It's the LAST Monday of August; how did that happen?
I don't have the slightest idea.
But it's a fact, isn't it?
Today we have another Vella author dropping in, Aella Black! I should be clear, she's not wholly a Vella author, she's a traditional author as well!
Aella Black is the new pen name for an author who may possibly have multiple personalities based on her predilection for a plethora of pseudonyms. She might also like alliteration but works very hard to limit it to her everyday conversations. She loves dogs--who doesn't love dogs?--and wants to save the world one rescue at a time. When she's not world-saving, Aella feeds her other obsession: books. Writing them, reading them, smelling their musty old pages or brand new out-of-the-box pages. She happens to love the electronic pages too, since a whole host of stories can be transported easily wherever she goes. Aella hopes you'll want to take her stories with you wherever YOU go... Website: https://aellablack.com/
Instagram: @authoraellablack https://www.instagram.com/authoraellablack/
Amazon link to Lock Down, the first book of my YA urban fantasy trilogy (cover attached): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B085LP8W4D
Note: Lock Down is currently free with Amazon Prime (through September) and Kindle Unlimited (until November)...great time to give this trilogy a try!
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
In elementary school, I wrote (and illustrated, though I use that word loosely) a children’s book called “Cocoa Come Home.” It was objectionably terrible, but my teacher bound it into a “hard copy” and, setting that, I was hooked!
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Most of the settings I choose are places I’ve been, and considering I’ve lived in a LOT of places (including countries on four continents), I don’t think I’ll ever run out of ideas. Plots and characters have a great deal of “write what you know” in them too, but who and what is real, I’ll never tell 😉
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Read, and I love it so much I have to make myself NOT read so I’ll get writing done. Spending time with my two children is my favorite activity on earth, though, and I take whatever time I can get with them. And a day isn’t complete without long walks with my senior rescue dog, Travis Barker. Many a scene has been written during these walks and then quickly jotted down afterward.
What does your family think of your writing?
My children are hugely supportive, and they both give me invaluable advice on teenager-speak. My niece and nephew are both big fans of my YA urban fantasy Supernatural Prison trilogy, and deliriously happy having characters named after them. Well, except my nephew, who, at first, wasn’t quite sold on being the “bad guy.” He got over it LOL
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
An astronaut. Marine biologist. Dancer. Actress. Author. Hey, one out of five isn’t bad, eh?
What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?
Pirating books. I absolutely hate when I see people on social media raving about some site they found with “free” books, and I’ve seen authors eviscerated when they object. Authors have to pay bills like everyone else, and it’s devastating to see your hard work on display for free by someone else. As an indie author, especially, since all of the expenses come out our pockets and it can take years to make that money back and generate a profit.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
I write under two, actually. Aella Black is my Young Adult fiction, and Selah Beckham is my Sweet Romance pen name.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Ooh, good question. I always try to tell an original story, but there is something to be said for “writing to market” and hitting the trends and tropes that readers love. My favorite is taking a “cliché” but twisting it in a way that readers don’t expect.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
ProWritingAid editing software. And I say that as a former book editor. It’s an invaluable step in my writing process that helps tighten up my draft, though it doesn’t replace an actual editor (that comes afterward). Worth every penny, and then some.
What did you do with your first advance?
Ha, I’ll let you know when I get one! But between you and me, in my dream scenario, I’ll be buying a cabin in Colorado.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Between 6-10, at any given time. Everything from Middle Grade to YA, fantasy to romance. I love a wide variety of genres, and I enjoy writing them too.
What does literary success look like to you?
To walk into any bookstore and see a book I wrote on the shelf (preferably on a table full of New York Times best-sellers). To inspire and entertain millions. To feel financially secure from books I wrote.
What do you have coming next?
The book I’m currently writing, “Break Every Chain,” is a young adult novel that addresses the topic of labor trafficking, a very real issue that isn’t often addressed in literature. It takes place in oil-rich, land-heavy, football-worshipping West Texas, and may end up spanning the end of high school and beginning of college, either in one book or a duology. Haven’t gotten that far yet 😉
Excerpt from Lock Down: Ever heard that your life flashes before your eyes when you die? It’s not true. Not for me, anyway. All I’ve seen is death. Not life. Never life. Case in point: now. Strapped to an electric chair, my only thoughts the deadly currents that would soon sizzle my skin and fry my organs—one by failing one. I imagined my heart and brain would be the last to go. The latter, ensuring I’d be completely aware of what was happening to my body until the horrific end. See? No thoughts of the life I’ve lived at all. Only the death I was about to endure. To end up in this position, you would think I’d murdered someone. Or a lot of someones. But you would be wrong. I didn’t kill anyone, which meant I didn’t deserve to die like this. No one did. My breaths came out in sharp pants, and the doctor rolled her chair over to me. “There’s no need to panic.” Was she crazy? I had every reason to panic. “Please don’t do this,” I whispered. The doctor reached up and lowered the headpiece over my forehead. The metal was cold against my damp skin, causing me to shiver. “I’m begging you,” I said, my voice louder. Shriller. Ignoring my pleas, she rolled away. Out of the danger zone. “This should be fairly quick.” Terror unlike any I’d ever known tore through me. I struggled, twisting and turning, trying to maneuver my way out. Of this head piece. This chair. This room. This prison. I wanted out. A scream ripped through my throat. “Stop!” The doctor held up a switchboard. My fate was literally in her hands. I shook all over, and for a moment, I thought I was already being electrocuted. But then I saw her finger move toward the switch. I screamed again. I didn’t want to die. Not like this. Not at all. I had too much to live for. Huh. Maybe my life did flash before my eyes.