Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Q & A with Alex Fedyr

Estranged
by Alex Fedyr 

Kalei hates touching. Especially if it is a hug. After all, her mother was killed by one.

Kalei was born and raised in Celan, the first city to have an Estranged problem. It was seventeen years ago when they appeared, and the citizens learned the hard truth: that it only takes a bit of skin-on-skin contact to turn their loved ones into corpses, or Estranged. No one really knows why some people turn and some people die, they just know that anyone touched is gone.

And Kalei wants them to stay gone. But, being a police officer in the city, she witnesses every day the damage done by Estranged. Black nails mark these harbingers of death. Seeking the high they get from every piece of skin they touch, the Estranged crush the lives of Celan's citizens with alarming ease.

They killed her mother for a high, and now Kalei wants to wipe them out of existence before they can seek another. But she can't. Only the Wardens are equipped to do so, and she will do anything to be inducted into their ranks.

But will they accept her now that she has turned Estranged?

Kindle Edition, 268 pages
Published September 12th 2015

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Read It & Reap:  February 4, 2016

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Q & A with Alex Fedyr

1. Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
My main character Kalei isn’t afraid to do what she needs to in order to get things done. In practice, she can be a bit rash and impatient, but the other characters in her life, such as her husband Fenn, are great at reeling her in when she gets too gung-ho. Of course, then we have characters like Shenaia who throw gas on the fire. It’s fun to watch all these characters interact with each other.

2. Who designs the covers for your books and what is that process like for you as an author?
I design my own covers. I’ve always had a hobby with photography, and at the time I was putting Estranged together I didn’t like the covers I was seeing in my price range. So I decided to do it myself. This is typically seen as a major no-no in self-publishing, and for good reason. I’ve seen some perfectly good books ruined by amateur covers. But I had faith in my idea and so far it seems to have panned out. I’ve received a lot of compliments on the cover, even from the local retailers who have put the book on their shelves. It was tricky to get the right picture for Estranged. It has so many fantasy elements, and it’s a very urban, run down environment. But right now I live in a very suburban area, so I had to do a bit of exploring to find the right shots. It was a lot of fun putting it together, and I’m very proud of the result. That being said, as soon as I have the money I am going to start hunting for an artist that I can work with for the covers. I’ll still put together the final design myself, but I definitely want to see some great art adorning these books one day. Something that can capture the fantasy elements as well as the urban ones. The one faux pas I have run into with this current cover is that everyone looks at it and thinks it is a horror book. I am as far from a horror fan as you can get, so I didn’t have that in mind at all when I wrote Estranged. Still, there’s no fighting what people think, so I go with it and hope to have some better covers down the line.

3. Describe your ideal writing spot.
This is going to make me sound like a cliché, but my ideal writing spot is basically a café or somewhere equivalent. Reason number one: I have to get away from my house and its distractions. I play video games on my computer at home, so when I sit down in the chair my first thought is, “Forget work. Let’s play ALL THE THINGS!” Understandably, I have to extract myself from that in order to get anything done. So, in that sense anywhere outside my house with a flat surface to type on will do. Reason number two: the subtle background noise is always a boost to my productivity. I find it funny that an introvert such as myself is most productive when surrounded by the ambient sounds of other people, but there you have it. Reason number three: it always helps to bribe myself with a warm beverage. Bribing is the key to writing, folks.

4. What is the best advice you have been given?
“Just finish the shitty first draft.” This wasn’t delivered to me personally, it’s something I came across on the internet, but it has been pivotal to finishing Estranged. I used to be one of those authors who would agonize over every page, making each one perfect before moving on to the next one. I soon learned that this is counter-productive because developments would come along later in the story that would force me to go back and rewrite those pages anyway. Still, I couldn’t help but go over everything constantly, even though the book wasn’t finished yet. This advice helped me to realize that the most important part is finishing the book. Finishing the book doesn’t mean, “This is it. It is over. This book will forever be as it is now, for better or for worse.” Heck no. Estranged, and indeed most books you see published by the big five, has undergone some rather revolutionary changes since I penned that last line. Once the book is done I will have plenty of time to fix it. (As a new author, I don’t have the pressure of deadlines yet. Whoot!) I had a lot of fears to the contrary. I believed if I didn’t fix it now, then there would later be fundamental flaws that I would be unable to fix in editing, requiring a complete rewrite. But it turned out that with the right mindset and the right creativity, any plot hole can be fixed, and every character can be spruced up and redeemed from their once-dull beginnings. Given, I still have to put a lot of thought into the depth of my characters and their world to make sure they carry the story out in a solid manner, but so long as I am mindful of what I am writing about all that matters is getting that first draft done. I’m so glad I listened to that advice.

5. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Surprise, surprise, I wanted to be an author. I may not be a renowned author, but it’s still nice to check that box off the bucket list. I also wanted to be a CSI lab tech, or a Marine. Turns out math is a pain and the marines no longer waive asthma, so neither of those panned out. But it’s still nice to take those interests and weave them into my stories.

6. Which do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
I’m a technophile, so I always have an affinity for eBooks. The ability to have those huge honking books on hand to read no matter where I find myself is always glorious. It’s like being Hermione with that magical, bottomless bag. That being said, I still love physical books. It nice to sit down and hold something tangible in my hands, and it can often be a fun conversation starter. That’s one of the drawbacks of eBooks. I read a book over the course of a month on my kindle, and later when I was telling someone about the book, my husband was confused because he didn’t know we owned it. Of course, once I explained to him that it was on my kindle he understood. But it was sad to me because it meant that the entire time I was reading Who Fears Death no one around me had a clue it existed. It felt like I had done a disservice to the author because being seen reading a book can be a fantastic form of advertisement for them. And here I was hiding her fantastic book from the world. Long story short: hard copies are fun to show off, but a pain to lug around; eBooks make me feel like a wizard.

7. If you could have any supernatural power, what would you choose and why?
I am always torn between invisibility and flying. To fly would be such glorious, wondrous freedom. To rise above the clouds where not even gravity can hold me back. It would be fantastic. Not to mention, I could save a lot of money on plane tickets. But to be invisible could be a lot of fun. I could be a mischievous ghost, slyly grabbing a person’s pencil and making it “float.” I could tap them on the shoulder and make them spin around trying to see who is there. I could walk down the street and see what people do when they think no one is watching. If I am at a party and I say something embarrassing, I don’t have to bother with an excuse to run away. I can simply go invisible. Not only am I fulfilling a deep desire to turn invisible anyway, I am also making an excellent topic change as everyone flips out and tries to figure out where I went. Nonetheless, airplane tickets are expensive… I think I will go with flying.

8. What book are you reading now?
I’m a bit of a multitasker, so I’m reading two books right now. (I’ve been cutting back. I used to read eight at a time.) The first book is Breakshield by J.B. Rockwell. It has a great new fantasy world with plenty of action, but so far my favorite part is the little red fox Kitsune. If you ever read Eragon and found yourself wishing you had a dragon for a best friend, then you know exactly how I feel about this fluffy little fox. Kistune is the best. The second book I am reading is The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu. I’ve heard many great things about this book, and I was fortunate enough to be in the room when it won the Hugo Award. So I’m really excited to dig into this one. So far so good: I’m about thirty pages in, and despite the fact that is has much less action then I usually look for in a book, I am thoroughly hooked.  


3 comments:

  1. Love the Q&A. It really gave me a better insight about you (the author). Looking forward to reading more!

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  2. Question: In a fantasy afterlife which would you chose, Vampire or Zombie? and why?

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  3. Definitely a vampire. I like the idea of having more powers, plus I don't have to worry about body parts falling off occasionally.

    ReplyDelete