Wednesday, June 25, 2014

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Alysha Kaye, Author

Alysha Kaye, Author
Author Alysha Kaye will release her novel, THE WAITING ROOM, on July 1 - a romance about an ordinary couple, Jude and Nina, who are in love. When Jude dies, he awakens in a room that looks like an airport terminal where he waits for his name to be called out of a group of souls. But his name is not called. Instead, he waits for Nina. 

Kaye—who has a BA in creative writing—teaches in Austin, TX, a vocation she enjoys as much as writing. When she’s not teaching or writing, she enjoys exploring the restaurants, bars, parks, and museums of Austin.

Q: How did you conceive of the idea for THE WAITING ROOM?

Alysha Kaye: I offhandedly wrote my boyfriend a cheesy poem about waiting for him after death—being reborn together again and again. For some reason, it stuck in my head and I started writing about it more. I never thought it would turn into a novel!

Q: The story of the death of a loved one is not, well, pleasant, nor would it be a topic many would consider reading. How or why is THE WAITING ROOM inviting to read? Do you consider it a romance?

Alysha Kaye: It is definitely a romance—I think that’s what buffers the obvious element of death and mourning. Jude and Nina lose each other, yet time and time again, they reunite.

Q: How do you engage readers to care about your main characters, Jude and Nina? Is there something special about their relationship? Are they just normal, every day people?

Alysha Kaye: They’re very normal—they fight quite a bit actually! Although they are the only couple in history who have been able to wait for each other after death, and to be reborn together—they are not “more in love” than any other couple in the universe. I like the idea that they could be any couple—the fact that they were somehow chosen to wait for each other feels more like happenstance.

Q: How important is credibility to the story? What will make readers believe that there is such a place as a “waiting room?” Can they appreciate the story if they don’t accept the premise?

Alysha Kaye: The room is very “real”—it actually looks exactly like an airport terminal, as you can see on the cover. There are characters that arrive in the waiting room who are of every age, race, and religion. The book invites readers to believe their own interpretation of what the room could mean.

Q: Did you write THE WAITING ROOM to entertain readers? To deliver a message? To educate?

Alysha Kaye: I think the age-old question of “What happens after you die?” will always appeal universally. There are three parts of myself that struggled with the main purpose of this novel: the creative writer wanted to solely entertain, the middle school English teacher wanted to deliver a message about equality and loyalty, and the curious philosopher wanted to explore the endless questions I have about love and death.

Q: Is there a “villain” in THE WAITING ROOM? Do you believe that you need to have the conflict between a villain and a hero to have an entertaining story?

Alysha Kaye: There is no real “villain”. Some characters definitely feel contempt and frustration for whomever/whatever is “running” the waiting room, but the conflicts are clearly internal. I think the most interesting stories involve that struggle within—in real life, everyone is a hero and a villain at times.

Q: Did your characters lead you to write what they want? Or did you draft an outline and stick to it?

Alysha Kaye: I am not really an outline kind of writer, although I encourage my students to use them all the time! I started writing about Jude and Nina and it became a rabbit hole of discoveries.

Q: I notice that you have a degree in creative writing. Did you always want to be a writer? And you also have a degree in education. Do you enjoy teaching? Which do you prefer?

Alysha Kaye: I’ve been writing since I was very young. I was an only child and writing was definitely a creative escape for me. I never thought I would feel more passionate about anything, until I began teaching. My kids are amazing. They inspire me to be a better writer, and hopefully I do the same for them!

Q: What’s next?

Alysha Kaye: Well, the novel will be released in July. I can’t wait. I’ll continue teaching and hopefully start writing my second novel soon! Quite a few ideas brewing.

Q: Tell us about Alysha Kaye. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Alysha Kaye: When I’m not teaching or writing, I’m probably exploring Austin with friends. I moved here recently and it seems there are endless restaurants, bars, parks, and museums to check out. It’s an extremely creative, eclectic city—I love it!

About Alysha Kaye

Alysha Kaye was born in San Marcos, TX, where she also received her BA in Creative Writing from Texas State University. She worked in marketing for a brief and terrible cubicle-soul-sucking time until she was accepted into Teach for America and promptly moved to Oahu. She taught 7th grade English in Aiea for two years and also received her Masters in Education from University of Hawaii. She now teaches in Austin, TX and tries to squeeze in as much writing as possible between lesson planning. She dreamt about THE WAITING ROOM once, and offhandedly wrote her boyfriend a love poem about waiting for him after death. Somehow, that became a novel.

To be released in July 2014

Jude and Nina are the epitome of that whole raw, unflinching love thing that most people are jealous of. That is, until Jude dies and wakes up in The Waiting Room, surrounded by other souls who are all waiting to pass over into their next life. But unlike those souls, Jude’s name is never called by the mysterious “receptionist”. He waits, watching Nina out of giant windows. He’s waiting for her. What is this place? How long will he wait? And what will happen when and if Nina does join him? THE WAITING ROOM is a story of not just love, but of faith, predestination, and philosophy, friendship and self-actualization, of waiting.


Twitter: alyshakaye7

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