Alisha Costanzo is from a Syracuse suburb. She earned her MFA in creative writing from the University of Central Oklahoma, where she currently teaches English. She’s the author of Blood Phoenix: Rebirth, Blood Phoenix: Claimed, Blood Phoenix: Imprinted, and Loving Red, and co-editor of Distorted, Underwater, and After the Happily Ever After. She’s currently editing her new 2017 fire-themed anthology, writing about Ria’s father, and crafting her new YA novel for its 2018 release. In the meantime, she will continue to corrupt young minds, rant about the government, and daydream about her all around nasty creatures.
Donald: What motivates you to write?
Alisha: The magnitude of stories and chatter drives me to write. I’ve got fifty-four hovering around me at the moment. I think I might go crazy if I didn’t.
Donald: How can people find out more about you and your books? What is your official author website? What are your social media author webpages?
Alisha: I have a buttload of information and free stuff on my website and my blog. I’ve got some free stories: “Untamed” and “Maiden of the Underworld.” I post things on Facebook and just began my Dorky Readings and Bloopers series on YouTube.
Donald: What are some of your favorite books by other authors and why?
Alisha: My two all-time favorite books are The Season of Passage by Christopher Pike and The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. I pretty much love everything both of these men write, but the first is the perfect mix between mythology, vampires, and a trip to mars, and the second is the only book I ever read through in high school—that I was assigned, I mean—and his ability to suck me in with visuals and the depth in which he created the characters in this book ultimately drove me to graduate school and a degree in creative writing. By the way, I met him and totally fan-girted like I used to with boy bands as a preteen.
Donald: Are you a full-time author? If you have another job, what is it and would you like to become a full-time author if you could?
Alisha: I’m not a full-time author, but I love my other two jobs as an editor-in-chief at a small press and as an English professor. I’d love to be able to keep one set of classes, as I teach a linked course, to devote more time to both my publishing and my creative work, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to give up teaching, even if it is a lot of work. I love mentoring and getting to know my students, having them teach me new things every semester and watching them grow.
Donald: What are your hobbies?
Alisha: Lately, I’ve been really into drawing mandalas. I also like to cook and bake, which is like the only other thing I’m seriously good at other than writerly things. And I’ve had a serious hard-on for bullet journalling this last year or so.
Donald: How supportive are your family when it comes to the time you spend as an author?
Alisha: Super supportive, like oh my shit supportive, but I’ve been really privileged my whole life as I have parents who focused on my happiness rather than my bank account, and my husband is the same way. They’re all proud, but they also wish I was around more. I’m blessed to have them.
Donald: What are the genre(s) of the books you write and why?
Alisha: I write urban fantasy most prominently, although I love to mix genres together, like horror, satire, and romance. Essentially, my books have a lot of violence, death, sex, and silly references to other popular books, tv shows, and movies in my genre. My serious geek button is honed on satirical social conformity, so I write what I love.
Donald: What is the title of your next book and what will it be about?
Alisha: My working title is Lucifer’s Daughter. It’s about a fourteen-year-old nephilim, Lilith, coming into her powers and going to a paranormal high school. Cue the satire and parody and twists on biblical mythology. I’m really excited about this snarky bunch.
Donald: What do you think your main strengths and weaknesses are as an author?
Alisha: My main weakness as an author is scene set-up. I always feel as if I’m blathering on too long when I’m describing a setting. I’ve been working on this for years and am developing a style that allows me to give snippets of sensory detail rather than dumping it all at once. My strengths are character development and dialogue. I love to give my characters different voices that make them distinct, like Boden’s lack of articles and how he misuses prepositions. I also like that all of my characters are broken in various ways.
Donald: Who is your favorite character in your current book and why?
Alisha: Gene is my current favorite by a hair. In Blood Phoenix: Imprinted, he really becomes his own character. He reveals his depth and a really cool secret in this book, but his development into a Mr. Darcy-esque character that makes me love him so much. That and he’s the most like my husband as a whole.
Donald: Which of your characters was the hardest to write about and why?
Alisha: In Loving Red, Kaia was my most difficult because of how different she and I are. She’s far more capable than I am in the wild, untrusting, and a faithful Christian. I asked the woman who created the character with me in role playing a lot of questions to be sure I did her justice.
Donald: Do you use one or more professional editors, and if so, what types?
Alisha: My business partner edits my novels, but I use a whole seven-step system for my books.
Donald: How are your books published? (For example, are you an indie author? Do you use a small press publishing house? Does a major publishing company publish your books?) Why did you choose this way of publishing?
Alisha: It’s a mix, I suppose. Since I co-own and operate Transmundane Press as a small publisher, so I publish through there as well. I am sending in a book to a major publisher this coming year under a pen name. As many authors can relate, I like to maintain creative control over my work, and it’s nice to have a community to work with.
Donald: What marketing techniques do you find most effective?
Alisha: I’m loving Book Boast, Instafreebie, and my newsletter. I’m hoping to implement a welcome sequence soon.
Words of Wisdom
Donald: What advice do you have for beginning authors?
Alisha: Just write. Don’t let anyone tell you what to write or that what you write isn’t worth writing. Just write.
Donald: If you could go back in time, what would you say to your younger self about becoming an author?
Alisha: Be open to learning about new things. It’ll make your writing more rich. Focus on showing details and depth of character.
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