I still don't remember exactly how writing first became a part of my life. All I know is that one day when I was about five years old, my twin sister and I inherited an old computer, a hulking monitor that took up half the space on our desk and still ran Windows 98. I'd been writing "novels" on paper already, silly little once-upon-a-times with horribly drawn illustrations, pieces of 8.5 by 11 paper stapled together unceremoniously.
But now that we had a computer, I began to write good stories. Wonderful stories about girls with their horses and horses falling in love and - yes...they were pretty garbage. I'll be the first to admit that. Let's just say I haven't forced myself to open those files in years.
Music may have been one of my first loves, but writing novels was a different kind of love: a love of discovering impossible worlds, meeting invisible people, living in universes fueled only by imagination. Writing was an adventure, and falling in love, in a completely different sense than music - but just as powerful, just as wild, just as fierce. Writing became my paradise, my escape when I needed to take a breath and turn away from reality.
My taste in writing evolved with time, of course. As a young girl, I'd write hard science fiction and straight fantasy. But then something happened, my palate (and palette) changed, and by the time I found myself at UCLA, I was writing mostly crossover genre fiction, with an emphasis on thrillers. I branched out into almost any crossover genre I could: science fiction thrillers, psychological thrillers set in both modern-day and alternative universes, literary fiction, historical fiction and literary crossover, science fiction/fantasy westerns, crime thrillers and murder mysteries in speculative fiction universes. By 2019 I had a dozen finished manuscripts under my belt, and a novel-length short story collection I hoped to self-publish.
My standards changed, too. At age 17 I queried literary agents with one of my old manuscripts - the original "Ashes, Ashes," before I stole the title from myself to use on a new manuscript by the same name. I'd gotten a lot of full and partial manuscript requests from established literary agents - Erin Harris of Folio Literary Management (represented Neil Gaiman's American Gods, Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale) even wrote me back with possibly the sweetest rejection letter in the world.
But it was still a rejection.
So I went back to the drawing board, whipped up a few new manuscripts. In the few short years between then and now, I've rethought my whole strategy, written several new novels, and planned several more. My writing journey has only just started - and I'm so excited to discover where it's about to take me.
Alethea has also written as a paid blogger for OneClass Blog. She is currently seeking a literary agent for representation. She is open to any and all writing gigs, and is also more than happy to provide further samples of her writing. To contact her directly, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A list of book recommendations:
The Foundation Trilogy (Isaac Asimov)
Black Matter (Blake Crouch)
The Girl on the Train (Paula Hawkins)
The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern)
The Way of Kings (Brandon Sanderson)
The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
literally anything by Emily St. John Mandel (Last Night in Montreal, The Lola Quartet, The Singer's Gun, Station Eleven)
The Hate U Give (Angie Thomas)
The Lord of the Rings Series (J.R.R. Tolkien)
anything by Ruth Ware (The Lying Game, In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10, The Death of Mrs. Westaway)