Linnet and the Prince 

I'd like to welcome Alyson Holman to my blog today. She is twenty-five years old and has been writing since she was in the sixth grade. 

About Alyson

I have completed at least a dozen original novel-length works, and more than 42 works of fanfiction, some of which are wildly popular. I enjoy going on fantastic adventures, and sharing them with people--some of my best friends have been made through reading and writing. My reward is readership, and happy comments. I love making people smile, making them feel something deep and good with my writing--and entertaining them, of course! And I will always have something for people to read. I have often said: "The day I have no more stories to tell is the day I die."

Briefly describe your journey in writing your first book.

I wrote my first book when I was a sophomore in high school—it is a giant science-fiction adventure that I someday plan to revamp and publish, because it has a special place in my heart. But the oldest of my books for sale now is “Beowulf’s Gold,” which was a fantastic adventure for me. I learned SO much about history—I truly feel as if I’ve been on the deck of the Titanic, now, as well as in the midst of the London fire of 1666. 

What is your latest novel?

I finished “Linnet and the Prince” just a few months ago. It’s a suspenseful and exciting romance, quite fun to write. 

What inspired you to write the book?
Honestly? The actor Dev Patel, as Zuko in the film “The Last Airbender,” just lit up my imagination. Also, his performance in “Slumdog Millionaire” did a great deal to start the wheels turning as I developed one of “Linnet and the Prince”’s main characters, Prince Rajak of the Badi. Besides which, I have always wanted to write a story about two warring factions whose children are forced into a marriage, who finally come to come to love each other. 

What’s your favourite part of writing a novel?

The beginning and the end. The beginning, because a limitless world of possibility and adventure wait right there for me. The ending, because all the struggle and pain that the characters have gone through are about to be rewarded—the climax is the best part.

Are there any aspects of writing you struggle with?

At a certain point during every novel, I hit that wall, like a marathon runner does. Those times are painful and trying and frustrating, and it’s not because there’s anything wrong with the story—it’s because my stamina is reaching its end. I just have to force myself to keep going, to finish the race.

Where do you get your ideas from?

Wow. I get them from everywhere—songs, films, works of art...Actually, many of my characters just walk in and introduce themselves. Most memorably, Oleron from “Beowulf’s Gold” seemed to come out of the shadows during an evening walk through my neighbourhood, fall into stride with me, and quietly start a conversation. 

How long does it take to complete a novel?

It depends upon how busy I am—“Beowulf’s Gold” took about a year, because I was still in college. But “Constantin” and “Linnet and the Prince” each took about three months.

Did you query agents or traditional publishers before self-publishing?

Certainly I did, for many years. But I became quite irritated at the form letters I kept receiving. I knew there had to be a better way.

How did you handle the rejection letters?

Many of my mentors told me to expect them, so I never took them personally. I know that someday I will be successful and the senders of those rejection letters will regret it.

What’s your writing process?
I let an idea form for a little bit, but it isn’t long before I sit down with a pen and paper and write down the basic idea, and the end. Then I write down the outline—main event to main event. I allow things to flex, but I never abandon my outline and wander. The story gets lumbering and uncertain if I do. Outlines are my friends!

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish?

I want to take control of my own destiny—I am tired of sitting around waiting for someone else to see the light. I know my stories are good, and if I can get them out there myself, I will seize the opportunity.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Never give up. You know your writing is good—make it better, but never give up on your stories, your characters. You will get them out the door someday. 

What's next in the pipeline? 

I am writing a science-fiction time-travel story called “The Paradox Initiative,” which is about a young pioneer whose wife is murdered by time-travellers. Using one of their devices, he travels forward in time to force them to reverse what they have done—but his encounter with a young woman named Kestrel, and the adventures they have together, may change his resolve. I am really enjoying writing it—the main character is unlike any protagonist I have ever fleshed out.

Do you think your books would translate well to the big screen? If so who would you like to see play your lead characters ? 

Definitely! I have often imagined them so. For “Linnet and the Prince,” I would have Dev Patel play Prince Rajak, and Nicola Peltz or Ellen Page play Linnet; for “Beowulf’s Gold” and “Riddle Walker” (that saga will end in a trilogy) I would have Garrett Hedlund as Oleron, Justin Long as Bhaird, and Eric Bana as Dunmor. I think “Paradox” has huge screen potential: I also imagined Garrett Hedlund as the lead, and Emmy Rossum as Kestrel.

Tell me three random things about yourself.

I live in Kansas. Ireland feels like home to me. My room looks Venetian.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I work in a coffee shop, which provides inspiration for “The Oxford Street Coffee House.” I also adore being in musicals—I am looking forward to auditioning for the local production of “Oliver!” very soon!

Do you write in just one genre?

Of course not! I would never limit myself so. I believe I’ve written in several—historical, science fiction, fantasy, slight long as the story is good, I’ll take it anywhere. 

Do you use Social Media for marketing your novels?

Yes, though I’m relatively new at this—I am busily working on facebook to promote my work.

Who are your writing influences?

I am inspired by Jane Austen and Beatrix Potter, I adore Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, and J.K. Rowling is just incredible. 

If you weren’t writing, what would be your favourite job?

I would be a princess at Disneyworld. That has to be one of the best jobs ever.

Which five people would you invite for dinner?

Mozart, Jane Austen, King Tut, Da Vinci, and Queen Elizabeth

Describe your latest novel in fifteen words or fewer.

Linnet marries an enemy prince, plans to assassinate him, and grows to love him.

What are you reading at the moment?

My brother wants me to read “Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief.” My brother is also a writer, and has great taste, so I look forward to diving into it. 

What three things would you add to your bucket list of things to do?

1. See the pyramids 2. Visit St. Petersburg 3.Become a world-famous author

Do you write full time? If not, how do you balance writing with another job?

I have a part time job at my local coffee shop, which provides me with quite a bit of time to write—that’s why I took the job. It balances quite well.

Do your characters talk to you?

Hehe, yes, and I am quite grateful that they do. If they didn’t, I’d be worthless as an author. I love them all, deeply, and I enjoy their company.

Have you ever used a friend or foe as a character? 

Certainly. Both. Or I have combined people I know into one character. But often, my characters are people I would like to meet.

Review on Amazon for Beowulf’s Gold: Phantom: “This is a really fun book! It starts fast, keeps you guessing, and is hard to put down. The entire thesis of the story is new, not some warmed-over version of something you've read before. The author really cares about her characters, I think. She takes time to develop her characters, and I found myself rooting for them as well. Things seem well researched, as the story twists and turns inside actual events - often tragic - that have occurred throughout history. I found myself learning a lot about historical events I thought I knew about. And just when you think you know what's going to happen, you're wrong! I'll read more books by this author.”

You can purchase Alyson's novels from Amazon...

Linnet and the Prince

The Last Constantin

The Oxford Street Coffee House

Thanks for your time, Alyson. It's inspiring to see people taking charge of their own destiny!

Sibel XX