Author Spotlight #10 – Alana Turner

Good Morning! Thank you for stopping by Plot Monster. We have a very special author spotlight today – Alana Turner. She is the winner of the first ever Plot Monster Writing Contest. Her story, “Behind the Leather Apron,” was also chosen to be included in Dark Visions: an anthology of 34 horror stories by 27 authors (Volume 2 – The Box Under the Bed) which was released on 10/15/18.
You can buy it here. The ebook is only .99 cents right now and your purchase will help support several first-time authors.

Way to go Alana!
 

And now for our feature presentation…

Interview
What Inspired you to be an Author?
I’m not exactly sure. I know I’ve always viewed it as the best career ever. I know I’ve always loved the idea of bringing the stories in my head to life. I know I’ve always loved the idea of sharing these impossible dreams with others. As for where it originally came from though, I’m unsure. I’ve just always been drawn to writing.
What genre do you write?
I try not to restrain myself too much, but the genres I keep coming back to are horror, science fiction and fantasy. I have dabbled in romance and mysteries but they’re not ones I’m passionate about. What I love about horror, fantasy and science fiction is the infinite possibilities. I love being able to fully explore my characters in those realms without restriction. That is not to say that there isn’t rules to follow, but it is more freeing than anything based in reality.
What is your current project?
Right now I’ve started work on what will be my first full length novel. I’m still undecided as far as titles go, but it is spiritually related to “Behind the Leather Apron.” It involves a group of vigilante vampires that get wrapped up in having to take down a gang. “Behind the Leather Apron” started off as one of the characters backstories. It was then edited to make sense as a stand alone piece. This book is an idea I’ve had for a few years now and I think I finally have the experience and confidence to do it justice.
What were you like as a child? Did you like to write then?
I can still remember being really little and writing all these twisted fairy tales. I think one was something along the lines of “The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Hog.” That passion dissipated for a few years then came back with a fury in high school. I was Vice President and Co Founder of the creative writing club, Writer’s Ink. I’ve always had stories swimming around in my head, and I’ve always wanted to share them.
What is your favorite book? Why?
Oh that is a hard question. I have several authors I love; Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Terry Pratchett, but I’m not sure what my favorite book is. I suppose if I had to pick just one it would be The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. It is a beautiful story and while not my normal genre, I absolutely love it. It’s about a man and his dog and going through rough patches in life all through the dog’s perspective. I think it has to be my favorite because it brought me through the emotional ringer and I loved every minute of it.
Do you ever use a pseudonym? Why or Why not?
Well, technically my full name is Jacquelyn Alana Turner, so perpetuating Alana Turner as my name is kind of a pseudonym. I know that’s not what you mean though. I do have a pseudonym of sorts that I’d very much love to use at some point. I’d love to publish a book under the name Alana Paige Turner, so that I could put right on the cover A. Paige Turner. Maybe if I ever write a comedy I’ll use that.
Do you have a writing routine?
I don’t have a daily routine so much as a pattern for how I edit. I’ll start out with a rough draft that I’ll have friends and family look at and give advice as I go. Then what I like to do is make a new document, copy/paste the story into that, and with both the old file and new file open side by side I go through and edit. I find it extremely helpful to have the original up next to the revised draft as I edit. It lets me see how much better it gets over time.
How do you decide on character names and plots?
A lot of plots come from conversation I’ll have with people. When we start going back and forth with “what ifs” it isn’t hard for ideas to start forming. Character names are trickier. I like the names I give my characters to mean something. Often I’ll have a few things in mind that I want them to emulate and then I’ll go looking through name websites until I can uncover the right one. The names aren’t always reflective of my characters though. Sometimes I like to give them ironic names as a kind of joke, if only to myself.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Learn to love editing. It can be time consuming and frustrating but it really is where your story comes to life. Editing is where the story becomes what you always imagined it to be. Most importantly though, believe in yourself. It might take time, and it wont be easy, but you can accomplish your writing dreams.


about the author
Author Pic
Alana Turner lives in Florida and is going to school for her Bachelors in Psychology. She writes fiction in multiple genres including horror, fantasy and science fiction. She finds inspiration through every aspect of life and loves to turn cliches on their head.

excerpt

 

The Driver

by Alana Turner

I was itching to get behind the wheel again. I was ready for it. I kept my car in tip top shape in anticipation. She was equipped with brand new suspension, a full tank of nitrous, virgin brakes, and a fresh paint job and wax just because I could. I had spent the past two months, three weeks, and three days fixing her up and I only had to wait one more day. With the way she glowed in the sunlight filtering in from the garage door window, I felt like she was just as ready for me.

I just had to endure one more day in the SAINT Government issued, hunk of junk that was my punishment. The bulbous car, if it could even be called that, had been the only practical solution for me to get to work and back without a license. It was perfectly round, the wheels barely squeezed under it at odd angles, and originally perfectly white. It now had spots of rust and grime highlighting the doors and windows.  The guys at my garage gave me hell for it, but it was still better than the bus-the ultimate reputation killer. The government issued it to me as part of their forgiveness for felons’ program. I think they laugh about that irony to themselves at night. The only advantage was the good gas mileage, which let me afford better parts for my pride and joy.

It still crushed my soul getting in. The door creaked loudly as I boarded. The seat was square in the middle of the obnoxiously large sphere that was the chassis. Slamming the door caused it to start up, albeit with some clicking and grinding. It also activated the ‘Driver,’ Karen.

“Good afternoon, Samantha!” A smiling emoji popped onto the dash to go with her voice, “My schedule says we are going to work today. Is that correct?”

“Yep, let’s go.” I flopped my feet up to hide the emoji dash. Normally even the self-driving cars had the option for human drivers and had steering wheels and pedals. Not the government issued SAINTs though. Criminal racers were prohibited from taking control of a vehicle for the length of their sentence. So, no steering wheel, no pedals, no controls available at all. Just a dash board so we knew we were going exactly the speed limit.

“Samantha, my sensors indicate several problems including rust and-“

“Yeah, yeah, I know, I know, proceed anyway. The tire is one PSI low it doesn’t matter just go!” Karen was a worrier, but I wasn’t about to put my money into this thing. They gave it to me rusty they were getting it back that way.

“I must inform you that among the issues is low brake fluid. While acceptable it-“

“You’ll last one more day. Go!” I kicked the dash for good measure and Karen finally took the hint. One minute I’m winning the race of my life, the next I’m getting arrested and sentenced to three months in a bowling ball. The daily rat race continued on, whether I liked it or not. I just had to get through today.

As much as I hated Karen the Bowling Ball, it was nice to just take in my surroundings on my daily commute. I came to learn the regular pedestrians and where they crossed. Sometimes I would bring leftovers and throw them to the Great Dane that wandered on Oak St as I passed. Once out of the suburbs it turned into a long back road with a high-speed limit that almost made me feel alive again. Tomorrow I would tear that road up and really live.

I closed my eyes as Karen turned onto that street. I imagined I was back in my real car and that I was racing again in the dead of night. I conjured up the roar of a real engine and the answering call of my opponent. I thought of smirking at them as I blew past to claim victory. That bump wasn’t part of my fantasy.

I sat up and spun around to see what was hit. I expected a box or maybe a grocery bag that fell out of someone’s trunk. Instead I saw a red stain surrounding a clump of fur; a cat. My heart dropped watching the poor thing lying dead, fading into the distance.  Something wasn’t right.

“Karen, why did you run over that cat?” I waited a moment, a quarter of a mile, before she responded.

“The animal moved in an unexpected pattern. I was unable to avoid it.” Her voice stayed ever perky.

“Aren’t you programmed to brake with animals in the road?” The programming was almost always to brake. Caution above all else was the government’s policy.

“My sensors indicate that the brake fluid has now reached critical levels. This makes stopping ability negligible. It also appears that after hitting the animal my accelerator is stuck.” My stomach dropped, her happy demeanor did not.

“What? How did- why didn’t you say anything?” My breathing quickened as the situation fully settled in. I was in a battering ram.


https://www.facebook.com/alana.turner.779


Congratulations to Alana on her contest win and publication of

“Behind the Leather Apron.”

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