Today I’m proud to introduce a rising star: Ally Malinenko. She’s had poetry and stories published online and in print, including her first collection of poems, entitled The Wanting Bone (Six Gallery Press). Her second book of poems, Crashing to Earth, is forthcoming from Tainted Coffee Press. Her first children’s novel Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb, the first part in a series, was recently published by Antenna Books.
So, let’s learn more about her!
Please, tell us a little about yourself.
Hi I’m Ally. I’m from Monroe, NY which is… er… was a little town about an hour north of New York City. Since I was a kid growing up there it’s grown quite considerably. I live in Brooklyn now which is great except for when it isn’t which is horrid. Currently I’ve got 2 books published, a novel for children entitled Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb (Antenna Press) and a book of poetry entitled The Wanting Bone (Six Gallery Press). My second book of poetry entitled Crashing to Earth is forthcoming from Tainted Coffee Press.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing on and off for as long as I can remember. I’ve been an avid journal keeper nearly my whole life so I’ve got journals going back to grade school. My best friend and I kept a journal and log book for our imaginary land back when we were little. We cataloged all the creatures that lived there and even had an entire language. I kept all that. It’s good for creativity.
Do you remember the first story you wrote?
I wrote my very first story when I was ten. It was eight pages long, which at the time felt about the same size as Moby Dick. After that I moved on to shorter work and started writing very typical angst-y poetry in high school.
Can you tell us two eccentricities about yourself?
Oh goodness, only two? Let’s see – I know many people find my writing schedule rather eccentric. I get up at 5 am each morning to write. It was my husband’s idea. He’s also a writer and came up with the notion that you can get better work done first thing in the morning, before the day get its grip on you. And it works. Though I do miss sleeping in. That’s what weekends are for right? Okay, what else? I write in a closet. It fits my desk and some built in book shelves. Most mornings I’m joined by my cat June who sleeps in an empty comic book box and occasionally meows at me to remind me to stop goofing off online and get back to writing. Oh and I have a shadow of my former self tacked on the wall made by an old friend. There’s a picture in this blog entry: http://allymalinenko.com/2012/04/06/strings-and-sealing-wax-and-other-fancy-stuff/
And finally, in case none of that is considered eccentric, I’m a self-proclaimed Bardolator who was turned away from Shakespeare’s grave.
What was the best thing you’ve ever heard (or read) from a reader?
I had a woman come up to me once after a poetry reading and tell me that a specific poem about my mother’s battle with breast cancer is exactly the way she thought/felt. I was so flattered to know that my words had that effect on her. The universe got a little smaller that day, in a good way.
Do you have a good Indie author to recommend?
Yes Jen McConnel. I’m currently reading her book The Burning of Isobel Key and it’s fantastic. If you like witches and history and Scotland and good writing, it’s for you. It’s due out in October. She blogs here: http://jennifermcconnel.wordpress.com/
And also Julie Innis. Her book Three Squares a Day with Occasional Torture (Foxhead Books) is a fantastic, peculiar, hilarious collection of short stories. You can find out more here – http://julieinnis.net/
Who inspired and/or supported you to become a writer?
My first novel is a children’s book called Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb. It was definitely inspired by all the children’s literature I read as a kid. The biggest one for me was C.S. Lewis. The Narnia books were the first books that I remember reading and saying, “Wait, this is a job? This is something anyone can do? I wanna tell a story too!” Another big one for me was Bridge to Terabithia by Patterson. That taught me that books can be sad and funny and exciting and beautiful all at the same time. As for support, my entire family supports my writing work as do people I count as my closest friends. Good friends can make great beta readers as long as you’ve both got thick skin. My parents and sisters have always supported me, reading early drafts, buying books. And my long suffering husband has had to read nearly every single word I’ve written. He deserves an award.
Do you have a WIP (Working in progress)? If so, can you tell us a little about it?
I have two actually. I’m currently working on the second part of Lizzy’s story and then also an untitled YA book that I just call The Chess Book. Lizzy’s book picks up where the first one left off which I won’t spoil for anyone but I will say the bad guy is back with badder intentions and Lizzy will need to pull all her friends and courage together to stop him. It’s gonna get hairy for our heroine. As for the YA book, it’s about chess and time travel and first loves and homelessness and doppelgangers and magic and kisses and family. Mostly it’s about the power to stand up to forces much bigger than you and not flinch.
What is your favorite of your books? Why?
Oh wow, I don’t know. I only have one fully completed and published novel. I probably love the ones I want to write more than the ones I’ve written. They are still full of potential. But I guess since Lizzy is my first she’ll always have a special place in my heart. So much of her story is mine, minus the whole Shakespeare connection of course!
What is your favorite of your characters? Why?
Again that’s hard but probably Lizzy. Though I do have a special fondness for Kate in the YA book I’m working on. All my characters are a little bit me, a little people I know and a little bit imagination.
Do you like to interact online? What’s your favorite social media?
I do. It’s an easy way to talk to people with the same interests as me, people that without social media I would never know. I’ve met so many great writers and enthusiastic readers online. Facebook is one of my favorites but Twitter is currently climbing the ranks. StumbleUpon and Pinterest are fun too for inspiration.
How do you feel about marketing your books?
Interviews like this are fun! I like talking about my work so I don’t really mind. I’ve got a great little press, Antenna Books, behind me too so that helps. I like sharing what I do and hearing what other people do. I’m not terribly hung up on the logistics. I try to think of it as a big party – we all have stuff in common, we like to read or write. My favorite people are readers.
Please, give us all your links – where can your readers find you and your books?
Here’s my blog: http://allymalinenko.com/
My twitter: @allymalinenko
My book cover designer: http://saragable.com/
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Ally! It was a pleasure to have you on my spotlight!
And readers, don’t go anywhere! Stay tuned for next interview on Monday.
- If you’re an author and want to be in my spotlight, contact me!
- Spotlight on H.C.Elliston – Interview with British thriller author (renatafbarcelos.wordpress.com)