LOCAL author Alledria Hurt has been a writer for many years, and she’s been self publishing her work throughout her career—until now. She’s currently prepping the release of Alice, her newest novel that will be out on September 15th via Mocha Memoirs Press. It's a compelling story that on the surface is a zombie novel, but underneath is a layered and nuanced story that feels completely unique.
It’s the latest in a lifetime of stories and writing for Hurt, who says she’s been writing as long as she’s “been able to form words.” As an author, her first short story was published in 2014. Since then, she’s released “at least” a book per year.
“I’ve now sold twice to small presses, actually,” she tells Connect of her latest release. “I’ve been writing for a long time, and I’ve been publishing for at least six years.”
In her earliest professional days, Hurt says she had a relatively easy time breaking stories and getting a flow for writing thanks to her background in the world of fan fiction.
“I come from the world of text-based role play and fan fiction, so what happened is that for many years early in my college career, I’d spend time doing text-based role play—which is basically like playing in someone else’s sandbox,” she says.
“It taught me a lot about story, collaborating, and about character arcs. But I finally got to a point where I realized I was spending a million words a year writing in someone else’s sandbox, when I could actually take it and do it on my own.”
Around 2005, she wrote her first book; a project that she doesn’t think will ever be released. She wrote it for National Novel Writing Month, which is a collaborative effort helmed by a nonprofit in California. The goal, she says, was to write 50,000 words in thirty days. She did just that, and was off and running from there.
“I took a story that had been percolating in my brain for a while, and I just dumped it out on paper. I wanted to see if I could do it,” she says.
Her biggest lesson from that experience was that it was possible to take an idea from beginning to end.
“From there on, I knew it was possible. So I’ve been writing books ever since. My first novel came out around 2015 after about eight drafts. It taught me the value of perseverance,” Hurt says.
Alice, as Hurt explains, is a zombie novel but is ultimately about much more.
“It’s a zombie novel, but instead of it being about fighting zombies it’s kind of about finding family,” she says. “It’s almost a road trip book, but you find out later that the road trip leads you in a direction and then suddenly you’re given this different twist on what happens. You realize that the people you know aren’t who you think they are. You realize that the zombies aren’t the real problem.”
Hurt says she was inspired by The Walking Dead, specifically in regard to the ensemble cast. As you get further into the book, you lose the initial impression that the titular character “has it all together.” As a reader, she says, you start to question the narration and whether or not you’ve been told the complete truth throughout the story.
Hurt’s biggest piece of advice to authors and aspiring authors is to keep going and push past the self-resistance that creatives often feel when it comes to completing a project.
“[The author] Steven Pressfield says that resistance is primarily inside of you, trying to keep you from doing your creative work,” she says.