This week, I have the pleasure of featuring Author Alethea Kehas for this edition of A Perfect 10.
Please enjoy this week’s installment of A Perfect 10
If you want to check out past interviews, you can find them in the following links:
A.C. Flory, Steve Boseley, Kayla Matt, Mae Clair, Jill Sammut, Deanna Kahler, Dawn Reno Langley, John Howell, Elaine Cougler, Jan Sikes, Nancy Bell, Nick Davis, Kathleen Lopez, Susan Thatcher, Charles Yallowitz, Armand Rosamilia, Tracey Pagana, Anna Dobritt, Karen Oberlaender, Deby Fredericks, Teri Polen, Darlene Foster, Robert Rayner, C.C. Naughton, Sherry Rentshler, Linda Bradley, Luna St. Clair, Joan Hall, Staci Troilo, Allan Hudson, Robert Eggleton, Paul Scott Bates, P.C. Zick, Joy Lennick, Patrick Roland, Mary Carlomagno, Kathleen Jowitt, Michele Jones, J. Bliss, Maline Carroll
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
This really depends. There are some days when the flow is not happening and it feels forced, or just plain stuck. Then, for sure, writing can feel like a chore and draining. I think this is why I tend to take my time, and use the luxury of waiting until I feel inspired and creative before I sit down to write. When I do this, I find writing to be wonderfully energizing.
Do you ever write under a pseudonym? If not have you considered it? Why or why not?
No. Unless I was being paid to ghost-write, I don’t feel the need.
Does a big ego help or hurt writers? Why or why not?
This is an interesting question, and on the surface, it would appear the easy answer is “yes.” When someone is bold and proud of his or her writing, there’s nothing really holding it back. Self-promotion is likely to be effortless and fun for that person. That said, though, I tend to think the ego often leads to trouble, and ultimately the work must speak for itself.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Probably getting my MFA. I don’t think it’s at all necessary to pursue an MFA if one wants to write books, but for me it was the push I needed to actually start writing, really writing, creatively. Plus, I just loved the whole experience. I went to Goddard, which is a rather nontraditional school, met some pretty wonderful people, talked to ghosts, and learned that I could channel energy. It was not only an immersion into the writing life, but a spiritual awakening of sorts. My memoir came out of this experience, as well as the impetus to become a healer.
What does writing success look like to you? Have you achieved it?
Had you asked me this question a few years ago, I would have told you that it translates to being on the NY Times best seller-list. And, even better, winning a Pulitzer. Now, after going through the writing and self-publication of my first book, I have to say success looks a lot different to me. I’ve come to realize success is very much an inside job. Finding the courage and words to birth these stories, and to speak my truth, then release them into the world feels like I have achieved something monumental. Would I like to have the book widely read and well-received, of course. But, somehow, this is also enough.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? What sources do you use?
Since first book was a memoir, my research included a lot of delving into my own memories with the aid of scrapbooks and photographs. I quickly realized, though, that I wanted other people’s memories, as I was writing a book about “truth.” I found it fascinating (and often frustrating) to discover what other people remember and what they chose to forget (whether deliberately or subconsciously, myself included). The very fact that two people can have a completely different memory of the same event is also an interesting exploration. I didn’t ask every character in my book to share memories, which was mostly deliberate. I wanted to shape the narrative in a way that honored my individual journey and truth.
How do you select the names of your characters? Have you ever regretted choosing a particular name? Why?
I changed most of the real names in my memoir to protect people’s identity. When I did this I often went with whatever name happened to pop into my head, which sounds rather arbitrary since I hold such credence to the importance of a name. The reader will quickly learn that some of the names, including my own, are integral to the story, the others are simply there to differentiate characters. I suppose I didn’t want to give too much weight to a name that was not “real.”
What is the hardest type of scene to write?
I struggled the most with the brief scene that reveals my earliest memory. It seemed rather simple on the surface. I was only two-years-old when it occurred, so there was not, in essence, much to write, but it was such a crucial moment. It was so emotionally charged and personally defining, I found myself going back to it and trying to get it just right several times.
If you could have dinner with four people, living or dead, who would they be and what would you want to ask them?
Well I had a dream a few years ago that I was on Oprah’s show with Elizabeth Gilbert, and I’d rather like that to manifest into reality. Otherwise, there are probably countless people I’d love to sit down with for a meal.
Four others would be Michelle Obama, Jesus, John Lennon, and L.M. Montgomery. I would ask the first three about their journeys and definition of Truth. I’d ask L.M. Montgomery to tell me about her dreams.
What platform has brought you the most success in marketing your books?
I’m just starting out, so I’m not so sure if I can give a fair answer to this question yet.
Connect with Alethea:
My website is: https://aletheakehas.com
I blog at: https://nottomatoes.wordpress.com