“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.”
Alysha Kaye Author of The Waiting Room Interview
Today I’m spotlighting newly published author Alysha Kaye. Her debut novel The Waiting Room was just released at the end of June and we are fortunate to be a part of her tour.
I immediately wanted to be involved with this tour when I saw not only the premise of Alysha’s novel but also the fact that she’s a teacher. This old man holds a fondness for the noble profession.
Alysha received her BA in Creative Writing from Texas State University and was accepted into Teach America ending up in of all places, Oahu, HI. I am still recovering from that piece of information.
But even Hawaii, where she received her Masters in Education from the University of Hawaii couldn’t keep her from the her home state where she now teaches 7th Grade in Austin.
Now for the interview!
Having read the summary of The Waiting Room, I just had to start off by asking;
RW: Where did the idea for the book come from? Was it some event or what that sparked the idea?
ALYSHA: I had a dream about waiting for my boyfriend after death. I was in a strange room that looked a lot like an airport terminal. I wound up writing him a (very cheesy) poem about it and somehow, that became an entire novel! I just couldn’t get it out of my head.
RW: Alysha, I know from having been in the classroom that free time is rare, even at home. Many people don’t realize the time you have to put into teaching, unless you have a very good system in place. How do you balance teaching and writing, managing the other aspects of your life?
ALYSHA: It’s extremely hard! Teaching is exhausting, especially my lovely middle schoolers haha but I adore them. I try to get all of my lesson planning and grading done at school so that when I come home, my night is free for writing/blogging, and everything else in between.
RW: I know from reading what I’ve written things surprise me in what I learn. What did you learn about yourself while writing this book?
ALYSHA: I definitely learned that I am much more of a philosopher than I ever realized! THE WAITING ROOM asks questions that we’ve all wondered–What happens after we die? Do our souls still exist in some way? Can we find our loved ones again? The novel is a romance, but it’s also so much more. It offers various perspectives on the afterlife and welcomes new discussion.
RW: I know I always seem to connect with one particular character the most when I write a novel. What character do you most identify with in your book and why?
ALYSHA: This is hard. I think a lot of myself went into Nina, who is also an English teacher. But Jude, her husband, is extremely sarcastic, which is what I live for!
RW: That makes a lot of sense. You’re the writer, the creator so you do often times end up channeling parts of yourself into the characters. Now for something I know my Friends want to learn. How did you go about being published?
ALYSHA: I decided to self-publish and the experience has been amazing (although difficult). I wanted to get it out as soon as possible since it had already been collecting dust on my laptop for 3 years. I also wanted creative control- which large publishing companies don’t really offer. I used Expert Subjects for editing, cover design, and website design. Then the novel is published through CreateSpace and Amazon.
RW: Alysha, you said the novel collected dust for 3 years. How long did it take you from idea to now for the project?
ALYSHA: I began writing THE WAITING ROOM while interning at Simon & Schuster Publishing in New York. I was so inspired, but also so young! I didn’t finish it until I was out of college, about three years ago. Ever since then, it’s just been sitting patiently in my laptop.
RW: Then it wasn’t an overnight thing. Being that you are an English teacher I just have to ask, are you an outliner or a seat of the pants kind of writer?
ALYSHA: Definitely seat of the pants (although I stress to my students the importance of outlining so shhh!). I loathe editing.
RW: I take gift certificates to all Mexican restaurants for staying quiet. Now I know writing and throwing yourself into a book can take a lot of your time, and the subject matter must have taken some emotional energy as well. How has your family and friends been as far as support during this time? How did they handle your devotion to the project and did they see any changes in you as far as the way you thought about subjects you discuss in the book?
ALYSHA: My family has always thought that I’m a little crazy, I think haha I’m a bit of a black sheep. When I decided to major in Creative Writing they reacted as most families do: “But…what…are you going to DO?” Now that I’ve published, my parents are realizing how serious I am about writing. I understand though–it’s hard to take someone else’s passions and hobbies seriously until they prove that they’re MORE than simply “passions and hobbies”.
RW: What project are you working on now or do you even have the time?
ALYSHA: My energy has been completely devoted to marketing this novel, now that it’s released. However, I hope to start the next one very soon!
RW: Finally, what were/are your go to munchy food and beverage while writing?
ALYSHA: One word and one word only: caffeine. No music, no food, no people…just caffeine of some delicious sort!
It was a great honor to be part of Alysha’s Book Tour. Much appreciation goes out to her for agreeing to let us be involved and answering questions I am sure she’s been asked a million times before. Make sure to watch the Book Trailer for The Waiting Room below.
Get The Waiting Room by Alysha Kaye in print or for Kindle here at Amazon.
Be certain to Follow Alysha Kaye everywhere:
REVIEWS OF THE WAITING ROOM
A list of reviews of The Waiting Room can be found here. But I included two for you that I thought would really make you want to read Alysha Kaye’s novel.
“I love the whole afterlife concept that Alysha Kaye created, because it looks so ‘normal’ and so ‘human’. The Waiting Room is a light, fun reading that comes with great message behind it. I read it like one day. It totally answered my question about true love.”
“I think my final comment is that The Waiting Room built characters that I cared about. I cared about not only Jude and Nina but supporting characters as well. I even cared about the Waiting Room itself and was glad to see how it changed and grew throughout the book. Fantasy lovers, romance lovers, lovers of a thoughtful story – all of these readers will enjoy The Waiting Room. I wish the book success and I hope to read more by Alysha Kaye in the future.”
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