Join us as we peek behind the scenes of our upcoming anthology, ON TIME. Learn more about Alisha Costanzo in her featured interview.
ABOUT THE STORY
What inspired your story?
“Tatiana’s Diary” is a side story to a larger world/series. She’s the mother of my protagonist, Ria, a half-phoenix-half-human turned vampire. I’ve had the idea of Tatiana writing Ria a diary since I started book one, and it’s nice to have finally crafted it, especially since it plays an important role in books four and five.
Can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist?
Tatiana is a free spirit. Originally, she was inspired by the 60s and my parents and the idea of free love in NYC at the time. Ria, her daughter, was more a product of the 80s and the AIDS epidemic. I had to shift her timeline a little, but the heart and soul of who Tatiana is still rests in that era.
What is the most interesting thing about the world you’ve created?
When I wrote Ria’s father’s story, I was surprised by how much her parents blended to make her, even though I engineered them in reverse. For Tatiana’s story, I’ve found that her relationship with the vampire, who would eventually transform her daughter, developed. I always knew that they knew each other, but their connection was sweet, and he played pseudo father during her pregnancy.
What genre or mix of genres does your story fit into?
Paranormal Fantasy, even though it’s structured as diary entries.
How have your personal experiences influenced this story?
The parents are similar to mine, but not. I also used a bit of my mother’s experience with my grandmother to set up the opposition between mother and daughter—momma and I have our disagreements, but we’re both big softies. And my dad, well, the moment she has with hers tears me up because that would have been how it happened for us.
What would you like readers to take away from your story?
Sacrifice means different things for different people.
What was your favorite part of the story to write and why?
Oh shit, the ending. Even though I sobbed my way through the last half of the story, the ending was—perfect.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
When did you write your first story, how old were you, and what was it about?
I wrote a lot of small things when I was young, half-finished ones—like 250 boy band fan fictions, but the first one I finished was during my junior year of high school for a creative writing class. It was a week late, but somehow, I still got an A on it. It featured an English teacher and a science teacher as they experimented with a drug to slow the aging process. The English teacher took the first dose and became famous with her friend for it. A hundred years in the future, she’s up to take a second does for the first time, so she does. Welp, it has the reverse effects, and she’ll die by midnight. Of course, the science teacher professes his love because I am, if nothing else, a hopeless romantic, even when I kill off my characters.
What is your writing survival checklist? (Aka, what helps your write the best: music, snacks, coffee, complete silence, a stress ball, a cat, or an outline, etc.)
Coffee. I can’t really function without coffee.
Depending on my mood, I like to play pop music in the background—it’s easy to bop to without needing to hear the words, and for most, the words are so vaguely strung together, that they don’t influence mine.
Because I have five cats, it’s pretty impossible to write without them.
And it doesn’t hurt to have some mood-altering consumables. What was it the greats say? Write drunk, edit sober.
What has influenced you most as a writer?
My first major influence as a writer was Christopher Pike. He’s the reason I started writing about vampires because he twisted the lore and focused outside of the Christian curses and mythological influences. I recently realized that he might be the reason why I lean into my dark side. I always giggle when someone tells me what I wrote was dark when I didn’t think so. I owe the man a lot for how he formed my voice and my youth.
What font do you prefer to write in?
Times New Roman, even before I knew it was the industry standard. I just like how clean it looks. Professional.
Do you have any writing blogs/vlogs/podcasts, etc. that you would recommend?
I’ve fallen down the YouTube rabbit hole once or twice on this, so here’s a few writers I’ve enjoyed learning from. There are a ton of writers on #authortube that document their journeys and offer advice. With Camp Nano starting again this July, vlogs will be spiking.
Alisha Costanzo (yup, that’s me. I don’t do advice, just vlogs).
What is your favorite and least favorite word, and why?
This is a question I ask my new students every semester as an ice breaker. So, here’s my very practiced answer:
Let’s start with the ones I don’t like. I have two. The first is fixin’. I live in the wrong state for me not to like this word—Oklahoma. And I mean when it refers to sentences like, “I’m fixin’ to go to Walmart.” Argh, it drives me crazy. You’re getting ready to go to Walmart. Fixing is for cars. I know it’s cultural, but it makes me cringe every time.
The second is funner. Many argue that this is not a word; others argue that it is. I’m on the it’s not side, and my husband is on the is side. You can see the problem, right? Guess who loves to say it to get a rise out of me.
And my favorite word comes with a story. When my husband was young, he could not say the word debris. He pronounced it derbis, instead. After his telling me this on several occasions, I looked up derbis and LOVED the definition of this slang word, i.e. Someone who is too smart to be a dumbass, but too dumb to be a smartass. Deductive reasoning suggests that this person is just an ass. I always leave my students with the fact that if they don’t like someone, call them a derbis. They won’t know what you’re talking about anyways. It never fails to garner me a few laughs, especially since it showcases how often their new professor likes to swear.
Wife of a disabled veteran, Alisha Costanzo writes about PTSD, environmentalism, violence, and conformity. With a mutually-fueled passion to change the world one person at a time, she often writes about her husband’s rants, conspiracy theories, and trains of logic that seem absurd until the connections line up, and mixes them into her obsession with cooking, coffee, and pop-culture monsters.
Most of all, Alisha is passionate about satire and how it can be used as a tool for learning and criticism. Her stories are aware of themselves and determined not to give readers what they think they want.
A New York transplant, she lives in Oklahoma, teaches English and rhetoric at a local university, runs and edits at Transmundane Press, LLC, and navigates the crazy that comes with her husband, seventeen-year-old step son, five cats, two lizards, two toads, two snakes, too many mice, and a water turtle in the master bath, all confined under one roof.
ON TIME is coming in Summer 2020. Be sure to follow us on Amazon.