Author Spotlight for this amazing young lady, Alyssa Louttit and her debut novel From the Ashes. Alyssa is a teenage Author who started writing fantasy fiction as a hobby, and one day chose to turn it into a profession. She currently lives in Tempe with big plans for the future.
Q. How was your journey as a writer to a published author? How long did it take you to get published?
A. My journey to writing as a mere hobby to being an author is hard to explain in a few words. It’s been a long one. That might not mean much considering I was seventeen when my book was published, but I was always remember being a six-year-old child sitting in grandma’s house thinking about what it would be like to fly. Which is where my journey started. I decided to write the manuscript when I was fifteen and it got published two years later. It’s been an amazing journey and I’m incredibly lucky that I found someone like Carol Farabee, someone willing to give a young author with no credentials a chance.
Q. What inspired you to write your first book?
A. “Inspired” Isn’t really the right word. Nothing planted the idea in my head, it was always there, it was more of a matter of deciding to put the pieces together. It’s more of a matter of who/what I had in mind when writing the book. The Journals of Fire is being written for a particular audience in mind. The story is about a girl who can turn into a phoenix. It’s equally about the girl and her ability to turn into a phoenix. Anyone who that resonates with is who the story is written for. That’s the closest thing to inspiration, the desire and push to make another people happy and to give them an experience.
Q. Writing can be a difficult job, what inspires you to keep going?
A. I remember that everyone who has met any kind of success has been rejected, brought down, or have had bad reviews.
Q. What’s your writing process, schedule, or routine?
A. My writing process starts with a character, I flesh them out and think about who they are, what they’re goals in life are, what they can do. Then I pick an emotion, something to drive the character and to give the story a focus. Next comes a conflict, give the character something to do. After that I fill in the roles so the story makes sense and flesh out those characters. This process serves as the outline for the story. When it comes to the actual writing I think of 4-5 key events/ moments and use those as a map for how the story unfolds.
Q. Tell us a bit about the series? How did you come up with the concept and how many books will the entire series consist of?
A. The series is about a young teenager named Alicara Lerose, who can turn into a phoenix. The main series will consist of four book with one or two other titles depending on the demand/popularity.
Q. Are your books available on Amazon or other digital retailers as e-books?
A. Currently my book is on Amazon in ebook format.
Q. What is your marketing strategy for your books?
A. The story is character focused, so that’s been how I’ve approached the marketing so far. Here are people you can root for/people who are relatable, and the world they live in.
Q. What is your opinion on self-publishing? Would you prefer to self-publish your books as opposed to publishing with online publishers?
A. I have no problems with self-publishing. However, to make a god self-published book requires a level of skill in editing that few have or they have to know a really good editor willing to help.
Q. What are you working on now? What’s next?
A. Right now I am working on finishing the series and keeping my next project in mind.
Q. What is your advice to a new writer who is trying to get a publishing contract or thinking of self-publishing?
A. The best advice I can is this: good luck and stay patient if you’re aiming for a contract, and if you want to self-publish keep polishing it until it shines.
It is odd looking back on everything. I always believed in destiny. Now that I look back, that belief has only been supported. Al calls me a sap when I comment on it. I didn’t know that day just what that girl would mean to me or the events that will be set in motion. She’s changed all our lives, she’s a living version of the Rosetta Stone; and the bridge between two worlds we never thought would be one again. I try to think where I would be without her and have yet to find an answer I like. She changed the world, but first I had to tear hers apart. I will always remember what she said when someone asked her if the world would ever be like it was.
“Change is like a volcanic eruption, enough time passes on and sure it can be similar, but never quite the same afterwards. Mankind isn’t just going to forget that magic is real, and now the two are far too interconnected to ever be apart again and thrive. Humanity needs magic and magic needs humanity. That will never change.”
And of course who will ever forget when she was asked if she could change the way things happened.
“My world has shattered a few times and there were moments when I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it. I wouldn’t change the path I took for the world. I would like to go back and tell my younger self, ‘Hey just hang in there a little longer. It will get better soon.’ But then again wouldn’t we all like to do that?”
The trek through the forest was quick, a couple hundred feet to the waterfall where Marcus placed his hand on the weathered and exposed rock face and whispered, “Movere deflectatis.”
“There’s something you don’t see every day,” I whispered to myself, and it certainly wasn’t; the left side of the water moved making a doorway that lead to a cave enveloped in darkness. Marcus went in first and gestured for me to follow.
“Speak for yourself,” Marcus teased and then called out into the darkness “Kortara? I’m back.”
There was a roar from inside the cave that made me back up a little, “Kortara?” I asked wondering what was waiting in the cave. That I couldn’t see.
“Relax, she’s friendly,” Marcus told me smirking a little as Kortara walked calmly towards us. I looked at Marcus and my eyes widened in fear. She had a long serpentine neck which was most of her roughly four foot height. Golden eyes that seemed to sparkle with amusement, her horns and claws were a pristine white that seemed to glow like pearls and her scales were light blue that reflected light like the ocean at its calmest. A two foot tail attached to a close to the ground body. Kortara was a dragon.
“Hi there,” I greeted. I stepped back a little in fear.
Kortara let out a sound that can only be described as a chuckle, Marcus pinched the bridge of his nose, “there’s no need to laugh at her.” Kortara let out a cross between a growl and a bark, “What?” Marcus asked confused, Kortara looked back and forth between us and did what looked like the equivalent of raising an eyebrow, “No, you are wrong there is nothing there.” Kortara snorted.
I watched what to me appeared to be a one-sided exchange with both confusion and fascination, “Okay what am I missing?”
“Familiars can talk to you. While each little movement can be hard to decipher you get used to it. Fortunately only a magic can hear the voice of their familiar,” he gave Kortara a look and she walked back into the cave.
“So what did I miss just now?”
“Nothing you need to worry about,” he said just a little too quickly, and walked farther into the cave with a brisk pace.
I raised an eyebrow and shook my head, “If it’s nothing then why are you acting embarrassed and defensive?” I called as I ran after him. I stopped when he did. He touched his hand to a barely visible symbol on the wall. He whispered something and blue light emerged from everywhere in the cave. The walls, back, ceiling and floor were covered in swirls of pale blue light. In the very back of the cave carved out of and into the rock was a make-shift two story house.“What is this place?”
“Back during the time of the witch hunts this was a safe haven for witches on the run. It was abandoned until Adrianna and I discovered it during a storm,” Marcus told me. He began to pet Kortara’s neck as he spoke.