Author Spotlight no.73 – Alana Woods

Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the seventy-third, is of thriller novelist, short story, non-fiction author, editor, guest blogger and interviewee Alana Woods.

Alana Woods has been a professional editor for most of her working life. Within that editorial field she’s worked in a weapons facility, courtrooms, perched on the corner of a table in the offices of clients, and as the manager of a government department publishing unit with a million dollar plus budget.

Some years ago she decided to become a mature university student and slogged for five years to gain a first degree and then, because she fancied being one of a few rather than a thousand at the awards ceremony, went back for a post-graduate degree. For just a moment during that second awards ceremony, when she saw the single recipient of a masters stepping up to the podium, she thought that would be the epitome of cool. She says sense prevailed.

She’s a mother, grandmother, writer, editor, gardener, traveller, reader, and house builder and renovator (that one as the fetcher, carrier and holder for her husband who does pretty well all of the real work). Her short story, Tapestries and sleeping beauties, has a house-building theme. In fact, the house described is the first one that she and John built themselves, just substitute Alana for Carolyn in the chimney cleaning segment.

And now from the author herself:

I’d better say very quickly that the editor’s mantra is: never, ever, edit your own work.

One of my favourite language stories is when my children were in high school.  It used to drive me crazy that teachers would leave so many errors unmarked so I tackled an English teacher at a parent / teacher interview.  I said that when I was at school even the maths teacher would correct spelling etc. And what was I told? That if you corrected everything you would stifle creativity.

I was in for the kill then and asked how she thought they could be creative if they didn’t know how to use the language.  She was quiet for a moment then asked if I had any other concerns. And I’m sorry to say that I think that attitude still prevails, if the standard of writing from young people (that’s a gross generalisation of course) is anything to go by. However, it keeps me in a job, so I’m not complaining.

As for my writing, I have had some lovely compliments over the years. I remember one reader telling me that he re-read passages of Automaton over and over for the sheer beauty of them.

Others have said they think I’m a better storyteller than John Grisham and that makes me feel very warm and fuzzy. All I need now is his volume in sales. 🙂

My latest thriller, Imbroglio, is starting to receive similar comments.  Here’s a link to the opening, and I caution that it’s slightly risqué—the only part of the book that is, I hasten to add.

Thank you, Alana. You can find more about Alana and her writing via her website, Facebook page, Goodreads page, and You can also read her guest post on editing, and our interview. 🙂

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with humorous non-fiction author Amy L Peterson – the three hundred and thirtieth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me. You can read / download my eBooks from Smashwords, Sony Reader Store, Barnes & Noble, iTunes Bookstore and Kobo. My eBooks are now on Amazon, with more to follow, and I also have a quirky second-person viewpoint story in charity anthology Telling Tales.

I have a new forum at and you can follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, link with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s ‘Contact me‘ page or plain and simple, email me.

7 thoughts on “Author Spotlight no.73 – Alana Woods

  1. Not quite quintessential says:

    There is one phrase in here that has made my day. “Never, ever edit your own work”. I am pleased to hear an author say this. Proof reading drives me mental! I find I edit one thing, then another and I end up somewhere else all together. Although that could be just my personality…..


  2. Alana Woods says:

    Perhaps it’s the editor coming out in me but my first drafts are always just the starting point. I work and work at them, put them away for about a year then pick them up to have another go. And it doesn’t matter how many times I go over them I ALWAYS miss typos — which is why editors say never, ever, edit your own work.

    I’m running a series on ‘What editors do’ on my website blog at the moment, if anyone is interested.


  3. Alana Woods says:

    The first drafts are just the starting point for me. I rework and rework, put them away for about a year then rework them again. And it doesn’t matter how many times I go over them I ALWAYS miss typos — which is why editors say never ever edit your own work.

    I’m running a series on ‘What editors do’ on my website blog at the moment if anyone is interested.


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