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Adam Interviews...Alicia Wilder!

Welcome back to Monday!

How's the day going for you?

Time to put down those spreadsheets and take a break!

I've got another author interview up for you - Alicia Wilder! I got to meet this year at Fan Expo Denver, where she moderated a panel I was on while cosplaying Wonder Woman.

Alicia Wilder is the author of geeky romances “Cosplay Cupid” and “Level Up.” She’s a cosplayer, cat mom, and triathlete who lives in Colorado. She writes happily ever afters for people with “issues” (aka chicklit with mental health representation).

You can find her at:

Firefly – gone too soon or overrated?

Gone too soon! Although, secretly, I wonder if it’s better we only have a little of it to enjoy. Because look at my other all-time favorite sci-fi TV show–Ronald D. Moore’s “Battlestar Galactica.” My love for it is diluted by how much I didn’t like the way it ended. But basically every episode of “Firefly” is perfect. It didn’t have time for flaws.

Reboots – a great idea or a lack of creativity?

I enjoy a retelling. While I make fun of “yet another Spider-Man?” as much as anybody, I also believe there’s no really new idea under the sun. As creators, we’re always remixing and splicing and adding our own personal touch. It’s a matter of how much creativity we bring to that process.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I was already writing fiction stories for fun when I was in third grade, which was also around the time someone asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up and I said “be on ‘Reading Rainbow.’” I used to deliberately put mistakes in my stories so I could use a red pen to “correct” them, as well. To this day, I enjoy writing and editing equally.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

You don’t have to write every day to be a writer, but I do. I’ve built my schedule around having time to write for a couple hours in the mornings, because I find that’s the best time for me to focus and feel fresh. My routine keeps me motivated.

What does your family think of your writing?

My first romance novel is dedicated, in part, to my mom, but notes on that page that she’s “never allowed to read the sex scenes.” So that’s the only page she’s ever read of my fiction. My partner prefers to read my sci-fi fiction over my romances but was my “expert reader” on my gamer romance novella.

Do you have any suggestions to help someone become a better writer? If so, what are they?

Read a lot–I know that’s what everyone says, but it’s true–and pay attention to how stories are put together. What tense are they written in? What POV? How far into the story is the first action scene or kiss or surprise? When are the characters described, and how much? Do they talk about how they feel or do you understand how they feel in some other way? If you hate or love a certain character, can you identify what triggered that feeling? Try to recreate. Get feedback to see if you achieved your goal. Repeat.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

I actually think writing evens me out. It’s how I work out some big emotions and my own thoughts. For that reason, I consider writing therapy. It aids my mental health.

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

It’s always a balance in genre fiction - I want to give readers the tropes and elements they crave, but I also want to write the story that I felt was “missing” from what is already out there. I try to do both. I write from a concept that I want to write, but I also read voraciously so I know what’s already working - and not working - in the genre I’m writing in.

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you building a body of work with connections between each book?

My romance books (so far) all can stand alone but exist in the same universe. There are “Easter eggs” connecting some of the characters to each other in many of the stories, as well as some explicit connections that are easy to ignore by readers who prefer not to read series.

How do you balance making demands on the reader with taking care of the reader?

My goal is always to show the reader how to read my work. If I’m including something challenging - in my work, that’s often a mental health challenge that not everyone is familiar with - I want to cushion it with a world I’ve explained well. There are readers out there who enjoy being confused, but the majority of people won’t keep going if they don’t have some concrete landmarks to guide them through a story.

Are you traditionally or self published? Or both? Do you feel there are advantages to one over the other?

I’m self-published and feel strongly about it. All paths to publication are valid, and I’ve certainly been in the querying trenches in the past and would consider a publishing contract–after close scrutiny–in the future, but I have more creative control, direct access to data and profits, the ability to take more risks, and the opportunity to iterate as a self-published author. I think traditional publishing is ripe for disruption and self-published (and hybrid) authors are doing a lot to push publishing in new and exciting directions.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I have two unpublished novellas and three unpublished novels–two romance, one near-future sci-fi–in various stages of revision, plus a half-written graphic novel. I had planned on rapid releasing my books, but that timeline ended up not being great for my mental health, so I’m working on a more sustainable schedule now.

What does literary success look like to you?

I like to set realistic, achievable goals and iterate as I achieve them. My goals when I hit publish on my first novel were to get it into libraries and bookstores, and take it to comic con. My novel “Cosplay Cupid” is now in several libraries, two local bookstores in the Denver area (where I live), and I’ve taken it to three comic cons. Now I can make some new goals!

What do you have coming next?

I’m releasing a novella called “Breadcrumbs” on Sept. 26. It will be ebook only and exclusive to Amazon for now, but I plan to bundle it with another novella for a paperback in the future.

And now an excerpt from Here’s an excerpt of “Level Up: A Gamer Romance” which people can download free in exchange for joining her newsletter list here:

Friday night is raid night. I have to be online and ready for the long haul by 8 p.m. sharp or risk letting down the whole team — and I’m running late.

My phone vibrates with a message, but I’m too busy to respond while I’m hustling down the sidewalk between the coworking space that serves as my office and my apartment. Good thing I wear high-top sneakers, not dumb lady heels, since my pace is a full sprint.

The event has been on my calendar all week. This raid boss is tough. We need the whole group to show up if we’re going to beat it.

In particular, I don’t want to let the organizer down. That’s who’s messaging me on our shared server, worried I flaked out on him.

My reputation is on the line.

Stupid commute! I’ve been forcing myself to go into the office more often to be more social with my team. But working from home is so much easier. I can even take breaks to hop into the game and do some farming.

It’s a lot of pressure being both one of the only female developers on the team and trying to fake a friendly, accessible personality at the same time. That was the feedback I got in my last review: “Be less brusque, more friendly and accessible.”

Now being social at work is keeping me from an activity I enjoy!

I fly through the lobby of my building and up the wide stairs to the hidden, crappy stairs that actual residents use. Most of the apartments in downtown Denver are converted office buildings, like this one that used to be a bank. The lobbies look swanky from the street but the apartments are tiny, uniform, and missing updates. Convenient, though, for someone who doesn’t have a car in a city with minimal public transportation.

It’s going to take a few minutes to get my PC booted up and the MMORPG started.

Once I push the power button and the soothing whir starts, I finally look at my phone.

Matt: You’re coming, right?

Matt: I told everyone you’d be here in a min

Matt: Don’t forget to eat something

Food! The screen is still dark on my computer, so I run to the kitchen and pull the leftover pizza out of my fridge.

My phone buzzes again, the chime I set for our shared gamer server letting me know it’s not something stupid like a Friday-night work message.

Matt: Water would also be good

He’s right. Last time we did a two-hour raid, I forgot to drink anything and when I stood up at the end of the night, I almost fainted. I fill a giant Mason jar—I don’t own real glasses—at the sink and then take everything, my arms full, back to the computer set up in the living room.

My apartment is a studio, so everything but the toilet is in the living room. But the computer desk takes up the most room. The black desk is a sit-stand model and it’s huge, big enough for six people to eat at if I used it as a table. I have a big plastic mat so my black-and-red gamer chair rolls easily away from the desk and back and forth between my three wide screens. The middle, curved screen is the one I mostly use for games. It has the best refresh rate. My RGB lights stretch out into the rest of the room, over my unmade full-sized bed. I turn them on now, leaving the rest of the lights in the apartment off. Getting in the gamer zone.

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