If you haven’t heard of our new project, the On Fire anthology, this interview series will showcase our authors and their writing lives beyond their ignited tales. In Alisha Costanzo‘s “The Mark of the Phoenix,” an ancient phoenix receives his death sentence in his pursuit to find a child-killer.
What motivates you to write?
The magnitude of stories and chatter drives me to write. I’ve got fifty-four hovering around me at the moment. I think I might go crazy if I didn’t.
What are some of your favorite books by other authors and why?
My two all-time favorite books are The Season of Passage by Christopher Pike and The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. I pretty much love everything both of these men write, but the first is the perfect mix between mythology, vampires, and a trip to mars, and the second is the only book I ever read through in high school—that I was assigned, I mean—and his ability to suck me in with visuals and the depth in which he created the characters in this book ultimately drove me to graduate school and a degree in creative writing. By the way, I met him and totally fan-girled like I used to with boy bands as a preteen.
What are your hobbies?
Lately, I’ve been really into drawing mandalas. I also like to cook and bake, which is like the only other thing I’m seriously good at other than writerly things. And I’ve had a serious hard-on for bullet journalling these last two years.
What is the title of your next book and what will it be about?
My working title is Lucifer’s Daughter. It’s about a fourteen-year-old nephilim, Lilith, coming into her powers and going to a paranormal high school. Cue the satire and parody and twists on biblical mythology. I’m really excited about this snarky bunch.
Who is your favorite character in your current book and why?
Gene is my current favorite by a hair. In Blood Phoenix: Imprinted, he really becomes his own person. He reveals his depth and a really cool secret in this book, but his development into a Mr. Darcy-esque character that makes me love him so much. That, and he’s the most like my husband as a whole.
Do you use one or more professional editors, and if so, what types?
My business partner edits my novels, but I use a whole seven-step system for my books.
How are your books published, and why did you choose this way of publishing?
It’s a mix, I suppose. Since I co-own and operate Transmundane Press as a small publisher, I publish through there as well. I am sending a book to a major publisher this coming year under a pen name for a little variety. As many authors can relate, I like to maintain creative control over my work, and it’s nice to have a community to work with.
What marketing techniques do you find most effective?
I’m loving my newsletter and blog, and I’m hoping to implement a welcome sequence soon.
If you could go back in time, what would you say to your younger self about becoming an author?
Be open to learning about new things. It’ll make your writing more rich. Focus on showing details and depth of character.
Alisha Costanzo is from a Syracuse suburb. She earned her MFA in creative writing from the University of Central Oklahoma, where she currently teaches English. She’s the author of the Blood Phoenix saga, Loving Red and is co-editor of Distorted, Underwater, and After the Happily Ever After. Lucifer’s Daughter, her new novel, is in its creation for a hopeful 2018 release. In the meantime, she will continue to corrupt young minds, rant about the government, and daydream about her all around nasty creatures.