Thursday, August 25, 2011

Today's Thursday Treat: Rita-Award Winning Author Alicia Rasley


Photo of James Marsters as Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer snagged by Denny S. Bryce

I am totally thrilled to have this mega-author, writing instructor, mentor and all around fantastic woman as today's Thursday Treat!!! 

Ms. Alicia Rasley and I met years ago at an event called Writercon, which was a conference created by the online fan-fiction community for Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Since those good ole days we've become buddies and her classes on writing a synopsis is one of the best out there. So here goes...

Q:  Let's get to the facts right up front. What's your full author name, website, your latest new release, the WIP that is keeping you up at night, your agent, your publisher, how long have you been writing…your successes? Yes, I want the mini bio right here, right now!

Alicia Rasley is the author of The Power of Point of View and The Story Within Plotbook.
- RITA-award-winning author.
- Writing instructor, Ivy Tech State College, University of Maryland.
- Nationally known writing workshop leader.
- Former small press editor.
- Editing blogger:  www.edittorrent.blogspot.com.
- Craft of writing author: Articles archived at www.rasley.com.
- Latest book is The Year She Fell, from Bell Bridge Books.

Q:  What's the best kept secret about your writing process?

Alicia said:   Write or Die.  Yes, I need threats of annihilation to keep me focused!  It's a website that lets you choose a goal of X words in Y minutes, and has helped me get back to my previous ability just to free-write without editing. I trust my craft—my ability to write pretty well no matter what—and anyway, I will always edit later. This tool helps me distinguish between the two essential stages, writing and editing.

Q:  What character have you written or are writing that keeps you up at night - just one, please:)?

Alicia said:  Jon Holt. He's a cynical man who finds himself falling in love with a woman he can't trust, and now he can't trust himself either.  He realizes that whatever it takes, lying for her, covering up a murder, even killing for her, he's going to do it for love of her. And he's really pretty shocked to find himself as passionate and reckless and in love as that, because he's a rational, modern, scientific kinda guy.

Q:  What television or pop culture fictional character has had the greatest influence on your writing style and why?

Alicia said:  Well, Spike, of course. He is, to me, the absolute model for a hero who will give up everything for love. His kind of love isn't modern at all. There's no instinct for self-protection, no caution, no considering of consequence.  He's as heedlessly romantic as Tristan or Lancelot or Romeo, a true romantic hero like those in the troubadors' songs, only with fangs.

Q:  What book/author is the current "hot read" on your bookshelf?

Alicia said:  I'm embarking on a re-read of Georgette Heyer's books, actually, and will be blogging about it at my new Regency website (under construction, so ignore all the nails and hammers left about). I am entranced as always by the precision of her prose, the acuity of her perceptions on human nature, and the irony embedded in each line.  I think, at her best, and heresy alert here, she's better, at least on a sentence level, than Jane Austen. And I think Austen's pretty good.

Q:  What's your favorite drink on a hot August evening - and who (fictional or not, friend or family, celebrity or historic figure) would be sitting at your side enjoying that drink with you?

Alicia said:  I'd like Sangria with lots of fruit in the summer, and the Duke of Wellington. Actually, the Duke wouldn't have time to talk to me, as he always has some battle to plan, so he is welcome to delegate the chore to one of the handsomer members of his junior staff, and if the young officer is in one of those extravagant Regency-era regimental uniforms (with a sword), all the better.

Q:  Who's your favorite romance author and what would you ask them if you had the chance (or when you had the chance)?

Alicia said:  Dorothy Dunnett, and I actually did have the chance. Years ago, caught up in the cynical subtext of the House of Niccolo books, I wrote her a letter, enclosing my long treatise on why Primaflora, the courtesan in Lady Dunnett's third Niccolo book, was actually a tragic heroine, sacrificing her honor, his love, and her own life to save Niccolo. I know I was right, but she replied with great tact that no, Primaflora was no more than she seemed to be, a heartless gold-digger. Ha. This only reinforced my belief that the author often cannot see her own subtext. I remain Primaflora's champion, long after Lady Dunnett has left her and Niccolo behind.  I just wish I could send my treatise to Niccolo himself, for I know he never did realize how much she lost for love of him.

Q:  Last question…what question have you been dying to answer but no one has ever asked?

Alicia said:  What type of character are you most drawn to? Answer: Hmm.  Spike the heedless romantic lover. Jon the cynic who finds out he's really a romantic. Primaflora who sacrifices all (even the love of her lover) to save her lover… and secretly, so that only I noticed.

I'm sensing a pattern here: People who can love so totally that they risk everything, even their identities, for the one they love.  They don't fall in love seeking happiness, in fact, they usually give give up any chance of happiness to keep on loving. Love is about intensity, not pleasure, for them.

That's actually a fun question: What sort of character are you most drawn to?

Thank you Alicia. Now readers it's your turn. Alicia has put down the gauntlet so let's talk characters or just ask her questions, and don't forget...Happy Thursday!

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