I was invited to take part in this blog tour by my friend Michael Evans, a talented writer and editor. Thank you.
I am very happy to have the chance to participate in this tour, if not because I have a lot of things going on at the moment, and this gives me a great chance to say it, but also because I need a kick up the arse to get back to the blogging side of things. Life has been so crazy recently, that everything else has just fallen to the wayside. Here’s hoping that this is the catalyst I need to get back out there.
Let’s take a gander at the questions then, shall we…
What am I working on?
Well, currently I am working on a whole range of things. This is actually the first time I am mentioning it, but last week I separated from my publisher. Now, I do not wish to go into the reasons for it, there is no need. All of my work has been returned to me – Highway to Hell and Trials and Tribulations are both still available as they are with a different publisher. So, right now I am currently working on regrouping, on strategizing and discussing my options. I am no quitting, and I am not down. I am pleased with where I am, and looking forward to the future. All of my work – Diaries of the Damned, and the Musings of a Hideous Mind Collections – is currently being re-edited. There will be new covers for the short story collections and I will be rushed into releasing them. I am taking my time, and getting things ready, rather than getting them out there.
I have another, new novel with my editor, Blood of the Tainted, and I am really looking forward to seeing the end product. I have a great cover for it, and I really think you are going to like it. It is a vampire novel, but in no way romantic, and in no places doe sit sparkle.
On top of that I am also typing up a new novella / novel. I hand wrote the first draft, and as I go through typing up my near illegible chicken scribble, I find myself viewing them more as detailed notes. The words are flowing and I love the story. It is something different. It has horror, it has inhuman creatures and the worst evil at all… man. It started off as a short story idea, but no longer resembles the original plan in any way shape or form. That is part of the beauty of writing. Things change, they evolve and become something of their own creation.
Besides the writing side of things, I am also working on a plan to move away from Facebook as my main (only) promotional outlet, and get back onto the web: blogs, interviews, posts, extracts, etc. I don’t have anything concrete laid out yet, but I am getting a good feel for what I need to do.
How does my work differ from others in my genre?
I always find this to be a rather loaded question. It is easy to come across as arrogant when answering a question that looks to set you apart from others, so I will tweak the question and speak about how my genre differs from others.
We live in a world that is slowly becoming numb to the depravity of the world. We walk past homeless people on the street, we change the channel when the news hits on a subject we don’t want to listen to. Not because we don’t care, but because we have almost come to expect such acts.
Very little shocks us anymore, but a lot of things still scare us. There is a difference between shocking and scaring somebody, and therein lies the true art of the horror genre. As with everything, there are levels. There is safe ground where writers can happily creep people out with well written horror that delivers what people expect, there is that middle ground period where the writers push the limits, but never intend to break them, and then there are those stories, those writers, that insist on finding the boundaries and pushing against them as hard as possible.
Horror is a genre that allows us to push the envelope, to look for that line in the sand and the stride over it, taking readers to a new place.
That is what I would like my writing to do, so go beyond the standard horror line and create something new. To create something that will make the readers pause, and haunt them after the pages have been closed. Whether it is a single image, or the entire novel, to have someone take that away with them, is true success as a writer.
Everybody has fear, and horror as a genre, allows us to capitalize on that, to take it and wave it the air, taunting people with it. Why, because people know their fears. People like to be scared (even if they don’t admit it) and everybody likes to feel brave. Reading horror makes you brave as a reader, because you get to face your fears head on, and win. By reading that novel, and closing the back cover you fight your fears, and you win.
Why do I write what I do?
I write what I do because it is who I am. I have always said that being a writer is not a choice you make. Not really. You do not decide to be a writer and just go with it. There is a spark inside, a smouldering fire that is just waiting to ignite. It is always there, we are born with it. Embracing it is what takes the time. For a long time I tried to write fiction that was of a more literary basis, and while the storylines were good, I never felt happy with the final product. I was fighting my own nature. The moment I turned myself to write darker work, about more sinister things, the words began to flow.
There is certainly a misconception about horror writers, in so far as, people automatically thing you just write about blood, guts and big breasted young women. They think movies, not books. Horror is not about blood, it is not about evisceration, it is about storytelling. It is about addressing fears and bringing them to the surface. Writing horror is a personal experience, and reading it is too.
I write what I do because I love it, because exploring the darker side of humanity, or writing about the undead rising from the grave and consuming the world is a great way to bring across a strong metaphor. Horror is multi-layered and runs deeper, in my opinion, than any other genre out there.
How does my writing process work?
My writing process works in a rather simple way. I try to stick to a schedule, but at times, life gets in the way.
I get up at 04:30, make a coffee and start writing. I write, sometimes fiction, sometimes promotional work, like this, until the kids wake up. Normally around 6am. I get them up, get myself ready and head to work. If time allows, I use my lunch break to write in also. I come home, play with the kids, put them to bed and do a little more writing at some point in the evening.
I work a day job that takes up about 50-60 hours of my time each week, not to mention the commute, and I have four young children, who come first, above all others. So I need to keep my schedule as simple as possible, because in simplicity, I find the greatest flexibility. I don’t have any ticks or quirks about how or where I can write. This means that if I have a spare second, I will write a few sentences or to and feel great about it.
My process with regards how I write, how I structure things is also rather simple, I take the idea and I just write until it is done. That being said, my process is currently in a state of transition. I am moving more into the longhand nature of the craft. I have just hand written a novella (it was about 25-30k) but in typing it up, I am now beginning to look at it more as a set of detailed notes that I can base a much larger work around.
If that is the case, my entire approach, my process, may change. Again, that is a good thing. We need to adapt in life, adapt to new ways. Writing is a craft you will never master, all we can look to do is to keep improving, and unless you are open to change, you will never reach your full potential.
That was fun. I hope my answers have given you a satisfying insight into the workings of my mind. There is plenty more going on in here, but I didn’t want to terrify you all just yet. You will need to buy my books for the full Alex experience (did you see what a smooth plug I made there).
Now I have to tag a few other authors to answer the same questions, so here goes. Cp Bialois, Jim Goforth, and Chris Abbott, gentlemen, the page is yours!