Another Saturday, another great spotlight interview! We have the lovely A Shiloh with us today. She also goes by Ally. Let’s find out more…
Your debut novel, Writer’s Block: An Unexpected Love Story has such a great title. Did you ever experience any writer’s block while writing it? Is there a specific significance with the title and the story?
Yes, I did experience writer’s block while writing this book. For a few days, I stopped completely, not knowing what to do next. I finally started to tell my fiance about the story line and where I was stuck. He simply gave me an idea without much thought and bam, I went with it! I was on a roll after that. The significance of the title is because the main female character, Stacey, is a romance author and her writing keeps coming to a halt because of unexpected, and some unfortunate, events happening in her life. I thought it’d be fun to add the meaning of writer’s block to her own life in itself.
Is Writer’s Block a standalone novel, or will there be a book two? Where did the story idea come from?
As of right now, Writer’s Block is just a single novel, but if readers respond well to it and want it to continue, I’ll definitely take it into consideration. As for the idea of the story — I thought it’d be interesting to have the female lead be in a similar situation to me — wanting to keep her identity a secret by using a pseudonym, in order to keep her life as normal as possible. My own reasoning is slightly different, but the concept is similar. As for some of the obstacles within the story, I’ve worked in a few agencies that dealt with victims of crimes, so I used my experience with that to portray the situations in the novel as accurate as possible. As for the other aspects of it, I just really let my mind wonder and remained open-minded whenever any ideas would hit me. I’d literally take out a notebook and jot down any ideas that suddenly came to mind.
What kind of story do you have in the works now? Are you a plotter or pantser?
I’ve started to work on another book that is much different from this one, though it, of course, is a romance novel. In Writer’s Block, the intimate scenes are very descriptive and detailed, and I’m unsure if I’ll take the same route with the novel I’m currently working on. It is, however, on hold, seeing that I’m trying to promote Writer’s Block. I’ve been reaching out to other authors too and joining social media websites to see if I can become more known. Nevertheless, I do work on it when I have some downtime. As for me being a plotter or pantser — I do like to map out everything as much as possible, but I found that after the first few chapters, I started to keep my options open and really let my creativity flow. I went from carefully choosing each step along the way to being on a roll. I couldn’t help myself!
Sometimes we all need a break from writing. What’s your favorite thing to do besides writing? Anything help you to find your muse?
A huge hobby of mine is reading romance novels. I literally read probably around one hundred of them before I decided to write my own. I idolize some authors and want to be as great as they are some day. At times when I read books, I get annoyed at the main character for giving into her love interest when she should have stood her ground more, or I think ‘I would have done that differently as an author,’ so I figured, I should write my own book and I can make sure everything happens the way I think would fit best. I’m not saying my way is the right way; there is no right way; everyone writes differently. I’d say that what began as a hobby of reading became my muse. Other than reading, I love going to the beach during the summer and watching some of my favorite movies and TV shows on my ‘lazy days’. I guess you could say relaxing is a very big hobby of mine. 🙂
You live on the East coast. There are so many wonderful cities up and down the East coast. What is your favorite city and why?
It’d be wrong of me to say any other city is better than Philadelphia seeing that I grew up right outside of Philly. Center City is the best. It has beautiful parks, the Franklin Institute, the Art Museum, the Liberty Bell, the Constitution Center, and so on and so on. It’s a very historical city and I definitely recommend outsiders to visit if possible. And if anyone is planning on going sometime in the future, definitely go to the Franklin Institute. They tend to have special attractions that go along with the general admission, but check out what the attractions are before you go. I went to the Titanic exhibit there and it was AMAZING! 🙂
You recently entered the author world, how has your experience been so far? Highs? Lows?
There are definitely highs and lows with becoming a new author. I’ve created a GOODREADS profile and a Facebook profile as an author to connect with other authors (and to become more known). The other self-published authors have been amazing and very supportive. I’m very proud of myself for what I’ve done but the lows can be quite discouraging at times. I’ve found it extremely difficult to become known in this industry. I’ve been reaching out to authors to ask questions and suggestions, and I’m even creating my own website right now, but getting the word out about my book and gaining interest is by far the biggest struggle in all of this.
Is there anyone who is a major influence or inspiration for your writing? Anyone that helps push you along?
Since the only person who knows I’ve written a book and published it is my fiance, I have to give him a big thanks for his support and encouragement. He’s beyond supportive and keeps my spirits high. Anytime I’m having a ‘down day’ he’d do his very best to lift my spirits as high as he could. He’s always so positive! I don’t know how he does it! As for major influences, there are a few authors that I absolutely love. Those would include Tina Reber, Jamie McGuire, Sylvia Day, K.I. Lynn, Maya Banks, E.L. James, and Kimberly Montague. I’m sure there are more I’m missing but those are some that come to mind. I love their books and have read them multiple times. If it weren’t for authors like them, I wouldn’t have had the inspiration or guidance on what makes a great book. They are all far more experienced than me but I do hope to be as good as they are one day.
Crazy question time! You been sucked into a time traveling machine, what era would you travel to?
I always thought it’d be interesting to go through each decade for a few days and live like they did. I don’t think I’d want to be in the 1500s or anything like that because if you get hurt, you’re done for! Haha! I suppose the early 1900s would be interesting. Times were simpler back then. People engaged with each other in person more. Although technology is great, communication with each other was completely different back then than it is now. Plus, it’d be fun to dress like they did in that era. And just a thought – it’s crazy how back then everyone got dressed up for occasions. Nowadays, it’s not like that at all. A woman going down to the store would wear make up for the 10-minute errand but nowadays, that’s not the case. I just think it’d be a cultural learning experience. Who says you can’t have fun and have it be educational at the same time?
Any last thoughts?
I just wanted to say that in the past, writing was never something I thought about doing, ever, yet now my dream is to become a full time writer. It’s funny how your life dreams or goals can drift into a whole other direction. There’s nothing better than a profession that you love. You spend an average of eight hours a day at a job you may not even like, so why not enjoy those eight hours instead of wanting them to be over? I’m hopeful one day it will happen for me!