Name Alice J. Black
Where are you from I’m from the North East of England.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc I grew up in a positive and influential environment where I was encouraged to pursue what I loved doing: reading and writing. English was always be favourite subject at school because I loved writing then and when it came to going to Uni I specialised in English then too.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Alice: I’ve recently had my short story ‘Dealing in Death’ published in Undead Legacy. It’s an anthology of zombies! What more could you ask for! 23 stories with some fantastic forewards and great artwork too, all brought together by JEA Wetworks is a brilliant, dark read by some of the most brilliant up and coming authors.
Want to get your hands on a copy? Check it out here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Undead-Legacy-Stuart-Keane-ebook/dp/B00V9073F0/ref=sr_1_1_twi_2_kin?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1429347004&sr=1-1&keywords=undead+legacy
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Alice: As I said, I’ve always loved writing. There was something about world building and hidden in those pages of fiction that intrigued me and I always wanted to write myself. I suppose I’ve always written from being a young age (I’m still finding scraps of paper now!) but at school might have been my first organized and supported attempt to do so. It grew from there, really taking off in the last few years when I’ve made writing a big priority in my life.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Alice: I suppose I first considered myself a writer, like really (!), when my debut young adult novel was published in November 2014!
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
The Doors, my young adult novel, was actually inspired by a dream I had. I know how cliché that sounds, but it’s true! I remember waking up from a dream one morning thinking about these doors that I’d seen in my dream. The more I thought, the more I knew I needed to write it down and so I did. Originally it was eleven pages long and now it’s a full length novel.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Alice: I’m not sure if I have a specific style as such. I have always gravitated towards horror and the supernatural (weird for a girl who hates being scared, but there you go!) So I tend to write a lot about the horrific nature of people, of the things that go bump in the night and leave you terrified to sleep.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Alice: The title of my book was an easy one. The focus of the entire story, the one that stemmed from my dreams, was about the doors. They captivated me the way they caught Amanda’s, the protagonist’s attention, and so it had to be about the doors. Always.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Alice: I didn’t write my novel with a message in mind but I suppose … curiosity killed the cat! No, no! Curiosity I think is a marvelous thing and it allows us to explore and learn and educate ourselves, find out about who we are and build ourselves up. Always be curious.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Alice: The Doors is a very fictional piece full of the supernatural. So I suppose it would depend on how much each reader believes in the otherworldly…
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Alice: I have always read a lot of horror, including Stephen King and Richard Laymon. Those have always been my most coveted authors and of course, ones that I wanted to be able to write like. I have developed my own style because as I grew up, I realized that they inspired me, not that I wanted to write like them but their writing has certainly inspired me over the years.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Alice: I’m busy reading Soul Cutter by Lexa Cain, a friend of mine and I’m almost finished! Perhaps today I will finish reading it.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Alice: Currently I’m working on a lot of short stories to submit to anthologies. Short stories are where my roots are and in a way it feels like I’m going back there which is nice. I’m also working on editing a supernatural novel too ready to submit for publication.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Alice: My partner. He has always been very supportive of what I want to do and when I tell him that I haven’t written that day (on account of having a no zero day policy) he lets me work. He’s always great for bouncing ideas off and brainstorming too. You have no idea how helpful that is!
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Alice: If I could write as a career, then yes I would! I love writing and it’s a part of me. If a day goes by meaning I can’t write (as well all know, life sometimes gets in the way) I can get cranky. I miss it. But I also have a brilliant job that I love too. So until I get famous enough to retire (hehe) I’m happy where I am doing the job I do.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Alice: No, I honestly don’t think I would.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Alice: This is a snippet from the novel I’m currently editing. Please bear in mind it’s a work in progress!
Francesca’s feet began to move, taking her in a wide circle around the trees. In her mind, she began to count. One… two… three… She finally reached her original point after the long saunter. All in all there were twelve trees standing in a circle in the morning light, reaching into the sky. Twelve trees. What an odd number. And all lined so perfectly in a circle. I wonder if they were planted there on purpose. Who would do that? She was no expert but she guessed those trees had stood there for years beyond her own age.
As she stared at the space before her, the huge brown trunks rough and thick, she knew she had to go in. From the moment she set eyes upon the trees she’d wanted to step into their midst, and it was never stronger than now as she hovered at the boundary. Yet something kept her back, niggling at her mind. She couldn’t say what it was and she wanted to ignore it, but there it remained. It seemed a long while that she stood there in complete silence, her mind in two. She wanted to step into the circle and look up at the branches above her, experience their halo from the ground beneath but at the same time, a knot formed in her stomach. A knot that resembled something close to panic.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Alice: I think depending on the day and my mood, I can find difficulties with different aspects of writing. Sometimes, it’s just struggling to find the time to write with such a hectic job and shift schedule.
I suppose if anything, I think editing it perhaps the hardest thing to start. I enjoy it once I get going knowing that I’m improving my work but starting is hard.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Alice: I haven’t really travelled much concerning my books yet but when I’m out and visiting different places, I’ve certainly got my eyes open ready for inspiration.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Alice: The cover for The Doors was designed by Stephanie Bibb who worked with me throughout the project and created something so beautiful to reflect the world that I had built.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Alice: I think writing is hard career. It can be isolating and lonely. One thing I would say is build your support network and chat to other writers. I’m always happy to network so please give me a shout if you would like to chat.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Alice: Thank you for taking the time to read my book. It honestly means the world to know that Amanda’s story is out there and other people are enjoying it.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Alice: I suppose there are a lot of people I would love to meet. There are so many people I love from authors to actors to musicians. Right now while I’m thinking about this, I would have to say Ian McKellen. I think he’s a brilliant actor and one so down to earth. He has played a multitude of roles, including Gandalf who is a favourite character of mine.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Alice: I have a few hobbies when I have time to do them! I enjoy reading, which of course goes hand in hand with writing. I love photography too and scrapbooking. I keep an ongoing memento of all the fun things in my life.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Alice: At the minute we’ve been watching Supernatural, Salem, The Following. We finished watching The Walking Dead and eagerly anticipate the next season and will catch up with Game of Thrones soon!
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Alice: Favourite food. Hmm, that’s a hard one. I suppose it has to be biscuits! That’s my go to snack… that reminds me it needs to go on the shopping list. My favourite colour is black. If you saw me you would get the sense that maybe my wardrobe is an array of black shades (mostly it is!) My favourite music to listen to is heavy metal. I love bands like Machine Head, Devildriver, Stone Sour, Metallica, Hellyeah.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Alice: I sure do! My blog can be found at: https://alicejblack.wordpress.com/
Bio: Alice lives and works in the North East of England where she lives with her partner and slightly ferocious cats! She writes all manner of fiction with a tendency to lean towards the dark side, but she also likes to challenge herself and write out of her genre too. Dreams and sleep-talking are currently a big source of inspiration and her debut novel, The Doors, is a young adult novel which originally sprouted from a dream several years ago and grew from there.
Purchase links for my novel: