TQ: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Alex: Oh wow, I don't think I have any writing quirks, interesting or not. The closest I come to a quirk is my preference for having two documents open at the same time: one is the current draft and the other is my "Stuff" file. That's where I jot down all kinds of miscellaneous story-related notes, fragments of dialogue, etc..
Okay, so sometimes I talk to myself, but I think that's a common trait many writers share.
TQ: Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?
Alex: This is a torture test, isn't it? My answers tend to vary on a daily basis because I love the work of so many authors. Today it's Terry Pratchett, Stephen King, Jodi Picoult, Jim Butcher, and Lee Child.
Influence is even harder to pin down; every book I've read has altered me in some way. Two writers did change the way I approached prose: Vladimir Nabokov and Terry Pratchett. They're both master wordsmiths, who make every word fight for its life on the page. I'd love to have that level of control over my prose.
TQ: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Alex: Both. I'm a planster. I almost always know what the finish line will be. Some of the signposts are set in concrete, but everything else is shifting sands. My best writing happens when I surprise myself. If I plan too heavily I find the story is already told, so there's no reason for me to tell it. At that point it becomes stale.
TQ: What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?
Alex: The writing. I wish I was joking, but it's so true that I'm laughing out loud thinking about it. Some days the words fall on to the page in pretty patterns. Other days I have to dive in and beat them out of their hiding places. But I love it so much, whether it's a good writing day or not.
TQ: Describe White Horse in 140 characters or less.
Alex: Pregnant woman crosses continents to find her lost love as world is ending. Here there be monsters.
TQ: What inspired you to write White Horse?
Alex: Let me hop in the time machine here and travel back to summer 2009. I had a new boyfriend (we're engaged now), also a writer, and we were swapping and critting each other's stories. I decided I wanted to write something new and different, something he'd enjoy reading. We're both mythology fans, so after a little brainstorming I began tossing words onto a page, thinking I was writing a short story loosely based on the myth of Pandora's Box. After the first scene or two I said to my guy, "I think this wants to be a novel." So I kept on going. The whole story just kind of...happened.
TQ: What sort of research did you do for White Horse?
Alex: Most of my research revolved around geography. There was a lot of time spent figuring out walking times and distances. Google probably thinks I'm some kind of map stalker. Compared to that, everything else was minor: place names, info about pharmaceutical companies, viruses. You know, light stuff.
TQ: Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?
Alex: Zoe was by far the easiest. She was upfront and present all the time so her story flowed well. There was no banging my head on the desk, wondering What the heck would Zoe do next? I wish all characters were that forthright. The Swiss (my antagonist) was trickier. Compared to Zoe, the Swiss told me almost nothing about himself. I had to learn it all on the fly, through his actions, much the way Zoe did. There's a fine line between villainy and comedy, too. We've all seen those bad guys in movies, and in books, where we roll our eyes and go, "As if." I really needed him to be intense and frightening, but clever. The most terrifying villain of all time, to me, is Hannibal Lecter, precisely because he's so damn brilliant. No one laughs at Lecter.
TQ: Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in White Horse?
Alex: Any of the scenes between Zoe and her sister, Lisa, or Morris. You can tell a lot about a woman by her relationships and interactions with other women.
TQ: What's next?
Alex: I'm wrapping up Red Horse, which is book two in the trilogy. I'm juggling that with a short story for my German publisher, Piper Verlag. It's a middlequel of sorts (look at me, inventing new words!) about events that take place after Zoe arrives in Italy. But it follows a different character. I'm sure it'll be available in English, too, at some point.
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
Alex: Thank you for having me. It's been fun!
About White Horse
(First in a Trilogy)
Atria/Emily Bestler Books, April, 17, 2012
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages
The world has ended, but her journey has just begun.
Thirty-year-old Zoe leads an ordinary life until the end of the world arrives. She is cleaning cages and floors at Pope Pharmaceuticals when the president of the United States announces that human beings are no longer a viable species. When Zoe realizes that everyone she loves is disappearing, she starts running. Scared and alone in a shockingly changed world, she embarks on a remarkable journey of survival and redemption. Along the way, Zoe comes to see that humans are defined not by their genetic code, but rather by their actions and choices. White Horse offers hope for a broken world, where love can lead to the most unexpected places.
What: One commenter will win a printed Advanced Reading Copy of White Horse generously provided by Alex!
How: Leave a comment answering the following question:
What is your favorite Greek myth or Greek god or goddess?
Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.
You may receive additional entries by:
1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.
2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.
3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.
There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.
Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. You MUST leave a way to contact you.
Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Tuesday, April 24, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.
*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*