Name: Bryan W. Alaspa
Where are you from
I was born and raised in the Chicago area. These days I live in a suburb called Naperville. I went to Webster University in St. Louis and studied Communications. I am married to Melanie who is originally from Ohio and who still has relatives in Pennsylvania that we sometimes visit.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I have a new novel out on March 8 called The Lord of Winter: Elementals Part Two. It’s the second novel in my YA series The Elementals which started with The Lightning Weaver. I plan on having four books total in the series.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I wrote my very first story in third grade when I sat down at my mom’s electric typewriter and typed out a three page, single-spaced, almost-no-punctuation masterpiece. I was obsessed with sharks and the movie Jaws, so the story was entitled “Jaws, Jr.” I had been an avid reader from even earlier on and was fascinated by the idea that people made a career out of telling these amazing stories.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Gosh. that’s hard to say. I always sort of did, even when I was typing out short stories on a manual typewriter I got at a garage sale. I guess when my first novel got published I really felt like it. That was in the 90s and I self-published that one. That was before self-publishing was considered OK.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Another questions tougher than you might think. My first actual book was a handwritten murder mystery called Among Friends that had characters loosely based on my actual friends in high school. I wrote it throughout high school and finished it in college. It will never see print because it’s terrible, but it proved to me I could write a novel-length piece. It was based on some actual events that I then completely fictionalized.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I don’t know. For that, you’d have to ask my readers. I guess I have developed a style over the years, but I’m not sure how to describe it. A lot of my work is inspired by things I hear in the news or stories I read about and then I build a story around what I hear. So, I guess my style is taking thing I hear about and turning them into fiction – but even that doesn’t always happen.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Well, I am a lifelong Chicagoan and I love the city. So, I realized a long time ago that I had better learn to love cold winters. Over the years, I have become quite a fan of winter and snow, even preferring it over the intensely hot summers we get here. So, a friend of mine called me the “lord of winter” once. When I was working on the first book of the series and trying to map out the other novels, that just seemed like a perfect title.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not really. Nothing special. I write books to be entertaining. I want people to forget their problems and enjoy the characters and action.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic ?
Well, the book is about an offshoot of humanity called Elementals who can maniupulate one of the four elements for a variety of effects. So, with that said, I am guessing not much, other than I use some real life settings and set it in the present time.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Not really, other than my wife was once called a “lightning bringer” which got changed to Lightning Weaver in the first book and I was once called the lord of winter.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Well, the first author that got me interested in writing was Peter Benchley because he wrote Jaws. The biggest influence has been Stephen King and I used to blatantly copy his style when I was younger. I have had two teachers who influenced me, too, Mr. Tatone who taught me sixth grade and Mrs. Rundio who taught a Senior Composition class in high school. These days my wife is a big influence and help
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Robert R. McCammon’s novel from 2015 – The Border. Robert is one of my favorite authors.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Allison Dickson, Patrick Greene, James Glass, Scott Nicholson, Iain Rob Wright, Blake Crouch
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I have so many! I am doing edits and rewrites on a stand-alone thriller called TEXT. I am writing a first draft of the third story in my Deklan Falls detective series. I have the second novel in my post-apocalyptic Rotate the Earth series to edit and publish later this year. I have ideas for a dozen or more stories, including the third and fourth books in the Elementals series.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Teachers. I mentioned them above, but they have always supported me and helped me when I needed it.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Well, technically I do write for a career. I make my money during the day writing website content, social media content and blog articles for a large multi-national company. I would love it if I could write my novels and books full time, though.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I have made all of the changes in the editing and rewriting.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Not specifics. My parents were always reading and I remember staring at the covers and being fascinated. Fascinated that someone had created this and that was their job. I think being a writer is what I was built to do from the moment I was born.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I have an excerpt from the novel Lord of Winter over at my website. You can read the opening chapters of the novel here: http://www.bryanwalaspa.com/#!An-Excerpt-from-The-Lord-of-Winter/c1q8z/56caf6730cf2f9aefdbe7977
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Just finding the time. I get up very early to write 1,000 words a day every day. I also try to write on weekends. Then there’s the edits and rewrites that need to happen. I wish I had all day to do it and it’s tough to fit it around the work schedule.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Stephen King. I love how he grabs me from the start, creating rich, three-dimensional characters that I fall in love with and then takes me on an amazing journey.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not really. I have made journeys to nearby states for the occasional book signing, but I don’t tour or travel much. I’m kind of a homebody.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
A variety of artists. I had this one designed by an artist I found on the website Fiverr. I have gotten fairly adept at creating some of my own.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Again, just finding the time. Fortunately, the words flowed when I needed them.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
To keep track of the ever-expanding cast of characters that I have created for this series. Cohesion and continuity are important.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write. Always be writing. Even if you don’t publish it yourself, keep writing. Losing your imagination is a tragedy and it’s a muscle, you have to keep working it out. If you don’t you lose it.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I just hope you check out my work and like it. Then I hope you come back for more.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No. I was reading from a very early age. I used to devour the Little Golden Books and Dr. Seuss, so it was probably one of those.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Lots of things make me laugh. I like to laugh and make others laugh. Any harm done to animals makes me cry.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
I guess it would be Stephen King. Just to talk about baseball with him and movies and books would be great.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
I hope to be cremated. I just hope any memorial indicates I told great stories and that I was loved. That’s how we truly get immortality – by the memories we leave behind in others.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I am a movie fanatic. I love going to the movies. I watch way too much TV. I also have been known to dabble in things like painting.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Wow…OK, I watch way too much TV, so here is what I watch:
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow
Agents of SHIELD
Orange is the New Black
House of Cards
Better Call Saul
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Food: sushi. Color: Blue or Black. Music: Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, Peter Himmelman. Classic rock
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I think I was born to write. I have no idea what I would be doing otherwise.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Check out my novels for Kindle!
Here is where the book is located if you want to include a link: http://www.amazon.com/Lord-Winter-Elementals-Book-ebook/dp/B01BH6C6XO