Author Alethea Lyons
Short Story: The Selkie's Mother
Apologue of the Immortals
Tell us a little about your background and what led you to writing.
I've been writing since I was little but got into it seriously after doing NaNoWriMo for a couple of years.
How or when did you realize you wanted to be an author?
It was something I always wanted but thought was impossible. I didn't think it was a valid career goal. It was too hard and too expensive to break into, and I didn't have the time. In the last 2 years, I've reprioritised to make the time and realised I can do it while holding a full time job.
What is your writing process like?
I'm a firm plantser. I usually know the rough outline for novels but a lot of what I write comes from the characters. I like to know them and the world fairly well before I start, so I do scenes and short stories. For proper short stories, I tend to start with vibes and work from there.
What inspires you to write?
I grew up listening to folk music and reading a lot of mythology and folklore, so my writing grows naturally from those sources. I also find inspiration in nature and day-to-day things around me. I like to write with a subtle social cause in mind as well.
What part does writing play in your life?
Even before I was a writer, I told stories to myself in my head and most of my hobbies were story-based. I can't imagine not seeing things and making little stories out of them. I've found writing to be really good for my mental health, particularly in times when I've been suffering from anxiety and/or depression.
What are your aspirations for your writing journey?
I want to keep learning and getting better. I'm pleased with the progress I've made these last couple of years and I want to keep that momentum. The end goal is simply that people read and enjoy what I've written, that these characters and places will live outside my consciousness, but I think that's what most writers aim for.
What is something you know now about writing you wish you knew when you started?
Gosh, there are so many little things like crutch words, dialogue tags, weaving in descriptions. I guess the main thing is just to keep going. Have an end in mind, know your characters, and push through until you get there.
Describe your favorite character (you created). Why?
This is a toss up. Usa and Jon are my two favourites to write. Both go through quite extreme emotional development. Usa's interesting to write because she isn't human. Jon's interesting to write because he is very human but doesn't believe it. Both are overpowered and a bit broken. I want to pat them on the head and say it will be okay, even if I'm putting them through hell.
Which author(s) inspires you as a writer?
So many! Little bits from lots of different people. Neil Gaiman's mythological bent and urban fantasy. Elizabeth Hayden's sweeping, painful romance. Genevieve Cogman's fae and politics. Alexandre Dumas' sword-wielding adventures. Mervyn Peake's bleak and beautiful descriptions. I could go on and on!
What advice would you give newly aspiring authors?
Beta read in your genre and have your own writing beta read.
You can learn so much about process from seeing the drafts of other writers, not just edited, polished published books. Looking only at books from the high street bookstore is like going from raw ingredients to a fully made wedding cake. Replicating that is hard! Beta reading lets you see the stages and makes you more conscious of your own writing.
The feedback on your own stories can be worth gold if you find the right partner. Swap opening pages, make sure you're comfortable with each other's styles and feedback, then go for it. It's hard! But so worthwhile.
What works can your readers expect to see in the near future?
I have a dark, supernatural fantasy coming out in Spring 2024, so watch out for that! It's call The Hiding. I'm working on it's sequel and some short stories to go with it. I'm also working on a cyberfae standalone and semi-related series which I'll be querying, so fingers crossed on those.
How can your readers find more about you and your works?
My website has a bit more about my books and some short snippets (alethealyons.wixsite.com/stories). I am AletheaRLyons on most social media, but my main one is Twitter so please come follow for random writing news and fun snippets of what I'm working on.