Alexandra Woods is a 25 year old mother of two currently pursuing her dream of becoming a writer. In addition to messing up fictional characters lives, she always enjoys photography and spending time with her son (6) and daughter (3).
Alexandra recently sat down with me to discuss her debut novel, a Beautifully Imperfect Life.
Firstly, when did you realize that you were a writer?
There was never a defining moment (that I can think of) where I just knew I was a writer. No ah-ha moment, so to speak, because it always came so naturally to me. I talked out elaborate stories and played them out with my Barbie dolls at the age of seven.
Do you have a specific writing style?
My style. :) No, I don’t know. I just like to open my mind and let my characters do the talking. Most of the time, I feel like the middle man, a mindless human robot listening and typing away as my characters act out the scenes.
Can you tell me a little about the current projects you are working on and what stage of finish they are at?
Yes! My debut novel, A Beautifully Imperfect Life, is waiting for my happy butt to finish the first round of edits so I can send it to beta readers. From there, I’ll edit again, send to an editor, edit again, and if I haven’t lost my mind or thrown the damn things out the window by then, it’ll be released. I’m hoping for Spring, but at this point, all my hopes have been crushed as far as timelines go, so don’t hold your breath.
Also, as much as I hate starting a new project before another is finished, there is a second book in progress. Not the sequel to ABIL, but a super sappy romance novel about a boy and girl who live on opposite sides of the country falling in love during one magical week in New York City. I better shut my mouth now, before I say too much.
Finally, there WILL be a sequel to ABIL, and that is in the very very very early stages of production. That’s all I have to say about that. ;)
Is there a specific genre that you prefer to write for, and if so what is it and why?
To be completely honest, I don’t know what genre I fit into. ABIL is pretty far from romantic, but my other project is super romantic. I think I like being open to writing any genre, so long as the story strikes me.
A long time ago, when I was just a teenager (probably about 13 or 14), I really wanted to write a book and have it published and be rich and famous because I would have the coolest story ever, and I would go on book tours around the world and love life. Reality slapped me hard in the face in the way of researching how to publish a novel. For a long time, I gave up my dream because there was no way a publishing house would pick up my book idea and there was no way I could pay for it on my own.
Fast forward to one year ago when I start hearing about this whole self-publishing business. After being burned so long ago, I figured it must be one of those pyramid scams, so I didn’t get too excited. A few weeks later, a friend of mine, Amanda, added me to Bookaholics Anonymous on Facebook, and I learned real quick that this was no fantasy. There were living, breathing people all over who were writing what they wanted to, how they wanted to, and publishing it all by themselves. They didn’t need an agent or a publishing house or thousands among thousands of dollars. They just needed to write. I’ve been inspired to live my dream ever since.
How hard has the journey been - both emotionally and mentally, on yourself as a writer?
Incredibly hard. Not only do I go through the emotions with my characters because I’m writing the story, but also because some of the trials my characters go through are things that I have gone through myself. I am having a hard time currently wrapping this book up, because I don’t want to have to say goodbye. ABIL is my baby, and I’ll be sad when there’s nothing left to write.
Can you tell me what you've learned so far?
I’ve learned there is no right or wrong way to write a book. Believe me when I say, there are an infinite number of ways to go about it. I can never force myself to write, and I write much better in the comfort of my own bed (with heated blanket) than I do at my dining room table. Unless the topic at hand is editing, in which case I HAVE to be at the table in order to not fall asleep.
Some writers prefer to write in the morning, locked away in the study, others at night. What is your own writing process and are there certain quirks you have that are uniquely you?
I like to write when my characters talk to me. Sometimes that happens in the morning, sometimes at night, but most of the time it happens when I’m in the shower, driving down the highway, or just before I fall asleep.
I like to chew gum when I write or drink coffee, regardless of what time it is. I recently stopped eating as much sugar, so my normal Hershey Kisses are no longer a writing-time snack.
I am inspired by any writer with enough courage to put their story out for the world to see.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging when writing (Research, psychological, literary etc?
I find it incredibly challenging to write with the internet calling out to me. Facebook is always taunting me, and I find myself lollygagging on there more than anything else.
In your opinion what makes a book worth reading?
One with a great plot and an ever better editor.
As far as I can see, there are only good points, as it has opened the doors for people like me who once had their dream of publishing a book be crushed by the way publishing was handled. Self-published authors have the e-book to thank for being able to take the middle men out of the publishing industry. I only hope this is a growing trend, and not one that will die out in a few years.
And lastly, where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Hopefully right where I am now, but with a few more books under my belt.
Want to find out more about Alexandra Woods?
Twitter: Sparkly Disaster
Facebook: Author Alexandra Woods