I’m just a questionable person of questionable morals & values who writes books of questionable taste for those living questionable lives.
Tell us about your latest book.
It’s a supernatural horror novel thus completely inappropriate for this interview. (laugh) It’s called Miael: Family.
The books in question for this interview are from the Rebellion series.
The Rebellion books are historical fiction set in China during the Qing Dynasty. They tell the story of Phong Quay, a rebel leader who is the bane of the Emperor’s existence and his relationship with the princess Ni Soung. While Princess Soung struggles with unearthing deeply repressed memories, Quay remembers everything and is thus torn between mercy and vengeance, between love and hate.
It’s about the how and why the state of their relationship is what it is (though I would say it's much darker & more torturous than the average romance novel). It's about being in love when you have every reason in the world not to be and when everyone and everything (including you) is in the way. It's less "I love you. Now the birds are going to come land on our shoulders and everyone will sing a happy song." and more "I love you but now I really need to make it stop at all costs.". It's about fate & true love vs. harsh reality.
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not all doom and glom. There are a lot of very fun and funny moments in this series as well.
What do you have coming out in the future?
I plan on writing the Sedition series which is a continuation of the Rebellion Books (though they are more focused on the Choi children).
We have Choi Xian who has not only to deal with the trauma caused by her infamous mother’s “murder” but the fallout from the return of said “dead” mother, a new brother, a childhood friend who complicates everything and the other half of her family who would stop at nothing to see her side of the family destroyed. (Did I mention she’s also fooling around with the soon be coroneted emperor and potentially endangering the most important political alliance of the new emperor’s reign?)
We also have her brother, Choi Do Whey, who is recovering from an assassination attempt on his father (instigated by the uncle who raised him and filled his head with poison towards said father). Whey now finds himself living with the very man he was programmed to kill.
And yes, there will be lots of steamy romance in this series as well. (laugh)
Is your book a stand-alone or a series?
It’s a series.
Why romance and what makes your particular brand of romance special?
Why not? (laugh)
That's a hard question to answer actually. I don't write romance in the traditional bodice ripper sense. There are romantic themes and relationships involved in all of my stories as well as sexuality. Relationships, both romantic and platonic, are a major part of any character's story.
My stories tend to include that one person the lead just can't let go of – which isn’t always a good thing. I like strong, intelligent but very flawed protagonists. I like unconventional relationships, complicated people and situations.
Is romance the only genre that you write in or do you write in other genres? If so what other genres do you write in?
I think my books can fit into a number of genres. The two main categories would be historical fiction and supernatural horror.
Qing Dynasty, China.
Some wounds cut too deeply to ever truly heal, to ever be forgotten. For the rebel Phong Quay, Princess Ni Soung is one of those wounds - a remnant of the most painful chapter in his life, a pawn in his never ending war with his greatest enemy, the Emperor Ni Fehn.
As the Han rebellion against the Emperor intensifies, Princess Soung becomes caught in the middle. As bait in the Emperor's most brazen bid to date to bring Phong Quay down, the princess may just find herself a casualty in the battle between the two men - a battle between the past and the present, between the truth and lies, between love and revenge.
I would have to say my books are closest to 4 flames (though I would like to believe my stories would work just as well if I were to be less explicit about the sex). Still, what fun would that be? (laugh)
I’m inspired by any and everything around me – especially dreams. Another of my biggest sources of inspiration is history.
Do you ever base your characters on real people in your life?
Outside of myself, no, I don’t really base my characters on real people in my life. Most people I know/have known are pretty damn boring. (wink)
What authors inspire your writing?
Edgar Allan Poe is my all time favorite writer. I also enjoy Charles Dickens, VC Andrews & Stephen King (minus the padding). Lastly, I enjoy the cadre of writers or writer who wrote under the name William Shakespeare.
As to another author who inspires my writing, I can’t say that there is one. I’m very…me.
How have your real life experiences influenced your writing?
All of my protagonists are ethnic minorities and either mixed race or in interracial/intercultural relationships. I love history so I write a lot of historical fiction.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I love to learn, travel and watch movies – all things that I think help broaden my reality and understanding of the world (as well as improve my writing/perspective). I enjoy festivals, events and collecting experiences – anything new and different that pushes me out of my comfort zone. I believe that you should go places you’ve never been, eat things you’ve never eaten and have experiences you’ve never had before at least a few times a year or you’re not really living.
I also am heavily involved in “arm chair activism” (to which my twitter stream can attest) and am one of the most active arm chair activists in the world.
How did you come up with the title of your book?
With great difficulty. I am terrible when it comes to titling and synopsizing. I have far less trouble writing whole novels.
Although Lord and Lady Choi had promised each other that there would be no more secrets between them, no more lies, neither of them was capable of holding to the bargain. He still had his secrets and she still had hers.
While Lady Choi loved her husband with everything she had in her, she would never be foolish enough to trust him again, would put nothing past him.
When new enemies and old ones ally to seek revenge, the very foundations of their faith in one another is shaken to the core. As old lies unravel, new deceptions are revealed and old insecurities resurface, can a love without trust survive?
I have read romance. Ironically I prefer reading non-fiction – especially history, true crime and books full of strange & unusual facts. (I actually know answers to random questions such as if fish drink water.)
What is your absolute favorite book or books and why is it special to you?
The Underground Education by Richard Zacks is one of my favorite books of all times.
I’m a history buff.
I also love the Tell Tale Heart by Poe (though it’s not actually a book). I love everything about Poe (stylistically) as well as his imaginativeness.
Othello by Shakespeare (though it’s a play). It’s just a tragic masterpiece in every way.
What celebrity would you choose to play the main character(s) in the movie rendition of your book?
That’s a hard question to answer. While there are some good actors who COULD play my characters, there’s no one out right now that I would say could create the definitive version of any of my characters.
I’d have to do a casting call before I could make such a proclamation. I’d personally be open to including unknowns in my casting. In fact, I think I would prefer it.
They would also have to be the actual ethnicity as outlined in the book.
What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?
Finding the time. I very much believe in quality of life and actually being out in the real live world living life and experiencing new things. This can make it very difficult to balance my obligations (family, etc) and my desires (to truly live life) with staying still and glued to my computer.
I also hate doing marketing, synopsizing and titling.
What is the easiest part of the writing process for you?
The writing itself. It just comes naturally to me. I don’t ever get writer’s block and I’m overflowing with ideas, etc. Once I actually sit down at my computer to pull everything out of my head, I find it flows easily – twisting, turning, building upon itself.
How would you describe your writing style?
I focus heavily on character development - actions, motivations, etc and less on set design elements. I guess you could say my style is more bardesque than is typical. It’s more like I’m sitting next to you describing what’s going on in a movie or a play.
I don’t spend paragraphs describing rooms, etc. It’s just not a me thing. I only describe what’s significant to the furthering of the plot/character development. I have very little “waste” in my books. In my world, the exactitudes of setting have very little importance to the flow of a story (think Dogville). I guess you could say I’m a very concise writer in that way.
For the past two decades, Ni Soung has been living a lie – a lie of her own creation. A lie perpetuated by everyone around her, even her own husband and father. A lie her enemies have used to twist and destroy everything she once believed.
Now, held captive and separated from her husband and children, her only hope to save them all is the truth.
As the lies are stripped away and her memory returns, will Ni Soung uncover the truth in time to change the future or will she be destroyed by it instead?
I have a general idea of what I want to write and where I want it to go. I even sometimes do an outline. Still, on the whole I go with the flow.
My characters and the story largely tell themselves. I don’t try to force my stories to go somewhere inorganic and I’m constantly coming up with new ideas and changing directions (vs. where I thought I was heading).
The only exception to this rule would be with the Amarna series (as it’s ridiculously historically accurate). While I had a lot of fun with it, what happened historically happened. Though it was quite a task, I enjoyed the challenge of trying to create a compelling story under such strict conditions.
Would I ever do it again? Potentially. (wink)
What do you get out of writing?
The satisfaction of a job well done. (laugh)
I enjoy creating my own worlds and characters. I enjoy taking people away from their reality, giving them a break from real life and all that comes with it….if only for a little while. (And when I say people I’m including myself.)
Why do you write if you can’t make a living out of it?
One can most certainly make a living out of writing. There is a lot of work that goes into it, however, and I’m super lazy about putting in that work (as in my world I just have to write).
If you published under a pen name, why did you use a pen name and is there anything special about the pen name you chose?
I use a pen name because I’m an intensely private person. Grea Alexander can belong to the world. I, however, just want to be me - to belong only to myself.
What is your ultimate goal in writing?
To make a living doing something I love and am really good at for the rest of my life.
Wild Card Question.
As an author, what is the one question that you wish people would ask you, but no one ever has and what would your answer be to that question?
Can I be your patron?
Absolutely! When do I move in?
GoodReads It's where my reviews live. www.GoodReads.com/GreaAlexander
Twitter It's where I pelt people with lemons then run away. @SeaMonkeyInk www.Twitter.com/SeaMonkeyInk
Library Thing It's where I once had a drunken 1 night stand & left behind some review babies (that I’m not entirely sure are mine).