Interview with Alma Alexander


The Blog Ring of Power Presents…
An Interview with Author Alma Alexander


Picture of Author Alma AlexanderI am super psyched today's BRoP interview with Alma Alexander (fan girl squeal!!!). I'm a huge fan of Alma's "Secrets of Jin-Shei" and was thrilled she agreed to chat with us about her two new works, "Midnight at Spanish Gardens" (Sky Warrior Books) and "River" (Dark Quest Books).


This is part one of a five-part interview. Be sure to check out the other BRoP sites for the rest of the interview: Part 2  Part 3 Part 4 Part 5




BRoP: When and why did you begin writing?

Alma: Heck, it began when the world cooled… When? Well, I learned how to form letters while clutching a pencil that was probably bigger than me at the time, and I promptly started writing things down. I ALWAYS wrote. I don’t remember a time when that was not the case. I remember playing with my cousin when we were both kids and we both pretended that we were grown-up (as kids do) and we pretended to be the things that we wanted to BE when we realio trulio DID grow up, and I… I was always a writer. Always. I must have been five years old when all that was going on.

As for why – well – it wasn’t a question I ever asked. This is what I DO. This is who I AM. I cannot conceive of myself without that basic building block. It’s always been there, the bedrock of my being. A friend once said that I absolutely HAD to have two things in life in order to survive – air, and words. She wasn’t wrong.


BRoP: Tell us about your early works—what was the first thing you ever wrote?

Alma: The first extant thing that I wrote that I was ever told about was a poem I wrote when I was five years old, on the subject of a broken alarm clock. Don’t ask, I really don’t know. Tick tock. But afterwards, my dad, who’s something of a packrat when it comes to the things that I have produced, collected my earlyish works into several bound booklets, and there are stories there from when I was a pre-teen, a young teen, about that. I wrote my first full length – and totally derivative and appalling – novel when I was eleven; my first good and original novel-length work was completed well before I was fourteen. It still has good bones, that book. I have plans for it.


BRoP: When did you first consider yourself a professional writer?

Alma: Always. Eventually, others started considering me as one, too.


BRoP: What books have most influenced your life?

Alma: All of them. Look, I READ. A lot. EVERYTHING. My house is supported by columns of books. We have an entire room that is built of them, almost literally, with every available wall covered with shelves and those are stuffed with books. I don’t know that I can give you names. But the book I taught myself how to read on – because my mother read it to me, and I loved it, and when she was done I said, “Start again!” and she wouldn’t so I went away and taught myself to read – was “Heidi”, and it was probably too old for me at the time because I was only three-going-on-four years old, but hey, call me precocious.

If you want to know which books I know practically by heart, since that time, you’d have to allow for far more space than this interview would really warrant. I fall in love with books, and then I treasure them. I am a re-reader as well as a reader and some books (*cough* Lord of the Rings, would you please take a bow) I must have read a dozen times in my life.


BRoP: What genre do you write?

Alma: Fantasy is the child of my heart – but, as I keep pointing out to everybody who is willing to listen, ALL fiction is fantasy, by definition, because none of is true. So you can take that as you wish. But when it comes to writing things that I love to write, worldbuilding holds a lot of joy for me, and pure fantasy is wonderful for that. It’s my world, and I alone am responsible for it, and yeah, it’s a responsibility and a half – being a God in your characters’ universe can be a heady thing indeed. But oh my dear lord what a ride it is.


BRoP: If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?

Alma: Somebody once asked Ursula LeGuin in an interview what she would be if she weren’t a writer. She said succinctly, “Dead.” I can’t do better than that.


Where can your readers stalk you?


What format is your book(s) available in (print, e-book, audio book, etc.)? Yes {grin] As in, yes, most of the above. E-books are available both on Smashwords and on Amazon (and on B&N, for that matter, some of them); print books are available via Amazon or through ordering them via your friendly local indie bookstore. Contact me directly if you want a signed bookplate for your copy of anything, or you want to buy a signed copy of some of the out-of-print first edition hardcovers of a selection of books, some of which I still have on hand.


Alma Alexander was born in Yugoslavia, grew up in Africa, and went to school in Wales. She has lived in several countries on four continents, and is quite comfortable in the new continent of cyberspace. She was living in New Zealand when she met a man on an Internet bulletin board for writers, married him and moved to America. She now lives with her husband and two cats in the Pacific Northwest, in the city of Bellingham (directions to her home include the phrase "Aim for Canada and just before you get there, turn right"). 


Cover of the Book Midnight at Spanish GardensMIDNIGHT AT SPANISH GARDENS: On the eve of the end of the world, 20 December 2012, five friends meet in Spanish Gardens, the cafe where they had celebrated their college graduation 20 years before. Over Irish coffees, they reminisce - and reveal long-held and disturbing secrets. Each friend in turn is given a curious set of instructions by an enigmatic bartender named Ariel: "Your life is filled with crossroads and you are free to choose one road or another at any time. Stepping through this door takes away all choices except two -- the choice to live a different life, or return to this one...." Each in turn passes through the portal and are faced with new lives and challenges. Their decisions show a new life -- or something far worse. At the end of the world, it's a chance for redemption, or a chance to learn something about themselves.


Cover of RiversRIVER: It begins. Somewhere. An insignificant trickle of water. And it changes. And it grows up, and gathers a history, and finds its way into atlases and maps, until it finally reaches the sea, and vanishes into its vastness. You might think it of no importance. That it does not matter. But you follow where it leads... Rivers have always been very important to humankind. They've been explored. They've been navigated. They've been called gods. They've been blessed and cursed and venerated and used and enjoyed and exploited and polluted since the beginning of recorded history. They've been sung about and dreamed about and followed on epic journeys of discovery. They capitals of empires have risen on the banks of rivers - and so have a thousand fishing villages, and river landings, and water mills. There is only one River. Really. And it's all of them. Every river is dfferent - and yet they're all the same, vast and full of life and death and mystery and history and adventure and quiet dreams. Full of life. Full of mystery. Full of stories. Stories by: Mary Victoria, Tiffany Trent,Jay Lake, Deb Taylor, Keffy R.M. Kehrli, Jacey Bedford, Joshua Palmatier, Brenda Cooper, Seanan McGuire,Ada Milenkovic Brown, Nisi Shawl, Joyce Reynolds-Ward.

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