Today, this blog has the honour of an interview with author Alyanna Poe, who has written the chilling horror novel, Eaten. Recently, I got in touch with Alyanna via Instagram and asked her the following questions:
Where do you live and do the place(s) you’ve lived in appear your novel?
I live in the suburbs in northern California. We don’t really consider our area a town as we only have a Walgreens and two gas stations. Our development is surrounded by farmland. I’ve always lived near agricultural land, lots of nearby farms and fields. I love driving the backroads through orchards, and it really impacts my stories.
I am originally from Woodland, California. In Eaten, my main character’s hometown is a sort of spin on Woodland. There are lots of homes but also on the outskirts of town there are farms and orchards.
Your book, Eaten, is from the horror genre. What drew you to this genre?
I’ve always loved Halloween. I’ve dressed up every year since I was born. My parents have had a huge impact on my love of horror as they grew up watching horror movies and just love Halloween as well.
When I was young, I read The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod. I think I read that series three times. It introduced me to vampires and a little bit of gore. I read Stephen King’s The Stand when I was thirteen years old. I bought it from a man at a swap meet who was selling books out of his van, paying three dollars for the over 1,000-page book. It was the first Stephen King book I had ever read. Later on, I found out that my mother is a fan of his novels as well. After I finished his book, horror was all I could think about. I bought all of the Stephen King books I could get hold of. To this day, I have sixty-one of his novels.
This blogger: I can understand why you love the horror genre now, for sure. Plus, that is quite a collection of Stephen King books. You must be an encyclopedia on his novels!
I am personally a big fan of the horror genre. Which three horror books or films are your favourites?
My top two favorite horror novels would have to be The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson and Stephen King’s The Stand. The Haunting of Hill House terrified me when I read it. It was more psychological horror than the gore that I write. And of course The Stand will always be my favorite as it’s what got me so far into the genre.
My favorite horror movie is actually one that I just recently watched: Silent Hill. It’s got good monsters, I love the concept, and I love how it exposes the darker side of religion.
This blogger: I am embarrassed to say that I have not watched Silent Hill or read The Haunting of Hill House. You have convinced me to read and watch them.
In my opinion, the horror genre gets bad press and marketing. I find that many people refuse to watch a horror film almost on principle. Have any of your friends or family members said to you that they will not read your book because of the genre?
Some of my friends have told me that they don’t want to read my book in fear of ‘having nightmares’ as well as the simple fact that they do not like the horror genre. Some of my friends who claim they even enjoy horror are sceptical about reading my novel after I explain the extent of the gore. I find nothing wrong with a lot of gore, but everyone has their opinion.
In four of my recent blog pieces, I have discussed how to write a death scene in stories. Which death scene in literature or film is your favourite, in the sense that it moved you the most?
The death that hit me the hardest would have to be Rue’s death in The Hunger Games. I attempted to watch the movie when I was around eleven. I had to shut off the movie after her death, it was very difficult for me to watch.
Later on, I decided to give the series a shot, which I fell in LOVE with. I knew her death was going to happen, but it was so sad to read it. I knew how close her and Katniss were and it struck a chord.
This blogger: I did not cite Rue’s death in The Hunger Games in any of the above-mentioned blog pieces. Still, it is great that her death had such an impact on you. Whenever a death in a story has that kind of impact on me, I try my best to transmit that onto the page in my writings for when one of my characters die.
In Eaten, are any of the characters like you? If so, how?
My main character, Amelia, is much like me, actually. I started writing Eaten when I was fourteen, and Amelia is fourteen and just getting integrated into high school. Without giving away any spoilers, I can tell you a few details about her. She has brown hair, brown eyes, and glasses, as I do. She loves to read and listens to the same music as I do. Her experiences in school and interacting with her peers are much the same.
Although, her family situation is very different than my own. She carries some of the same beliefs that I do, and she struggles with the same bad habit that I have – Amelia picks at her skin. They say write what you know, and I took a problem I have and turned it into my form of expression.
This blogger: Yup, that is definitely the smart way to approach writing. It enables readers to feel your passion whilst reading your story.
If you could give your younger self some advice about the writing process, what would it be?
I would tell myself to write as much as possible and read more. I did both a lot, but I feel that I could be further along in my growing TBR pile.
When you plan your novel, do you plan it in detail? Or do you give yourself a basic framework and let the characters take you in whichever direction they like?
I rarely plot. In the beginning, I will write some notes; basically, who the characters are and their physical description, and what I think I want the novel to be.
Usually, along the course of writing, I find different ideas that work better than my original ones. I have loads of sticky notes all over my desk with little bits and pieces of scenes that come to me as I’m writing. Generally, I just follow along with what the characters do. I just watch and write down what I see.
This blogger: That is certainly a great approach when starting out writing. I did exactly that in the beginning, when I started writing my novel over a decade ago.
Are you writing a novel currently? If so, could you give us a sneak peek into what is in store for us readers?
I am working on my second novel! It’s actually a sequel to Eaten. It’s from a different point of view and explores something different. Currently I’m about 23k words into it and I hope to publish it by the end of 2020.
How has writing changed you?
Writing has made me notice more things. I am more in tune with my surroundings, and I notice little quirks about the people I am around. I am more open with people about who I am.
On a different note, writing has changed how I read. I feel as if I over-analyze anything that I read, taking some of the joy out of reading. I’ve been learning to reconnect with books and am currently reading Dan Simmons’ Carrion Comfort.
This blogger: (*Laughs*.) With regards to over-analysing everything, I completely understand. I always analysed what I read, watched and saw. Writing just magnified that tendency of mine tenfold lol.
Second, it’s great that writing has enabled you to become more open with people. No doubt, people find you very interesting and want to hear more when you start telling them about what your writing projects.
What is your favourite (most inspiring) quote, and how has it influenced you in your writing journey?
I really don’t live by quotes. Quotes are just a small set of words and who knows if the person really said them? I live by actions. I’ve seen what an empire people like Stephen King and J.K. Rowling have made off of their skilled writing, and I think, “Damn, I’m going to do that.” Living by way of examples rather than quotes lifts some of the generalization off of myself and my goals. “Follow your dreams” is very generalized and not applicable to everyone. People need good examples of good actions to follow for inspiration, not a sentence.
What do you like to do outside of writing?
I love spending time with my dogs and family. I also enjoy reading in the sun, gardening, working on cars, and renovating my house. My father and I are working on restoring a 1968 Volkswagen Beetle. I think my biggest passion is music, though. Although I’m no good at producing it, I listen to it almost 24/7.
This blogger: Join the club (*smiles wryly*).
Alyanna: Lastly, Paul, I just want to thank you so much for having me for this interview. It was nice to go back and remember what really brought me into the world of writing.
This blogger: The pleasure is all mine. It has been great getting to know you, and I am pleased that the interview brought you back to where it all began for you, writing-wise.
End of Interview
This brings an end to our interview with author Alyanna Poe. I would like to thank her for her time, and to wish her all the best in her future writings, as well as with her family, dogs, Volkswagen Beetle, and other numerous ventures.
You can purchase Alyanna’s great horror book, Eaten, on Amazon and I believe wholeheartedly that you will love it (so long as you like or at least don’t mind the horror genre, of course).
Otherwise, like Alyanna on Facebook, and follow her on Instagram and on Twitter. This way, you will be able to keep up to date with her and know precisely when the sequel to Eaten will be available to purchase.
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