Tuesday’s Interview with Angelia Almos
Good morning, everyone. Angelia Almos will join us today and on Thursday this week. Angelia is a children’s book writer and a screenwriter–among other things.
Claudsy: I’m so glad to have you here, Angelia. I’ve been talking to you off and on for over a year, I don’t think I’d ever truly appreciated just how much you’ve done in your career. I know that you published your first story when you were very young. Did it’s success act as the constant prod to your creative side?
Angelia: I’d like to say yes. But I think the answer is probably a no. I often feel that my first short story sell was more of a fluke since I wrote the story for a class and if you wanted an A in the class you had to send it off to a market. It was the only real short story I wrote in the class all of my other attempts turned in to first chapters of books.
I attempted for a while to try to duplicate the success with other short stories, but I have a hard time writing short stories. I liked novels better, but at that point my craft and knowledge on how to write a novel was very little so I’ve spent many years since then learning and hopefully improving.
Claudsy: How much were you already writing when you began your studies with the UCLA Feature Film Screenwriting program?
Angelia: I discovered UCLA’s program when I was finishing up my Bachelors in creative writing. I was extremely interested in it, but worried about the way the courses were structured. They were on the quarter system and you had weekly assignments.
At that point I was more comfortable with the longer courses that had flexible deadlines, but I then decided to at least try one class. It was a rewriting class for a script that I had already written in a different course. The instructors at UCLA are incredible, and I worked really hard in that course. After the course I enrolled in their Feature Film certificate program which I am still slowly working on (I’m about halfway through).
Claudsy: You made a gutsy move self-publishing your first book Horse Schools. Yet Trafalgar Square Books picked it up for its next two editions. When that happened, did you honestly know how exceptional the event was?
Angelia: I don’t know if I felt it was exceptional. Before self-publishing I did the traditional route of querying and in the very nice rejection letters heard the same thing. Great idea, but it’s a niche within a niche. I read every self-publishing book I could get my hand on which included the success stories of those that then launched their own small press from that experience or sold to other small presses or large publishers.
So, I knew it could be done, I also knew that it would take a lot of hard work. Which I did. LOL When it came time to update for the second edition. I queried the same exact publishers with a proposal which included a copy of the self-published book and my sales numbers along with the marketing efforts I had done to reach those sales number.
I believe I queried five publishers, got two nice rejection letters (again great idea, but niche within a niche), one publisher asked for more information but never responded after that, and Trafalgar called me and loved the idea and decided to do it.
I was relieved to say the least. They could worry about copy editing (which I hired out for the first edition), cover design, interior design, and they did do marketing efforts on it and I continued on my own. So, I know the self-publishing to traditional publishing can be done, but it’s a lot of work.
Claudsy: Angelia, you’ve turned to concentrate on novels and screenplays. Yet, you have a broader creative arena, too, don’t you? Tell us about that.
Angelia: Yes, writing Horse Schools opened up several areas for me that I wouldn’t have attempted without it. For 2-3 years, I was on the Horse Expo speaking circuit which was incredibly informative and interesting. I ran most of my seminars with the point of giving the audience the information they needed and wanted so I had a fairly loose structure to them.
This worked great in some and not so great in others. LOL. I also got fairly comfortable in writing nonfiction articles as I was asked to write several for regional and national horse magazines on the same subject as my book. When I was younger I did some horse training and riding instructing, but decided my personality doesn’t lay in that arena. I’m too much of a softy and tend to try to please the clients too much against my own better judgment.
Though I do hope to do some more horse training in the future (at least with my own horses). I consider horses to be my therapy.
Claudsy: I know you’re a member of the RWA (Romance Writers Assoc.). I also know that you enjoy SF/Fantasy. Did you ever think that you’d combine the two genre’s to create one that fit how you liked to tell stories?
Angelia: My stories always have some sort of romance in them. Sometimes the romance is the main story line and other times it is more of a sub plot, but it’s always there. I do combine genres a lot which is one of the things that I like about the romance industry. Publishers are very open to mixing and matching the different sub-genres.
I have several stories that mix SF or Fantasy with romance. I also belong to the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal chapter of the RWA which focuses completely on mixing romance with the SF/Fantasy genres.
Claudsy: You’ve been trying to stay closer to home this past year and not do so much traveling for seminars and such. What’s in the offering for this year?
Angelia: At this point I’m not sure. I’m still so focused on preparing several manuscripts to be sent out to publishers that I haven’t been working on contacting the venues to let them know I’m available. But who knows when an opportunity might arise. Once HorseSchoolsOnline.com goes live for the public, I know I’ll be promoting the site and that might include some speaking engagements if scheduling allows.
Claudsy: How much does all of the activity centered on your writing affect your home life and how do you prevent major disruptions? Or do you?
Angelia: It really just depends on the day, the week, or the month. I’ve been playing around with new schedules to see what will work best, but I find what works for one week doesn’t necessarily work the next week. With the nonfiction, I set up certain tasks to complete each day. When I’m actively writing something new my word count goal is 1,000 words a day which I can pound out pretty quickly if I can focus.
I’m in front of my computer a lot during the day and evening and have recently been trying to make an effort to not be on the computer as much. I think balancing the home life with the writing life can be a challenge that every writer faces.
****That’s the breaking point of Part 1 of this interview with Angelia. I’ll be back with all that she has to say about writing novels and working in other areans of the writing business on Thursday. I hope to see everyone here again then. I also hope many of you will leave behind your comments about what she’s had to say so far.
Take care and see you soon. A bientot,