Featured Friday! C.S. Alleyne
I grew up in Australia and while I loved the wide open spaces, sports and social side, as an only child I also spent a lot of time on my own. I was always very bookish and loved writing too whether it was for school essays which required research or English short stories.
I originally trained as a hotel manager in the UK and after several postings in the Caribbean, I changed course and took up lecturing and consultancy which continues to this day. I completed my MBA, followed by a PhD in Information Systems.
Both my work and fiction writing combine the research element which I love. On the fiction side, my fascination with the supernatural and death, mean that my writing can be very dark. And that makes the research very interesting to me lol! I had a novelette, POWEЯ published in December, 2020 and Belle Vue is my debut novel.
– C.S. Alleyne
What’s your favourite part of the lifestyle of an Author?
The flexibility in that I can write whenever the mood takes – no 9-5! If I don’t feel like writing I don’t and if I do, then off I go. I also don’t need a prescribed location to do my writing so it can be anywhere and I often get ideas in the oddest places and out comes my iphone or notepad whatever’s to hand. Admittedly when it happens in the middle of a gym class it’s a bit difficult especially when I forget the brilliant phrases I had in my mind and just can’t capture them again however hard I try!
What made you start writing?
That depends if jotting down notes and ideas for stories counts! I’ve always done that for as long as I can remember and over the years I’ve got reams of half written stories and a lot of yellowing note paper (even now I still like to jot these initial ideas on paper). But with my career, travelling and family commitments (and dare I say socialising), I never got round to completing anything. It was something I was going to do in the future but then that unexpectedly changed. I used to go past a derelict asylum on my way to the gym. It was then converted into luxury flats and some time later, I found a book in the library about murders in Hertfordshire (the county in which I live). In it there was a case about a girl in that asylum who was murdered. That story and my connection to the location, captured my attention in a way nothing had done before. So suddenly with the Muse upon me, I wrote every spare minute I could get and didn’t stop until Belle Vue was complete.
Is there an Author that you consider your inspiration?
I love to read and over the years different authors have inspired me with different aspects of their work. I have read most genres and each one has had something to inspire and teach me. Even the ‘bad’ ones have their part to play as I like to analyse why some writerly things work and others don’t and what I should try to avoid.
What’s your number one tip for an aspiring Author?
If you love to write or have a story you want to tell, then – as long as you are enjoying yourself – keep at it. Passion for the process as well as the subject is very important – especially if you want a long writing career.
What type of book do you like to read and does this differ from the genre that you prefer to write?
I love anything to do with time travel and that can be in any attached genre. Because I am such an inveterate reader, if the story grabs me I will read it. While I love horror, I can also be found with my nose in a crime, detective, mystery, suspense, romance, historical or contemporary novel and I could go on. Belle Vue could strictly be classed as an amalgam on a number of the afore-said genres (though not so much in this book on the romantic side!) And whatever I write even if it starts off on a lighter note tends to turn very dark!
Which one of your characters would you most like to spend time with?
This is the darkness in me coming out! It would probably be the wealthy aristocratic Johnson Nottidge (a baddie in the Victorian chapters) who is completely amoral, a cunning schemer and cares not a jot for anyone or anything but his own pleasure. A dangerous man but a charismatic one and you’d never be bored watching how he ticks.
Which book do you consider a must-read?
I think that is a difficult one to answer as we all like different things even if we limit this choice to only one genre. The book that made most impact on me was Stephen King’s The Stand and if we’re talking the process of writing then his ‘On Writing’ is also highly recommended.
What’s been the hardest edit that you’ve had to make? Why did you want to keep the material in?
When I finished writing Belle Vue it was actually twice as long so I’ve had a lot of editing to do lol! I loved it at that length but I can see it is far superior now as I have based each pruning session on wise advice. I think most tough was some of the background about Alex Palmer the main character which I felt rounded him out and his family circumstances, especially with his mother, made you understand his motivations more.
If you could live in a book, which one would it be?
Outlander! But only if I could be Claire (as in the tv version) – I love the passion between her and Jamie as well as the time travel element – lots of sex and darkness – it’s right up my street lol! Writing-wise of course.
If you could pick an Author to write your biography, who would it be?
I think it would have to be me so I could keep it very short, only pick out the good bits and use photo-shopped pictures.
Is there any conflict between what you want to write and what you think your readers will like?
As this is my debut novel I don’t actually have that many readers at the moment! Every reader will have different likes and dislikes and expectations. If the blurb, associated information and reviews about the book accurately reflect what it is like, then my readers will be the ones who like hard hitting tales.
What effect can a review have on you, if you read them at all? Both the good and the bad.
As this is all new to me yes, I do read them all. I feel it’s all worth it when I get a very good review but also take note of any comments about aspects they might not like. They have taken the time to read my book and write a review so it is up to me to learn what I can to improve my writing and grow as an author. The only ones that irritate me (and I haven’t had one of these as yet) is when a book is marked 1 or 2 stars but it is either nothing about the content but slow delivery or book arrived damaged or those at 1 star who then get a fantastic comments as the person hasn’t understood the rating system!
Can you sum up your life story in ten words or less?
A mixed bag.
What’s exciting you about your next project?
Belle Vue is now planned to be the first of a trilogy. I am in the middle of writing the sequel – Secret Nemesis is the working title – and in it, the main characters from both the Victorian and present day move to the United States and face a cross-fire of evil and danger. So more research on murder and general skulduggery, asylums in the US and satanic societies that side of the pond.
And finally, you have one quote to be remembered by, what is it?
Always looked on the bright side (except in her novels).
Pete: Thanks for taking part. Always nice to hear from someone fresh into the writing scene!
You can find our more about POWEЯ, BELLE VUE, and C.S. Alleyne on the links below: