Alison Grey’s lesbian erotic novella Hot Line came out as a paperback last week. On this occasion, we interviewed the author and asked her some questions about her writing process.
First of all, thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions.
I started writing when I was ten years old. At first, it was just poems and short stories. When I was a teenager, I didn’t write for years. But when I was in my late twenties, I again discovered my love for writing. That’s when I started to take it more seriously.
Why do you write? What does it mean to you?
Now it means a lot to me. I don’t get the chance to write every day, but when I write, I’m in my own world. On the one hand, it’s fun, on the other hand a challenge. To take writing seriously means to learn continuously and to never stand still. You have to grow permanently as an author. And that fits me.
How would you describe yourself?
I’m a complex person. You could describe me as creative, chaotic, and orderly. I’m honest, humorous, and hard-working. But the one word that describes me best is authentic. I don’t try to be someone I’m not. To have me as friend means to be able to always count on me, and to ask for my opinion can be risky if you’re not ready to hear an honest answer.
How long does it take you to write a novel?
That’s a tough one. The simple answer: It depends. It depends on the story I’m telling, on the time I have to actually write, on whether I have other projects at the same time, and on how well I can concentrate on the story. To give you an idea: The first draft of my German novel Zwei Seiten took me about four weeks, then I spent nine months revising and rewriting. Now I’ve been working on a historical fiction novel for the last three years, and I still haven’t finished it.
Which of your characters would you prefer to date? Why?
Julia, from my German novel Zwei Seiten. She falls in love with her brother’s homophobic girlfriend. Needless to say she doesn’t have an easy time. But she is friendly, honest, intelligent, and patient. And she looks gorgeous. Who wouldn’t want to date her? [laughs]
What do you find the most challenging part of writing?
Revisions. What I do, I want to do well. But revisions can take so much time and be nerve-racking as hell. It’s frustrating when you are revising your story for the third time and still you or your beta reader or editor finds mistakes. Patience and dedication to your writing are a must. But it’s not always easy to accomplish that.
What advice would you give new authors?
First of all: Read and write. Read what you can about writing but also read well-written stories. They can help you find your own style. Writing is elementary. It’s similar to the process of learning to play an instrument. To be really good, you have to practice a lot. Another advice is to find some good beta readers. The most important thing is to write for fun, though. Don’t write to become rich or famous or whatever. Writing is something wonderful. Cherish it!
Do you get a lot of fan mail? What’s the weirdest or funniest mail you had?
I love to get fan mail, and I answer each of them. I once got an e-mail from a German woman who wrote a, well, let’s say short mail. All it said was “thank you for this wonderful book” and the name of the woman. She never even told me which book she meant. I thanked her for her words and asked which book she meant, but I never got an answer.
What do you think makes a good romance novel?
It’s a combination of things. The idea has to be a good one. Then the author has to be able to catch the reader’s attention with her writing style, and finally the editing has to be good. Well that’s true for all kinds of fiction, I guess. For romance novels in particular, it’s best when the two main characters have a lot of obstacles to overcome to be together.
One of your novels, Hot Line, was translated into English. How did that make you feel?
Happy. This way more people have the opportunity to read my stories. Hot Line in particular deals with things most people can relate to: Loneliness, insecurity, and desire. What a combination, I know.
What are you working on right now?
Many things. Two projects are more progressed, though. One is a historical fiction novel (to be more precise, a western) titled A New Life, the other a contemporary romance titled Love Based on Script. But both stories will come out in German first.
It was a pleasure talking to you. Again, thank you very much.