Girl In the Mirror | Interview with Alix Golden

I’d been following Alix Golden for awhile now, having stumbled upon her blog (and promptly falling in love). She recently published a book, and since I love to chat it up with creators, I asked to interview her. So here it is:

1. GIRL IN THE MIRROR is your first novel. I’d love to hear about your process. How long did it take you to write GIRL IN THE MIRROR?
It took 2 years from the time I wrote the first word until I finished my first draft. There was a lot of things going on in my life during the time I was writing. I hope that next time, it won’t take quite that long.

2. How much time did it take for me to find a publisher? How many query letters did you send out? Did you receive a lot of rejections at first? (Or did you self-publish? If so – what was that process like?)

I never tried traditional publishing. I decided to publish myself to retain control over the process. Self publishing is a lot of work, more work than I imagined. I never thought about designing a cover or choosing the font… When you self publish, writing the book becomes the easy part. The real work begins when you’re trying to get it on the shelf.

3. Did you ever feel nervous about putting your work out there?
Absolutely! I feel nervous about it now. I feel better since I’ve gotten the first review out of the way, but I’m still nervous. I put so much of myself in the book, it feels as though people are looking inside of me when they are reading. I can’t hide.
4. Your character is also a black lesbian. Can you explain to me a bit about what prompted you to create her? Did you draw from your own life experiences? Or did you completely make everything up?
The character reminds me of myself. She has a lot of me in her and I pulled a lot of this story from my experiences. Of course I took a creative license, but a lot of it is based on my own reality.
5. I hadn’t seen you on Twitter in ages! (I suppose you were writing!) Do you require a certain type of atmosphere in order to write? What is your usual process during the time you wrote this book?
That depends on what I’m writing. If I’m writing a regular scene with dialogue and interactions, I can write in any situation. It could be a party going on around me and I could write. If I’m trying to write a sex scene, I need to be alone with music to write the scene. The mood has to be set to be realistic.
6. Did you have a peer look over your work to help you as you wrote or did you handle all the edits yourself?
I’ve had a few people look over my work to catch things I may have missed. After you’ve been staring at words for months on end, you start to miss the obvious mistakes. Every writer should have someone review their work before printing. I was told once that you should let someone that knows more about writing than you do to read your work. It’s great advice.
7. What’s your favorite aspect of writing? What makes you love it so much?
It’s creating an alternate world. When I was writing this novel, my mother was diagnosed with cancer, and passed while I was writing. When you’re telling the story, you get an opportunity to take a break from your real life.
8. Do you plan on writing a second novel? Have you already begun work on something else?
I’ve already started working on the next novel. The working title is The Price of Paper, but it will probably change.
9. When is the release date? Will it be available in retail stores or through some other means?
It will be released on September 1st. It will be available on Amazon, but I’m not sure about retail stores. You will be able to walk into a retail store and have them place a special order for the book, but the decision to carry it in stock on the shelf is made by the bookstore, not by me. You can always find links to all of my work on my website:

Alix B. Golden, Author

Interview: Tameka Frost (Author)

While spending a lot of time on Twitter has proved to be fruitless in the past, about two weeks ago I “overheard” a conversation between my followers. One of them was talking about her writing! So I quickly decided to e-mail her and talk to her about her process. Here’s our interview!

So, it’s pretty exciting that you’re getting a book published!! I know we can’t talk specifics, but I would love to hear more about your process that got you up to this point: 

How old are you? Where are you from? What do you do now as your career? 

I’m 34, I was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and I now reside in north Mississippi. I work for a major cell phone company, not really what I call a “career”,  but for now, it pays the bills. 

When did you start writing? Did you ever want to do it professionally?  

I started writing when I was in the 8th grade, and my English teacher gave us an assignment to write a short Halloween story.  After intriguing the class with my weird, but scary story, my teacher tried to convince me to enter into a writing class for young gifted writers. I declined, but after realizing that I had that talent, I have been writing ever since. I just recently, about two years ago decided to go all the way, and do it professionally. 

Do you have any favorite books that inspired you? Or authors?  

Oh yes! It would probably be easier to just name my favorite authors, because I have several favorite books. To name a few favorite authors: Teri Woods, Miasha (My most favorite) Eric Jerome Dickey, Terry McMillan, Devon Scott, D.L. Sparks, and Daaimah S. Poole. 

Are there specific things like you to focus on in your writing in general: race, gender, sexuality, location, etc?  

Honestly, no, not really.  I have been through so many crazy things in life, and I also just sit up and think of things that I would probably like to read, myself, and I just kind of add them all in together.  As my writing career grows, I will be able to factor in more interesting things like different places that I have traveled to, different people and different cultures that I have encountered, etcetera. 

Were there any books that made you upset and made you think, “I am going to write something better than that!”?

I have to say that Miasha’s book, Diary of a Mistress, is the one that probably sets my writing on fire.  That was the first, and only book that I was able to read in one day. I can remember having the book with me in the drive through line at McDonald’s because it was so good that I couldn’t put it down! It was so suspenseful, and throughout the story, I was on the edge of my seat, as we do in movies! 

What is your writing schedule like? Do you like to listen to music or have a playlist that gets you into the groove?  

I don’t really have a writing schedule.  I have found that when I try to say, “Ok, when I get home, I am going to write for an hour, at this time, or that time” I have writer’s block, or I feel some kind of anxiety: like I am putting pressure on myself.  I have to do it, in silence, when the rhythm hits me, which is pretty often, luckily. 

Do you attend writing groups or workshops and let others read your work? 

No, not as of yet, but I do have in mind to start a writers/readers group. 

How long did it take for you to start and finish your current novel?  

It took way longer than it should have. I thought of the idea for the book about four years ago after a terrible break up.  I started on it, then stopped.  I lost the content, then started on it again. I gave up after a huge writing block, and no direction, because I didn’t carefully plan it in my mind before I started.  Now, the book is almost complete, and prayerfully, will be published and flying off shelves very soon! 

What inspired the plot and idea for your current novel?  

I had a bad break up a few years ago, and the original idea for the book was to write a story based on that relationship and how things went down. Instead, once I started writing it took on a mind of it’s own and became way more interesting than the relationship, itself. LOL! I don’t really do outlines or anything for my blogs, short stories, etcetera; I just let it flow. 

Do you have any tips or advice for writers who are starting out and want to be published?  

Yes, my advice is one word: WRITE! Also, do your research. Use the internet to search how to get started, who to contact, and how to contact them. If you have any books that you have read, especially by your favorite author, search the book to find information on who published them, and contact them for information on how to get in touch with them to possibly discuss publishing your book. Don’t put  a lot of your work online, and don’t give out too much information unless you have it fully secured and copyrighted. 

How many agents did you query before your book got accepted? Did you face a lot of rejection during that time? What did you do to keep yourself motivated?  

Actually, I’m still really looking for a publisher.  I am in talks with a publishing company that will handle the professional editing for my book, and honestly, this may be the one that rolls for me.  

You can contact Ms. Frost through her Twitter (@_TheHurricane) or her blog (http://mizzhurricane.wordpress.com)