Welcome back everyone for another author interview. Today, we are chatting with Alesha Escobar who hails from Los Angeles, California.
Alesha, will you get us started by telling us a little bit about yourself, and what started your writer’s journey?
- I’ve always loved books and reading. I majored in English in college and went on to earn a Master’s in Education. After teaching for a while, I decided to pursue my love of writing (which coincided with my life change of becoming a mom). I live in California with my husband, Luis, and our children.
- Believe it or not, I began writing at seven. I would write short stories and share them with whoever had the patience to look through them. I think I enjoyed the creativity it evoked from me, as well as the ability to go to different worlds through storytelling.
- [I started seriously writing in answer to] a writing challenge from my husband. He’s a storyboard artist for The Simpsons TV show, and he’s a huge geek (laughs). We enjoy reading and discussing sci-fi and fantasy, so one day he gave me a writing challenge: create a story with a female protagonist, a wizard who must spy during WWII. And that was the beginning of my Gray Tower Trilogy. If you enjoy Marvel’s Agent Carter, you’re going to love these stories that give it all a supernatural twist.
I find it funny how writing winds up carrying you away almost as well as it carries the reader away. Since you’ve been writing a while, do you have a particular incident, or point in time, that you look back at with a sense of “There! That’s when I really became a writer.”?
- When I published my debut novel, The Tower’s Alchemist (The Gray Tower Trilogy #1).
Have you developed a unique writing style, or do your books dictate the flavor of your writing?
- I do, though I feel like it would be hard to describe. I like to mix in humor and a dash of romance with my stories, and I try to follow the outlines I’ve created.
Since you mention outlines, does this mean you try to keep the books realistic through research?
- [Yes.] I did a lot of historical research, so people have commented on things from the scenery to the food characters ate. I also think the characters themselves strike an authentic chord with readers, because these are people you’re going to either hate or root for.
How do you come up with your titles? Any particular method, or do the stories suggest them as you write?
- I try to encompass the gist of the story in the title, so it gives you a very small peek into what it’s about.
You’re one of the nice ones, then. Teasing with hints before the readers ever crack open the covers. Among the research you do for your work, do you also include any personal experiences?
- I hope not!
Sounds like I need to check out your work, then. ::Makes a mental note:: What about messages – do you ever try to weave them into your work for readers to find?
- [Yes.] Never get tired of fighting for what you believe in.
Sounds like you’ve had some good influences in your life. Can you tell us some of the books that had the most impact?
- The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, Shakespeare, the Platonic dialogues, and Victorian poetry (I studied the Classics and they blew my mind).
That’s quite a powerhouse of ideas! Any of these authors someone you look up to as a mentor figure, or are there others who fill that role for you?
- That’s a tough question, because I know some amazing writers that I’d want to just place in my pocket and take with me. I have great respect for authors like Devorah Fox, H.M. Jones, Samantha LaFantasie, Timothy C. Ward, and Alice Marks. Which is probably why I made sure they contributed to the Masters of Time anthology with me.
Are you reading any of their work now, or has someone else managed to capture the place of honor on your reading stack?
- I’m re-reading Monochrome by H.M. Jones (pick this book up, folks), The Black Witch by Micheal Rivers, and Darkness Knows Me by Chrinda Jones.
What about new authors? Anyone catch your interest recently?
- Anthony Jannece. Definitely check him out.
I will have to do that. I’m still trying to bring my library out of the last decade. Do you have any favorites that you go back to now and again?
- I really enjoy Jim Butcher and J.K. Rowling. They know how to write fun stories that draw you in, and engaging characters who you’re invested in.
Definitely agree with you on the character driven stories being totally enjoyable, even if they do like to snarl themselves into horrible knots from time to time. When you encounter problems in your own work do you have anyone outside of your family who helps support you when you need it?
- Several other authors who had more experience and were so kind and willing to share their expertise. I am indebted to them!
Do they help you when it comes time to design new covers, or do you have another team you collaborate with for that part of the process?
- Luis (my husband). Thank goodness I have access to a professional artist who doesn’t mind getting paid in tacos.
::Chuckles:: I think it is safe to say you’ve found a wonderful artist there. Especially as he initially helped spark your writing career. And, speaking of writing, are you at a point in any of your current work where you can share something from it, or news of what’s in the works next?
- My latest story is “Logan 6,” a sci-fi time travel short story in the Masters of Time anthology published by Creative Alchemy (Luis and I are its co-founders).
- I have a contemporary urban fantasy that I have all outlined and ready to go, so now I have to get off my bottom and get to work on it.
Sounds like you’ve got a full plate on your hands. Would you consider writing to be your career, now that you’ve left teaching?
- My “day job” is actually being an at-home mom, and I also do freelance writing and editing gigs.
I’m not sure I’d be able to balance all of that, and still have time for other things. My hat goes off to you for all you accomplish.
With everything you’ve done, are there any challenges or lessons you can share with us that you encountered along the way?
- I learned to finish what I start, to get an editor, and put my authentic heart and soul into my work.
- [It can be difficult] when I get stuck, but then I don’t know why I’m stuck. That drives me insane, because I feel like I have to solve whatever the “problem” is before I can continue writing. I’m not the type to jump forward and come back later.
- [In] The Gray Tower Trilogy, it was deciding how narrow or wide I wanted the scope of the story to be.
::Chuckles:: I fully sympathize with you about having to solve whatever problem has cropped up before you can move on. I’m another linear writer myself.
Now that you have some published books under your belt, if you were to start your journey over knowing what you know now, would you change anything about your work released to date?
- It came out the way it was meant to, and it is something that I’m proud of.
I think I’m a little jealous of you for that. Any advice you would give someone, like me, who’s still figuring out where their writer’s journey is going to take them?
- Write the story you want, write it well, and give it your best.
Definitely words I think every writer needs to hear sooner or later. One last question, before I wrap up. Are there any words you’d like to share with your readers?
- I’m honored that you enjoy my books and are crazy enough to stick with me. Thank you!
Alesha, thank you so much for taking time out of your day to stop by. I look forward to talking with you in a few days when your schedule carries you back through so we can chat with one of your characters.
And, if you enjoyed the interview and would like me to host one for you, please stop by my Offered Services page. When you fill out the simple submission form, I’ll get back to you soonest to discuss details.