Author Interview

Author Interview with Alexander Thomas


I’m an author, a game designer, dog lover, karaoke enthusiast, and all around nerd. You may know me from my work on role playing games including Mutants & Masterminds for Green Ronin and New Millennium Games, as well as Quantum Black. My debut novel: The Magician’s Sin will be available in E-Book, Paperback, and Hardcover 05/03/2019, courtesy of Kyanite Publishing.

The Magician’s Sin:

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The Magician's Sin

Titan City: 1933

Anson Walker is a retired wizard who has spent the last two decades trying to put his past to rest. His cynical retirement is thrown into chaos when the daughter of his ex-wife hires him to rescue her mother from the dark forces who’ve taken her. The kidnapping is only days before the Aberration, a time every century when the rules of magic don’t apply. Anson’s investigation reveals an ancient conspiracy, the return of a decades-old nemesis, and feelings he thought long gone. Will he rescue his old flame, or succumb to the forces against him?

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What inspired you to first start writing? Is your motivation to write now different or the same as before?

I began my life as a story-teller from a young age. My mom actually “published” my first book when I was 4 years old. It was a collection of my drawings and jarbled words on dinosaurs. The bug has been with me ever since. My motivation has remained largely unchanged. I want to entertain people and and shine a light on messages that I think are important. 

Writers are projected as loners or introverts. Is this true for you? 

I personally am not an introvert. I’ve been a performer for most of my life. I act and sing in community theater. I run RPGs at gaming conventions ever year, and I try to do karaoke once a week. I love the energy I can feed off in a crowd. I know that isn’t typical, but it’s been helpful for the business side of my writing.

What genre do you like to write in? Why? 

I love writing fantasy and science fiction. I only found out recently that there is a stigma among “literary” writers related SF/F. but I think it’s the most flexible type of fiction. I can build worlds, design magic systems, and conjure monsters into existence, while also including those real human elements found in other stories. I can write mysteries, romance, and drama with dragons. How great is that?

How often do you write and what schedule to you like to keep?

I aspire to write every day. I work a day job at the moment so a lot of my time is monopolized by that. It’s important to sit down at the keyboard every day, even when I’m tired or uninspired. I try to treat my writing like it’s a job where my boss will fire me if I don’t show up.

What is the easiest part of writing to you?

Outlining by far. That initial spark of a story and coming up with the big plot points that form the skeleton. The ideas never flow as fast as they do in that initial stage for me. Every draft after that is just adding the layers of muscle and meat and skin until the novel is finished.

Can you share any tips on inspiring other writers to pursue their dreams?

Keep writing. Get all the way to the end of the draft, even if you think it sucks. It is so much easier to edit something that exists than it is to create something perfect on the first go.

What is your favorite thing about being a writer? Why?

I love knowing that I’ve created something that people will be able to consume for years, even after I’m gone. I’ve left an imprint, however small on the soul of humanity. It’s a privilege and a major responsibility that I approach with the appropriate gravitas.

Who would you compare your work to? What differences set you apart?

I think my work is best compared to Dashiell Hammett, Jim Butcher, Dan Wells, and Jeff Lemire. It’s hard comparing my work to other people though, I like to think that I’m not the next somebody else, I’m the first Alexander Thomas.

Does a bad review affect your writing? 

I like to think no. I try to remember that a book review isn’t written FOR the writer. It’s written for readers by readers. Each person is approaching your text with their own taste and their own experiences and it is impossible to please everyone. Just grit your teeth and keep working through the frustration and anxiety you may feel. If you notice that some criticism is consistent from review to review, take a look at that specific aspect of your work, but one bad review is not a trend.

What did you want to be when you grew up as a child? 

I wanted to be an author when I was a child. There was a very brief span in high school that I wanted to be President, but that was a silly idea. I was put here to tell stories, one way or another!

What book have you read that has been the most life changing? 

The Hobbit. This book ignited my love for fantasy, my interest in ordinary people pulled into the greatest circumstances. It was also something my father and I could share. 

Are you working on anything right now? If so, what can you share?

I’m currently working on the sequel to The Magician’s Sin, a novel called The Titan’s Gambit. I will only say that a new threat emerges to endanger the citizens of Titan City. Titan City’s newest heroes will have to put their differences aside or fall before this dangerous foe. It’s going to be bigger and badder than the first novel in the series in almost every way.

Who is in your support system? How do they keep you motivated?

I have so many wonderful people in my life that keep me going. I have a wildly supportive mom and girlfriend who push me to keep my eye on the prize. My friends and beta readers are all phenomenal, as are the staff at Kyanite Publishing. It truly takes a village to birth a book baby into the world.

Do you have any daily mantra’s? What do you tell yourself to keep your inspiration alive?

The one thing I constantly remind myself of is that it isn’t the water on the outside of the ship that sinks in. I only sink and fail when I let that doubt below deck. I can go anywhere if I keep my head up and block out the external doubts.

What is the biggest success as a writer? What have you learned? 

I think finishing this novel has been my biggest success so far. I’ve learned a lot about the whole life cycle of a book. Your job doesn’t end when you type The End. You just put on the marketing and business hat. I had no idea just how much leg work each individual author has to do to bring their story to the people. It’s a great challenge and I’m lucky that I find it as exciting as the creation process.

Has your writing taken you to other cities, states, or countries? If so, where?

Not yet, but I hope some day I can go to the places where my writing is set. I would love to be able to spend a few months in London, Paris, and Berlin before I write the WW2 chapters of my Titan City Chronicles. I really want to capture the spirit of those places and the people within.

How will you handle fame if/when you reach that level? How do you think it will change your writing? 

I like to think that my writing won’t change much, if only because I’ve always written for me. It’s important not to let the audience dictate the story, especially if you achieve some modicum of fame. I can’t imagine I’ll do anything too eccentric if I become famous. Maybe live in a castle?

What advice would you give your younger self about writing? 

Read more and back-up your files. Also don’t assume you know everything, it’s really tiresome to the people around you.

How did you celebrate the launch of your book? 

I’m actually going to a game convention and running a game set in the Titan City Universe with Caroline and Chevron as playable characters on the day my book comes out (May 3rd.) It’ll be a nice mix of work and vacation to recharge my batteries!

If given the chance, what author would you interview? What is the most important question you would ask? 

I wish I could interview George RR Martin. I would want to ask him how he handles the pressure people are putting on him to release The Winds of Winter. And I really want to know how he feels about at least some version of his story being spoiled by TV. 

Have you experienced writer’s block? How do you handle it? 

I don’t typically suffer writer’s block because I make sure to write every day, even when uninspired. There are writing sessions where it feels like I’m banging my head against the keyboard, but I remind myself that future Alexander will fix it in editing, but I have to give him something to work with.

What would you tell others who are considering traditional/self-publishing? Any advice? 

I would say that that decision is very personal and specific to every author’s case. Do as much research about the business as you do about the craft. There is no longer a stigma to self-publishing and lots of people have made careers out of publishing their own work. It is a lot more work to go the self-publishing route and you are going to have to come up with some initial resources for editing and cover art, but it can be very rewarding. I currently publish with a traditional publisher and they are great. They’ve provided me with a list of contacts, a pool of knowledge, and a number of initial reviews that I wouldn’t have found otherwise. Know yourself and how much extra work you’re going to do.

What do you want to be remembered for as a writer? A person? 

I want to be remembered as an entertainer, someone who gave people an escape from the drudgery and hardships of “ordinary” life. I want to build a world that people can pour themselves into. I want to see people write fanfiction, create art, cosplay, and identify with the characters I’ve created. I want to make heroes that people can see themselves in. It’s a big aspiration, but one day I will get there.

Thanks, Alexander!

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