Paul Dominick Alleva (PD Alleva)
Romelia: WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF YOUR ARTISTIC PROCESS?
PD Alleva: Discipline. I have so many stories raging through my head at all times but when I’m writing I don’t like to write multiple stories at the same time. I like to focus on one particular story to write and another to edit. When I’m writing I always need supreme focus on the current story, plot, and characters. I enjoy being meticulous and since most of my stories are thrillers with mysteries that involve ancient philosophy, quantum physics and psychology I find it lends to a better-finished product if my mind is set and focused on that one particular story. Editing is different because I put on a different hat when editing, looking at the architecture behind the story, which doesn’t interfere with the creative process of writing. What I have changed though is the time in between finishing one novel and starting another, which in turn has helped to be more productive. Historically I’d finish one manuscript and then wait about a month, sometimes longer, to begin the next one. Now, I pick up immediately after or within a day or two and will often write the first few pages of the new manuscript as I’m coming to an end on the first.
Romelia: DOES YOUR FAMILY SUPPORT YOUR CAREER AS A WRITER?
PD Alleva: 100%. My wife is my biggest supporter. As for the rest of them, well, they always thought I was a strange one. Would be nice if they actually read one of my books, or really any book for that matter lol. Nothing against them, they are who they are. I always wondered how I was born into a family that doesn’t read (exception being my mother for whom I’m eternally grateful for). I’m a writer surrounded by non readers, crazy is this life I’m living.
Romelia: IF YOU HAD TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENTLY AS A CHILD OR TEENAGER TO BECOME A BETTER WRITER AS AN ADULT, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
PD Alleva: I would do what I do now. We’ve all heard that writers need to write, write, write, and read, read, read, but I like to take this a bit further. When I’m reading I study the craft. How did the author introduce a new character or sudden movement? What is the flow from one chapter to another? How quickly did the author introduce an action (usually the first page if not sooner)? How did they allude to thoughts and subtle behaviors? What is their theme and how do they introduce it? This process has helped me tremendously as a writer and wish I had started it earlier.
Romelia: HOW LONG ON AVERAGE DOES IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE A BOOK?
PD Alleva: Historically three months or more, although it could take a month depending on how long the book will be. I wrote a horror thriller novel in 2020 that took me over six months (now that I’m thinking about it, I think it was more like eight months). A truly devious, sadistic, and yet charming ode to cosmic horror and old grindhouse movies, Jigglyspot and the Zero Intellect clocked in at close to 160k words and I loved every minute of it although it was a long process.
Romelia: DO YOU BELIEVE IN WRITER’S BLOCK?
PD Alleva: Yes, I do. I wrote a blog about it with tips on how to unlock the block by using mindfulness techniques (I’m also a hypnotist and psychologist). Here’s the link to it: https://pdalleva.com/blog/mindfulness-techniques-to-combat-writers-block
Romelia: AT WHAT POINT DO YOU THINK SOMEONE SHOULD CALL THEMSELVES A WRITER?
PD Alleva: When they write consistently and actually finish more than a few manuscripts.
Romelia: WHAT DIFFERENCE DO YOU SEE BETWEEN A WRITER AND AN AUTHOR?
PD Alleva: I don’t see a difference. I hear sometimes people make a distinction but I don’t get caught up in all of it. I use the word writer because I like the way it sounds over the word author, which to me just falls flat on the tongue and fall back into the throat. Saying writer dances off the lips with a smile.
Romelia: HOW DO YOU PROCESS AND DEAL WITH NEGATIVE BOOK REVIEWS?
PD Alleva: I celebrate my jumping off a cliff. Lol just kidding. Sometimes I’ll kill off the reviewer in my next horror scene, which always makes me feel better. Also, just kidding, but no, not really because I have done that. All kidding aside, I enjoy the feedback and truthfully it makes me want to do better as a writer, but I am understanding that there’s no way every single person who reads your book is going to like it so I typically just shrug it off and move forward. There’s no reason to allow yourself to get stuck on a bad review. Focus determines reality and if you can’t let it go and learn from it your usually destined to repeat it, so I turn the proverbial camera back onto accomplishments and the stellar reviews that have brought a smile to my lips.
Romelia: WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF YOUR WRITING PROCESS?
PD Alleva: Tying up loose ends, although I wouldn’t say the process is difficult as it is more tedious than anything. I use a lot of surreal concepts, belief systems, and theories in my stories; from science of mind concepts to quantum physics to ancient alien theories, so when I’m editing one of my main motivations is to be sure something I wrote on page 20 doesn’t conflict with the same theory on page 300.
Romelia: HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WRITING OR WHEN DID YOU START?
PD Alleva: I’ve been writing all my life and as far back as I can remember. I suffered from insomnia as a child beginning at the age of 1, spending those sleepless nights with stories and characters dancing and clawing through my consciousness.
Romelia: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A WRITER WORKING ON THEIR FIRST BOOK?
PD Alleva: Know your genre; read all the top books in that genre and study the craft. Start marketing and getting your name out there across social media sooner rather than later.
Romelia: WHAT, TO YOU, ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENTS OF GOOD WRITING?
PD Alleva: Impact. The reader needs to finish the story with a Wow factor. How they get there is entirely up to the writer. Also, craft and flow of the story, plus I always enjoy philosophical or psychological tid bits pertaining to the overall arc of the story and/or character development. I enjoy it when a writer introduces concepts and philosophies that have been drowned out by mainstream thinking.
Romelia: WHAT COMES FIRST FOR YOU – THE PLOT OR THE CHARACTERS – AND WHY?
PD Alleva: Plot always. Why I don’t actually know. My stories always arrive into conscious thought as a plot first.
Romelia: HOW DO YOU DEVELOP YOUR PLOT AND CHARACTERS?
PD Alleva: I always have a general idea on where I want the book to end as well as important marker points that lead to the end, writing is the process of getting the characters through each marker. Character development including back-story, motivation, and personality spawn from these markers. The question I ask myself is, what would need to happen for each particular character to arrive at the plot marker.
But then again, oftentimes the characters take the reigns and move the story into places I wouldn’t have thought of previously. They can sometimes be very pesky characters who refuse to give over their free will.
Romelia: WHEN DID YOU FIRST CALL YOURSELF A WRITER?
PD Alleva: I’ve always referred to myself as a writer, mainly because I write, a lot. If I had to pinpoint an exact age I’d say I’ve been referring to myself as a writer since I wrote my first novel at the age of 12.
Romelia: HOW DO YOU USE SOCIAL MEDIA AS AN AUTHOR?
PD Alleva: Facebook: posts are centered around related literary genre like news, upcoming events, and sales.
Instagram: I have daily themes such as “Terror Tuesday,” and Sci-Fi Saturday” with the purpose to receive further engagement.
Twitter: I post book fairs and promotions I’m a part of or running myself.
Newsletter: my favorite go-to outlet to connect with readers. I send it once monthly and add a personal touch.
Romelia: WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE AND LEAST FAVORITE PART OF PUBLISHING?
PD Alleva: Favorite: working with editors, beta readers, and cover designers.
Least Favorite: those moments just before release day. It’s like sending one of my children out into the world.
Romelia: WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO AN AUTHOR WHO WANTED TO DESIGN THEIR OWN COVER?
PD Alleva: Hey, go for it if you know what you’re doing. Some writers have no issue designing their own covers because they’re capable of doing so. For me, I have no graphic design experience nor do I want to put in the time to learn, I’d rather keep perfecting the writing craft. But if you’re capable yeah, try it out.
Romelia: HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE YOU WRITTEN AND WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE?
PD Alleva: I’ve written at this point I’d have to say about 30 full-length novels, but only published six so far. Unfortunately in 2005 I lost all my previous novels in what I term as the great laptop tragedy of 2005 (It’s a long story). My favorite at this time is my new dystopian science fiction thriller The Rose Vol. 1
Romelia: WHAT PART OF THE BOOK DID YOU HAVE THE HARDEST TIME WRITING?
PD Alleva: The Rose story is driven by certain alien theories, alchemical concepts, spiritual philosophies and lore, so, while editing, the process behind the timeline of these theories had to be presented satisfactorily to all potential readers. Not that it was hard or difficult to do, just tedious.
Romelia: WHAT PART OF THE BOOK WAS THE MOST FUN TO WRITE?
PD Alleva: Creating the alien vampires along with their mythology and philosophy as a species. Also had a wild time with the numerous action sequences and martial arts battles between human and vampire. Great scenes and tons of bloody fun.
Romelia: WHICH OF THE CHARACTERS DO YOU RELATE TO THE MOST AND WHY?
PD Alleva: I’d have to say I most relate to Phil, the main protagonist in The Rose. Phil’s an evolved human at the age of 18 whose been part of the human rebellion against the vampires since he was rescued from a vampire island (at the age of 4) that bred humans for food and for torture by the human beings who have conspired with the alien vampires for control over the human population. Phil’s trauma has led to anger and self-deception. And yet, his confidence and belief in his cause is second to none. He’s quick witted and cerebral and walks without fear despite past adversity and it is in these aspects that I relate to Phil the most.
Romelia: IF YOU’RE PLANNING A SEQUEL. CAN YOU SHARE A TINY BIT ABOUT YOUR PLANS FOR IT?
PD Alleva: I’m writing Vol 2 at this very moment; I’m close to 55k words into the manuscript. Without giving away the story, the reader will spend some time in Drac City (where the alien vampires live in hollow earth), get to know the alien vampire species and all of their mythos and lore, and will be introduced to an A.I. robot created by grey aliens.
Romelia: TELL US SOMETHING FUNNY ABOUT YOUR ADULT LIFE.
PD Alleva: Adult Life? What’s that? I enjoy being a goof ball with my nine-year-old twins.
Romelia: describe yourself in a few sentences. Tell us something we do not know about you and something you hate about the world.
PD Alleva: I’m a peaceful anarchist. I don’t hate as that leads to suffering and I choose not to suffer but to live free, in my thoughts, my mind, emotions, energetically, and physically. I do have an understanding that human beings are locked inside a matrix of programming and that it is this exact programming that is a direct cause of many of today’s problems and downright hatred. The system is set up for us to believe we are inferior and require outside sources (whether that be government, religion, drugs, or the like) to survive. We don’t need anything other than ourselves to heal and thrive. I’d like to teach the world what we can achieve (an evolved peaceful society) with the hope that it will become inevitable. I’m also a hypnotist and behavioral therapist specializing in treating trauma, addiction, and changing internal adverse belief systems.