I love that he does so much with teens and inspires them to become writers as well. It would be amazing and a dream come true to sit down and talk to Maberry about writing, or better yet take one of his workshops.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Right now I’m reading “Redemption” by Mark Taylor and Charles Day – so far, it’s amazing! I highly recommend it to any and all.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Awesome! A great chance to make a HUGE shout out to Kelsey Day Marlett – she is an inspiring young author rapidly on her way to becoming a best seller. She has been so inspiring to me and I’ve had the great pleasure of sharing a writers group with her, along with a table at the High Country Festival of the Books! Her books have stunned me. I can hardly believe she is such an amazing writer already. Her books are fast-paced, gripping, well laid-out, and her characters will become instant favorites in your heart. I urge you to check out her website and get her books today! http://www.kelseydaymarlett.com
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m adding the finishing touches on “Vengeful Dreams” (the sequel to “Sly Darkness”). This book will be released on Halloween Day. And I’m finishing up rewriting the Vampiress Thrillogy. The first book is set to be published on Christmas. Also, gearing up for a great NaNoWriMo novels to write in November. 🙂
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
The Watauga County Library and all it’s wonderful librarians. They have been so sweet, helpful, encouraging, and offered so many great opportunities that helped me improve my writing skills.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
More of an addiction that I turned into a career 😉 It’s just what I love to do. It’s a passion and the words are already inside of me, I just have to get them out on paper.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
At one of the library’s writing nights, a wise author (Hugh Howey) once told me “A novel is never finished. You just stop revising at some point.” This has proven to be very true. I love my latest book and worked very hard on it, but every time I read it I know it can be improved upon even more…. And more… and more… at some point you just have to take a deep breath, realize that this is a great story, press that “publish” button and hope the readers enjoy it.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I suppose it all began with my interest in books. I don’t remember a time when I couldn’t read. My mom said I just picked it up. I remember being 2 years old and in “rest time” and looking at books. I distinctively remember reading the words one by one and a curious fascination of who comes up with these sentences and why each book is different. By the time I was 4 I could tell you the name, author, illustrator, and editor of every single book on my shelves (yes, that’s plural).
“Reading Rainbow” was my favorite show on television and the only one I would adamantly care if I watched or not. In all honesty as far as the other shows are concerned, I would rather be reading. Each year LeVar Burton would talk about the “Young Writers and Illustrators Contest”. I believe I was 6 years old when I finally wrote and illustrated a story to send in. It was a cute story about a baby horse who went away exploring but missed her momma so much that he ran back home to her. It was by no means a best seller and didn’t place in the contest, but it didn’t matter. My mom had it bound and kept it on the shelf. It was my book and that was all that mattered.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Absolutely! Here’s a sneak peek into Vampiress: Bloodborne. This scene takes place at night after my main character’s little brother had a very tragic run-in with a mysterious and dangerous entity. 😉
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Showing and not telling. It seems to be the number one rule of writing fiction. It’s one of the things I admire most about Jonathan Maberry’s style. I never get bored while reading his books and I absolutely never feel there is an excessive amount of adverbs. It’s hard to show a scene, to build your surroundings, and to come up with sentences that will stick with the reader forever. I’m constantly working on improving, but that’s been a struggle from the beginning.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Jonathan Maberry and his ability to produce so many amazing novels, short stories, and comics. His writing is always spot-on, his voice is clear, and as previously stated, I absolutely never get bored.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your books?
Not as of yet. I would love to travel within reason. I’m hoping that this move up north puts me close enough to the NYC area that I can start attending different writing events and be more active with putting myself and my writing out there.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
For the first little while, it was just my mom, my sister, and I with a $20-$40 budget. I’d say we did pretty well for ourselves. But I’ve recently discovered the outstanding and incredibly talented, David Mickolas. He has re-designed the cover for “Sly Darkness”, and has designed covers for “Vengeful Dreams” and “Vampiress: Bloodborne”. He is amazing and great man to work with. He can pull certain elements from the story and bring them to the forefront of the reader’s first impression. It’s truly amazing and I honestly couldn’t be happier with them. I hope that one day soon I will have ALL my covers, old and new, to be done by him. It’s an honor and a delight to have his amazing designs coupled with my writing.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Feeling comfortable and confident enough to release it to the world. There’s always this excitement but then there’s that little nagging voice inside saying “They’re all gonna laugh at you!” Especially because I’m so young, I worry that I’m not good enough or that I shouldn’t be publishing yet because I know I have such a long way to go and can improve so much. But the feedback I’ve gotten has been great, and I feel I’m doing the right thing and well on my way to being the author I strive to be with each new book.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned that, as with most anything in life, you have to be persistent. Procrastination doesn’t help get you anywhere. I’m learning to keep myself motivated even through all the ups and downs and drama and stress of life. I just have to keep writing, keep a schedule, and believe that everything is going somewhere.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
It’s always weird for me when people ask this. Although I’ve been writing novels for 6 years now, I find myself surprised when anyone asks for advice. I feel so young and so new to all of this. I absolutely learn something new every day, and a lot of the advice I would’ve given in the past has changed. So as of now, I say just keep writing every day even if it’s only for 10-15 minutes. Because the more you write, the better you’ll become, and the better you become the happier you’ll be. 🙂 At least that’s how it works for me.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
A huge thank you for following, supporting, and encouraging me. Writing is my dream and my passion. I’m so grateful for every single e-book download, every single signed paperback order, every single message, every single like and comment on my facebook posts, it’s all of you that help keep me going, motivated, strong, and ambitious about this crazy writing world. 🙂
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The first book I read without any help from my mom was “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss. I was so proud of myself and could hardly believe that I recognized every single world and wasn’t doing it purely from memory… although I definitely could recite it on demand if you’d asked. 😉
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would like to meet and why?
Jonathan Maberry! To sit and talk with him would be absolutely amazing and once I got past the star-struck phase I could definitely learn a thing or two. 🙂
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I’ve played the piano for 13 years now. It’s another great creative outlet and I generally use it when I’m feeling overwhelmed by emotions. I can pour myself into music, whether I’m listening to it or playing it. Piano also helps me clear my thoughts when I’m stuck with a direction in a book. 🙂
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
My favorite summer show is The Strain and I can’t wait for The Walking Dead to return in just about a week!
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
My favorite food is either pizza or sushi, I go back and forth. My favorite colors are royal blue, deep purple, and forrest green. I love deep, rich colors and find the evoke such emotion when put into artwork. I love music and would listen to it every second of every day if I could. My favorite band is 3 Doors Down, they just have so much amazing talent and so many great songs that I find myself relating to throughout the entirety of my teenage years. Billy Joel is great as well and my biggest inspiration for playing the piano.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
It’s probably quite obvious that I would’ve become a pianist or a music teacher. 🙂 I still might in my spare time 😉 I would love to find a nice job teaching piano to kids/teens.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
I sure do! Here’s my website. Please feel free to check it out… I even have free short stories up there. 😉 http://www.kyaaliana.com