Welcome to my guest page. Here, every few days, I’ll be sharing a conversation, over tea and cakes, or maybe a glass of something stronger, if they are not driving, with a friend about their work in progress, or latest book release. I’ll be talking to all sort of writers and authors at different levels of their writing careers.
Welcome to the Clubhouse Tearoom, Alyson. It’s lovely to chat to you though our work as appeared together and we do have two publishers in common. I’m looking forward to finding out how you got started and what drew you to your chosen genre?
Well, Paula in the 1990’s I began writing for children and poetry. I worked with children as a tutor and would run my story ideas past them. Thumbs up! Thumbs down! I had some success getting published e.g. with Collins and Ginn. My current genre, horror, is a very long way from where I started out. However I have always enjoyed reading ghost stories and watching those sort of films and I drifted over to the dark side sometime in 2016!!
Tell us a little about latest writing project. Is it a new idea, or one you have been mulling over for some time?
I am writing a horror novella currently, for Y.A.’s and it is set in my home town of Bingley, in West Yorkshire in both Edwardian times and the current day. It is a supernatural tale, with a lost boy, a haunted clock tower, a Goth teen from Bingley Secondary School and a diary with a macabre tale from 1906.
I’ve enjoyed doing some of the research online and I’ve had a few trips to Bingley cemetery, which dates back to that era.
It is great fun writing it and it has been a while in the making and creating.
Possible title – The Forgotten Boy.
Do you write a synopsis first or write the first chapter? (If you only write short stories, or play do you plan your story, or let the characters lead you.)
I am a pantser more than a planner. Show me a spreadsheet and I run a mile! For short stories I am led by the characters and the setting and see where it takes me, be it 1930’s Depression America or the woods over the road where I live.
For longer works like novellas, I tend to do more planning- I have to else I get lost in the thickets of the story twists and characters.
Is there anything about you your readers might be surprised to find out?
Though I write horror I intensely dislike violence, and I definitely don’t believe in ghosts. I believe in the power of ghost stories though. I love animals, and have four rescue animals, so in my stories people may die or vanish, but you will never read of an animal being injured/killed.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I also work as an editor/proofreader for an indie publisher, blog, write articles for horror blogs, review books and interview writers. So there is a lot of screen time in all of those activities, as well as writing my own fiction.
I’m not a lark, more a night owl, so I can be up till 3am writing my own stuff but some days I don’t write fiction at all but do the other tasks. I can write for 6 hours or 6 minutes. It depends what mood I’m in and if the ideas are flowing.
Do you set yourself a daily word count?
If I write anything I am pleased, it is a gift and a pleasure.
How many hours in a day do you write? Between half-an-hour and at best six- rarely more than and not every day.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
Alyson Faye is my pen name – and it was my maiden name and the name I was published under in the ‘90’s, so I’ve stuck with it. My father named me after the 1930’s film star Alice Faye, which is rather nice, as I’m a vintage movie aficionado.
I would consider a pen name if I began to write very different fiction than horror – a total move over to say – romance.
How do you select the names of your characters? & do you know everything about them before you start writing their story?
Sometimes characters’ names come effortlessly like in the Victorian Gothic Night of the Rider, the brother/sister names :- Barnabas and Leonie, just popped into my head. Other times, it’s a slog and I change the name four times. I like boys’ names beginning with J, I’ve realised. My son is a Joshua, and I often use Jack, Jake, Jordan, etc.
Again, sometimes they appear fully formed in my head and other times, they are faint outlines which need to be filled in.
What was your hardest scene to write?
Good question – it is all fiction I remind myself, but in my latest short story, Maxed Out for Inferno due out in December 2020 from The Infernal Clock Press) I wrote a pretty disgusting scene involving a worm and a stomach.
Emotionally one of the toughest was the Gothic Victorian story, When Dead Eyes Weep (in ShadowBound out now) because a haunted post-mortem photograph plays havoc within the grieving family, and to save his baby brother from its clutches, Edward, aged 10, sacrifices himself. I got a bit tearful when writing that.
How long on average does it take you to write a book (story or play)?
The initial drafting of a short story can take me between 3-7 hours, depending on energy bursts, research pauses, and how the length of the word count. But the real question is how long does the rewriting take? That can be hours more as I edit/tweak/move around or delete material.
The fastest story I ever wrote which is published in Deadcades, Mr Dandy, (about the 1920’s WWW1 veteran ventriloquist and his dummy) and it is one of my favourite of my stories – took less than 3 hours.
It came out, it flowed, it read well, and it worked. Oh, one other thing if I can mention, Paula?
Go ahead, Alyson.
Today me and Stephanie Ellis have announced the launch of our indie horror press, Black Angel Press, run by women for women writers. Our first two publications are:- my solo mini collection :- Darkness Calls and a debut collaboration with Steph Ellis is Shadow Bound a the NHS charity anthology I have a story in is Diabolica Britannica which is raising funds for Covid19 research.
I look forward to hearing more about Black Angel Press in the future and hopefully you will join me back in the Clubhouse Tearoom to chat more