Ask the Author: Alysa Wishingrad
What would you like readers to know about you?
I’d always wanted to be a writer and came out of college ready to be a playwright. But as it turns out I was too results oriented, didn’t have the commitment to keep digging deep and revising, revising, revising.
In a word, I wasn’t ready to do the hard work. So I had another career, began a family, and tried to pretend I didn’t want to write. But after I moved out of the city to the very quiet country I knew it was time to get back to writing.
I think that we all put so much pressure on ourselves to get things done by a certain time of life. The right time to write is when you’re ready to write.
What is your book about for those who haven’t read it?
THE VERDIGRIS PAWN is the story of Beau, heir to the ruler of the Land, a man so frightening, people only dare call him Himself. Beau has been raised isolated and alone. And despite the harsh and judgmental treatment he gets from his father, Beau has no idea of the brutal tyranny Himself unleashes upon his subjects and how hated and feared their family is.
This all changes when he meets Cressi, a servant, who opens his eyes to the realities of life in the Land – especially about Mastery House, a terrible and brutal place where the children of the poor are sent to be raised and trained to be servants in exchange for their families taxes.
This discovery of the truth sets Beau off on an epic adventure as he tries to undo the poisoned legacy of his family. But in order to restore fairness and equality to the Land, he must think of things like a real-life game of Fist (a board game similar to chess!)
But when you’re reviled throughout the Land and false heroes lurk around every corner, leading a rebellion is easier said than done.
This is a story about how appearances aren’t always what they seem and how real power can come from the most unlikely places.
What has been your inspiration for writing it?
The germ of this story came from a prompt workshop. The prompt was: Tsk, tsk, poor little boy, and I latched onto the idea of a boy being raised alone in a kind of gilded cage of isolation in a large Manor house.
But more than that, I’m keenly interested in ideas around power, privilege and social responsibility, and I wanted to turn the idea of the chosen one on its head. What happens when the chosen one doesn’t want to be chosen.
And how can we take those things in our lives that we view as burdens and turn them into a power for helping the greater good?
What was your favorite scene or part of your book to write?
There are several places in the story where appearance are revealed to be deceiving— handling those turns, those moments when someone’s true character is revealed were both the hardest and the most fun for me.
What books or authors inspired you to become a writer?
I was an avid reader as a kid; I loved everything E.B.White wrote, L.M. Montgomery, Douglass Adams, and I started reading Kurt Vonnegut way before I was able to really understand what was going on. Writers who played with language were always my favorites. For some reason I was obsessed with these old James Thurber collections that my parents had. Again, Im sure I didn’t catch half of what was going on.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book?
Allow yourself to play, and be kind to yourself. There’s no such thing as wasted writing or time. Every line, every story, every book you write leads you to the next.
I’d also suggest getting out of your writing warren; take workshops, apply to mentor programs like #AMM, go to conferences if you can, join Twitter craft chats. Finding ways to meet other writers makes this writing life richer, more fun and easier.
Signed copies of THE VERDIGRIS PAWN are available from Oblong Books and Music: https://www.oblongbooks.com/the-verdigris-pawn-signed-by-alysa-wishingrad
Pre-Order THE VERDIGRIS PAWN from an indie bookstore: https://www.harpercollins.com/products/the-verdigris-pawn-alysa-wishingrad?variant=32926077681698A
Alysa socials: Twitter: @agwishingrad IG @Alysawishingradwrites website: www.alysawishingrad.com