How’s fall treating you?
I’m enjoying the play of sunlight in the red and gold leaves. At least on the days the sun shows up!
It’s another Monday Morning Author Interview, and who do we have today? Brand J. Alexander, the author of the Ravenfell Chronicles and the new series, Tears of Hatsunae! Let’s get right to it!
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I was little, my mother used to make up bedtime stories with me about my stuffed dragon Dragodoon. That was the beginning of me developing my love for creating stories. At around 7 years old, my father handed me The Hobbit and introduced me to his extensive fantasy novel collection. As I consumed the different stories and worlds, I began to realize the full potential of fantasy. That was the beginning of my dream to be a fantasy author.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Some of it just comes to me at different times throughout the day in random bursts. Often while I am writing or reading, an idea I am working on will inspire a completely new concept, and I will write a note down to consider more later. Since my fantasy worlds and stories all stem from a shared story and creation, a lot of the tales build off of the previous ones in different ways. So, while I am writing one book, I will realize a new path the bigger story will take in later worlds and series. I also sometimes develop stories from real world experiences. The concept for my Guardians of the Tide series is inspired completely from several summers that I spent swimming at the local pool and the relationships I developed with the lifeguards who worked there.
How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?
I currently have 8 completed books, between novels, short stories, and novellas. Seven of them are published. One is being prepared for publishing.
My favorite would have to be Fall of Tears. When I first began writing the Tears of Hatsunae series, I intended the first two books to be a single novel. It wasn’t until I finished the story at over 470k words that I realized I had to split it. Those two stories were my first completed novel. While I had written many different stories before this. Those two books were the first time I ever pushed myself through to the end. I confess I cried a little when I wrote the final words. Because Fall of Tears is in essence the climax of what I considered my first completed novel, it stands as my favorite book to this day.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I have a few dedicated fans that I hear from often. I have a 78 year old woman who had never read fantasy in her life. She now considers the two books in the Tears of Hatsunae series to be her all-time favorites. She is always asking about my progress and encouraging me to get back to work because she wants to read more of Asahn’s adventure.
Another one of my readers is extremely dedicated. She has volunteered to beta and ARC read all of my books as they come out. Her feedback helps keep me going when I am at my lowest points.
As an example of the feedback she has given me, she recently told me that she rarely ever reads books more than once but was going back through Rise and Fall of Tears because she loves them that much. While reading through Fall of Tears recently, her son asked her why she was crying, and she told me that all she could do was hold up the book to explain why. It affected her that much.
Do you like to create books for adults?
I believe most of my books are geared towards young adults and up. So, I guess my answer is yes. I mostly just write the story that needs to be told without any focus on the age range of the reader.
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As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
My first dream profession was paleontologist. Dinosaurs were my real-world dragons, and I wanted to know everything I could about them. I have always been fascinated by strange exotic environments and the creatures that live there. It is one of the factors that made me passionate about writing fantasy. I love creating new worlds and designing strange new ecosystems.
What is the first book that made you cry?
Where the Red Fern Grows. I am a dog lover, so the end of that book tears me up every time. The first fantasy novel that made me cry was Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks.
Have you ever gotten reader’s block?
For a while after finishing my first few novels, I was unable to read anything but my own work. Every time I would pick up a book and attempt it, my mind would drift off to my own worlds and stories and what I wanted to do with them. It made it difficult for me to delve into any new stories for a while.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I like to think that I try to be more original. I don’t chase trends or try to fit my work to a specific market for success. I have a host of stories that I want to tell. All of them combine into a larger tale that I have dreamed of telling my whole life. All that I can hope is that it will be the sort of story readers want.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
All of my books, minus the Ravenfell Chronicles: Origins series, are connected in some way. My first novel, Rise of Tears, begins with the genesis of my universe. That story begins all other tales in my universe and resounds through every world that I create. Everything combines to tell a much larger story.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
Definitely a dragon. Dragons were the greatest inspiration for my imagination growing up and made their way into many of my earliest attempts at writing.
What does literary success look like to you?
While I think everyone has a dream to be a New York Times bestselling author with the recognition of J.K. Rowling or Tolkien, realistically, I would just like to have a dedicated following of readers who love my worlds and look forward to each new release of my stories. I have a few of those now. I am determined to find more. I am disabled and unable to do a lot of other things. This is my chance at achievement. So, anything I accomplish is something to cherish. I’ll take what I can get.
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What are you working on now?
I have three focuses for 2021. I am determined to build a better author community for my fans and readers. That is an ongoing project.
I completed book 2 of my Guardians of the Tide series late last year. I am in the process of preparing it for a summer release.
As for new projects, I am focused on writing book 3 of my Tears of Hatsunae series, Tears of the Fallen, by the end of this year. I am 3 chapters in and going strong.
What do you have coming soon?
My next planned release is Call of the Rising Deep, book 2 of Guardians of the Tide. I have not chosen a date yet, but I plan to release it this summer.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
For a pair of free short stories and the first chapter of The Rise of Tears, readers can go to my website.
I’ll put up links to your social media. Cool?
Thank you so much for coming by!