Today I’m absolutely delighted to welcome the lovely Alys West.
Please tell us something about yourself, Alys.
I write urban fantasy and steampunk with romance twist. My debut novel, ‘Beltane’, an urban fantasy romance set in Glastonbury, is now available on Amazon. My second novel, a steampunk romance called ‘The Dirigible King’s Daughter’ is available to read on Wattpad. I’m a member of the Write Romantic blog group and started a MA in Creative Writing at York St John University in October. Apart from reading and writing, my favourite things are tea, cake, folk music and ‘The Musketeers’.
Oh, I love all the same things as you. How would you describe yourself as a colour?
I’m going with turquoise. That’s possibly a slightly obvious answer because at least half of my wardrobe is shades of turquoise, teal and duck egg blue. But I think it’s a fairly accurate description of my personality as well. My friend, Sharon Booth, said it reminds her of me as pretty, gentle and calming but has hidden depths like the ocean. She is my friend though, so she may be biased!
Hahaha! Are you a morning person, or a midnight candle burner?
Definitely a morning person although I don’t think my mornings start quite as early as other peoples. As far as I’m concerned if it’s before 6.30am then it’s still night!
What kind of music do you listen to, Alys?
I listen to a lot of folk music, particularly Scottish and Celtic folk. My favourite song would have to ‘The Whole of the Moon’ by The Waterboys. I’ve loved it since I was 15 and when I saw them perform it live a couple of years ago I was dancing and crying at the same time.
If your life were a movie would it be considered an action film, comedy, drama, romance, fantasy or a combination?
It’s definitely a drama. Over recent years it’s felt a bit too much like living in a soap opera as too really challenging things have happened close together. I’d really like it to become a romance though so if there’s any nice guys out there with a good sense of humour looking for a red-headed writer in their life then drop me a line…
Aw, how did you come to write your genre of choice?
With BELTANE I set out to write the kind of book that I wanted to read which I couldn’t find in the shops. I wanted romance and suspense and fantasy. Surely, that couldn’t be too hard? But this was five years ago and the only supernatural creature anyone was writing about was vampires. As a huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan, I felt vampires were a bit done and I wanted a more organic hero who belonged in the English landscape which is when I came up with the idea of Finn being a druid.
Which of your own characters is your particular favourite?
I absolutely love Finn who’s the hero in ‘Beltane’. As a druid, he has a connection to the earth and an ability to do magic through connecting with awen, the earth’s energy. At the beginning of the book, he’s made a terrible mistake and he really pays for that. But, even when he’s injured and terrified, he never considers giving up. Because he keeps his powers hidden, when he starts to fall for Zoe he can’t work out if he should trust her with his secret or push her away for her own safety.
He sounds fab. Have your characters ever taken the story in a different direction than you had originally planned?
Oh my goodness, yes! In ‘Lughnasa’, which is the second book in ‘The Spellworker Chronicles’ (Beltane being the first) I can’t get any of the characters to do what I planned. The main problem is Winston, who is a minor character in ‘Beltane’ and then takes centre stage in ‘Lughnasa’ (and boy, is he enjoying that!) He’s become so wilful that my entire plan for the novel has gone out of the window and, once he started doing his own thing, all the other characters did too. It got so bad that I put Lughnasa down for a while and wrote ‘The Dirigible King’s Daughter’ just for a bit of a break. Not that Harriet and Charlie in that book always played nicely either!
Yikes! Is location important in your books?
Location is absolutely key to my books. ‘Beltane’ is set in Glastonbury which I’ve visited a lot over the past five years. Even after I’d finished the book, I still felt the pull to go back at least once a year. It’s hard to put into words but I find that the place is good for my soul.
My favourite location is Orkney which is where ‘Lughnasa’ is set. I fell in love with the islands when I first visited five years ago. They’re a truly magical place and I’m really looking forward to going back next year.
Lovely! What are you working on now?
I’m about to get back into ‘Lughnasa’, the second book in ‘The Spellworker Chronicles’, and I’m hoping to persuade my unruly characters that we really do need an ending and that they can’t keep on flirting, plotting and falling out any longer. Wish me luck with that one as I’m going to need it!
I’m sure you’ll be fine. Tell us more about ‘Beltane’, please.
‘Beltane’ will be published on Monday 14th December and the ebook is currently available to pre-order from Amazon.
This is the blurb:
Finn McCloud is a druid, connected by magic to the earth. He’s made a big mistake; one he expects to pay for with his life.
Maeve Blackwell has plans for a new start, free of the façade she so carefully maintains. At Beltane, the Celtic festival of fire on 1st May, all her preparations will come to fruition.
Struggling artist, Zoe Rose is in Glastonbury to work on the illustrations for a book about King Arthur. But when she arrives at Anam Cara, the healing retreat run by Maeve, it’s not the haven she hoped for.
Maeve isn’t the warm-hearted, hippy she expected and Zoe can’t help feeling there’s something very odd about the place. Is it coincidence that the other guests become ill after Maeve’s given them healing? And why did the Green Man carved on a tree in the garden, which she’d felt inexplicably drawn to, mysteriously vanish during a thunderstorm?
As if that wasn’t enough, the weird dreams she’d had all her life are getting worse. Every night she dreams of a handsome stranger. Then, the day after the thunderstorm, she meets Finn. Realising he’s the man she’s dreamt of (not that she’s going to tell him that!) she’s forced to accept that her dreams are premonitions.
With Beltane fast approaching Finn knows that Maeve must be stopped. He’s torn between wanting to protect Zoe from the supernatural world and his desire to be with her. And the more time they spend together the harder it is to keep secrets from her.
When Zoe’s dreams reveal that at Beltane both their lives will be in terrible danger, it’s clear that only by trusting each other can they have any hope of defeating Maeve.
Looks amazing. Definitely one for my TBR list. How can we find you?
‘Beltane’ will be out on Monday 14th December and can be pre-ordered here
You can read ‘The Dirigible King’s Daughter’ on Wattpad here
You can find out more about Alys West on:
Her website: www.alyswest.com
Facebook: Alys West Writer
You can also check out her steampunk board on Pinterest at Alys West Writes
Alys is part of the Write Romantics who you can find blogging about life, love and writing at www.thewriteromantics.com
Thank you so much for having me on your blog. It’s been an absolute pleasure and I’ve loved answering your really interesting questions!
It’s been a joy to interview you, Alys.