The REAL Women Writers of Speculative Fiction #REALWomenWriters

by Emerian Rich

Welcome back to the blog series #REALWomenWriters to explore #REALWomenWriters who toil in the day-to-day, soul-crushing, confidence-demolishing, existence that is the life of a REAL Woman Writer. We hope you enjoy this inside look and if you are a REAL Woman Writer, email us to share your story.

Name: Alanna McFall
Genres: Paranormal, stage plays

Favorite story you’ve written and why. The Traveling Triple-C Incorporeal Circus. This is my first full-length novel and it meant so much to get to spend such a long period of time exploring this world and getting to know these characters.
Favorite character you’ve ever written and why? Ava, a time traveler from my short play “Maybe This Time”, which I am currently on commission to expand into a full-length piece. 

She has the ability to send herself back to any previous moment in her life and live it over again, but she has had this power so long that she has become numb to it and detached from everyone around her. She has been great to explore some big existential questions with, and she opens the door for a lot of structural shenanigans with the piece itself.

What is one thing everyone thinks about you that isn’t true? Working in an outward-facing admin job and being a bit shy, I get a lot of people who think I am very quiet and polite by nature. It’s when you get to know me that you find both a temper and a dirty sense of humor.
What is one thing about writing you didn’t know before you started? I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, so it’s a bit tricky for me to determine. But something I didn’t know about professional writing until I got deep into it was how much of a relief an editor’s suggestions can be sometimes. They can be very frustrating at times, but those moments where you just know that something wasn’t working and an outside perspective can help put it right? Those are great and take a big weight off your shoulders.
What is the hardest kind of scene for you to write? Probably either action scenes or exposition scenes. I am a sucker for writing character moments of people spending time together and getting to know each other, but scenes that have a concrete amount of information that needs to be worked in organically can be difficult for me.
Did you go to college? What was your major? I went to Smith College, where I was a Theater major with a Playwriting Concentration.
What did you think you’d be “when you grew up?” I had an eye towards being an actor as a child, and was always very dramatic about acting out my stories and make-believe games. But while I will always have a love for being on stage, the story making part of the equation was what ended up being my true passion.

EVENTS

What is the best event you’ve ever been to? In terms of events I have attended, it would have to be the Nine Worlds convention in London in 2015, but that feels like cheating in that I met my fiancée there for the first time.

As for events I have been an active participant in, I would have to say my book release party for The Traveling Triple-C Incorporeal Circus, which I hosted at my workplace, Kinetic Arts Center, in June. It was such a wonderful way to celebrate and feel supported by my community.

What is something hurtful you’ve had to endure at an event? It was not something intentionally hurtful, but I participated in a play-reading in New York City in 2014 that was so poorly organized, and honestly poorly planned from the get-go, that even participating in it became very uncomfortable and anxiety-inducing. It was truly a project of love, but passion alone cannot put on a show.
How did you recover from experiencing this hurtful thing? In all honesty, time and a sense of humor. The event became so bad by the end that it crossed into the absurd, and though it was over five years ago now, my best friend and I still tell the story whenever we get a chance. 
What is something hurtful you’ve witness another #WomanAuthor experience? (No names please.) Again, not something intentional, but seeing a moderator repeatedly mispronounce a guest’s name, despite being corrected, was quite uncomfortable. By the end of the panel, the audience was literally shouting the correct pronunciation every time the mistake was made. It just spoke to a total lack of preparedness and, in a broader sense, of respect.
If you could give that woman or any other #WomanAuthor a pep talk, what would you say? I get having a hard to pronounce name (mine was said wrong in my college graduation ceremony). But do not feel shy or embarrassed about correcting people about your name, pronouns, or anything else integral to who you are. This is your mark, and you can stand by it.

ONLINE PRESENCE

What is your favorite form of social media? Where can we follow you? I have been growing a fondness for Twitter. You can follow me at @AlannaMcFall and check out my website at alannamcfall.com.
What is the biggest challenge of social media? Making sure that there is some actual conversation and content happening, not just shouting promotions of your own work into the void over and over again.
Have you ever been abused or shamed on social media because of your sex, skin color, views, etc..? And how do you deal with that? Thankfully I have not been.
Have you ever seen another #WomanAuthor shamed? Were you able to help? I have definitely seen some vile speech going around online and directed at female authors. I tend to just report trolls and move on, as there is not much to be gained by directly engaging with them, unless you can devote concentrated time to changing minds.
What should readers know about your social media presence? That I am a big nerd who will mostly be writing about books I just read or food I just made.

YOUR MESSAGE

What is the message you try to convey with your writing? Is there any keyword you want all of your work to convey? I think my message would be that even in the face of strange and surreal and uncomfortable events, there is room for joy, love, healing and connection with other people. For a keyword, I feel like “off-beat” sums my work up pretty well.

Thank you for joining us for
#REALWomenWriters!