Sinking into When Oceans Rise
1) Starting with the easy one. What is your Author name; use your Pen name if you have one.
2) What is your genre and what drew you to it?
It’s been 15 years since I started novel writing, and it’s always been YA fantasy and paranormal romance. Recently, I dove into horror and a very cool person I know talked about how these three genres can often melt into one another. I absolutely agree! When people started getting horror vibes from the monsters in my fantasy book, it opened a door for me to explore a genre I’ve always admired because I didn’t know I was already dabbling in it in a way. I’m drawn to the speculative worlds because I love being swept away. So much of life is hard and magic can give us space to deal with these hard life problems.
3) What is the best time of day for you to write?
The morning! Though previously that rarely ever happened. I have two young children and so more often I’d put them to sleep and then stay up until 2am writing. It wasn’t my best time of day to write, but it was the time I had.
4) Which character of yours is your favorite and why?
In When Oceans Rise, it’s probably Anita. She is a ball of light and love. She is able to see other’s perspectives without being asked to see other’s perspectives, and that’s the kind of person I’m always striving to be. I want to be someone who is happy and thoughtful, and so I wrote this character that reminds me of what I aspire to.
5) Which character of yours was the most challenging to write and why?
My main character, Malaya, was the most challenging to write. She is going through an abusive relationship much like I did as a teenager. It was hard to look back and remember all the ways I’ve been gaslit and abused and then attempt to put it on paper in a thoughtful way. It was also very eye-opening to see all the ways I’d blamed myself for what happened when that blame never should have fallen onto me. It was simply something I carried in silence for years. Mostly, Malaya was also so hard to write for all the ways she wasn’t me. I wrote her from the lens of my own personal experiences, but ultimately, she was stronger and more forgiving than I was. There’s a reason I avoided writing this book for over a decade, but I’m grateful I finally did.
6) Have you ever taken a course on writing or advertising? If so, which one(s) and how would you rate them?
I have a masters in creative writing. I have an undergraduate degree in media arts and animation.
Here’s the thing about a degree in writing: you don’t need one to write. That said, in my experience, I often find that having a degree gives people the confidence to put their work out there—it certainly did for me. So, while I know in my heart that courses and degrees are not necessary for success, if these things give you the confidence to go after your dream, then they’re worth it.
As far as advertising goes, I feel that this is another aspect where self-teaching can take you very far. I learned a lot in my undergrad and because of it, I was a social media manager for a lot of companies when I worked in the advertising and marketing spaces in news. Through these experiences, I saw a lot about what people responded well to so that when I started making my own content it felt very natural to me. Do you need a degree or a class in advertising? Perhaps not. But if it gives you the confidence to put yourself out there, then I don’t see the harm.
7) What is the one thing you wish you knew at the beginning of your writing journey?
I wish I knew not to be precious about my work. I spent five years writing my first novel, and it’s collecting dust. My second novel was written in 20 days, and it got me a literary agent. If I had learned to let go earlier, I might have written a better first novel. Or I might even have more books published now, had I let myself be a little freer to make mistakes.
8) Who did you dedicate your first book to and why?
My dedication is in two parts: first to my husband and family for supporting me and indulging my eccentricities. The second part is dedicated to those who have ever felt voiceless, or lost, or like they are just too much—because I want them to know that we have found each other and that around me they can be weird and feel deeply.
9) Pick five books that are must-reads in your mind.
I don’t really have a list like this because I’m not the kind of person who typically has favorite anythings, but I will name five books I love recently.
· The Love Match by Priyanka Taslim
· The Wicked Unseen by Gigi Griffis
· The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
· Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin
· Ever Since by Alena Bruzas
10) Do you read books in your genre, or do you prefer reading other genres?
Most of the book I read are in my genre, but I also read outside of my genre for palette cleansers and because I like to stay fresh on what’s trending widely.
11) In your opinion, can a book series be too long?
I realize this might be contradictory, but no. Not if the series is beloved and not if the author still has something to say. Not all book series are for everyone so we may come across ones we discontinue, but if the author and the readers are not ready for something to be over with, then how can it be too long?
12) If you could take one item out of any book that you have ever read, what would it be or why?
I particularly love fantasy set in the contemporary world, so I’m not sure there’s anything in a book I’ve ever read where I was like, yep I want that thing. Maybe a dragon?
13) How do you arrange your bookshelves? (Color, alphabetical or another method)
Color all the way! I know people wonder how one finds a book that’s color coded, but I generally remember what color the book is that I’m looking for so I don’t have this problem.
14) Do you own any interesting ‘bookish’ memorabilia or clothes? If so, what?
I still have some of my first OwlCrate subscription box stuff. I eventually had to put a lot of it in just one box to make space, but I have these wonderful little bookish knickknacks that I don’t want to get ruined. I actively use one of the totes I got from one of their boxes though, and I’m sure I’ll cry when it becomes so worn I can’t use it anymore.
15) What is the name of your book/series? Tell me a little bit about them.
My first book is When Oceans Rise. I have plans for a sequel, but it will be a couple years before I have time to write it because I have another book series coming out. It is called Paramour and it’s a YA banshee mythology with Twilight vibes.
16) Do you have a website? If so, what is it?
17) Where can we find and follow you? (Name your social media platforms.)
Tiktok is my favorite social media! Follow me at @robiiehood
Instagram is the next place I’m most active at @authorrobinalvarez
18) If there anything important that you would want my readers to know about you?
I am a mixed raced Filipina American with Irish heritage. Writing from the biracial perspective is important to me. If you’re interested in stories like this, please follow me on Amazon to get alerts when my next books publish: