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Adam Interviews...Alex Rath!

Welcome back!

It's time to put down tools and take a break with our second author interivew of the day!

What? You missed the first?

Go read it!

And now that you're back, let's chat with Alex Rath.

Alex Rath is a best-selling Science Fiction and Post-Apocalyptic novelist, currently residing in Columbia, South Carolina, with his wife and elite gymnast daughter.

With works published in the Four Horsemen Universe, This Fallen World, and the Salvage Title universe, Alex has now spread out with his own Colonization Science Fiction with the Terran Space Project, starting with "Seeds of Terra."

By day, Alex is an IT professional, and has been for 30+ years. He has worked as a programmer/developer, webmaster, information security specialist, and solutions design specialist. He has worked for large companies like AOL, and TD Bank. This background allows him to incorporate some technical savvy into his stories, while his experience interacting with non-technical customers allows him to do so in a way that isn't confusing, or 'too technical' for a layperson to understand.

Having grown up in Goldsboro, North Carolina, close enough to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base where his father was stationed to see F-4's and B-52's flying over on a regular basis, he grew up with a love of the military. That continues to his writing where he includes a military element to almost everything he writes, with a focus on getting it right.

Star Trek or Star Wars?  Star wars

Coffee, tea, or cacao?   Coffee

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?   I work a full-time 45+ hour a week job, have a  competitive gymnast daughter. So I write when I can. Lately it’s been about 1k words in the mornings before work.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?  I absolutely have to write in sequence, beginning to end. I can’t write even a scene ahead, because everything I write draws from what came before it. My characters are alive in my mind, and their experiences dictate their actions, so I don’t trust writing ahead because I’m afraid even a small change would invalidate what I wrote for later.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?  Research. Research. Research. I think being a good writer means being able to find the information you need when you need it. I spend a lot of time, and have bookmark folders for every series of things I’ve researched. I’ve also cultivated more than a few people I can reach out to for everything from astrophysics to tank operations.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?   I wrote my first book in 2019, I was 48 when I first published.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?  So far I’ve published 10 novels, with more in the works. My favorite was probably Seeds of Terra, because it was the origin book in my first world that I built from scratch.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?  Not directly, I’d love to hear more from my readers. From those I hear from, it's good things. I think one of the best compliments I ever received was when someone told me that my aliens were really alien, and not just humans in alien suits.

What do you think makes a good story? The characters. You can have an amazing story idea, but unless the readers care about the characters, the story doesn’t matter.

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?  I write my style, which I think is usually fairly original. I wrote about giant spacefaring snakes, after all. And yes, I developed a technical model of how they could control a ship. It’s probably my best-selling work, and the one I’ve gotten many compliments on, because my aliens don’t just act like humans with accents. Sometimes I play more to reader expectation, like in the Four Horsemen Universe, but even there I put my own spin on it by introducing technical knowledge to a military science fiction environment.

Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly? Yes, absolutely. I suffer from severe depression and anxiety among other things, and part of that is that I often don’t feel emotions like I know I “should.” Still, I can convey that through my characters because I grasp what they’re supposed to feel like, and I’ve had readers compliment me on the emotional depth of my characters, so I think it works.

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer? Wow… David Weber, Charles (Chuck) Gannon, Kevin Ikenberry, Chris Kennedy, Fred Hughes, John Hartness, and the list goes on. (That could be a really long list, so I hope none of my author friends feel left out). Of those, Chris Kennedy (my first and primary publisher who got me started), Kevin Ikenberry, and Chuck Gannon have had the greatest effect on me. Chris gave me the shot to write, and my first book was co-written with him in the international best-selling Four Horsemen Universe. It was a hell of a way to start. Since then, my friendships with Chuck and Kevin have been invaluable as my career has grown and expanded.

Do you write novels, novellas, short stories, episodic fiction, poems, screenplays, or something else? What is your preferred format?    Being a novelist is my focus. I’ll write a short story for an anthology if I’m invited, and the subject matter appeals to me.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? Just one. A fantasy book that’s sitting at about halfway done. I was writing it at a time when fantasy wasn’t doing well, and I had the opportunity to write another Four Horsemen novel, so the choice for me was obvious. I hope one day to get back to it, but right now the number of book commitments I have far exceeds the time I have over the next year or two.

What is the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything?  42

What do you have coming next?

I’m about to launch a novella I wrote as a giveaway for my newsletter subscribers that’s a prequel story for the Terran Space Project. I’m also working on an officially licensed novel for Steve Jackson Games’ Car Wars universe.

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