Featured Friday! Alison Lyke
Rochester, New York based author Alison Lyke showed early literary prowess and obsession with the creative process. In second grade she wrote a play that her class performed for the school. By sixth grade, she had read a library worth of classic literature, and moved on to more esoteric work, science fiction, fantasy, and horror, which would become the foundation for her lifetime of creative work.
Alison has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing degree, and, when she’s not reading or writing, she teaches English and Communications at a local college. Alison loves nature, and she’s especially fond of hiking in the Adirondack Mountains. She also enjoys cooking, yoga, meditation, running, and gaming, both tabletop and video games.
Inspired by her artist father’s mythological painting series, her first novel, Honey, uses fantasy to explore the interplay between religion and legends while following a young woman’s spiritual awakening. Her second novel, Forever People’s cyberpunk conventions delve into a world of technology generated immortals seeking to undo the consequences of their achievements.
What’s your favourite part of the lifestyle of an Author?
As a writer of surreal people and places, I will never live in or see anything like my creations. I attempt to make ideas as real as possible, creating characters and letting them reveal their personalities to me and imagining worlds then mentally walking through them.
What made you start writing?
It’s not a matter of starting, I cannot stop writing.
Is there an Author that you consider your inspiration?
Kurt Vonnegut is my favorite author and the inspiration for much of my work. I am fond of tongue-in-cheek science fiction and using work to discuss society without taking myself too seriously. I’m also a fan of surrealism, and fantasy with a dash of absurdism.
What’s your number one tip for an aspiring Author?
Know that your best isn’t going to be right for some people, and that’s okay. If you don’t trust yourself and your own voice, you’re going to end up with crowd-sourced garbage instead of inspired writing. As long as you can sleep knowing that you have done everything you can, call it your final draft and call it day.
What type of book do you like to read and does this differ from the genre that you prefer to write?
I read everything in almost every genre, I usually read 2-3 books at a time and switch them up depending on my mood. I read classics, horror, mystery, literary, thriller, chick-lit, etc. Give them all to me!
On the other hand, I exclusively write science fiction and fantasy novels, and horror short fiction.
Which one of your characters would you most like to spend time with?
No one from my upcoming novel, they’re a bunch of scuzzballs. I’d like to spend an afternoon with Honey, the protagonist from my first novel. She’s calm, funny, and has diverse interests.
Which book do you consider a must-read?
A “must-read” really depends on the situation and why they “must read,” right? If you want the fundamentals of fantasy you have to read Tolkien; science fiction, Bradbury and so on.
If an alien dropped out of the sky and asked: “what must I read?” I would suggest The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. The novel elicits such a range of emotion and runs the gamut of human experience while still maintaining a realistic “slice of life” feel.
What’s been the hardest edit that you’ve had to make? Why did you want to keep the material in?
My publisher asked me to remove a sex scene from Honey so the book could be listed in certain places without a content warning. It was hard to take out because it was hard to write. I sort of had to ask the characters to let me into this intimate moment and I was committed to telling the whole story. In the end, I did take it out but left in that it happened, minus the details.
If you could live in a book, which one would it be?
I want to live before the beginning of stories. To make stories interesting and exciting, there must be turmoil and heartache, at the very least there must be a catalyst to spur the adventure.
I want to live in the “before” where everything is calm and relatively happy.
Spoilers: I want to live in the Shire before Gandalf comes around pointing his staff and making demands. I want to live in Winterfell before half the family leaves for Kings Landing. I want to live in Green Gables before Matthew dies or with the March sisters before Beth dies. I want to live on Mars before the humans bring plague to it. You get the picture.
If you could pick an Author to write your biography, who would it be?
I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Whoever draws the short straw, I guess.
We all know the phrase “the book is always better than the film.” Which film would you like to see remade as a book?
I know they have written some books after the fact, but I’d love to read Indiana Jones as a novel (or novels) so that there can be more exploration of the story’s history and exotic locations. Indiana may also make an interesting character study.
Is there any conflict between what you want to write and what you think your readers will like?
I write in genres where the majority of characters are male, even when the story features a female main character. My characters are usually female. I’ve been told generally that no one will buy my books because they feature females and I’ve been told specifically “I will not read your book because it’s about women.”
This does not bother me. Women should be having, in my expert mathematical approximation, half of all adventures.
What effect can a review have on you, if you read them at all? Both the good and the bad.
If someone is reviewing me, that means my work has been published, which is a work’s final act. So, if it’s negative I can shrug and if it’s positive I can smile.
Can you sum up your life story in ten words or less?
I’ve been through a lot, but I’m doing okay.
What’s exciting you about your next project?
I’m in the editing stages of a novel about two women with dimensional-jumping abilities exploring the multiverse together. It’s going to be the first in a series. I’m excited to write a series because it’s my first. I’m also in love with these two characters and obsessed with their weird friendship.
And finally, you have one quote to be remembered by, what is it?
I would feel strange quoting myself .
Thanks Alison, appreciate you taking part!
If you want to find out more about Alison and her work, check her out on the links below: