Featured Writer on Wellness: Alexia Chamberlynn

Filed in Writers on Wellness by on November 4, 2015 • views: 1268

Alexia MainI have a lot of neck and shoulder issues.

I have an office job, so along with writing in my free time, I’m sitting at a computer 8-5. Also, when I’m really focused on a writing project, usually in the first draft stage, I don’t exercise as much as I should, which doesn’t help with that.

Yoga has been a huge help to me. It loosens me up and helps with the neck and shoulder pain, as well as helping me tone up and feel better all around.

I enjoy Pilates, too, as well as taking walks, and the occasional jog. I own a horse, and I train with him. Just getting out in nature is great, physically and mentally!

I’m a vegetarian, and I eat pretty healthy. I eat organic as much as possible, and eat a mostly whole foods diet (not a lot of processed foods).

Alexia RunningRejection Can Crush the Creative Spirit

I think rejection has been the biggest [emotional] challenge. I take rejection pretty well, but after years of it, it gets stressful and you can start looking at all of your writing projects through a lens of wondering what an agent or publisher will like.

It can crush the creative spirit.

I am happy to say I moved on from that earlier in the year and got to a really good place about it, and I’ve recently signed with an agent so that’s great!

But it was nice to be in a more positive space about all that before getting the offer.

Deciding to Self-Publish to Push a Writing Career Forward

For me, I was floundering in indecision about how to move forward with my writing career. Making a decision solved my problem and allowed me to get back to where I loved what I was doing and didn’t second guess everything.

That decision was to self-publish my second book, Martinis with the Devil. My novelette, Black Magic and Mojitos, is a prequel to that.

I didn’t make this decision flippantly—I had lots of agents and other writers give me very positive feedback on the book. So, I knew it was quality, but the traditional publishers just weren’t taking on hardly any urban fantasy.

Also, I love this series, and I knew that it was time to move forward with it.

Alexia and her horse, Max.

Alexia and her horse, Max.

The Darkest Moment: From Three Requests to No Acceptances

I mentioned above that lots of people loved my second book, and it had a lot of agent interest, but people kept saying the market was saturated.

So I wrote my third book, which had a really unique premise—no risk of an overrun market. I submitted it to the big annual Pitch Wars contest and got chosen by one of the mentors! I was super excited, and I just KNEW that this book was the one that would get me an agent.

We polished the book up and when it came time for the agent round of the contest, I got three agent requests (which made me the winner of that age category!). I was over the moon.

And then none of them panned out. Each agent had a different reason why it wasn’t a fit for them. Some of their reasons were even contradictory! I had always let rejection slide off me pretty easily until that point, but this one hit hard.

I let myself wallow for a while and take a break. Sometimes that’s the right choice, as long as you don’t let it go on too long. Then I jumped into a number of different projects, kept writing, and wrote my fourth book, Huntress Found, which ended up landing me my agent.

The One Thing That Has Kept You On Your Path

I’m a writer, simple as that. That may sound profoundly pompous, ah well (grin).

I am very lucky in that I’ve always known that writing was my thing. I love reading, and started writing my own stories when I was five. I started submitting stories for publication at ten, and started my first novel at twelve.

It’s just part of the package that is Alexia.

Advice for a Young Writer: Rejection is Tough

Definitely the rejection [is the hardest part of being a writer].

Aside from my dark period discussed above, I really am pretty good about it. But most of the writers I know? Basket cases about rejection.

Which is normal; I’m the weird masochist who isn’t much bothered by it most of the time. But rejection is tough.

I went through five years of it trying to get an agent. That’s half a decade. You’ve got to have a really thick skin to walk through the fire for that long.

* * *

Alexia Chamberlynn lives in Florida. When she’s not writing or reading, she can be found playing with horses, eating chocolate and other delicious things, drinking wine, traveling to the next place on her global wish list, or maybe doing yoga. She is represented by Sandy Lu of the L. Perkins Literary Agency.

For more information about Alexia and her work, please see her website, Amazon author page, or blog, or connect with her on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, or Goodreads.

BlackMagicBlack Magic & Mojitos, a Zyan Star Novelette: When supernatural bounty hunter Zyan Star jets down to Rio to meet a prospective client, everything goes as planned initially. Then she finds out the person hiring her is Raoul Cabrera, the supernatural overlord of Brazil, and that he’s hired another bounty hunter, Donovan McGregor, to work with her. Their target is a herd of Nightmares, horse spirits that torment people with visions of their worst fears before devouring their flesh.

Zy and Donovan head out on the hunt, but it quickly becomes apparent their client hasn’t given them all the facts. Zy soon realizes she’s caught in the middle of a lover’s spat between two immensely powerful supernaturals, and it’s not clear whose side she should stand on. As if that weren’t enough, pulling off this job is going to require her to relive her worst fears and summon her own long-suppressed magical powers. Available on Amazon.

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Comments (10)

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  1. Angela Noel says:

    Hi Alexia!
    I read your advice with interest. I enjoy yoga, running (when I don’t have a hip fracture-my current bugaboo) and writing. I am curious why, in our culture, it’s considered pompous to call oneself a writer. You mention it and I’ve seen this same sentiment other places, and felt it myself. I wouldn’t call myself a doctor without a medical license or a PHD, but I don’t know what professional certification is needed to feel like a legit writer. At some point, after I finished the 10th draft of my novel and started on another manuscript I just decided I am a writer. Not because I want to attach the idea to myself like a status symbol, but because I believe my unique contribution in this world is through writing. I don’t know if I’ll ever be published “officially” or if the convention is to wait for someone else, someone in the publishing world of other kind of writing royalty to declare me a “Writer.” If so, I’m surely a poser in that sense. But I am curious why naming ourselves “writer” seems like an arrogant thing to do. Would love to know others thoughts on this.Thanks for the post!

    • Angela, thanks for such a thoughtful comment! From a societal perspective, I think it’s simply that writing is considered a creative pursuit, and our society doesn’t value that as much as a more concrete career like a doctor, an IT professional, etc. Part of it may be that you don’t need a degree in creative writing to be a good novelist, but people feel like if you don’t have a degree, you’re not “official”. So writing is often seen as this whimsical thing.

      I think that bleeds into the realm of writers, and I hear so many writers say they are hesitant to call themselves a writer, and they keep it a secret and such. I guess it kind of makes it scary for someone to declare themselves a writer, because that means they are placing worth in their work and putting themselves out there. I felt like that in my teens, but ever since then I’ve been pretty loud and proud about my writing. So, that’s what I mean about feeling arrogant. Among writers, I’m perhaps a bit of an oddball for not doubting myself in this respect 🙂

      • Angela Noel says:

        Hi Alexia! Thank you for the reply. I love that you’re an oddball. A lovely little boy once told a friend of mine, “Everyone is someone else’s weirdo.” Maybe more of us should be your kind of “odd.”
        Thanks again for your thoughts!

  2. Lovely interview! Five years is a long time to believe in yourself. I’m so glad Alexia stuck it out! 🙂

  3. Thank you, Chere! Yes, sometimes we need to grieve a little, as long as we don’t wallow too long. For me, fighting my emotions just makes thing worse.

  4. Chere Hagopian says:

    Thank you, Alexia! Great advice about dealing with rejection, which all writers will come across sooner or later! I love that you let yourself grieve for a little while when you needed to, even though you normally don’t let it bother you.

  5. Thanks so much for having me on your blog! I love the focus on the intersection between writing and wellness.