Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Interview with Alicia Singleton, Author of Dark Side of Valor

Born and raised in Philadelphia, the Howard University graduate embraced the written word at an early age. She credits this to her loving, older sister whom, while they were youngsters, made the author eat lotion on a regular basis. Realizing the need to sound-out the ingredients on the lotion label, Alicia stopped the lotion-eating practice, but continued to read the labels of the concoctions her sister brought for her to try. This early necessity to read flowered to a passion; hence, a writer was born.The award winning author resides in Maryland with her wonderful husband and son.  Still an avid reader, label or otherwise, Alicia is hard at work completing her next suspense novel.Her latest book is the suspense novel, DarkSide of Valor.

Visit Alicia’s website at www.aliciasingleton.com.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?   
Born and raised in Philadelphia, I’m a wife, mother, business owner, retired registered nurse, lover of any sentence containing the words travel or road trip, consummate optimist; that pretty much sums me up.  

When did you begin writing? 

My elementary school reading tutor stoked my love of reading and hence my passion to write. By the time I was well into the second grade, I could not read. Not even simple words like, ‘See Spot Run’. My teacher told my mother that if I didn’t get help, I would be functionally illiterate. When my mother hired a reading tutor, my hate for reading turned into a love of reading. I loved suspenseful, conflict driven novels. From classics like Romeo and Juliet, The Odyssey, The Iliad to contemporary books like Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys Mysteries and anything Edgar Allen Poe wrote.

After I fell in love with reading, I believe in my spirit, I wanted to become a writer, but I went to Howard University to get my Bachelor’s in Nursing.  In my sophomore year, I wanted to change my major to journalism, but I didn’t know what changing one’s major entailed. Too intimidated to go to the Registrar’s Office and too afraid to go home and tell my mom that I wanted to follow another career path, I stuck it out.  A couple of years after I graduated, I began to attend writing classes, reading books, attending seminars, conferences and workshops on the writing process. That education coupled with my overactive imagination for plotting storylines and my love of reading was why I became a writer.

What is this book about?

Dark Side of Valor is a suspense novel about Lelia Freeman. The former runaway turned child advocate gets summoned to Washington to serve on a subcommittee that aids the children of a war-torn African nation. She stumbles onto sinister, political secrets that turns her life into a nightmare then has to depend on a tall, dark handsome stranger to save her life. But he has secrets of his own.

What inspired you to write it? 

The inspiration for Dark Side of Valor came from a news article of a woman’s plight to return to her country after being kidnapped and taken to a foreign land.   To start the plotting, I began to research runaways from foreign lands.  Every time I’d type in the search parameters, books, reports and articles popped up about teen runaways and homeless teens.  After several hours, I gave up and read one of the articles, then another, then a report, then a life account.  After about an hour, I was sitting in front of the library computer blubbering.  As I finished reading, Dark Side of Valor morphed into another novel and Lelia Freeman, the heroine, was born.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

From the start of my writing career to the time I received a publishing contract was 16 ½ years.  After I signed the contract, it was another year and a half before I held Dark Side of Valor in my hands. 
During the 16 ½ year wait, I attended numerous conferences, shook the hands of many editors and received many rejection letters.  Through it all I never gave up.  Now, don’t misunderstand, there were times that I quit writing.  But the next day, I’d ditch my pity-party and get back to work.   

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Readers can purchase Dark Side of Valor from Amazon, Barnes and Noble Powells, Indie Bound, their favorite bookseller or wherever books are sold.
Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

Yes, my website is www.aliciasingleton.com, there readers will find a book page, book trailer, reviews, a media page, photos, some fun facts and much more.

What is up next for you?

The research for my next suspense has taken me to a South Carolina swamp, a rice plantation where one of Mel Gibson’s movies was filmed, on a Civil War naval battle ship, and a graveyard.  It was phenomenal!  I hope to take readers on a thrill ride they won’t soon forget.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Thank you so much for the interview, its been a blast!  Please connect with me through my website at, www.aliciasingleton.com, email, alicia@aliciasingleton.com, Facebook at, www.facebook.com/aliciamsingleton.com, Twitter at, http://twitter.com/aliciasingleton and I’m also available through Skype and conference calls for book club chats.   

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