After reading Felix Alexander’s novel The Secret of Heaven I got the chance to ask him a series of questions that provided me with a little insight into his creative mind.
Tell me a little about your childhood.
My childhood was one that entailed moving around a lot! Every year a new neighborhood, a new school, a new group of friends, but one that had very little involvement with books and/or reading. Though I have always been artistically inclined, my creative endeavors centered on sketching and drawing and sculpting.
What was your first story?
My first story, oddly enough, was a 10-page book I wrote and illustrated when I was 11 years of age titled: The Winged Unicorn. Although at the age of 13 I began writing poetry as a means of communicating my interest in certain girls. I subsequently made a little name for myself when I was in the U.S. Army as a soldier’s scribe and earned the nickname: ForeverPoetic.
Who do you most relate to in The Secret of Heaven?
I’d have to say I most related to Aiden AND Angelo Marquez. First, Marquez, because I was raised Catholic, and at one point in my life I had been a devout Catholic, but when I entered my 20’s, I began studying the mythologies and the religions of the world. I needed to satisfy my curiosity, if for no other reason, then to have a better relationship with God, but beyond the scope of limited perspective.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
When I’m not writing, or fielding 9-1-1 calls as a police dispatcher, I spend my time with my children. We play. We talk. We read together, or I read to them. Ultimately, my literary aspirations are with my children in mind. Ideally, I want to be able to provide for them and spend as much time with them as possible, without having to look at the clock.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a songwriter. I still have aspirations of writing song lyrics for ballads, much in the way the main character in my novel The Romantic: A Love Story, was able to do so for the sake of making a living doing what one loves.
How do you overcome writer’s block
I read. I read anything and everything. Whereas in the past I used to freak out about writer’s block, now I simply take it all in stride. Given that I tend to read several books simultaneously; I also write multiple books at the same time to keep my brain going. I find that when you don’t stress over it, it works itself out.
When did your passion for writing begin?
My passion for writing began during my teens when I wrote romantic poems to express my idealistic notions of love. But, in retrospect, it was merely a candle compared to how passionate I am now about writing.
What are your top three favorite novels?
Oh gosh, this is tough. I’d have to break it down to series… because Harry Potter (from book 1 – 7) is the perfect culmination, in my opinion of a story about friendships, legacy and taking control of your destiny.
A Song of Ice and Fire (more popularly known as Game of Thrones) because it possesses the rich depth inherent in mythopoeia akin to the legends of fantasy: J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, H.P. Lovecraft and Lucas with the Star Wars series.
Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth. It’s his enthusiasm in cathedrals, coupled with his passion for storytelling to write a beautiful novel that took me to another time. That novel inspired me to pursue the epic novel.
Do you enjoy any other sorts of creative art?
Indeed, I do! I still dabble in sketches from time-to-time, poetry, painting, and most recently I have pursued my musical ambitions by teaching myself how to play the guitar. It is painful for my fingertips, but well-worth it, in the end, I’m sure!
What other novels do you have in the pipeline?
I’m currently writing the sequel to Shadows of Time while also writing my first erotic romance novel: The Affair.
Aside from those books, I have also penned an Upper Middle-Grade Fantasy, which I wrote to inspire a love of reading in my children
What is your opinion on self-publishing versus traditional publishing?
Self-publishing is an option although it’s not the right option for everyone.
There are smaller publishing houses willing to give the writer’s a chance. They may not offer lucrative advances, but you’re not writing for the money anyway, right? It’s the passion for the story that matters most. Love what you do, do what you love. It’s akin to plan your work, work your plan.
Do you think e-books have helped or hindered the book market?
Anything that puts stories in the hands of readers and reaches into their souls, or becomes the air that ignites the fires of imagination is a huge win! Ebooks allow for a story to appear in someone’s hands almost instantaneously and some libraries even lend out Kindles and Nooks with reading material already downloaded. It’s all about accessibility!
Any advice for budding writers?
Read and write… everyday. Read everything and anything that you can get your hands on. And then…. read more! Read books you normally wouldn’t read. Read beyond your favored genre(s). Stephen King has said, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.” He was correct! Not everyone will love your story…That’s okay; you can’t please everyone. In-between all that, connect with other writers. Follow blogs of literary agents who provide a wealth of information about the industry. Learn as much about the business of writing as you can because it is a business. Take it seriously if you want to be taken seriously and when you pour out your heart, make sure you empty it out to the last drop!
Follow Felix here: https://twitter.com/ForeverPoetic