Author Interview: Alyssa Richards

Do you play music while you write — and, if so, what’s your favorite?

 I love the quiet.

Have you ever traveled as research for your book? 

I love to visit an area that I write about. I’ve spent a lot of time in NYC and Paris and London and I draw on my experiences for my work. Currently I’m writing about Savannah, another town where I’ve spent a lot of time. When I knew I was going to write about Columbia Square (in FORCED PERSPECTIVE), I took loads of photos of the park, the houses and the streets and I’ve referred to them often. 

Have you ever tried to write a novel for a genre you rarely or never read? 

I always write what I love.

How did you come up with the title for your book? 

I was in Savannah and touring Mercer House, the home of Jim Williams. This is also the location of Danny Hansford’s death and a key location in the book/movie MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL. Stairs leading from the main level to the upstairs ballroom were designed with forced perspective, a little architectural trick that makes the stairs look elongated. More elegant. The tour guides wouldn’t let us go up the stairs because the railing at the top is so low, it was too dangerous. I stood at the bottom of the stairs and looked up and I knew. 

How do you process and deal with negative book reviews? 

You have to guard your heart when it comes to negative reviews, because they aren’t well-intended. There are a lot of trolls out there. They’re anonymous and they have a keyboard. They post negative reviews because they want to feel important or they want to displace emotional baggage. If you want to turn those negatives into a positive, you can give reviews an overall glance to see if there’s any aggregate value. It’s possible that repeated mentions can potentially give good feedback. They can show you where your strengths are. If your cover is attracting the right audience for your content. Etc. 

How long does it take you to write a book? 

It takes as long as it takes, but usually less than a year. My focus is to be a good steward of the ideas as they come to me. I think my current work in progress will probably go more quickly than  FORCED PERSPECTIVE which I began in.2020–a lot going on that year. We lost a few family members, that title was my foray into a new genre, we moved. Twice. (Move is a four-letter word, btw.) My new books in progress are in the same world as CHASING SECRETS AND FORCED PERSPECTIVE. They’re still in Savannah. 

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite? 

I’ve written 8 books so far. Over the summer I went back and read all of them again and re-edited a bit. I wasn’t sure how those stories would strike me. Happy to say I still love them all. 

If you’re planning a sequel, can you share a tiny bit about your plans for it? 

I’m currently writing three books. All three are within the same world and involve some of the same characters as CHASING SECRETS and FORCED PERSPECTIVE. The sequel to CHASING SECRETS is a new suspenseful, treasure hunt adventure with the same main characters. Very dangerous, very exciting. The book after FORCED PERSPECTIVE involves a good man who wakes up in unfamiliar surroundings, a dear friend of his is dead, and the evidence points to him as the one who did it. The third book centers around a young man whose mother is murdered. His father knows who did it, but has had a stroke and can’t communicate. The son realizes the murderer is much closer to home than he ever realized.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?

I was 8. My mother told me to go to my room and find something to do. 

Which of the characters do you relate to the most and why? 

Deeply flawed ones in impossible circumstances. Because we’re all deeply flawed and usually find ourselves in impossible circumstances.

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