Author Interview: Stephanie Alexander
The interview series with members of my Twitter community continues with author Stephanie Alexander. Enjoy!
Author Stephanie Alexander
Bio: Stephanie Alexander grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC, the oldest of three children. Drawing, writing stories, and harassing her parents for a pony consumed much of her childhood. After graduating from high school in 1995 she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the College of Charleston, South Carolina. She returned to Washington, DC, where she followed a long-time fascination with sociopolitical structures and women’s issues to a Master of Arts in Sociology from the American University. She spent several years as a Policy Associate at the International Center for Research on Women, a think-tank focused on women’s health and economic advancement.
Stephanie embraced full-time motherhood after the birth of the first of her three children in 2003. After six wonderful years buried in diapers and picture books she returned to her childhood passion and wrote her own fairytale. Her family put down permanent southern roots in Charleston in 2011.
Twitter ID: @crackedslipper
Q: Welcome, Stephanie! Thanks for being here today. What is your genre? Why did you choose it?
SA: My book, The Cracked Slipper, is cross genre: Women's Fiction/Fantasy. I chose to write this book because I wanted to combine my two loves...Historical Women's Fiction and Fantasy. I think there's definitely a market for a "book club friendly" fantasy novel.
Q: How many books have you published? Are they traditionally published, indie-published, or a combination?
SA: The Cracked Slipper is my first novel! My publishing route has been a combination of traditional and indie-publishing. I have a fabulous agent, Rebecca Friedman of Hill Nadell Literary Agency. She's guiding me through the indie-publishing route while she submits The Cracked Slipper to publishing houses. I have the best of both worlds...I'm really lucky!
Q: How did you come up with the story line and title for 'The Cracked Slipper'?
SA: I came up with the idea for The Cracked Slipper while driving my two daughters to ballet. We were listening to the Cinderella story on the radio, and they were enthralled with the happily-ever-after ending. My thought was, "Yeah, right. She probably died in childbirth!"
I have a Master's Degree in Sociology, and I wanted to place fairytale marriage within the constrains of women's lives in patriarchal, pre-industrial societies. The title, The Cracked Slipper, is a metaphor for the illusion of a life of unending, perfect bliss!
Q: I very much enjoyed your blog post, What Math Taught Me About Writing. What would you say to those writers who are at the very beginning of their journey, and are already struggling against the "this is too hard" mindset?
SA: I'd say just get started. It's like going for a long run. When you stand on the porch and you're tired and it seems too hot or too cold, the run feels impossible. The longer you stand there, the harder it is to get moving. Once you go a few blocks, things loosen up and you just might start enjoying yourself. No time like the present!
Q: Do you sell copies of your novels, or other works, directly from your website?
SA: Not now. I'm on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.
Q: How much time do you spend on Twitter each week? Do you have a Facebook Fan Page?
SA: I utilize both Twitter and Facebook. Twitter in particular has been amazing. So many fabulous writers and readers! I'm on Twitter pretty much every day...probably thirty minutes in total.
Q: Have you outsourced editing, cover design, formatting, web design, marketing, etc?
SA: Yes. I outsourced pretty much everything! I have three young children, and I can only do so much if I want to actually write anything! I have done all my own social networking, however, and I've really enjoyed it. I also work hard to make book club connections. I really believe in the value of book clubs in promoting women's fiction.
Q: Do you work with a writing group?
SA: No. I have beta readers and lots of writing friends, but I don't have a specific crit group.
Q: Have you published any of your work for free? Why or why not?
SA: No...don't think I will. I think that devalues the effort we put into our writing.
Q: How long did it take for your first book to go from an idea to a published work?
SA: About two and a half years.
Q: Tell us about your path to becoming an author. Did you have any idea at the start what the process really entails?
SA: I think like anyone, I assumed it would go much faster than it has. From re-writes, to querying, to being on submission, the publishing industry can be sooooo slooooow. That's why I'm thrilled indie is an option for us these days!
Q: What tips or advice would you offer to writers who are about to join the self/indie published community?
SA: Craft relationships via social networking— DO NOT just spam the reading/writing world with Tweets about your book. And of course, please please please take the time to learn the craft before putting your work out there!
Q: Is there another writer (or two) in the Twitterverse that you would recommend newbies follow?
SA: Yes! So many. Check out my list for some fabulous Tweeps.
Q: Do you have (or are planning to make) any audio books?
SA: Not at this time.
Q: Have you done a blog tour? Any advice or cautions?
SA: Not yet! Would be fun...
Q: Do you create an outline before beginning a new book?
SA: Yes. I am a proud plotter. Of course, I veer way off course from the original plan by the end, but I need to know the major plot points so I can work toward them.
Q: Do you work on more than one manuscript at a time?
SA: Not really. I have had to go back and make major edits to one manuscript while working on the first draft of another. It's not fun, because it throws your train of thought right off the rails.
Q: Do you use specialty software?
Q: What is the best comment/compliment you have received about your work?
SA: Anne Hite, author of Ghost on Black Mountain, called The Cracked Slipper "hauntingly beautiful." When my agent, Rebecca, said to me, "You are a great writer," it was probably the most validating moment of my writing life.
Q: Let's flip things around for a moment. As a reader, what factors do you consider when deciding whether or not to purchase a book?
SA: I have to say covers suck me in! Also, I tend toward certain genres...sometimes I think I should branch out...but I never do.
Thanks for being here today, Stephanie! We appreciate your visit and hope you'll come back and share updates with us later in the year.