Alysha Kaye is the self-published author of The Waiting Room. A romantic story with a twist, following the lives and after death experiences of characters Jude and Nina. Alysha is also a 9th grade English teacher and poetry lover!
Interview with Alysha Kaye, author of The Waiting Room.
- I’m very happy that you accepted my interview request. I’ll try not to make it like the old, boring everyday questions that are usually asked. So, what’s it like to be a English teacher?
I love it! Of course, dealing with squirrely 9th graders has its ups and downs. . . they definitely keep me on my toes. Every day is an adventure.
- The Waiting Room is a romance, but not like “normal” romances and I really like that about it. The whole idea is unique. What gave you this idea or inspiration for the story?
Thank you! I had a dream about this in-between room. I was staring out giant windows, looking down on my loved ones, who were mourning me. It was really strange. Somehow I knew, when I woke up, that I had been waiting on my boyfriend to join the room. Immediately, I had to start writing about it.
- The Waiting Room has excellent points and it brushes upon a lot of subjects like racism and religion. How much research did you have to do for the story?
Not much at all! A lot of the novel is personal experiences–through myself, my family members, my friends, or even random acquaintances. I wanted to touch on these issues without shoving any particular point of view down readers’ throats.
- Nina and Jude are just like any other couple. In your mind, what makes them so special?
I wanted them to be relatable–not MORE special than any other couple out there. I want readers to decide for themselves why Nina and Jude were “chosen”. . . I think it could definitely just be a fluke or experiment!
- What’s your favorite and least likeable trait about Jude?
I love that Jude is so loyal to Nina–I think everyone wants that kind of loyalty in a partner. I DON’T like how pessimistic he can be. . . he’s just not quite as focused and sure as Nina, which can be frustrating, but understandable.
- What’s your favorite and least likeable trait about Nina?
I love Nina’s take-charge attitude–she’s so strong and determined. However, she’s definitely stubborn as hell! I can’t be too hypocritical though. . . I’m the same way haha!
- As a teacher, what’s the most common mistake you find your students doing in their work?
Oh my goodness, I have to pick just one? Ummm. . . probably their/there/they’re. . .which annoys me to no end! My eye twitches every time I see this.
- Was there any difficulties or problems that came up when you were trying to get The Waiting Room published?
Well, I didn’t really try to go the traditional publishing route. I think I might try that with my next novel, so I’m sure there will be many more issues with that! But for this novel, I really wanted to self-publish. I loved having creative control with the book cover, editing, and marketing. The biggest difficulty was probably deciding on the book cover! There were so many choices from my amazing graphic designer.
- Does naming your characters come easy to you?
Strangely enough, yes. I use names from my life that I like. Nina is an old high school classmate that I wasn’t even really friends with!
- Aside from the genres you already write in, what other genre would you like to write in and why?
Well I LOVE poetry, if you couldn’t tell (there’s a short section of the novel that’s all in poetry format). It’d be amazing to one day publish a collection of poetry.
- Do you have a favorite author? Why do you like him/her?
So many. Right now, I’m in love with Mark Zusak and Audrey Niffenegger. Both of them are just fantastic with character development. You feel so connected to the characters.
- Do you plan out your stories or do you just jump in and write?
I am horrible at outlining and planning–I just jump right in! Not always the best for editing purposes. . .
- What would you tell aspiring young writers out there?
Don’t listen to the people who will inevitably think you’re crazy! Push through that negativity.
- What kind of books do you like to read?
I love contemporary fiction. Right now, I’m going through a major YA phase. Anything that grabs my attention really.
- If you could have any other profession, what would it be?
Hmm. . . besides teaching and writing novels? I’d love to be a travel writer–for a magazine or website! I just started freelancing for a magazine here in Austin, TX so who knows where that will lead!
- Will you be publishing any other books in the future?
I hope so. I only have one chapter written of an idea I’ve had for awhile. . .but I’m just not sold on it.
- As a teacher, if a handful of your students theoretically came up with an imaginary figure named Jeffrey and they insisted on putting him in 95% of their stories to the point it’s like he’s a student too, what would be your reaction?
Haha! Wow. I actually have had a student or two do something like this over the years. You just have to accept it–I’m happy if they’re writing, no matter what they’re writing about!
Thank you so much for allowing me to interview you and taking the time to answer my questions. I really enjoyed your story. Check out THE WAITING ROOM book review.
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– Renee Bell