Interview with Alicia Singleton, author of 'Dark Side of Valor'

Born and raised in Philadelphia, the Howard University graduate embraced the written word at an early age. She credits this to her loving, older sister whom, while they were youngsters, made the author eat lotion on a regular basis. Realizing the need to sound-out the ingredients on the lotion label, Alicia stopped the lotion-eating practice, but continued to read the labels of the concoctions her sister brought for her to try. This early necessity to read flowered to a passion; hence, a writer was born.The award winning author resides in Maryland with her wonderful husband and son.  Still an avid reader, label or otherwise, Alicia is hard at work completing her next suspense novel.Her latest book is the suspense novel, Dark Side of Valor.
Visit Alicia’s website at www.aliciasingleton.com.
 
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Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Alicia.  Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing and how your journey led to writing your latest book, Dark Side of Valor?

My earliest memory of loving the craft of writing is the sixth grade.  In my adult years, I took writing classes and attended workshops and seminars to educate myself on the writing process.  I’ve pursued being a published author for 18 years.

Dark Side of Valor started off being a totally different novel. 

Initially, I did not choose to write about teen runaways and teen homelessness.  The novel was originally about a woman held captive in a foreign country and she needed to escape back to the United States.  So, I began to research runaways from foreign lands.  Every time I’d type in the search parameters, books, reports and articles popped up about teen runaways and homeless teens.  After several hours, I gave up and read one of the articles, then another, then a report, then a life account. 

After about an hour, I was sitting in front of the library computer blubbering.  As I finished reading, I had to write their stories and out of their stories, Lelia Freeman was born. 


Q: How did you choose your title and was it your first choice?

There is an old saying, ‘No good deed goes unpunished.’ Many times, performing a good deed, being courageous or helping others, may lead to negative outcomes.  That is the meaning behind Dark Side of Valor; the dark side or negative side of being courageous.  Many times in the novel, Lelia, the main character, must live with the negative consequences of helping others.

Dark Side of Valor was the first choice for a title.  I couldn’t see the novel being titled anything else.      


Q: We all know that publishers can’t do all of the publicity and that some lies on the author.  What has your publisher done so far to publicize the book and what have you done?

Simon and Schuster sent out ARDs to various trade magazines for review, added Dark Side of Valor and my profile to several of their genre specific sites, produced an author video and distributed it throughout the web, provided an author website on Simon and Schuster’s website and organized a book signing.

Personally, I hired a web designer to build a better website for me then I started to build my social media network.  I also participate in book signings, event appearances and radio interviews and I’ve commissioned a book trailer with distribution, paid for email blasts and web ads.

Q: Open to a random page in your book.  Can you tell us what is happening?

      On page 169, Lelia, the main character, sneaks into Elijah
      Dune’s room to ask for help escaping from her kidnappers. 
      When Lelia hears the shower and ventures into Elijah’s 
      bathroom to talk to him, she gets an encounter she didn’t
      bargain for.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

    Yes, many, many, many more. 


Q: What is the one thing you learned about your book AFTER it was published?

It still brings tears to my eyes when I read reviews about Dark Side of Valor.  To be compared to the writing legends I admire and to read the glowing critiques and accolades makes all of the years in waiting and hard work worth while.

Q: What is your most favorite time of the day or night to write?

For me, evening time is the best.  Once I’ve finished the book promotions, answered emails and taken care of any family obligations, I can clear my mind to write.

Q: What is usually better – the book or the movie?

It depends.  When a 350 page novel is adapted into a movie, every emotion, nuance or event can’t be acted out.  The movie would go on forever.  However, if the script writer, director and actors can visually portray the true essence of the novel, then they may trump the novel in their portrayal of the story.

Q:  You’re about to write your next book.  What did you learn from your previous book to help you write your next book?

 My next novel is about three quarters finished.  It’s easier this go round because I don’t begrudge the scenes I have to re-write and re-write and re-write.  The scenes that I had to compose over and over again in Dark Side of Valor ended up being the best scenes in the novel. 


Q: Finally, what’s your best tip you can give to writers who want to be published?

Learn the craft of writing and learn it well.  Always seek ways to educate yourself on how to become a better writer.  Trauma surgeons, professional ballerinas, electrical engineers, classical pianists, Olympic gymnasts and architects don’t learn their crafts in a weekend.  Neither can great writers.  Again, educate yourself.  Also, a writer that wants to be published needs to network.  Attend conferences, meet editor, agents and other writers.  To be successful, an author also needs to learn to market their novel.

  
Q: Thank you for your interview, Alicia.  Do you have any final words?

Thank you so much for interviewing me on The Writer’s Life. Stay tuned for my next suspense novel.  The research for that book has taken me to a South Carolina swamp, a rice plantation where one of Mel Gibson’s movies was filmed, on a Civil War naval battleship, and a graveyard.  It was
phenomenal!  I hope to take readers on a thrill ride they won’t soon forget.





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