Welcome to Homeschool Authors, Luke. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m the oldest of nine kids, and I graduated high school at age sixteen.
During the next few years I studied writing almost exclusively, and as of
the beginning of 2012 I’ve written fourteen complete novels and novellas, around a hundred short stories, many songs, articles, and more. I placed as a finalist in the 2010 One Year Adventure Novel contest, and won first place the next year with a 114,000-word thriller I wrote in 2010. Since then I've written a lot more, and my latest books are much better than that thriller, which I plan to rewrite and try to publish traditionally. I’m an advanced pianist, been playing for fifteen years, a composer, and I also play a little guitar, mandolin, and violin.
What is your favorite memory of your homeschooling days?
Most music-related things (I love my piano), and moving 1,900 miles away to Green Bay, Wisconsin for seven months. Until I was fifteen I absolutely hated writing. It’s a miracle I ended up where I am now.
What caused you to start writing?
My mother got me some books to read when I was thirteen. Something called ‘The Hobbit’ by a guy I hadn't heard of. I read that book in two days and went on to devour the Lord of the Rings as fast as I possibly could. That didn't get me started, though, it merely planted the idea in my head that I wanted to create a story as magnificent and memorable as Tolkien’s. A couple years later, I went on my first backpacking trip in the Cascade
Mountains in central Washington. The weather was frigid and wet, but the wilderness was beautiful and we packed so much into those four days that when people asked me to tell them about it, I realized it would be easier to write a story about it. I spent three months in early 2007 writing the 5,000-word story. I didn’t know what paragraphs were for. It was probably just about the worst writing from a fifteen-year-old that you could imagine. But I kept writing.
What was/is the biggest challenge you have faced as a writer?
Writing is its own biggest challenge. The actual act of writing is so
hard, even painful at times. But I love creating things too much to give
What is your book The Unseen about?
The Unseen is set in Pennsylvania in 1849, where a girl’s family left her
see ‘ghosts.’ During the next twelve years of imprisonment, human friends come and go but the ghosts are always there. Then she escapes, a young woman with the mind of a child, and the book is about her mission to find somebody in the world who will take care of her. I’d heard a bit about the horrible treatment of mentally ill people in the 1800’s, but research was hard because even now nobody wants to talk about it. I did find a couple firsthand accounts, which were very disturbing. My book doesn't focus much on that but more on the consequences of Lucy being abandoned by everyone
and hated by society.
I have four other published books as well. Velvet’s Wings is an
illustrated modern-day faerie tale adventure for middle-grade readers
(though several adults have also enjoyed it.) The Element of Surprise is a collection of forty short comical stories inspired by Patrick McManus,
Erma Bombeck, and other great American humorists. Offset is my finalist
novella from the 2010 OYAN contest, a humorous and action-packed sci-fi,
and it is available as an ebook only. Daughter of Thieves is a novelette
that I wrote to enter in the Writers of the Future contest. It’s a tragic
romance about a girl who loves Robin Hood…but she isn’t Marian.
Where can people get your books?
www.mindwielders.com/lukealistar.htm. There you can also read the first
chapters of each book for free, and at the bottom I have a Google Checkout
box where I sell autographed and special editions of my books. Searching
Luke Alistar on Amazon will come up with a few of my books and my album of
improvised piano music. All of my books are on Lulu as well, though in
different printing formats. Check them out at
What has been your most rewarding moment as a writer?
I’ll have to pick a few…of course finishing my first novella felt amazing.
Finishing my first novel over 100,000 words was a big one. More recently, I won NaNoWriMo while working full time and recording music and doing a lot of other things. It left me burnt out but the writing itself was fantastic. In September 2011 I got an email I wasn’t expecting. Writer’s Digest liked the humor piece I sent them months before, and offered me $150 for it. I’m still a little shocked that I wrote something in about fifteen minutes and it earned me $150. A few months later I learned that I won first place in the OYAN contest, from which I got a $16,000 college scholarship, detailed comments on the entire novel by two judges, a free college-credit online writing course, and an iPod Touch. I’ve had two book signings/promo events with a group of local indie authors, and those have been wonderful.
All that is great, but my favorite thing is to hear from yet another fan
who read my book and loved it.
Do you have any final thoughts?
Thoughts are never final, there are always more. You’re never done writing…