BookView Interview with Author Alice Dolphin Sanza

Welcome to BookView Interview, a conversation series where BookView talks to authors.

Recently, we talked with Alice Dolphin Sanza, author of Alice’s Ego, a literary fiction tale with a dash of magical realism and fantasy (read the review here).

I have been a therapist for over 10 years. During this time I have listened to a lot of peoples stories. I began to see there was a theme to many of them and studied archetypes. From this I was able to build a novel that I believe will resonate with a lot of people. I am qualified in Magnified Healing, Massage, Reflexology and Crystal Therapy. I am also a Reiki and Seichem Master. I’ve owned a Crystal Shop and a Harley Street Practice. I’ve travelled the world working energetically. Finding this path and breaking my linage has been my life purpose. It has been a hilarious and sometimes arduous journey that has left me with a unique outlook on life.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I researched this book for 11 years as I tried to understand my own experience. I studied on courses, from books and information on the internet. Then I wrote a book, this raised a lot of questions within me. Well, actually, it pulled up deeply disturbing emotions. I then put the idea of writing aside for 3 years and continued to study and understand these issues. I worked as a therapist during this time, listening to other people’s stories. I found reoccurring themes of challenges people face. I also worked in our local library and read up on archetypes. I found that the stories I had been told of other people’s experiences fitted characters within archetypes, there seemed to be a generic theme, and so built my characters in the book. It has been a wholly cathartic experience that has taught me so much. Finally, I took a year to write this second book with more understanding and knowledge of the subjects it raises. I then spent 9 months in the editing process.

Do you find writing therapeutic?

Absolutely. It took me completely away from my life whilst I lost myself, for a year, in imagination.

What’s the most difficult thing about writing a novel?

Staying on track. I have several removed chapters that ultimately, I had to declare were extensions to the story and not strictly on point. Although I enjoyed writing the chapters and love the message within them, they unnecessarily elongated the book and took it, albeit delightfully, off track and had to be removed. Maybe they will form the basis of a second novel.

How many hours a day do you write?

I write when I have a thought or inspiration I want to get down on paper. Often this was at 3am and I would write till 8, 9 or 10am then collapse back in bed to sleep for a few hours. Or whilst I was in conversation with someone and I would rudely excuse myself because I had stopped listening to them when inspiration struck. It has been a very disjointed few years and thoughts and ideas spilled out of me onto the pages.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers?

This was so challenging. I really struggled to publish thinking I was simply not good enough to do so and delayed putting myself out into the world using the excuse of editing. I then convinced myself there was no point publishing, I was simply happy to have done it and I would just print a copy for myself and leave it at that; I unpublished the ebook. A few friends read it and declared it should be out in the world. I felt these friends were just being kind and not a fair assessment of my work. So, I delayed promoting it thinking it could just sit at the bottom of the list. I had to shift my perception. Now I feel the topics raised in the book will resonate with a lot of people and hopefully this will make them feel more comfortable in having faced similar challenges to me. Publishing a book is the biggest challenge to my self confidence that I have ever faced.

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

Oh, I have been completely original and discussed really alternative philosophies. I wrote from my heart and my experience. I have hit on uncomfortable subjects which, in my experience, are the sort of subjects that we sweep under the carpet and should be bought out into the open. I have done this in the hope that people who have also gone through these experiences can feel more comfortable discussing them and get help and healing rather than bottling their emotions up and just coping with life, as I had unsuccessfully done.

Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

Yes, anyone and everyone can write. Not everyone wants to read an emotive story all the time. We can all tell the same story from a different perspective with a different spin on it as we view it through our own lens of experience. We can write from our emotional body or from our logical minds. But the experience for the reader will be vastly different.

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