Janice Alonso interview with David Alan Binder

posted Aug 16, 2016, 9:00 PM by David Alan Binder

Janice Alonso interview with David Alan Binder

 

Bio from her website:    In 1999, after our last son began college, my husband was transferred to New York, where we lived in Manhattan. I began taking creative writing classes. My first assignment in my first class evolved into the short story “Hank - Super Genius.” The story won an Honorable Mention in Writer’s Digest’s 2001 Writing competition. Palo Alto Review published the story.

 

Over the years I have challenged my writing skills in various genres: inspirational, mystery, children’s, and literary.  All of my published work has been short pieces in the forms of essays, devotions, short stories, creative nonfiction, and short shorts.  Being a published writer was a dream I had from childhood. 

 

Realizing a dream takes faith, hard work, and a positive attitude. It can also mean facing many stumbling blocks and rejections. Realizing a dream also requires unconditional love and support from family and friends . . . I have the best cheerleaders from both camps!

 

I am a member of the Christian Writers Guild, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Georgia Writers Association, Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime.

Website: http://www.janicealonso.com/janicealonso.com/Welcome.html

FaceBook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/JaniceAlonsoauthor/

Smashwords Author Page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/janicea

GWA Columnist Page: http://www.georgiawriters.org/online-literary-resources/columnists/

https://www.smashwords.com/books/byseries/25019 

1.     Where are you currently living (at least the state or if outside US then Country)?

Alpharetta, Georgia – United States

 

2.     What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?

I devise a plan for each project, and then break down that plan into smaller parts. I next concentrate on completing each small part. While I believe a general, overall plan is necessary as a roadmap for a project, looking at the big picture can be overwhelming.

 

3.     What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?

Occasionally I like to find spots away from my desk to write. Being in my office for too long is confining.

 

4.     Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?

I have published almost 300 stories, mostly short works. My pieces appear in anthologies, magazines, take-home leaflets (children’s Sunday school material) newsletters, and e-zines. I’ve written a monthly column, The Writer Within, for the Georgia Writers Association website for four years. All of the pieces went through the traditional submission/acceptance process. “Insight” – if a writer really wants to be published, know your craft cold and be flexible with editors.

 

a.     Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they?

Smashwords publishes my eBooks.

 

5.     Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?

The old school part of me loves to look at my work in print; however, I feel eBooks are here to stay. As a short story writer, I normally retain all rights to my work after publication. Some publishers have certain restrictions. A few years back, I realized I had a drawer filled with folders containing published stories. There’s a very small market for reprints. So, I decided to publish them as eBooks on my own. Nothing ventured, nothing gained! One book has been moderately successful – Who’ll Pick Me?

 

6.     Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?

No secret tips, except that whatever work you’re putting out there, make sure it is your best. 

 

7.     How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent?  Any tips for new writers on getting one?

N/A

 

8.     Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)?

Read and take classes on every aspect of writing. A solid knowledge of grammar and syntax is important. Sloppy manuscripts never make it anywhere; they also give you a bad reputation.

9.     What was one of the most surprising things you learned your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?

I began writing short stories and inspirational/devotional pieces, but I viewed them as two separate writings – my fiction short stories and my nonfiction devotionals/personal experiences.  Later I combined the two genres and discovered the Christian fiction market. Sometimes I wrote two pieces from the same idea – one a personal essay, the other as a fictional short story for either adults or children. I was able to use the same research for two stories.

10.                        How many books have you written?

I’ve written twelve books. Nine have been published. One of the unpublished books is a collection of short stories about my relationship with my maternal grandmother. She was deaf. Because the stories are able to stand alone, four of these stories have been published in magazines/anthologies. The book has not been published.

11.                        Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)?

Actually, I have many tips to help others. My column for the GWA website addresses my approach to writing. The column is called The Writer Within. In the first series, “What Kind of Writer Are You?” I give an important piece of advice: Know why you want to write and what your expectations are. Once an author knows the answers to these two questions, his/her journey will been clearer.

 

12.                        Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?

I’ve used twists in several of my stories. I’ve had several mystery stories published. Often I throw in a “tidbit” in the opening scene that will appear in the closing scene with a new meaning, hopefully giving my readers a “wink and a nod.”

13.                        What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?

Good writing with a clear purpose.

 

14.                        What are some ways in which you promote your work?

I’m weak in this area. Frankly, I’d really rather write and be published. But, I do have postcards made of the covers from my eBooks. The reverse side has information relevant to the book and me as a writer. I distribute these cards to schools and various organizations. I also teach the occasional writing workshop, talk to writing and community groups, and network at conferences. I belong to four professional organizations. I have a website, an Author FaceBook page, a Twitter feed, a Goodreads page, a Smashwords page, and my GWA column.

 

15.                         What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why?

I wish I could wait to edit a manuscript until I have completed the first draft. Too often I go back and edit only to discover that at the end of the story, I need to go back and put something back in, a lot of wasted time and energy – two very important commodities for any author to lose.

 

16.                        What saying or mantra do you live by?

Writers write. The best writers write everyday.

 

17.                        Anything else you would like to say?

Do not be eager to submit your manuscripts. Edit. Edit. Edit. Let it rest. Work on another project and the go back and edit deeper. Let others read your story and give feedback. Then see if more editing is needed. A manuscript should be pristine when that editor or agent looks at it.

Website: http://www.janicealonso.com/janicealonso.com/Welcome.html

FaceBook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/JaniceAlonsoauthor/

Smashwords Author Page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/janicea

GWA Columnist Page: http://www.georgiawriters.org/online-literary-resources/columnists/

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