Today we welcome A L Kaplan, the author of Star Touched, a science fiction novel with fantasy elements.
Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
While my roots are in northern New Jersey, I’ve lived in Maryland for most of my life and I have a wonderful and energetic dog named Laila. She’s definitely high energy and an amazing jumper. We love agility and have entered a few competitions. At our first one, I learned that yes, you can get a negative score out of a possible 200. She’s since earned an agility degree. I’m also happily married, the mother of two wonderful adult daughters, and the props manager for Toby’s Dinner Theatre of Columbia.
I write, of course, and I have a blog at alkaplanauthor.com, I’m also the vice president of the Maryland Writers’ Association.
How long have you been writing for?
I’ve created stories for as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t until late High School that I tried to write any of them down. My ‘artistic’ handwriting and ‘creative’ spelling used to get in the way. Instead my ideas became the subject for my art. (MFA Sculpture) Now I can get my ideas out quickly without agonising about technicalities. That’s what editing and rewrites are for. I remember the day a college friend introduced me to the school’s computer lab and spell check programs. I was so happy I almost cried. It was the first time I truly felt confident about my writing.
How do you find your writer’s group helps you through the writing process?
Writing doesn’t happen in the dark. They are my beta readers and they hold no punches in telling me what didn’t work and pointing out plot holes. (I had a scene where a character drained his mug multiple times and it wasn’t a magic mug.) Feedback is very important to make sure you are saying is clear. A fresh set of eyes can spot things you may have missed.
Star Touched is your first published novel, but have you been published anywhere before?
I’ve had a few short stories and poems published in anthologies and magazines.
How did you go about getting your short stories published in the anthologies?
I’d been entering several flash fiction contests. The winning ones were published by the organisers. For SUPPOSE, I was contacted by the author who spearheaded the project. She had read my stories and asked to include them in the book. The other two anthologies had put out a call for entries. They were written specifically for those calls.
Star Touched is published by Intrigue Publishing, a small press. What was your biggest challenge in getting the book on the shelves?
The hardest part was getting someone to read the manuscript. Intrigue Publishing published one of my short stories in a YA anthology. When I mentioned Star Touched at a reading, they asked to see it. They covered all publishing costs including, content editor, line editor, and cover artist. When I saw all the red from the content editor I almost panicked, but they had some good suggestions. I also got to give some serious feedback on the cover, which is not common practice. It looks fantastic.
The book came out in October last year and I see you have a good number of reviews on Amazon for a small press author. Did you have a strategy to get these reviews?
Just to write the best book I could. I’ve also posted on assorted social media, read at bookstores and science fiction conventions, and run around town with a little dog on my shoulder.
Do you have any advice for new writers?
Get your ideas out as soon as you think of them regardless of where they occur in your story. Editing and rearranging can happen later.
Can you tell me a bit about Star Touched?
Eighteen-year old Tatiana is running from her past and her Star-touched powers eight years after a meteor devastates earth’s population. Gifted with the ability to both heal and destroy, Tatiana seeks refuge in a town she once visited. But this civil haven, in a world where society has broken down, is beginning to crumble.
I had no idea that we’d have so many natural disasters or that huge asteroids would be flying so close to earth this year when I wrote Star Touched. It’s rather frightening how many similarities there are to what’s going on now both environmentally and politically.
Thank you A L for taking the time to talk and I wish you every luck with Star Touched, which is out now and available from Amazon, your next novel which I understand you are working on and your work with Laila. You can join A L on her journey by following her on Twitter, @alkaplanauthor.
If you enjoyed this interview then why not follow my blog where I’ll be posting more interviews soon and I regularly provide an insight into my own experiences as I work towards publishing my debut novel, In The End. If you’re an author, or you’ve just got an interesting story to tell and you’d like to be interviewed, just drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org