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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Alana White

author Alana White smiling at the camera and an image of her book The Hearts of All on Fire

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? Literature touches people who otherwise might not hear the “message.” I write historical fiction because that is what I most enjoy reading. I believe brushing up against history written in an enlightening and engaging way can offer hope to readers, light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how far away and dim. For me, that is the takeaway, and that is what I find most personally satisfying when writing my historical mystery novels set in Renaissance Florence, Italy (fifteenth-century).

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? I don’t believe there is any such thing as writer’s block. It is not concrete. What there is, however, is fear of failure, of not getting it “right,” and the discovery that “Wow! This is hard!” This takes commitment and bravery. This is a job. When anyone mention’s writer’s block to me, I reply with a comment made by author Lawrence Block, who said, “If a carpenter doesn’t show up for work, we don’t say, ‘My, he must have ‘carpenter’s block.’ We say, ‘He didn’t show up for work.’”

What is your favorite time to write? The morning. In my world, life is quieter then. I have to work (write) before tending other tasks, or I won’t get it done.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? My favorite book on writing is Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. In Bird by Bird, Lamott quotes author E. L. Doctorow, who said that “writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” If writers can keep that in mind, they will be okay.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? I am excited by the many options available to writers when it comes to publishing their work, their words. Writers are no longer chained to traditional publishing which, to me, seems to be in a tailspin. I think one day sooner than later, many traditional publishers are going to realize they are on an island far at sea, wondering, “Where did all the good writers go?” My reply to them would be, “They went independent, they went hybrid, while you were looking the other way.”

Alana White’s The Hearts of All on Fire is out now with Atmosphere Press.