Written by: Autumn Lindsey
Aileen was dead. At least she was supposed to be.
When Aileen wakes up in the hospital after her plane crashes during a storm, everyone says it’s a miracle. All Aileen cares about is seeing her husband and children again. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for Aileen to realize her survival wasn’t random. Her mind and body are changing in ways she can’t explain. As Aileen grows desperate for answers, a man assumed dead from her flight appears to reveal a dark truth about her survival.
Drowning in the reality of her new life Aileen is forced to make a choice: live forever, or once again face death. Except living might cost her everything she wanted to stay alive for.
If you could live forever, would you?
Remaining Aileen is a heart-wrenching exploration of whether a woman’s identity can exist outside of her role as a mother—all while navigating supernatural waters. For fans of Taylor Jenkins Reid and Stephenie Meyer.
Autumn lives with her husband and three kids in a deep, dark, magical forest. Fluent in typo and fueled by caffeine, she writes Women’s Fiction with characters that bite. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or lost somewhere in her jungle of a house due to her massive collection of houseplants.
She is also the founder of Writer Moms Inc. so, if you happen to be a Writer Mom in search of community and support, check it out! She’d love to have you join!
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How would you describe the main character in Remaining Aileen? What do you like most about her?
Aileen Ross, is a mom, at least that’s how she sees herself at the beginning of the story, “just a mom”, and she is deep into the thralls of motherhood. But no one is ever “just” anything, right? I love Aileen because she struggles with what so many of us women struggle with, especially moms, and that is the struggle to find ourselves, who we were, who we are, and who we want to be, amidst the roles we play in our families and in society. Although in the story Aileen has the added challenge of trying to balance all of that after becoming a vampire.
What drew you to writing about vampires?
I love what vampires represent; change, power, darkness, this duality of the human condition. I felt that exploring the changes of motherhood through the medium of vampires would be interesting. As a mom the idea of being this invincible supernatural force, who doesn’t need to sleep, has super-speed and the ability to literally be there for your children forever is appealing. However, there is the darker side- needing to feed on blood which usually is followed by death and destruction. So opposite of the life-giving idea of what motherhood is, and yet, even though we are mothers we are still human. We have this light and dark within us and I feel like nothing brings out both aspects of our humanity (or inner moMster) more than parenting.
What platform/s do you use to write your novels? Do you plan and write from start to finish?
I like to draft my novels in Scrivener, I love the way you can lay it all out in sections, then I usually finalize my edits in Word. I do plan out my novels, beginning, middle, end, and don’t start writing until each of those points are clear to me. Often small things change while I am writing but the overall story structure needs to be there or I feel like I am running blind through a thick forest, it only spells disaster.
How did you decide how long your novel would be? How do you make sure you write enough?
This part was easy for me since I knew my genre and category. Women’s fiction generally falls between a word count of 70,000 to 110,000. So I aimed for 80,000 words and my final published word count is about 90,000.
What process do you use to edit your work? Do you have help with this?
My editing process for Remaining Aileen looked a little like this. I wrote draft one, it was bad. Like really bad. But nonetheless I was so super proud of the fact I wrote a book! The beginning, middle and end were all there (though they evolved quite a bit as I revised). After reading through round one, I started round two (now I am numbering these loosely, there were many many edits but I am counting the steps I guess more so)! At this point I hired an editor for a manuscript evaluation. This was critical in helping me, a new writer, understand how to move forward. So I did another round of revisions, and after draft three I hired the same editor from before to do a full developmental edit. Draft four then went on to line edits from my editor, and after another round (five) I felt like Remaining Aileen was ready to start querying. I was querying agents/small presses for about a year and a half. I ended up with 122 rejections before signing with Magnolia Press and WOW did that "yes" feel SO good! Then I dove into even more developmental/line edits before getting to where we are now with a final, published book.