C. Alease Interview Q&A:
1. What inspired you to write or moved you to begin writing? My Father in heaven inspired me to write The Gatekeeper. Although I’ve been writing since I was five years old, and always loved to write, I could never seem to focus long enough to write more than a couple of paragraphs at a time. I have an extremely vivid imagination, and I always had plenty stories that I would share with friends and coworkers. I believe that having to write long papers for college, researching and finally capturing my thoughts on paper made me realize that I could actually write more than business memos and letters with impact.
2. What are some major obstacles you had to overcome as an author or writer? What do you hope to accomplish as an author and with your book. I didn’t go into this experience blindly. I prayed the same prayer that I prayed when I decided to go back to school. I asked my Father to remove all of the barriers, even the ones that I would place in front of myself in order to accomplish my goal of completing The Gatekeeper. The only obstacle in front of me that I have to move aside is the prejudice that is applied to self-publishers and inde-novelists today by the traditional publishing and literary industry. Vanity is not why I wrote The Gatekeeper. I wrote it to entertain readers as well as to bring to the light one of the most pervasive secrets in African American society; that of mental illness.
3. How valuable is a professional editor? Do you need one? A professional editor is paramount to the success of a book. One of the stigmas associated with inde-authors is the lack of “polish,” so to speak. It is one thing to have a literary voice, but if you don’t know how to translate those words in your head to the paper following proper grammatical rules and punctuation, have difficulty in consistency in the story, and all of the important things that a professional editor can add to your book, then it won’t be good enough to read and it won’t sell.
4. Is it beneficial for a writer to also be an avid reader? Why? This question is tricky. It is vitally important to read. We need to read every day, and most do; menus, road signs, business-related periodicals, technical journals; the list goes on and on. Reading is a part of our lives. I am a staunch advocate for the fundamental importance of reading. However, the question is, is it beneficial for a writer to also be an avid reader. While knowing how to read is important, there is also the possibility that other writing styles can actually get in the way of a writer’s own voice. For me, the fact that I am not an avid reader may be the reason why I feel very confident about my own writing style. I own my own voice, and can honestly say that nothing in my voice is borrowed from another writer. To that end, when comparisons are made in the future, I want critics to say, “his/her writing style is reminiscent of C. Alease.”
5. What process do you go through as a writer? Research? What time do you write? Do you need a private space to write, or you can write anywhere at any time? I definitely do my research. College writing taught me the importance of that. I also go through processes. I think. I am in my car, and I think of something, so I try to remember what I was thinking if it is funny, or in some way relates to one or more of my characters. I listen. Just the other day, my mother said something to me that I thought would be excellent for a character. I wrote it down while we waited for our lunch to be brought to us. I find that weekends are good for writing, but when the inspiration comes, it can come at virtually any time, and I have to be ready, so I keep a pad and pen ready.
6. What defines your target audience? My target audience is anyone between the ages of 18 and 9999; people who can relate to life experiences of others and draw from them something about themselves. That makes the audience very large and diverse.
7. Do you think book trailers are beneficial for authors? Explain. Absolutely! This is the 21st century, the digital age! A book trailer is the picture that is worth a thousand words. Book trailers can create the raw emotion that will draw the reader into the story.
8. How much work do you put in book trailers or explain the process of creating a book trailer? Is there a layout? Plan? I try to keep it simple; make the point and then sell the reader on the concept. I storyboard in my head and then work it out digitally. There is no concrete plan when I begin. I say a prayer to my Father for inspiration and let it flow.
9. Are you marketing and promoting your book? Only focusing on other writing projects? I do have portions of another book that I am working on, but I am marketing and promoting the Gatekeeper on my own. I created a budget and am sticking to it.
10. Reviews? Do you think this is important to market your book(s)? Reviews are very, very important. Reviews give other readers a glimpse into whether the book is worth spending money on, and whether the book will be an interesting read. Reviews are also a great way to gauge audience reaction, for good or not. Constructive feedback is a good thing.