Alice J. Black on Hiking, Two Ferocious Cats, and her latest YA novel, The Doors

I wish to introduce Alice J. Black is one of my fellow Melange Books, LLC authors who is published with their Fire and Ice Imprint.

She 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 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.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 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.

Title of Work: The Doors

Genre: YA Supernatural mystery

Tagline: Ever seen a mosaic move on its own?

Intended Audience: Young adults/adults

Is this your first book?

The Doors is my debut young adult novel. It was published in November 2014 with Fire and Ice, an imprint of Melange Books, LLC. I’ve taken part in Nanowrimo four times now and plan to start editing those novels this year with a hope to submit for publication.

Are you a plotter or a pantster?

I have to say that I’m both. I know that’s a vague answer but it depends on the situation. Like I mentioned, I’ve taken part in Nanowrimo four times and each of those times for the month of October I’ve spent a lot of time planning and prepping from research to character development to scene setting.

However, I can also be pantser. My novel, The Doors, was a work inspired by a dream and I just wrote and wrote until the story was out. Currently I’m working on something else that came to me in a dream and without thinking about it, I’m just writing.

How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

The title of my novel came to me quite easily. It’s called The Doors because the main focus of the novel is about the mosaic doors that Amanda, the protagonist, wants to find her way into. It’s acts as a sort of gateway and everything is centred around that.

However, I tend to find that coming up with titles for my work tends to be really difficult for me!

Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?

I have always loved reading as much as I loved writing. They go hand in hand really and I suppose my love for that stemmed from my family who always encouraged and supported me both to read and write. I was reading adult books at a young age and when I first read ‘The Hobbit’ by Tolkien, it soon became my favourite book. I loved the way he was able to create this world and these creatures and brings them to life.

Other than Tolkien I’ve read a lot of Stephen King, Richard Laymon and of course, the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling was brilliant! I’ve read them all several times and again, the world that she creates within her series is magical. I want to be able to do that.

Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

I have to say that I think Arthur is my favourite character from my book. He’s an older gentleman who is very set in his ways and has quite a lot of quirks. I like his attitude and the way he works. He always makes me smile.

How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you?

I don’t think I have a least favourite character. Of course there are those characters who don’t feature as often within my book and perhaps I’m not as attached to them but I wouldn’t say that I don’t like them.

If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?

I think most authors will think about this from time to time and I have. If my book was adapted into a film, I have to say that I’d love Ellen Page to play Amanda. She’s just how I picture Amanda to be. However, beyond her I haven’t really imagined anyone playing any other characters. If that changes I’ll get back to you!

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?

I think names are important and I tend to choose the name for my characters based on what works well, what fits and what sort of person they are. Does that make sense? I have got something forming in the back of my mind about another story and the names I pick there will be key to the plot working.

Have you always enjoyed writing?

Writing has been something I can always remember doing. Sure, I did the whole kid thing and played out in the street and went to the park but when I could be with a notebook and pen, I was at my happiest. It’s something that I’ve used as a creative and emotional outlet for a lot of years and it’s still the same now. Sitting down to write, especially when the words flow, is something that I love.

Do you have any other talents or hobbies?

I’m quite a creative person in many ways and I really enjoy getting involved in lots of creative pursuits. Photography and scrapbooking are two in particular. They go hand in hand too which works out well. I’m not saying I take the best photos but I enjoy it and friends and family can sometimes informally rely on me to capture the best of a big day.

I also really love hiking when I get to do it. I have a hectic work schedule and then of course when I come home I want to write so I find it hard to make time to do much of that.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I think I mentioned earlier that I’m working on something at the minute. It’s actually something quite different for me and I’m not sure whether it will lead anywhere but it’s a new adult romance. My main genres tend to be the dark ones including horror and mystery so I’m not sure whether this romance piece will gain a bit of darkness along the way! I’m also working on a lot of short stories to submit to anthologies at the minute.

My short story ‘The Truth in Abercrombie’ was accepted for publication in issue 19 of Sirens Call Press. I’ve also had my zombie story ‘Dealing in Death’ accepted for publication into Undead Legacy and ‘The Wolf and the Rabbit’ accepted for Kaiju: Lords of the Earth.

What do you wear while writing?

Um… I like to be comfortable so I tend to wear pyjamas if possible. However, that’s not always possible unless I’m at home! So if I have the choice I wear something warm and snuggly and if not, I just get on with it!

Do you have a pet or pets?

I have two cats. One I got as a kitten (and she’s the one that’s quite vicious) and the other I adopted just last year. They tend to get on quite well most of the time but there are the odd fights.

What is your favorite snack food?

Oh my, it would have to be biscuits. I’m a terrible biscuit eater! Normal people might have a couple with a cup of tea or coffee but I use them as a snack on a regular basis which isn’t the best.

If you were a super hero, what would your name be? What costume would you wear?

Grave Girl! I once went to a hen party where the theme was superheroes but you had to create your own. I have to admit, I’m not sure where the idea came from but it was all about dark colours with green trimmings and it looked pretty neat. I even had an eye mask to hide my identity. The plan was I was the superhero that stopped grave robbings and defacings. Perhaps more apt for a different period in time but I tell you, it was fun!

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before? Provide images if you want.

The one place I really really want to visit is New Zealand! I loved the Lord of the Rings films and of course they were shot on location there. I want to go and visit Middle Earth. But I’m also a hiker (when I have the time) and I would love to do some of the walks there, including the Milford Sound which looks stunning. 

Please describe something you “deleted” from your work and why. Because a real writer knows when to hit THE DELTE KEY!

I can’t recall a huge section of something that I deleted from my work. However, when I submitted it for publication it was 50k. When it was published in November 2014, it was over 90k. During the whole editing process I had to delete and rework much of my novel to expand and develop both the stories and the characters. It was a hard process to go through, especially since The Doors is my baby, but I did it and I realized how important it was to do that to make my novel the best it could be.


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It is always a pleasure to get know fellow authors on a more personal level, especially those of my Melange Books, LLC publishing family. I wish you continued success with The Doors, and your future novels.


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