I have a great interview for your today! I’ve been a longtime friend of Alexandra Christian. She’s an amazing gal and one of the most talented writers I personally know. Plus, a girl that doesn’t shy away from horror and sexy men? That’s what I’m talkin’ bout. So to kick off my writer interview segments, I sent her some questions to give us all a glimpse into her writing process and her wicked mind!
SJ: Every writer has some sort of process. Give us a glimpse into yours. Do you meticulously outline? Do you write depending on what calls are out there?
AC: I am the soul of a “pantser.” I have a really difficult time trying to outline every detail. I go into every story knowing who my characters are and a general idea of what’s going to happen in the story, but I mostly let the characters decide how they’re going to get from point A to point B. I have been known to jot notes and, probably the oddest thing, make a musical outline. Ever since my days in fanfiction, I ‘ve always made a playlist that goes along with the story. It keeps me on track as to what should be happening at certain points in the story.
SJ: *Bonus question – Do you put on a cape and do a chant before hunkering down to work? Sacrifice anything? Along with your process, what’s your quirkiest writing habit?
AC: The only thing that I’ve sacrificed for writing are cups of coffee. I get most of my work done during writers’ group with a cup gigantic cup of Starbucks coffee. I always have to have music playing – I can NOT work in utter silence.
SJ: Are you a meticulous planner or do you believe in the muse? Where do your ideas come from? Do they filter in through your dreams? Do they show up at inopportune times and whap you upside the head? Do they result in a shady deal with a dark power?
AC: Oh I definitely believe in the power of the muse. Sometimes I think my ideas come from Hell, but really I’m not sure. Usually it’s something I’ve read or a movie I’ve seen or even a song I hear. Sometimes I’m simply inspired by a piece of art or even a person or their situation. I think, like most writers, I have different muses depending on what I’m writing. My erotic muses are usually men (I know, big surprise) that look like whoever has inspired the look of my heroes. I know, its original isn’t it?
SJ: bonus question – If your muse had a physical manifestation, what would he or she look like and how would she or he act? Is it a sexy superhero version of Callisto? A sharp-tongued rogue? A reptilian alien? Do they have a catch phrase?
AC: Selah. I think you know. All I’m going to say on that subject is that lightsabers can be used for more than just disembowelment.
(Edit: At this point in time Selah Janel would like to insist that she has no idea what Alexandra is remembering and pleads total innocence to any conversations she’s implying. Heh.)
SJ: What’s the book/story that’s closest to your heart? Is there a piece that you clearly feel is a piece of you? Do you play favorites?
AC: My first novel, Hellsong, is probably my favorite thing I’ve written, just by virtue of the fact that it was my first. It assured me that I could really do this. And the prologue is probably the most graphic piece of horror that I’ve done. So that’s always fun.
SJ: If you could only write one genre ever again upon pain of being sacrificed to Cthulhu, what would it be and why?
AC: Paranormal romance, hands down. Those stories just come easiest to me AND that genre makes it so easy to cheat and sneak in your elements of horror. So it would be like having my cake and eating it too.
SJ: What’s your biggest frustration as a writer? What do you consider the downside, or is there one? Is there any cliché that makes you want to wring people’s necks?
AC: I’m such a perfectionist and it causes me to write slower than I’d like. I feel like I have to craft out how each sentence sounds, even if it’s my first draft. Other people tell me that I should just shut up and get the story down and write 5,000 words a day. I’ve tried that and I ended up deleting everything. I just can’t produce something that I don’t feel is my best work. It’s just my process. Cliché that irritates me the most—“I wish I could get paid to write books. What an easy job.” Writing a book is hard and emotional work. If it’s not, you shouldn’t be doing it. So people that think I sit around eating bon-bons doing nothing all day make me want to scream.
SJ: If you had to be stuck in one of your own books/stories for the rest of your life, what would it be and why? If you had to stick a loved one in one of your own books, what would it be and why? An enemy?
AC: The character of Blythe from my short, “Masquerade,” has it pretty good. As does Cali from my latest “Three to Tango.” Imagine it, two men hanging on your every word and doing your bidding. Sounds fabulous to me. I’m not sure about a loved one, but I have a few enemies that deserve to be turned into dolls by the psycho chick in “Dollface.”
SJ: Do you think it’s possible to develop a sure-fire recipe/formula for success as a writer? Would you want to, or does that compromise the art or the fun of it?
The market changes so quickly, I think trying to play to a formula is kind of useless. You never know what’s going to strike a chord with people so you may as well write the kind of book you would want to read. After all, who would have thought that writing dirty BDSM fanfiction about movie characters would one day prove to be profitable *grumbles something about George Lucas being the devil*.
SJ: Everyone has words of wisdom for young writers, so I’m not going to ask you about that. With a few unknown writers becoming success stories, a lot of people seem to think it’s an easy career choice. What would your words of wisdom be to these people?
AC: There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Those few unknown writers becoming instant successes will have to prove their worth in the end. If they have talent, great—I wish them much success. If not, they’ll likely end up being the literary equivalent of the “one hit wonder.” Writing, like any art, is something you have to love. There’s nothing easy about it. Most writers have to plug away for years to finally be successful.
SJ: It seems like everyone likes to gang up on certain genres as being inferior, less meaningful, or cheap entertainment (especially if it’s speculative in nature). Make a case for the genre you write.
AC: Anyone who has ever written a book, whether it be erotica, literary fiction or horror, has taken the same journey. And everyone’s journey has value. The object of the game is to write what you love and everyone likes something different. That being said, literary fiction writers can look down their noses at me, the lowly paranormal erotic romance and speculative fiction writer, all they want to. Just remember, when John Q. Public goes to the shelves at Barnes and Noble, he’s more likely to choose “Angela’s Asses” over Angela’s Ashes. So I’ll be laughing all the way to the bank.
SJ: What do you want people to instantly think of when they hear your name or your work mentioned?
AC: Sexy, smart and well-written.
SJ: Please tell us about your latest/favorite work or a little bit about what you’re working on right now. It’s plug time, so go for it!
My latest work is the beginning of a paranormal erotic romance series with Mocha Memoirs Press called “Strange Bedfellows.” All of the stories are centered around a nightclub called The Oubliette where paranormal creatures of all types come to get a little of their mortality back. They drink, they laugh, dance and of course… hook up with mortals. The first installment, “Three to Tango” is kind of the pilot episode of the series. The two bisexual vampires that own the club, Andre and Leo, lure a mortal woman, Cali, into the club. They manage to seduce her and afterwards, make her an offer she can’t refuse.
“…vampires can be dangerous to your health.”
A truer statement had never been uttered, but when Cali stumbled upon The Oubliette, she began to realize the wisdom in those words. Broken-hearted and bored, Cali’s life had become a string of TV dinners and romance novels. She wondered where her life was going until she followed the mysterious stranger through the red door and entered a world that few would ever know existed. A world of vampires, werewolves and pleasure beyond imagination. Within the walls of The Oubliette, Cali will embark on a dangerous and sensual journey of discovery that will change her life forever.
Buy Links for Alexandra Christian
WordPress Blog: http://lexxxchristian.wordpress.com/