My interview with Change the World with Words was published today! Check it out here or below:
Tell me a little bit about yourself. How long have you been writing, and what sort of writing do you do?
My name is Alison “A.J.” Walkley and I have been writing since elementary school when I put together Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen Detective Zines for my family and friends. My passions in life include social justice, writing, sexual rights, LGBT rights, books and film. I used to write for a newspaper back in Connecticut before becoming a United Nations correspondent in New York City. I love writing for the young adult audience, though I’ve recently gotten into nonfiction. On top of NaNoWriMo 2011, I am also working on a script based on the life and wrongful conviction of Elizabeth Burke, a Texas inmate I’ve been corresponding with for nearly 3 years.
Is this your first attempt at NaNoWriMo? If not, what happened to the novels you worked on during previous Nano events? Have they found publishers/agents/been self-published? Or were they “just” a learning process?
This is my 3rd NaNoWriMo attempt. I finished my first two and aim to do the same this year. My first attempt became Choice, which I self-published with iUniverse. It won the Barnes and Noble Rising Star Award and was placed in B&N stores across the east coast.
How much planning did you do before you sat down to write that novel-in-a-month?
My first attempt I began with a mere idea in mind about writing a book with two endings. There was no planning at all, essentially. I went for the 1,667 words-a-day count and made it past 50,000 words by November 30th. My second attempt I made it to the end, but I didn’t have a complete novel, just the first half. I’ve yet to finish that second novel, but it will happen some day!
What’s your strategy? Are you writing every single day? Aiming for a set daily word count? How long each day do you/will you spend writing?
This year I’ve gotten some co-workers in on the challenge. I’ll be writing at least 1,667 words a day, plus holding workshops for myself and my co-workers three times a week before/after work. I expect to work on NaNoWriMo for at least 2 hours a day.
Do you/will you connect with other participants (apart from your co-workers), either online or in person?
I’ve never connected with other participants in the past but, now that I live in the LA-area, I hope to attend at least one writing session or kick-off party this year.
What advice do you have for other Nano writers, or what’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given so far?
Stick to it, write every day and, if you don’t win the challenge, keep writing! November is just the beginning!
Alison “A.J.” Walkley is a 26-year-old producer, writer and casting director for Mahalo.com with a background in journalism, film studies and creative writing. Originally from Connecticut, Walkley currently resides in Santa Monica, CA. She is the author of two self-published young adult novels: Queer Greer (2009) and Choice (2009). Choice was written during NaNoWriMo 2008. Walkley served in the U.S. Peace Corps as a health volunteer in Malawi, Africa after graduating from Dickinson College in 2007.
Find out more at AJWalkley.com or on YouTube at
If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo 2011 and would like to be featured in this series, see this post to find out how. Struggling with your NaNo attempt? I’m still reading Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days, (And Live To Tell About It) by Rochelle Melander and finding it really helpful.