(This interview was originally posted last Fall on a different blog I write on, but since she’s celebrating her #Zyanniversary this week, I wanted to share it with you here!)
I am so lucky to have Author Alexia Chamberlynn here with me to talk about her writing journey–the ups and the downs–her most recent (and upcoming!) book releases, and FOOD. Thank you so much for being here to chat with me today, Alexia!
If you haven’t yet read her bestselling urban fantasy series starring kick-butt heroine Zyan Star, YOU ARE MISSING OUT. This series has it all: You want snarky and funny? You’ve got it. Mystery, rivalry, romance? Oh, yeah. Battles, sword fights, rioting, tension, and good vs evil? What are you waiting for? Links to purchase this book are at the bottom of this post.
But first, let’s hear what Alexia has come to share with us:
What’s your writing journey been like?
I started writing at a very young age, and attempted my first novel when I was twelve. That began a string of unfinished novels and bad poetry throughout my teens. Getting the hang of jobs and adulting intervened in my writing for a few years, and then about seven years ago I started again and haven’t stopped since.
What’s been your biggest mistake?
I like to think that most mistakes are just temporary, and can even be good if we learn from them and craft that knowledge into a tool for getting us further down our path. So, nothing really heinous is popping to mind other than a dark period I went through when I was really depressed about my writing. It was after I’d been in one of the big writing contests, I think it was Pitch Wars, and I’d been the top pick of my mentor, and we’d won our age category (I was trying my hand at Middle Grade at the time) and three agents had requested, and I was SURE it was my time. But it wasn’t. Two of the agents passed and one left agenting altogether. I spent a year or so licking my wounds and questioning what I should be writing, and whether it would grab an agent’s attention. I stopped and started a lot of projects and didn’t gain much traction on any of them. Lessons learned: 1) Middle Grade is probably NOT my best target audience (I mean, I’m writing steamy adult fantasy now LOL), 2) While it’s good to have a feel for the market and what’s selling, you still have to write what makes you happy. I wasted a lot of time floundering when I could have finished some things. But then I went on to write the book that landed me my agent in a frenzied, inspired six week rush, so, it all worked out.
Your grandest success?
You might think it was landing my agent but actually it’s been my self-publishing journey. I first wrote Martinis with the Devil in 2012. It was my second completed novel. Zyan’s voice came easily to me, I have just always loved writing her. A lot of agents loved the book, but said urban fantasy was too hard a sell and to query them with other things. I also put Martinis in a ton of writing contests and had lots of early Zyan fans that way. But when I didn’t land the Zyan series with an agent I moved on to other books. So, in 2015 when I decided to self-pub I knew it would be Zyan. It was like a homecoming to pull it back out again, dust it off, write a new prequel adventure (Black Magic and Mojitos) and jump back into her world. And now it’s hit the Amazon bestsellers lists a few times and it’s just SO fantastic to see other people love the books as much as I do.
Quote to live by?
Anais Nin, naturally:
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
News to share?
The fourth Zyan Star book will be out this Fall! (Visit her website to get a sneak peek of chapter one!)
Favorite recipe and drink pairing?
Oh man, I am all about cooking and drinking, so this is tough. Okay, I’ll say my skillet gnocchi and a red wine.
For the gnocchi I buy a package of gnocchi at the store (I made them once and it was incredibly challenging), and simmer in a pan with olive oil, veggie broth, minced garlic, a can of diced tomatoes, and a can of cannellini beans. When it’s starting to come together, add some kale and mozzarella. I season with salt and pepper and fresh rosemary from my front porch garden. It’s cheesy and delicious with a tang of earthiness from the kale. Yum! I’m a vegetarian, but you could probably add sausage if you wanted meat.
For wine, I like Green Fin organic red table wine. I get it at Trader Joes. It’s like $5! And so yummy. Really fruit forward but not sweet.
Most important advice?
Have fun! Try not to wallow for too long, though us writers do seem the wallowing sort. Find good and honest critique partners. Keep honing your work!
Alexia is the author of the Amazon bestselling Zyan Star urban fantasy series. She lives in Florida with her son, two cats, and a bearded dragon. When she’s not writing or reading, she can be found playing with horses, drinking wine, traveling to the next place on her global wish list, or maybe doing yoga. Dr. Who, unicorns and katanas make her very happy. She is represented by Sandy Lu of the L. Perkins Agency.
Connect with her at http://www.alexiachamberlynn.com.
About Martinis with the Devil
When offered a job on the Holy Representative’s special security team, bounty hunter Zyan Star couldn’t be less interested – until she finds out it’s her most hated of exes that they’re trying to track down. He broke her heart and dumped her, which in turn led to the loss of her soul at the hands of an immortal soul thief. Now she too exists on a diet of souls, with the occasional martini thrown in for good measure, and she’s had over two hundred years to fantasize about revenge. She just didn’t quite imagine it playing out alongside the emissaries of Heaven.
Working with Eli, the uptight angel that heads up the HR’s security, is just about as much fun as Zy expects. He of course wants her vampire ex brought to justice through legal avenues, which is very inconvenient and incredibly boring. As she dives into the case, however, she realizes there’s more at stake than her plot for payback. Like, the free will of mankind, and preventing the minions of hell from taking over the sovereign dimensions.
This job is going to push her to the limits of her abilities, and there’s just a slight problem with that: the powers she’s suppressed for centuries after losing control of them are exactly the powers she’s going to need to save the HR, end her millennia-old ex and stop Lucifer’s little plot to join the party and invade Earth.
Savior of humanity? Not so much. Or so she thought.
Martinis with the Devil, Part One purchase links
I love that Alexia has learned from every step of her writing journey and through all the ups and downs has landed in a perfectly happy and successful place. Thanks again for hanging out with us today, Alexia! I wish we were more than just virtual friends, I’d totally get together for a glass of wine or two, though I prefer a dry red, Malbec is my fave.
Have you shared any of the same ups and downs in your own life, whether at work, school, or with your writing? Are you totally excited to check out Alexia’s books? Have any questions for her? Share your thoughts in the comments.