Exploring Infinite Worlds with Denise Alicea

A Conversation on Writing Across Genres and Emotional Storytelling

Denise Alicea discusses her multi-genre writing approach, inspirations from personal experiences, and advice for aspiring authors in this insightful interview.

Denise Alicea’s journey as a writer began in the bustling heart of Manhattan, New York, and continued through the serene landscapes of Connecticut. Her creative spirit found its first expression in drawing and painting, but it was through the written word that she truly discovered her voice. Denise’s literary career blossomed at the tender age of fifteen with her initial foray into poetry, which set the stage for a rich and diverse exploration of genres including fantasy, time travel, action, adventure, and romance.

As an esteemed member of the Romance Writers of America since 2005, Denise has not only garnered accolades for her short stories but also consistently contributed to the writing community through her book review blog, The Pen & Muse Book Reviews. Her commitment to the craft is evident in her dedication to both her personal writing and her efforts to support and mentor fellow authors.

In our interview, Denise shares insights into her multifaceted writing process, discussing how she meticulously researches each genre to ensure authenticity and depth. From her poignant poetry in “Heartbeats in Ink” to the emotionally charged narrative of “Consoling Angel,” and the historical richness of “Destined ~ A Time Travel Romance Anthology,” Denise reveals the intricate layers of her storytelling. She also delves into her latest work, “Angels Always Near: A Poetry Collection,” offering a reflective look at teenage emotions through a mature lens.

Denise’s words are a testament to the power of storytelling and the importance of perseverance, providing invaluable advice for aspiring writers eager to explore various genres and discover their unique voice. Her ability to weave personal experiences into her fiction and poetry creates a profound connection with her readers, making her stories not just tales of imagination, but heartfelt journeys of love, loss, and self-discovery.

Denise, your diverse background in writing spans fantasy, time travel, romance, and more. What draws you to explore such varied genres, and how do you approach each genre differently in your writing process?

I approach each genre differently with lots of research! I find that reading in the genre and doing research really does help write in different genres. I also love to explore different genres because I love learning new things. I’m also a reader who loves a variety of different genres.

Heartbeats in Ink is described as a rollercoaster ride through the highs and lows of love and life. Can you share some insights into your inspiration behind this collection of heartfelt poetry, and how your personal experiences influence your writing in this anthology?

All the poetry that I have written has some emotional tie to me, family or a friend that has gone through it whether it’s falling in love, a crush, or even the lows of being alone, etc. I think people forget that love always brings a variety of emotions and feeling, not all of them being flowery. Growing up I found it easier to express my feelings via paper then in person, it grew into a collection of poetry book that I still have and draw inspiration for new poems.  

Consoling Angel follows Mira, who finds solace in her admiration for the Hollywood actor James Dean. What inspired you to blend elements of grief, admiration, and wish fulfillment in this romance story, and how do you create emotional depth in your characters?

Consoling Angel was a short story close to my heart, as it’s a first short story where I could take the grief of losing someone you love, adding a romance story, but adding a young woman finding comfort in someone. The inspiration came from having a great admiration for the actor James Dean.  I have personally lost some family and friends; and know that grief is not an easy subject to deal with. I think personally when someone we love passes, you always have those “what if” moments.  I create emotional depth by really describing what that character is going through and not being a friend to express it via dialogue or show what they’re feeling via body language. 

Destined ~ A Time Travel Romance Anthology features stories set in various historical periods, including 1950s New York and war-torn 387 BC Ireland. What challenges and joys did you encounter while crafting these time-travel narratives, and how do you balance historical accuracy with imaginative storytelling?

I was fortunate to write this anthology with a fellow author and friend. The challenges that you face when writing a time travel romance are the keeping the time periods straight and trying to keep the accuracy of the any historical events. I would have to say the joys were telling the stories of these couples and of course worldbuilding. 

How do you balance historical accuracy with imaginative storytelling? Research! The storytelling is important, but as long as I get the broad strokes of the historical accuracy right, avoid glaring anachronisms, I find that it mostly just fits together. The research is important to make sure I don’t write something completely off the period, but other than that, tell the story first, then fact check it.

Angels Always Near: A Poetry Collection offers an experimental exploration of adolescence and love, filtered through a mature adult perspective. How do you navigate the complexities of teenage emotions and ideals in your poetry, and what themes do you hope readers will resonate with in this collection?

Angels Always Near was my first poetry book where I took my own teenage poems and translated them now being older. So, all the feelings I felt over 30 years ago I wrote down at the time I was feeling them. Translating them and rewriting portions really helped me look back at what I was going through. I hope readers can resonate with the emotions of feeling love, friendship, and of course a little bit of anger and frustration. All emotions that not only teenagers face these days. 

As a writer who has won awards for your short stories and received recognition for your diverse writing, what advice do you have for aspiring authors looking to explore multiple genres and find their unique voice in writing?

My advice for all aspiring writers is to constantly read, read the genres you are writing, read craft books, and join writing groups where you can share your work. Writing can be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. I have great groups that I am a part of that I love meeting with even if its once a month. 

Follow the Author

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Editor’s Choice, Award of Literary Excellence  is presented to  Denise Alicea and a select group of exceptional authors by Reader’s House magazine.

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