Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Interview with author Alexis Radcliff

Q ~ Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Sure! I grew up in a small town in the Midwest, but I moved out west after college to work in tech and live nearer to both mountains and ocean. I’ve written my whole life on and off, and I worked in journalism all through college, but I didn’t start really thinking about fiction seriously until I was in my mid-twenties.

Q ~ What’s something that you never leave home without?
My iPhone is the cheap answer, but I also carry my Kindle just about everywhere in my purse.

Q ~ If you could have lunch with one person, dead, alive, or imaginary, who would it be and why?
Either Amanda Palmer or John Green. I’m a huge admirer of the work they’ve both done, and both of them have inspired me along the way of my own personal journey.

Q ~ What is your favourite genre to read? To write?
I enjoy most flavors of fantasy: epic, urban, grimdark, and even romance with fantasy elements. That’s reflected in my writing – I write lots of things, but they all have touches of fantasy elements!

Q ~ How did you begin writing? Was there a single catalyst or a series of events?
More of a lifelong passion for books. I’ve always dreamed of being a writer, and got really serious about it after spending a few years in a more traditional career after college.

Q ~ Do you have any writing rituals that you follow? What is your go-to snack while writing?
I tend to use the Pomodoro Method, which is 25 minute bursts of writing followed by 5-minute breaks. I don’t usually eat while writing. My fingers are too busy on the keys. J

Q ~ Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Definitely a plotter. After pantsing a lot of my first book and realizing I needed to spend a long time sorting out a bunch of tangled threads, I started plotting much more aggressively and found that it dramatically improves my story arcs.

Q ~ When you write, do you try to reach a specific word count or simply write until you are done?
I try to target specific word counts, but I still let it grow as much as it needs to.

Q ~ Can you tell us a little bit about your latest release, A Vanishing Glow, and what inspired you to write it?
A Vanishing Glow is a labor of love with ten years of world-building behind it. It’s about a country in the midst of an industrial revolution powered by magic, and focuses on a series of intense political moves by the ruling powers while revolving around a murder mystery after someone kills the leader of their federation. I like to think it’s got a little something for everyone: epic adventure, strong female characters, steampunk cyborgs, and even some minor touches of wizardry.

While growing up I read a lot of high fantasy, so by the time I went to college I was hungry for something different. The seeds of the world I built for A Vanishing Glow started there, and it just sort of percolated in my head for the next decade or so.

Q ~ What is your favourite part or scene in the novel?
I actually really like the scenes between Nilya and Verse, two young soldiers, because their banter was a blast to write and I’ve had a lot of people tell me it was also fun to read.

Q ~ Do you prefer to write in a small town or big city setting? Why?
They both have pros and cons – big cities offer lots of locations and lots of diverse settings and events that never need to directly intersect, but small towns can be great too. When everyone knows everyone and is up in their business, it can create a gold mine of drama and tension.

Q ~ Do you have anything in the works at the moment? Care to give us a hint about it?
Well, I just released a short horror collection called Click and Other Stories, and the audiobook of A Vanishing Glow just released as well. As for works in progress, the only thing I can say is that the people who were disappointed about the lack of romance in my last book should be very happy about my next project. ;)

Q ~ If you could give aspiring authors one piece of advice, what would it be?
The more I see what gains traction and what doesn’t in both social media and sales (from my own experiences and those of other writers), the more I realize how big of a deal writing more books is. Nothing will help you succeed more than having additional books out, particularly at the early stages. So keep writing! Don’t get bogged down. Write. Publish. Repeat.

About the author:

Alexis Radcliff is an author, gamer, unashamed geek, and history junkie who spent the better part of a decade working in tech before dedicating herself to her first love, literature. When not writing, she spends her time reading, running, playing way too many videogames, and thinking too much about everything.

About A Vanishing Glow:

A VANISHING GLOW is the exciting opening to THE MYSTECH ARCANUM series, a deep and thrilling blend of steampunk and flintlock fantasy with mature themes.

It is an Age of Revolution, an Age of Industrialism. Constructs, living men who are as much brass and steel as they are flesh, man the factories and wage the wars of a ruling elite who gorge themselves on the fruits of the common man’s labor. Mystech, a brilliant fusion of magic and machine, gives rise to a new class of privileged inventors and merchants even as the country festers with wounds from decades of internal strife.

Only one man holds the promise of a brighter future: Nole Ryon, the crown prince. When his childhood friend Jason Tern answers his call for aid, the two of them set out to fight for the change their country needs in order to survive, even as shadowy foes frustrate their efforts. But soon, Jason and Nole’s idealistic mission of hope becomes a furious manhunt for a political murderer as the nation balances on the precipice of a country-wide civil war. Can they cut through the threads of intrigue to discover their true enemy before everything is lost?

Sweeping from the ancient cities at the heart of the nation to the dusty edges of the war-torn frontier, A Vanishing Glow tells a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and assassins, friends and lovers, who come together in a time of epic struggle. Here a brave officer risks everything to win back his estranged father’s respect; a brilliant young engineer attempts to atone for her sins; a war-weary commander tries to pick up the pieces of the life he lost; and a man touched by the gods struggles to prepare a nation for the coming of an ancient evil which only he can see. In the dying light of a once-prosperous society, amid twisting plots, suffering and betrayal, lost love and shattered dreams, all must fight for what they hold dear. Who will taste the fruits of victory and who will lie bloodied on the ground in the light of a vanishing glow?

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