Monday, June 16, 2014

Interview with Alicia A. Willis

I would like to welcome Alicia A. Willis to my blog today. She and I share a love of history, writing, and glorifying our Savior and King. With her new release From the Dawn to the Dark: A Tale of Ancient Rome, she is venturing even farther into the challenging territory of independent publishing.

After publishing with a small press, what are your impressions of publishing independently?
My impression is that I was slightly spoiled by my hybrid publisher CrossBooks! My PSA and Design Team do so much for me. Publishing independently is so much more work than sitting back and watching my team do it for me!

Do you plan on publishing on your own again?
Yes, I think so. I like having two publishers. I intend on allowing the Lord to lead with my books, whether that means hybrid, traditional, or self publishing.

You have mentioned to me that you have a different approach to your heroic leads. Each of them is modeled after a real person. How do you do this?
Well, they are only modeled after real people in my novellas. J It is a fun approach. I first scouted around for people I thought would make interesting book characters. Interestingly enough, both young men I have used were in the same family – Nicholas and Silas Blodgett. Both times, I studied their characters and personality traits from afar before I informed them that they would be in the book. That way, I had a good feel for their true, unaffected dispositions. Then I continued to observe them as I wrote. In the case of Remembering the Alamo, I interviewed Silas on two or three occasions to ensure scenes portrayed him correctly.

Have you had one of your character models disagree with you on what the character would do in a given situation? If so, who had the final say?
Surprisingly, I’ve never had a disagreement! Every time I wrote a scene and questioned the character model afterwards, he and I agreed that I had portrayed him correctly. J If we had disagreed, however, I would have given the final say to him.

You seem more comfortable writing male characters. Why do you think that is?
I think I understand male characters better. And, historically speaking, women didn’t do that much that was exciting enough for a book (at least in the eras I have written about). I like swordfights, castle sieges, chariot races, and Alamo battles – all of which involved men. To ensure my books are both accurate and exciting, I like to center around male characters.

I think my readers would enjoy knowing more about you. How would you describe yourself?
I’m a coffee-drinking, history-loving, card-making, crocheting, chocolate eater. J I love ministering in my church, playing volleyball, hanging out with my doggies, and being with friends and family.

What first sparked your interest in writing historical fiction?
I have always loved history and writing. So what is better than merging the two? I don’t know that there was ever a set time when I first knew I wanted to write it – I just always knew!

We would love to hear more about your book. Could you give us a summary?
Here is my synopsis!

Decadent Rome, 61 Anno Domini. The masters of the universe have crushed the Iceni rebellion with an iron hand, slaughtering and enslaving her people.

For Philip, his existence as a captive means living to hatred. He despises his rich, young master, resenting his life of servitude and the wrestling feats Marcus forces him to perform. Bitterness engulfs his soul until he only lives for the day when he will crush the might of Rome.

Then Christianity enters the picture. Taught by a Jewish breadmaker to know the man called Christus, Philip begins the struggle to forgive and honor his master. But forgiveness is not easy towards one who lives for himself.

Marcus Virginius knows nothing but power and pleasure. Destined to a successful career serving Nero in the Praetorian Guard, he wants no part of Christianity. And he is determined to crush Philip’s newfound faith – no matter what it takes.

Join Philip and Marcus in their journey of redemption, faith, and forgiveness. Is love enough to conquer hate? And will the light of the gospel ever surmount the darkness of Rome? 

Persecution abounds – will the two young men survive its terrors and live to experience the bright hope of a new dawn?

I am excited to read From the Dawn to the Dark: A Tale of Ancient Rome. Best wishes on your new release. I hope you will be back with us again soon with your next book.
Thank you for having me!

Alicia A. Willis is a homeschool graduate and avid historian. From an early age, she has had the desire to write family-friendly, accurate books about the past. When not writing or doing endless historical research, she enjoys singing, being a church pianist, and teaching music. She and her family live in New Mexico.

Alicia also writes medieval novels, which is one more of our shared interests. Be sure to check them out.


Alicia A. Willis said...

Thanks for having me here today, Rachel!

Medieval Girl said...

A Hello from the UK here.

Finally got around to reading the second book in this series in May, and buying the third one a couple of months ago. So many other books to read its on my list- to which I very recently added two of yours.

Rachel Rossano said...

Hi Medieval Girl. :) It is great to hear from you in the UK.

I haven't gotten around to reading Alicia's books yet. Not for lack of trying. My life has just been insanely busy right now. I am planning on reading one of them soon, though.

I am so glad to hear you are going to read some of my books. I hope you enjoy them. Please do let me know what you think of them. Every bit of feedback helps with each new project.

Medieval Girl said...

I almost always write reviews for most fiction books I read nowdays- but I know what you mean about busyness.

I am following you by the way, so do feel free to follow my own blog where I usually post said reviews. I also have a contact form on there if you ever feel the need to want to contact me- if I can get the dratted thing working again....