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Author Interview: Alessandra Coco


Hello again!


Well, I wasn't going to have another author interview before the new year, because I knew I'd got a book launch in December and didn't want to take away from anyone's post, BUT the lovely Alessandra Coco also has a book coming out this month, and as hers is a couple of weeks after mine, we decided to squeeze her onto the schedule anyway.


And I'm so glad we did, as I've got a great interview to share with you today :)


Her new book is called Torn Map and will be released on 24th December (so super soon!) and is the second in her six-book series, The Legend of the Winged People. It's available to pre-order now on your local Amazon store, and the cover is beautiful:





But, the best person to tell you about that book, and all other aspects of her writing life is the lady herself, so I'm going to hand over to Alessandra...

 

Hello, Alessandra! Thanks for joining me on the blog :) Please introduce yourself, and tell us a little about your books.


My name is Alessandra Coco. I’m Italian, I was born in Milan a few decades ago, but traveled a lot due to my father’s job relocations. Other than in different places in Italy, I lived in Brazil and Switzerland.


I had many jobs, from researcher in Italian linguistics and Romance philology (I published articles on medieval manuscripts and co-authored a book about English loanwords into the Italian language) to parliamentary transcriptionist. I’m currently a teacher in adult education and work mainly with migrants.


Since I was four, I was always an avid reader, and my dream job was to work with books (selling books, translating books, writing books), but I only decided to take the leap and self-publish in the last couple of years.


My first fiction series is The Legend of the Winged People, a character-driven action-adventure series with sci-fi elements revolving around two teenagers searching for a mysterious treasure and a superhuman race. It is targeted at an audience of 15 and above and is told in multiple POVs, associating young adults and adults. It will also be available in Italian as La leggenda del popolo alato. Book 1, The Conspiracy (Il Prescelto), is already available on Amazon both in ebook and paperback format.

 

That's a great introduction, and your series sounds like a lot of fun! Why did you start writing?


I started writing novel-length stories at fourteen, when I was forced to leave Switzerland to return to Italy, to a city I didn’t know at all. There I couldn’t fit in, and, since I couldn’t enrol in the highschool I would’ve liked to study foreign languages at, I isolated myself from the world. I started writing to survive the pain and feel that somewhere I had control of my life and could make whatever I wanted come true. That’s how my writing journey started.


 

Oh wow, I'm glad you found an escape in writing! And you certainly can make anything you want with writing, it's really magical. Which is your favourite of the books you’ve written so far, and why?


This is a tough question because all the six books in my series are interconnected, but, if I had to choose, I’d say the last one, The Lost City (unpublished at the moment), because it brings the story to a conclusion and it shows facets of the characters that haven’t fully been explored in the previous books.


 

You have an amazingly imaginative series of books. Where do you get your ideas?


I often get ideas for my books from movies, TV series, and other books. I began writing The Legend of the Winged People many years ago after watching a—then very famous and successful—anime series, Nadia-The Secret of Blue Water, a Jules Verne-inspired steampunk adventure. However, apart from some general plotline, and after many many drafts, the two don’t have much in common.


 

There are so many different ways to tell the same kind of story! What’s your favourite thing about writing?


It allows me to get into other characters’ heads, see things from their point of view, and live experiences that I’d never live in real life. I particularly like writing male characters. The main character in The Legend of the Winged People is, in fact, a teenage boy and other male figures play important roles.


 

That's one of my favourite things about writing, too! What’s your least favourite thing about writing?


Writing the first draft, because it’s such a struggle. And marketing.

 

You're definintely not alone in struggling with those things! You’re an indie author. Why did you choose that route?


Since I started writing the series decades ago (but thoroughly updated it), I didn’t want to go down a possibly very long and unrewarding path. I wanted to get all the books out as soon as possible. I was also aware that the genre I write in is not the top in the market and that selling a series of interconnected books would’ve been extremely difficult. But I don’t regret my choice. I like being in control of my work.

 

That's exactly why I went indie too. As you know, us indies can't do this publishing thing completely alone though, so how can readers and friends support indie authors?


Word of mouth is precious. Sharing an author’s posts, visiting their website, recommending their books is a huge help. Being available to read ARCs and especially to leave reviews is fundamental. Plus, the moral support to prevent an author from quitting is invaluable. It is a very hard job to do and it can get discouraging at times.

 

Those are all brilliant tips, thank you. What are you working on at the moment?


I’m working on publishing the remaining five books in The Legend of the Winged People and each of their Italian translations.


I’m also working on a sequel, that is currently titled “The Wars of the Winged People”, but will likely be rebranded. My intention is to write more to market because I had a very challenging time finding comparable novels and, thus, marketing the first series.


 

You are a busy lady! What are your favourite writing resources?


I subscribed to a number of courses, particularly Mark Dawson’s Self-Publishing Launchpad and David Chesson’s courses at Kindlepreneur. I find Publisher Rocket very helpful. I also really appreciate all the helpful posts coming from social media.


 

There are so many great things out there to help authors. What advice would you give to an aspiring author?


Get the creative juices flowing, but try to bridle them in by educating yourself first about your genre expectations and the contemporary market. You’ll spare yourself some grief and lots of rewriting.


 

Great advice (and some I wish I'd heard when I first started writing!) Authors often use their own expereinces in their work, so what real-life references have made it into your books?


My series is not (if marginally) a fantasy book and has realistic settings. My real-life references are the ones concerning my personal journeys. I visited most of the places I describe in the books (Crete, Greece, Switzerland, Paris, San Francisco). I also included some anecdotes that my family would pick up on, like nods to our favorite movies and sit-coms, or things that happened to us, like eating a particularly indigestible pizza.


 

Oh, it's so much fun sneaking in things your friends and family will recognise! Which of your books would you recommend people start with?


Definitely The Conspiracy. It’s the first of the six-book series. It introduces all the main characters and their backstories and tackles all the first part of the intrigue. I do, however, at the beginning of each book, provide some references or flashbacks to help the reader find their bearings if they haven’t read the previous books or are reading the next one after a long time gap.


 

That's such a great idea! And, where can people find you online?


Until the beginning of this year, all I had in terms of social media was my personal

Facebook account. Now I’m spread out on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Goodreads. I have a Facebook page and my own website. These are my links:


Twitter: @alecocoauthor

Facebook Page: Alessandra Coco Author


 

Thank you so much for joining me today. Before you go, so you have any last thoughts you'd like to share?


I’d like to thank all those who have supported me in this writing journey so far, starting with my brother, who helped me set up my website and do a lot of mockups for my book covers (all designed by Deranged Doctor Design), and my fantastic editor and sensitivity reader, Grace Wynter.


I also thank all the wonderful readers and authors I’ve met online for being such a welcoming community. And I’ll leave you with the motto I use at the end of my books:


See you in the next episode.

Until then, whatever lies ahead for you, winged people, fly on!



 

A huge thanks to Alessandra Coco for sharing her insights into writing life, and for telling us about her books. I wish you all the very best with your publishing adventures! Best of luck with the release of Torn Map in a few days time :)


Next year, I have another great line up of authors who will be joining me to talk about books and writing, so I hope you'll join me then!


Thank you, dear reader, for being with me this year, and as this is the final post for 2022, I'd like to wish you a Merry Christmas, and a very happy New Year :)


Love,

Saff x


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