At the Bar with Hayat Ali

Hayat Ali is an author who's steadily amassing a cult following.  She came highly recommended on the Blasian Narrative, and on Amazon.com, her fans abound.  I had the privilege of completing this interview with her on May 13, 2011.

First, let me just say thank you so very much for doing this, and that you have a really beautiful name. Could you tell us about it?

Thank you for opening your forum to me. It's really a pleasure to do this.

My name Hayat means "life" in Arabic. It is also happens that my favorite ancient Egyptian symbol, the ankh, means the same thing.

For those who are unfamiliar with you and your work, could you tell us a few things about yourself and what you do?

I am an attorney by trade ironically like many of the sci-fi authors I like. I was a public defender. Now I do primarily contract work in addition.

I grew up in the Indiana and but always loved New York. I moved to NYC a little over 4 years ago. I'm kind of a wild child, very liberal and quite opinionated. I also love books and film especially ones that tell a really unique story.

The Alpha Promise is my first published novel.

You’re an attorney? That’s amazing! What made you decide to pursue law? And how long have you been an attorney?

I've been an attorney for ten years. I became an attorney mainly because I like the law, I like debate, and I like having the ability to help people who can least afford it. So it was either that or politics. I choose to be an attorney, for now.

Which sociopolitical issues concern you the most and why?

Primarily class struggle although race, anti-intellectualism, and gender matter to me also. I've always been annoyed by the way our system is structured. It seems to ensure that wealth stays at the top. But moreover how many in the wealthy class have convinced poor and middle class people that it's acceptable the rich should prosper at the expense of the poor. In that vein, race, gender, and ignorance play their roles in perpetuating a system that keeps 98% of us fighting for crumbs all the while the top 1% figures out a way to take those too.

When did you start writing, and what did you initially write about?

I started writing when I was a kid. I liked to write stories about teens in love under stressful circumstances and extreme conditions. I still have a story that I started at 11 years old that I plan on finishing because it was an interesting premise.

Over the years I notice that many of my stories are sci-fi, futuristic or alternative history like stories. Almost all are influenced by some form of political or social issues.

I do write contemporary stories that deal with romantic relationships. I have co-written interracial romance novel called Never Enough that I plan to publish soon. But for now all my stories are mainly supernatural/science fiction in some way with romance intermixed.

Who are your favorite authors and influences?

Now that can be a long list, lLOL. The major authors are Octavia Butler, Steven Barnes, CJ Cherryh, and Terry Brooks. They are all sci-fi/fantasy but they all deal with current social and political issue.

Outside of famous authors I would have to say my mother and my friends who always encouraged my story telling especially my friend Vanessa. And my man who always gives me ideas, even when he doesn't realize it.

What's your creative process?

I tend to be a daydreamer constantly coming up with stories and expanding them in my mind. My creative process was shaped by what I did as a child. I didn't just play, I create elaborate scenarios before any of the dolls and action figures come out.

I tend to based my ideas on things around me or how I would tell a story differently in a particular genre ie love stories, vampires, political drama, etc. So I create my cast of characters (I view my stories like movies) and then the background. Afterwards I type whatever pops into my head after making a mental outline of where I want to go in the story and the major things that have to happen before then end.

Sometimes I mentally write out the story before typing or writing it up. Depends on my mood. But when I'm ready to write I'm off and get really annoyed when I get interrupted.

What's your genre of choice?

Science fiction, fantasy, supernatural stuff. Although I'm starting to like writing on occasion stories based contemporary settings deal with friendships/love relationships. But I find science fiction/fantasy and the supernatural genre provide a far more interesting platform to challenge conventional ideas and concept. Such as the grey area between good and evil and the evolution of a person.

The Alpha Promise has really good reviews on Amazon. I’m in awe of its popularity. For those of us who haven’t read it yet, could you give us some background information?

The Alpha Promise was originally published as a short story called "Mating Season." I later revamped and expanded the story into the current book.

The Alpha Promise is about the political consequences of the most powerful vampire in the world mating with a human.

Adina saves the life of the High Prince of vampires, Jin. After saving his life, he protects her from forces out to kill them both. Later after securing her, he finds that she is in further danger, as a consequence of their mating. This forces him to confront the buried history of vampires in order to save her again.

The Alpha Promise has been characterized as a Blasian novel on the Narrative. This is how I “met” you. Do you consider the novel Blasian? If so, what made you go that route?

Its not primarily a Blasian novel in that its not focused on the race of the characters even though Jin is asian/british and Adina is black. Its more about the struggle of power and what makes someone who they are. A play on the one drop rule. How much blood of a different kind makes you less of my kind. Who gets to define the line. The Alpha Promise through a series of events focuses characters who have to face those issues. Further it explores how those issues are resolved will dictate who gets in power.

However, I did deliberately choose the main characters race because I wanted a black female lead because it so rare in sci fi as is an asian male. People of color in generally don't get a decent reflection in sci-fi/fantasy. Its getting better but as lead characters no. I get tired of not seeing myself and my friends reflected in my favorite genre. So when I write I do deliberately make my main characters of color.

What are you working on now?

Right now I'm working on the second novel in The Alpha Promise series. That's my primary focus. Afterwards, I have other stories I need to finish and publish and then working on a couple of screenplays.

I'm hoping eventually I get to place where I can write primarily for a living.

And what can fans expect in The Alpha Promise sequel?

Well, a lot. They will learn some details about vampire blood and lineage, more about the hunted breed tribes, the further exploration of Jin and Adina's relationship and weather or not she will survive. Secrets will be revealed and a few characters are gonna die.

I hope the ride will be as fun in the sequel as it was in the first book.

What does the future have in store for the great Hayat Ali?

I'm hoping one day to make a movie, well several. So soon I hope to sell a script and be on the big screen. But for now just getting my stories out there is enough and making sure not to disappoint my loyal fans.

Ms. Ali, thanks again for stopping by the Bar.

Comments

  1. Thanks for this interview Ankh. I've read The Alpha Promise and it was well done. Jin & Adina's relationship is based on mutual respect and struggle. It's one of the many reasons I dig this pairing.

    I'll keep it spoiler free by encouraging everyone to check the book out. I am amped to hear the 2nd book is being written.

    Ms. Ali is a talented and gifted writer. I enjoyed learning something of her background in the law & support for social justice.

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  2. Just bought the book and excited to read!

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  3. Wow, the novel sounds very impressive. Thank you so much for the interview. I'll definitely be checking out your work.

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  4. I'm glad you got to do an interview with her and also very surprised that she is an attorney. Out of all the Vampire Novels I've read, I STILL say that is the best ever and am anxiously waiting for the sequel.

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  5. I'm so pissed that I don't already own this book. I should be changing that this weekend.

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  6. just finished the book. really good story, I loved the characters and can't wait to find out what happens to adina and co.

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  7. WHEN IS THE EXPECTED DATE FOR THE SEQUEL

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  8. Read this book a few times it's by far one of my favorites but have been waiting a couple of years for the sequel..I hope it comes soon.

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  9. Ms. Ali no doubt appreciates your support, but I won't allow anymore Anonymous posts after this.

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  10. Just finish reading the alpha promise on my Kindle,and I loved it, when it ended I was like nooooooooooo!!!!!! You are gifted, it has been a few books that can hold my attention, and leave me wanting more. I wait patiently for the 2nd edition.

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  11. Not-so-patiently-waiting-for-sequel

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