Alexzander Christion entered By the Hand of Dragons: Alinguard in SPFBO6. The book is a standalone and a quick read. It follows the young Shefa, king of the magical land of Fuumashon on his first adventure to AlinGuard, a prison where the evil inmates have taken over. The story suffers from a lack of editing. If you can get past that, this is a tale of adventure which may entertain you. I hope the author keeps writing. His naming style is unique and I loved this line.
“Failure is a matter of will, not completion of the task. Not completing the task is not failure, but giving up is.”
Alexzander very kindly took the time for an interview, you can read it below.
The happy accident of a prize fighter and telephone operator, Alexzander was raised in south Florida on an unhealthy dose of Bible study and rated R movies. He considers himself a Power Nerd: likes to read, also likes to fight! He has two degrees he’s not using, a loving wife and kids he has in no way earned and spends his free time thinking up cool things for angry elves to say. You should hang out with him some time, it’s…an experience.
Welcome to my lair, Alexzander Christion. Tell me about a great book you’ve read recently!
For the first time or reread lol? I just reread The Codex Alera by Jim Butcher, one of my favorite series! Terrible idea made great through masterful execution. I love it!
What’s your favorite song?
My favorite song to sing is “Caught a lite sneeze” by Tori Amos. The song I listen to before I write is ‘Requiem for a Dream’. If I have a flat out favorite song, I’m sure it’s by P.M. Dawn.
Okay, time to escalate things: you get to travel to any book’s setting and world, but you have to choose only one. Where do you go?
Disney made a movie called Tomorrowland, that’s where I would go. If you think about it, Neverland, Forgotten Realms, Narnia – terrible places! Monsters and wizards and living nightmares lol. I want a place where not everything awesome is also murderous.
How do you like to work? (In silence, with music? Do you prefer to type or to handwrite?
I have a mind that runs faster than my fingers every could, so I use sensory overload to slow things down. I have three monitors in my office, I put on music or a movie that keeps me in the mindspace of the scene I’m writing. One monitor for typing and one for research as random questions pop up, like where does the anchor go when a ship sets sail?
Are you an architect or a gardener? A plotter or a pantser? D’you write in your underwear, or underwater in scuba gear?)
I’m a Hybrid! I learn my characters inside and out until I don’t have to think about what they would do in any given situation. My outline for a 50k word story is probably only 25 bullet points. I list the point of each scene, what I want to achieve, then throw the characters in there and they do the rest.
As far as my work outfit, I live in a house full of women so always pants, usually jeans and my boots. A hold over from my army days, I can do anything as long as I’m wearing boots!
Tell me about your writing method!
My writing is furious, loosely controlled chaos! I set the scene based on my mood, I only write what I’m in the mood for, action scene, romance, dialogue heavy – easier than fighting my own muse. Then my job is scribe. I simply write down what the characters say and do. I try to know them so well that their individual personalities drive the action. I spend a lot of time screaming or laughing at the screen because until it comes out of my fingers, I have no idea what happens next lol!
What/Who are your most significant fantasy influences?
R.A. Salvatore taught me the importance of using action to tell the story instead of just eye candy. Patrick Rothfuss showed me that poetry is not purple prose, I can write my heart and my vocabulary and still be successful. Mark Lawrence proved that my writing wasn’t too dark or intense to build a career on and Michael J. Sullivan gave me the courage to self-publish instead of querying and hoping someone else saw the beauty of my work. Those are the four pillars my writing is built on.
What’s the most (and/or least) helpful piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
Salvatore said: If you can stop writing, stop. There are much easier ways to make a living. If you can’t stop writing, you’re a writer. I can’t stop. Jim Butcher said: I don’t have a muse, I have a mortgage. These two philosophies cover every problem I run into, doubt, imposter syndrome, writer’s block – two tools for every occasion.
Can you tell me a little something about your current work(s) in progress?
By the Hand of Dragons is a series about a boy, Shefa, magically created to be a hero and save the world, who doesn’t really want to. He wants to complete his mission so he can be free to live his own life. However, along the way, he realizes he has much more in common with the villains and begins a slow descent into tyranny. I’m telling the story in two times that collide at the end. AlinGuard starts when Shefa is 25 while RooK starts at his birth. They both came out at the same time. I fill in the blanks between them then move forward from there. So, you get to see who he becomes then you get to learn everything that made him that way. People seem to find it confusing, but George Lucas did it with Star Wars, so it seems super simple to me.
How do you motivate yourself on days when you don’t want to write?
Hate. I burn it for fuel lol. I think of all the things I don’t want to do but have to do and remind myself that the only way out is the chair and the words. Plus, I have a couple movies and a playlist!
Who are your favorite characters in literature or pop culture?
Byronic Heroes. The ones that wish they could quit but can’t. Old Batman, The Punisher, Master Chief. The character I always come back to, the one who centers me is R.A. Salvatore’s Artemis Entreri. That character is perfect!
And do you have a favorite type of character you enjoy writing?
I love characters who are all in. Once they commit, its victory or death, regardless of the type of battle. A sword fight, a con, a courtroom argument, doesn’t matter, leave it all on the field.
Tell me about a book that’s excellent, but underappreciated or obscure.
My favorite book that nobody’s heard of is ARMOR by John Steakely. He saw Starship Trooper, was wildly disappointed, went home and wrote an entire book out of spite! And It’s awesome! Everything Starship Trooper should have been.
Finally, would you be so kind as to dazzle me with an elevator pitch?
The perfect soldier, trained from birth to save the world from a war most people don’t believe is coming, discovers he’s much better suited to be a villain. He’s one of an army of child soldiers who all learn the cold hard difference between dreaming heroic deeds and surviving them.
Why should readers check out your work?
I write books for people who don’t enjoy books. My degree is in Tv and Film production. If you like movies, video games, comics, you’re gonna love my books. My work has been described as ‘Anime flavored Dark Fantasy’ and I love that! One reviewer said: It’s like Luke Skywalker was raised by Kratos! If you know who those people are, trust me, that’s high praise indeed. Imagine if Quentin Tarentino directed Lord of the Rings and you’d have an Alexzander Christion story.
Buy the book here.