Wednesday, July 29, 2015

P.I. Alltraine: The IAN Interview


P.I. Alltraine is an award winning poet and author. She has won several international poetry competitions, and her poems have been published in separate anthologies.

She teaches English Language and Literature in London. She earned her degree in BA English from Queen Mary University of London, a Post Graduate Certificate in Education and Master’s in Teaching at the UCL Institute of Education, University of London.

Before moving to London, she lived in the Philippines where she was ensconced in the rich culture encrusted with dark myths and enchanted tales. She draws inspiration from these in her writing. Although she has lived indifferent places and experienced different cultures, she always enjoyed the constancy of writing in her life. Her favourite authors include John Milton, Virginia Woolf and James Joyce.

IAN: Please tell us about your latest book.

P.I. Alltraine: Petyr has never found it necessary to consider the humans as anything more than distant, inferior beings–until now. They are the cause of the fatal disease that has plagued his realm, taking the lives of too many of his kind. As a future leader of a realm in peril, Petyr must find a way to resist and cure the affliction. He must enter the unfamiliar realm, appear to be an ordinary eighteen-year-old human, observe and learn.

However, things don't exactly go according to plan. Instead of embarking single-mindedly on his sober mission, Petyr meets an 18-year-old girl who does things to his emotions that he can't quite fathom or control. Petyr is falling in love, and he almost forgets the gravity his choices have on his entire world. Despite the risk it poses to his life and hers, he wants to know her, and he wants her to know him–and his world.

IAN: Is your book published in print, e-book or both?

P.I. Alltraine: The kindle edition is to be released on August 5, 2015, and the print edition will follow in a few months.

IAN: Where can we go to buy your book?

P.I. Alltraine: My novel, ‘Heartbound,’ is available on Amazon. My Spoken Word poems are available on my youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnwbTXjG-zwcqZh3HeWgBsQ

IAN. What inspired you to write Heartbound?

P.I. Alltraine: The story came to me and demanded to be written. I know, I know. It’s the most clich├ęd answer ever, but writers keep saying it for a reason. It’s hard to describe the impact of a powerful idea. When it hits a writer, it’s no longer a choice. You have to write it, or it will drive you mad.  In my case, I was minding my own business, and all of a sudden, there was this image in my head. It hit me so hard that I had to stop what I was doing. I picked up a pen and paper and started to scribble. My husband walked in and found me on the floor with pieces of papers around me. At that point, the outline of ‘Heartbound’ was completed—chapter by chapter, from beginning to end.

IAN: Do you have a specific writing style?

P.I. Alltraine:
I listen to my characters and let them do the writing for me. I don’t always agree with what they do or say, but I always try to be faithful to them and the world that I’ve created.

IAN: What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

P.I. Alltraine: ‘Heartbound’ is about Petyr’s journey, but it’s also about YOU, your own identity, your own bravery to follow your heart, and your own courage to find your place in the world.

IAN: How is your Heartbound different from others in your genre?

P.I. Alltraine:
It’s unique in a sense that I’ve created a completely new world/realm, new creatures, new myth, etc. But I think what sets it apart is how, through the narrator, Petyr, we can see the world around us in a completely different perspective. We take a lot of our experiences and emotions for granted, and hopefully seeing Petyr go through them for the first time will encourage the readers to realise how incredible it is to be Human.

IAN: What books have most influenced your life most?

P.I. Alltraine: I love pieces that make me feel something I can’t explain or change my perspective. When I read anything by Virginia Woolf, for example, be it an essay or a novel, I feel baffled and enlightened all at once. ‘Paradise Lost’ by John Milton, ‘Things Fall Apart’ by Chinua Achebe and ‘Dubliners’ by James Joyce are some of my favourites because these literary pieces pulled me into an unfamiliar world and compelled me to change my perspective. For instance, I was raised Roman Catholic so when I read ‘Paradise Lost,’ I found the sublimity and the epic heroism in a figure I grew up seeing as a one-dimensional villain very enlightening. It was empowering to see how Milton took something a lot of people considered sacred, especially at the time, and manipulated it with such grace, such skill.

IAN: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in Heartbound?

P.I. Alltraine:
The short answer is no, but there were moments when I thought about it. For a long time, I had a rather complicated relationship with Petyr, the narrator. Half-way through writing the novel, I wanted to change the narrative perspective because I decided I didn’t like Petyr very much. I didn’t agree with his decisions, and the way he was constantly overthinking everything. It was so exhausting for me as a writer. I also hated how he kept assuming that Scarlett (the main female character) wouldn’t be strong enough. It wasn’t until the book was finished when I realised that the decisions I didn’t agree with became rather fundamental as these created moments that drove the narrative forward. And of course Petyr would initially assume that Scarlett wouldn’t be strong… it’s not because she’s a woman, but because she’s human, and compared to him she is fragile.

IAN: Who designed the cover?

P.I. Alltraine:
The cover artist is called Melody Pond, an excellent choice by Soul Mate Publishing’s Cover Art Coordinator, Cheryl Yeko. I wanted something that would accentuates the romance, the fantasy, how out of place Petyr is in this world, but I wanted it to be enchanting. There were many, many drafts. I think Melody did a magnificent job with the cover (and being very patient with me).

IAN: Did you learn anything from writing Heartbound and what was it?

P.I. Alltraine: When I was writing ‘Heartbound,’ there were times when I didn’t agree with my characters’ actions, but I couldn’t change it because it wasn’t my decision anymore. That’s when I realised what being a writer truly means. Everyone can write a story, but to create a world with a life of its own, I think that takes a writer.

IAN. Do you have any advice for other writers?

P.I. Alltraine: Write for yourself. It doesn’t matter if your style doesn’t fit the current trend or if some circles won’t consider it “good writing.” Write because you want to, and write whatever the hell you want. Writing is not a way to fit in or please others. It’s one of the very few things in the world that allows the liberty to be true to yourself.

IAN. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

P.I. Alltraine: Heartbound’ is a fantasy so it’s littered with elements that are out of this world (literally). But at its core, it’s about questioning and finding one’s own identity, trying to find a resolution between who you’re meant to be and who you want to be. It’s about finding the bravery and courage to go against the tides, refuse to conform, and fight for something that means everything to you but means nothing to everyone else.

IAN: Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand-alone?

P.I. Alltraine: I’m currently writing the the second book in the Heart Series (sequel to ‘Heartbound’). I’m also working on some poetry (spoken word). I’m building a collection that will hopefully be ready for publication by next year. There’s a video performance available for ‘Unmoving,’ and a few more from the collection should be up soon.

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