Sunday, June 7, 2015

Welcome Alex Ericson to the blog!



 

My guest today is author Alex Ericson!

Alex Erickson has always wanted to write, even at a young, impressionable age. Since he was young, he's had an interest in the motive behind murder, of what makes people do the things they do, which has led him down his current path. He’s always ready with a witty—at least in his opinion—quip, and tries to keep every conversation light and friendly. Alex lives in Ohio with his family and resident felines, who provide endless amounts of inspiration.

  • Welcome Alex! Tell us a little about your background

 – Hi! I’m Alex Erickson. I’ve been writing since about . . . forever. I’ve tried just about everything, from fantasy to horror to comedy. This is my first mystery series, however, and I’ve enjoyed working on it greatly! I have a supportive family that lets me spend my time at home, plugging away at the computer, which makes my life just about perfect.

  • Tell us about your new series, Bookstore Cafe. How did that come about?

– I wanted to try something new and my editor asked if I ever thought of trying my hand at a cozy. I hadn’t at the time, but was intrigued. I was, of course, nervous about it, but once I got started, I found I enjoyed writing the book, which I suppose shouldn’t have been a surprise. I’ve always enjoyed mysteries, it just hadn’t crossed my mind to actually write one until it was brought up. My biggest issue was to come up with something for the character to do that I wouldn’t mess up. Since I’d considered opening a bookstore café before, it seemed the logical choice. Who doesn’t like coffee and books? And, of course, I had to include cats.

  • I notice that the cat on the cover bears a resemblance to me…are you a cat lover?

 – I am! We have four cats, who provide endless entertainment and comfort. The cat on the cover is modeled on my mom’s cat, and the other cat in Death by Coffee was one of my own. He has passed, but his memory will live on in the story. Much of the literary version of him is based on things he’s actually done.

  • How do you “get to know” your characters before and while you’re writing the books?

 – I think about them. A lot. When I first start out, the characters might be vague, but their voices have started in my head. As I write, they get more defined, usually on their own. I often have to go back and fix earlier quirks or personality traits because they were overridden by something else later, something that felt more “right.” I think that’s the best way to handle characters; let them tell you their story, what they are like. I’m just here to transcribe their stories and lives.

  • How do you construct your plots? Do you outline or do you write “by the seat of your pants”?

 – I used to pants it, but have moved on to outlining. I was always too all over the place when I didn’t give myself a roadmap to follow. I don’t stick strictly to the outline, however, but at least I get where I want to go now without too many unnecessary pit stops.

  • Which do you consider more important, plot or character?

 – Character. The plot is there for the character. If I have a brilliant plot, but a boring character, the story falls apart. A book with a limited, weak plot can survive if the characters are vibrant and exciting enough to carry it. Ideally, you get both a great plot and a great cast, but that doesn’t always happen!

  • What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer and what inspires you and keeps you motivated?

– The biggest challenge is not to give up when everything looks bleak. It’s easy to take the easy route and walk away when it looks like a story, or even a career, is falling apart. There are so many rejections that go along with writing, so much criticism, it can be hard. I am pretty self-motivated. I push through the downturns by sheer stubbornness. I refuse to fail, even while I am failing. And if something I do doesn’t work out, well then, there is always the next book.

  • Do you have an “How I got my agent” story you want to share?

 – Nothing to terribly exciting. When I was moving on from my old agent—an amicable parting—I was looking for someone who could represent everything I wanted to try. It wasn’t easy since my tastes are so varied. When I went to submit, I very nearly skipped sending a query to my top choice since he mostly dealt with fantasy and sci-fi as far as I was aware. I did it anyway, since he did rep some pretty good mystery writers too. Lucky for me, I send it in because he took me on! It reinforced my “never sell yourself short” theory. Always shoot for the top and you never know what good might come of it.

  • What are you working on now and what are your future writing plans?

 – I’m currently working on the third book in the Bookstore Café series. It’s hard to believe that the second is already finished! For the future, I’d like to do many things, try many different books and genres. I enjoy writing and want explore as many ideas as I can before my fingers finally can’t work anymore.

  • What is a typical workday for you and how many hours a day (or week) do you devote to writing? – I typically start around 10 a.m. during the week. Depending on what I am working on, I usually write until 12 or 1. Sometimes I go longer. Sometimes shorter. I like to have at least ten hours of sit down and write time between everything else over a week. And that doesn’t count edits, all of the time I spend taking notes, brainstorming, and so on. I would like to extend my work time longer, but have yet to do it, mostly because there is always stuff to do around the house that gets in the way.

 

  • What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done? –

I am horribly boring. Sitting here, I can’t think of anything that would qualify as crazy, other than teenaged hijinks, most of which is pretty tame compared to what others might have done. Does submitting a novel count? I keep to myself quite a bit, so I was really going out of my comfort zone at the time, which I guess counts as crazy, at least to me.

  • What’s one thing your readers would be surprised to find out about you?

 – People who haven’t known me for a long time are often surprised by my taste in music. I’m a quiet and calm person, and yet the music I listen to is loud, violent, and often terrifying. The same goes for my taste in movies and television a lot of the time. I like my fair share of standard stuff, but the creepy and weird usually draws me the most.

  • What question do you wish interviewers would ask? (And what’s the answer?)

 – Do you like interacting with your fans? I tend to shy away from blogs and a lot of Facebook and Twitter posts, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to interact with people.  In fact, receiving emails and private messages are often the highlight of my day. So, while I might not be out there, posting for attention, I do appreciate hearing from anyone who has read my books, or just wants to chat about writing or whatever. Don’t be afraid or shy. Reach out. I swear I don’t bite!

  • Where can we learn more about you and your books?

 – My website at http://alexericksonbooks.com/ I don’t post a lot since blogging is apparently beyond me, but any time there is information on where I’ll be or what books are coming out, it’ll show up there first!

 

Just for Fun:

Night or Day? -  Night

Dog or Cat? (answer carefully)  - Cat

Beach or Pool? – Beach. Don’t really swim, so the sand works for me!

Steak or salad? – Salad. I actually don’t like steak at all.

Favorite Drink? – Call me boring, but I really like orange juice. I could survive without most everything else, but don’t take away my morning orange juice.

Favorite Book?  - Too many to list. Like many other things, I don’t really have a favorite as much as I have a bunch of favorites. If we went by authors I buy the moment their books hit the shelves, we’d go with Jim Butcher, Kathy Reichs, Brandon Sanderson, and Stephen King. There are a few others that I tend to snatch up quickly, but I’d have to say those are the top four.

Favorite TV Series? – I struggle with favorites like this, simply because so many lose me after some time. Right now, I’d say that something like The Fall would be my current favorite, despite having so few episodes. I very nearly binge watched it, which is saying something for me. I don’t normally like to sit still in front of the TV for very long.

Favorite Movie?  - It used to be Pulp Fiction, but I haven’t watched it in a really long time. I’ve been disappointed by nearly every movie I’ve watched recently, which makes it really hard for me to choose a favorite. It’s just too much of the same old stuff. There have been some decent movies, but nothing has reached out and grabbed me for a very long time now.

Favorite Actor: - I’ll go with Nathan Fillion, not just because I’ve enjoyed most everything he’s been in, but because I enjoy listening to him outside of scripts. He seems like a genuinely fun person.

Favorite Actress: - Felicia Day for the same reasons. She might not have appeared in a lot of stuff, but I do enjoy what she does outside TV and film, especially on the web.

Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? – Does neither work? I am a nondrinker, which I suppose is strange for an author! I’m not a fan of the taste of alcohol—any alcohol, though some people have tried to find something I can stand. I’m mostly a juice person.

Hawaii or Alaska? – Hawaii. The cold and I are not friends.

Finish this sentence:  If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be – Stephen King. He is the reason I’m writing at all. On Writing helped push me past the dreamer stage, into the doer stage. Even though my recent books aren’t King-like, I still believe that without him, I wouldn’t have written them.

If I had just one wish, it would be – I know it sounds cliché, but I really wish people would stop judging others without getting to know them first. I really don’t like using religion, gender, race, etc. as a weapon to belittle someone. Isn’t there already enough hate in the world? Why make more? Just because someone might believe in something different than you, doesn’t mean you wouldn’t like them if you got to know them.

If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be – I thought about this and decided, the answer is . . . no one. I’m happy where I am. Even if I traded with someone with what would be viewed as the perfect life, I’d long for my old life. Yeah, I guess it is a little cliché too, but darn it, it’s the truth!

Thanks Alex! Folks you can find out more about him here:




 

Alex will give away a signed copy of Death by Coffee. To onelucky commenter!

 

To enter, leave a comment on this blog post with your name and email address (entries without email will be disqualified). For extra entries, you can do any or all of the below:

* Follow my blog (+ 1 point)
* Follow me on Twitter (+ 1 point) (Link:
https://twitter.com/RoccoBlogger)
* Tweet about the contest (+ 1 point)
* Friend me on Facebook (+ 1 point) (Link:
https://www.facebook.com/ToniLotempio)#!/

* Mention the contest on Facebook (+ 1 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 1 point)

 

Winner will be chosen at random using random.org.  Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Good luck! Contest ends June 14

 

15 comments:

  1. This series sounds like fun. Also interested in the sci-fi and fantasy. I follow the blog and twitter and am friends on FB. Thanks for the chance!
    frybbe@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. You sound like a really nice person who'd fit in well here with books and cats and ...orange juice!
    When my husband was very little, his mother told him that everything good would be in Heaven.He asked, " Will there be orange juice there?"!
    My TBR list just grew !
    I wish you the best of success, Alex.
    Tonette
    tonettemjs@gmail.com
    I follow on Twitter; I tweeted.
    I am a Frien on FB; I shared
    I follow the blog.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great to get the inside scoop on this author.
    We are FB friends and I've linked this
    I check the blog regularly
    I don't tweet nor do I have a blog

    libbydodd at comcast dot net

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow a really cool interview . linbutler@att.net

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow a really cool interview . linbutler@att.net

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  6. This sounds like a fun series to me. grammyd01@comcast.net

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  7. Great interview! I have to look for this series the next time I get to a bookstore.
    I follow your blog and am a friend on Facebook.

    ElaineE246 at msn dot com

    ReplyDelete
  8. Alex is a new author to me so I am looking forward to read his book. I am a friend on facebook and follow your blog through e-mail. robeader@yahoo.com

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  9. I enjoy meeting "new to me" authors and this books really sounds good. I love the idea of a book and coffee cafe. That sounds like the perfect place for me to hang out. I am a FB friend and I follow your blog via email. jmvarner50@hotmail.com

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  10. I love this blog. I find so many cool new authors to read. Can hardly wait to start this one!!!!!
    Oneponychick66@hotmail.com

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  11. This mystery has my attention - cats, books, and coffee, a little mystery thrown in. OK, a big mystery. Would love to read it!! Follow blog, friend on FB. jeaniedannheim (at) ymail (dot) com

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  12. Looking forward to reading this one.. I follow the blog via email and FB.
    dotkel50@comcast.net

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  13. Thanks for the opportunity to read this book! betty6931@fuse.net

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks for the opportunity to read this book! betty6931@fuse.net

    ReplyDelete
  15. I appreciate the opportunity to read this! betty6931@fuse.net

    ReplyDelete