Guest Multipersonality Disorder Patient: Alesia Holliday

Guest Multipersonality Disorder Patient: Alesia Holliday

Today, we’re going to talk with award-winning author Alesia Holliday, alias Jax Abbott, alias Alyssa Day, who is, among other things, a funny, fun writer and a generous person and so we like her. Unfortunately, she has been diagnosed with multiple personality disorder, and that’s what we’re here to talk about. [Warning: Reading this interview may tell you some things about me you are better off not knowing. I need to learn to be less verbose in my questions.]

I first encountered Alesia’s romantic comedies, which she writes as Alesia Holliday. THEN she started writing mysteries, also as Alesia Holliday. Then I discovered she also wrote young adult novels, as Jax Abbott. And NOW, she’s gone totally off the deep end (hee, hee…you’ll see what that’s such a horrible pun in a minute), writing a new genre, paranormal romances, as Alyssa Day. As someone who once took an abnormal psychology class in college and therefore is an EXPERT in this kind of thing, I must say I am fascinated. And as a writer, I’m fascinated by writers who cover multiple genres this way.

alyssaday.jpg
[See!! Atlantis! Warriors of Poseidon! Deep water. You’re laughing now about that “deep end” joke, aren’t you?
…Okay, fine, if you’re going to groan like that, I’m going to move on to the interview.]

Laura: Alesia, I’m currently detecting at least three distinct personalities, and that’s not even counting the one of “Mom”, which a lot of us have. Do you want to tell us a little about yourselves? Also, why have you/your psychiatrist/your circle of loved ones decided to let you run with this rather than getting you help? Because I’ve heard there are medications for this kind of thing.

Alesia: They’ve all given up on me. Even my agent just shakes his head. I prefer “Renaissance Woman” – it sounds so much better than “person with short attention span.”

Laura: How does it work, writing-wise, juggling the different personas? Do you, for example, spend six months as Alesia Holliday and six months as Alyssa Day, or do you tend to spend mornings as one, afternoons as another, or…? When you change from one to another, is it in response to an outside need like Clark Kent? Does it involve lots of spinning like Wonder Woman and do you get to wear red boots? Or is it more like the Incredible Hulk, an inside emotion takes you over? (Do you turn green? I’m not sure you should tell us if you turn green.)

Alesia: I did turn green once, but it was bad potato salad. I go from book to book. I’ve always been a total immersion writer, writing only one book from beginning to end, then picking up the next project, but I’m currently working on two at once and it’s a very interesting experience. I do have Wonder Woman red boots, but I prefer not to talk about my sex life . . .

Laura: You keep talking about the Alyssa Day book, Atlantis Rising, as revealing your dark side. I have always wanted to have a dark side. In fact, I always wanted to be the wicked witch, and I am allowing NO comments from family members about that on this post. I even memorized the entire Macbeth witches’ speech, up to “ditch-delivered by a drabe”, which is pretty darn dark. But I’m afraid my real dark side mostly concerns the way I react to excessive stress or lack of chocolate, while I notice YOUR dark side seems to feature sexy Atlantan warriors. Can you elaborate? Also, can we trade dark sides?

Alesia: Oh, dear. I wonder what that says about us, because I read this and immediately started reciting “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, creeps in its petty pace . . .” Scary. You know, I love me my alpha males. Love anything about lost civilizations – I very nearly went the archaeology route in college. So it was like the great meeting of peanut butter and chocolate – life-changing AND delicious.

Laura: It says that Great Minds Know Their Shakespeare, that’s what it says. It says NOTHING about our sanity. Speaking of sanity and NOT of its lack, I will tell you a secret. In my very early twenties, before I went off to Tahiti, I wrote FOUR paranormal romances. But my agent at the time tried to sell them to only one market and gave up because, admittedly, there pretty much weren’t any other markets for paranormal back then. It was another one of those occasions when an editor failed to recognize my genius. Looking back on it, I think this is a good thing, because while I’m still reasonably proud of the world I created, the stories themselves featured a LOT of bulging biceps. Umm…do yours feature bulging biceps? And if so, how did that feel, to write the phrase “bulging biceps”?

Alesia: The Warriors of Poseidon are totally ripped, muscular, larger-than-life kinds of guys. But I never actually used the expression “bulging biceps.” Or “throbbing manhood.” Or “heaving bosom.” Hmm.

Laura: Well, as long as we KNOW they have bulging biceps, that is okay, then. That’s an important part of any story. Talking now to other writers, what would you say are the pros and cons of writing in several different genres as you do? Did you make a premeditated decision to write in different genres, or was it more that you had so many different stories inside you and you wanted to let them all out, not limit yourself to one type?

Alesia: I LOVE it! I’ve always been the total immersion for a short while and move on sort of person. That’s why being a trial lawyer suited me so well. If I had to write the same type of book over and over, I’d get bored. Writing in more than one genre allows me to stretch my writing chops, too, and challenge myself, which is important to me. I have so many stories to tell that I just tell them and leave it up to my agent and editor to figure out how to classify them. 🙂

Laura: You’ve read Blame It on Paris. If you had to pick a book or books of yours to introduce my readers to you, which one would you pick? Or is that a little too much like picking your favorite child?

Alesia: Sigh. I ADORED your book!! Any of my romantic comedies fall in the same genre – funny, romantic, with an emotional underpinning. And aren’t happily ever afters the BEST? Thanks for inviting me to hang out with you and your readers!! They can find my different personalities at www.alesiaholliday.com or www.alyssaday.com for a very cool movie-style book trailer about my hunky Warriors. No bulging biceps in sight, sadly . . .

Laura: Ummm…I don’t know about bulging biceps, but there is a pretty buff half-naked man looking at me when I click on that site. Not that any of MY readers would be interested in cute guys, oh, of COURSE not… Anyway, THANKS, Alesia/Alyssa/Jax/whoever you are today, for coming on, and thanks for offering a tempting male to distract people from Sébastien.

Everyone–feel free to ask any questions of Alesia/Alyssa in the comments. She’s promised to stop by and answer them.

16 Comments
  • Gee and I thought I was into multi-tasking, what with my looking at pastries, photographing them, painting them, eating them and then writing about it.
    But this is nothing compared to Alesia’s amazing multi-skills.
    There is a name and a book for this, “Exuberance,” and the New York Times wrote about it 2 years ago:
    “Hypomaniacs” – we don’t sleep much and we’re hyper productive…

    Laura, I’m beginning to think after your book and reading about Alesia, maybe pastries are the wrong subject to be focusing on.
    Hmmmm..red boots…biceps…

    February 28, 2007 at 7:25 am
  • Wow, the number of voices in my head (and I’ve got a hefty load of characters I need to whittle down) pales in comparison!

    And oh, the bulging biceps led me to expect some bloated Terminator body, but NO! THIS fine specimen was very easy on the eyes. Duh, Atlantis, swimmer’s body, hello?! Now I’m completely intrigued. Great book site, by the way!

    What was I saying? Oh yeah, great interview! Thanks Laura and Alesia/Alyssa/Jax, uh, did I forget anyone?

    February 28, 2007 at 9:29 am
  • Laura, do you think most writers have a book equivalent of the armoir crepe, you know, the one that’s burnt and horrible and not fit for consumption? (we won’t talk about how NONE of my crepes were fit for consumption–I am only taking this analogy so far…) So anyway, you have those paranormal romances that weren’t published, Joshilyn’s first novel didn’t sell–so I’m wondering, would the novel I started when I was about 12 or so count? Can I say I have it out of the way? Alas, no copies survive, and I didn’t finish it after my older brother and his friend (who I had a crush on, as it happens) found the file and read it and then teased me mercilessly. I tell you, that sort of thing could crush a budding writer into smithereens.

    Or is the one I’m working on my armoir crepe novel? Hmm.

    By the way, my sister had her baby last night. 🙂 I’m hoping to get permission to post a picture–I’m off to the hospital as soon as the rather draconian visiting hours begin.

    February 28, 2007 at 9:35 am
  • ParisBreakfasts, I like the way you think! Pastries, yummmmmm . . .

    Michelle, yes, that cover is fairly delicious. My husband made disgruntled noises about “strange cover models with no body hair” LOL!

    Amy, congrats on being an Aunt!! And yes, I’ve heard that most authors have one or more books under the bed that will never see the light of day. I sold the first book I wrote and the first novel I wrote, so I tend not to say that very loudly, especially around other writers! 🙂

    And isn’t Laura a TERRIFIC writer??

    Alesia/Alyssa

    February 28, 2007 at 10:14 am
  • Oh yay! Baby out worked!!!

    Good, but terrifying, point, Amy. (And yes the one when you were twelve counts!) I’m going to consider the partial novel-in-stories sitting on my hard drive my armoir crepe, just for the record. The individual stories didn’t sell (although I wasn’t terribly vigilant about pushing them), but I will consider them a failed collection and claim boat loads of success for my current WIP.

    February 28, 2007 at 1:15 pm
  • I probably shouldn’t talk about armoire crêpes. I have a LOT of them. I haven’t even told you about the book I wrote when I was 15, that told the whole history of the world from the point of view of Eve and was…80 pages. Boy, i it was smart, though. So smart that when I try to re-read it I cannot understand half of it. I liked to be cryptic at the time.

    I do think most writers have the equivalent of at least one armoire crêpe; I love that analogy by the way, Amy! That is brilliant. A definite keeper. I might have more armoire crêpes than some because I started writing books when I was 12 or so and I had about 8 under my belt by the time I was 20. And I was no..oh, lord, why have I gone a sudden blank as to her name? Famous writer, published her first book at age 15 or so and it’s still a classic. Aaargh, I hate it when my brain just glitches like that. Also, I was apparently no Alesia. (Show-off, Alesia! 🙂 )

    So, where was I, YES, we will consider you both to have your crêpes on top of the armoire already and your current works future blazing successes.

    CONGRATULATIONS to your sister!! That is wonderful!

    Carol, I personally think you show amazing strength of focus. But you’re multitalented in that focus (you can eat beautifully, paint beautifully, write beautifully, and photograph beautifully). I love the description “Exuberance” for this. That definitely fits both you and Alesia, in your different areas.

    February 28, 2007 at 3:11 pm
  • Laura is a fine writer, and a person of substance.

    How does she find all these cool guests, I wonder?

    February 28, 2007 at 5:27 pm
  • You know, that book from the perspective of Eve is actually brilliant. You should pull that concept out from under the bed and dust it off . . . I’m serious! What fun that could be!

    Mimi, I have to hang out here more often to get called cool. 🙂

    Happy almost March, everybody!

    February 28, 2007 at 8:06 pm
  • Fun for some, Alesia. Fun for some. For others, it might be…humiliating.

    Thank you, Mimi. That is a compliment indeed, coming from you.

    (Also, Mimi was one of the cool guests not too long ago! 🙂 )

    March 1, 2007 at 8:46 am
  • I’m gonna steal…. er, borrow that title. Rennaissance Woman. I’ve always gone with Jill-of-All-Trades because it’s long enough to cover “short-attention-span” – but I like Rennaissance Woman better. It’ll match my son, who I always describe as a Rennaissance Man. How else can you explain someone who writes love sonnets and knows how to set off bombs and likes Gene Kelly and Vin Diesel.

    My first novel,half written, is a young adult book. Well, no, that’s not true. My very first half finished novel was a Winnie-the-Pooh story I attempted when I was in third grade. But if we go with only attempts since puberty, it’s a Young Adult book that I’d call Urban Fantasy, although maybe contemporary fantasy might be more accurate as it takes place in the middle of a redwood forest far from any urban center. My second half written (do you see a horrible pattern surfacing here) is also Urban Fantasy but adult fiction. I’d love to have a go at writing a mystery as well. I’d discuss the problems of switching from one genre to another, in regards to both writing and publishing issues, but obviously that’s the least of my problems.

    March 1, 2007 at 6:06 pm
  • A YA fantasy in a redwood forest…the idea would have drawn me as a YA. Sounds like the perfect setting.

    Yes, finishing them is the trick! The middle is always the place people get bogged down and want to quit. I think you just have to slog on through it, even when you think what you’re writing is no good.

    March 2, 2007 at 9:59 am
  • Actually, that redwood forest would intrigue me NOW. Go finish that book, Granny Weatherwax. (OK, you’re too young for her but you’re very wise!)

    March 2, 2007 at 10:04 am
  • I love Alesia’s books! I’ve been excited about AR since last year, and I actually saw it in a store last night. Very cool! Can’t wait to read it!!

    Alesia, question for you – Do you have only one agent, or different agents for the different genre’s? And if it’s only one, did you have to do any convincing when you decided to switch genre’s? I mean, did you have to say “Hey, I know I write these fabulous books about quirky women that make people laugh, but now I’d like to write about hot guys in Atlantis. Or maybe about teen angst.” Or did you just write the book and send it on and say “Hey, lookie here what I did. You’re going to love it!”
    I’m interested because I’m working on a contemporary romance, but I’ve also got a more serious, straight fiction, book that I’m trying to polish. And I’ve recently been hearing the voice of this 14yo girl (NOT my oldest child, thankfully!), so I know I’m going to have to write her story soon. Just wondering how you find someone that will represent every facet of who you are, as a writer.

    And Laura – THEY ARRIVED! Thank you SO MUCH!! Love the stickers. Love the boxes. LoveD the truffles. You’re the best!!

    March 2, 2007 at 12:46 pm
  • Dee, I know from what Alesia has mentioned that her agent seems to be fine with it. I know my own always says, “It doesn’t matter what you write, just make it great, and I’ll sell it!” It sounds to me as if all of your genres would still fall within the area of expertise (and contacts!!) of a single agent. Where it’s trickier is if you have an agent that only represents non-fiction and suddenly you’re writing romances and he thinks that’s fluff or something–then a good agent would refer you to someone he knows that he thinks would be better suited to represent it (someone who loves contemporary romances, knows all the editors in that field, knows what’s going on in it, etc.).

    Anyway–you have to do your research, of course, as always, but I think you could easily find an agent who would be able to represent all those genres and do it well. With all the authors you have met running Dee & Dee, I’m sure it will be easy to ask all those authors about their agents, too, at some point (would you recommend her? how did she handle your crossing genres? etc.)

    March 3, 2007 at 7:00 am
  • I am very happy about my stickers. Stickers! That’s almost as good as feathers.

    March 3, 2007 at 7:02 am

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