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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Interview & Giveaway with Courtney Alameda, author of Shutter

The very talented Courtney Alameda is here at The Hiding Spot to talk a bit about her debut novel, Shutter, her writing process, and more! Don't miss you chance to win your own copy of Shutter after the interview as well! You can follow the rest of the blog tour here.

In Shutter, the main character, Micheline, is part of an all crew that exorcises ghosts. She’s the only girl in the group and more than holds her own. Why did you decide to put Micheline at the center of an all guy team? 

The fact that Micheline is the only girl on her reaping crew has been a sticky point for some readers, but I can certainly commiserate as to why! (The book still passes both the Bechdel and Mako Mori tests.) I made the decision for a simple reason: At the time of drafting Shutter, less than twenty-five percent of the United States’ military forces were female, and almost half those soldiers were in the medical field. Unfortunately, women are even less well-represented in organizations like police departments and the FBI, where they make up between five and fifteen percent of the workforce.I thought the three-to-one ratio would lend the novel some verisimilitude, even though I knew I would have readers who disagreed with my decision.It’s okay to disagree!

Tell me a little bit about your writing process: Do you outline? Start at the beginning? The middle? The end?

I am a true-blue panster, the kind of writer who dives into novels in pursuit of an interesting protagonist. As soon as I have an opening line—and I always have an opening line before I sit down to write—I leap into the first chapter and move chronologically from that point. I don’t always know how the book ends, but some of my most brilliant and inspiring moments at the keyboard are moments of the characters’ own making.

What jobs did you have on your way to becoming a published author? Is there a certain work experience that has shaped your writing or provided inspiration?

I would recommend aspiring writers do stints as either a bookseller or as a librarian, since both those positions gave me valuable insights into the industry. I spent almost eight years working in the big-box bookstore trenches, and another five in libraries, and my experiences gave me a working knowledge of how people buy/choose books. And a word to the wise: Be kind to the booksellers, librarians, teachers, and bloggers who help you promote your books—word of mouth is golden in this industry!

If you had to pick a favorite word, what would it be and why?

Ooh, but there are so many to choose from! If I’m being fancy, I’d say that I love the word effervescent, thanks to its bubbly meaning and simply because it’s fun to say; but I must admit, I delete a lot of justs and evens from my manuscripts.

My blog is dedicated to my personal hiding spot, books. Who, what, or where can be credited as your personal escape from reality?

I was bullied as an adolescent, and often escaped to the mental playgrounds writers like J.R.R. Tolkien, Stephen King, Anne Rice, Robin McKinley, and Michael Crichton built for me. As an adult, those mental realms still offer great solace; though nowadays, the playgrounds are of my own making.

What can readers look forward to next?

I’m currently in the process of drafting two new novels and a graphic novel script. The project I can hint at is a science fiction/horror mashup that shaping up to look like Alien meets Tomb Raider, which we’ll hopefully be announcing soon . . .

Win It!

Open to US & Canada only. 1 winner. Ends 2/26/15.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Courtney Alameda's spent her entire career trying to con and cajole people into reading great books. A veteran of the big-box bookstore trenches, Courtney now works as a librarian for the prettiest library you've ever seen, where she spends her time ordering large stacks of YA books, doing readers' advisory, and dressing up as various mythical creatures for a variety of library events.

Courtney has an affinity for brightly colored lipstick, urban exploration, cosplay, video games, and Twitter. If she's listening to music, it's usually Florence + the Machine, Marina and the Diamonds, Rodrigo y Gabriela, or Jason Graves. Her addiction to Dr. Pepper is legendary.

Courtney holds a B.A. in English Literature with an emphasis in Creative Writing from Brigham Young University. She is represented by the amazing and talented John M. Cusick of Greenhouse Literary. A Northern California native, she now resides in Utah with a legion of books and a tiny, five pound cat who possesses a giant personality. Visit Courtney's website here. Read an excerpt of Shutter here.


  1. After reading the reviews of this book, I am definitely adding it to my TBR pile!

  2. A graphic novel? How cool! Looking forward to reading Shutter. Thanks for the giveaway, Sara!


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