INTERVIEW WITH ALEXA WHITEWOLF
Author name: Alexa Whitewolf
Author bio: I was born in Romania (yep, Dracula's country!) in 1992. As a curious kid, I devoured every book I could on Greek, Roman, Ancient Egyptian mythology. I studied university in political science and languages. I speak five of them: French, English, Romanian, Italian, Spanish (feel free to correspond to me in whichever language!).
My current hobbies outside of writing are Starbucks, training dogs, running and reading.
Book title: Avalon Dreams
It was impossible they had met before – of that she was certain. Yet his hold on her was undisputable, an irrational pull to the utmost recesses of her soul.
Vivienne du Lac has everything she could wish for – a normal, peaceful life, a good job, cushy nest egg, and a semi-social nightlife. The only problem? She’s clueless to being the reincarnation of the Lady of the Lake, mythical sorceress from King Arthur's time, and Merlin's apprentice.
Sébastien Dubois is the guy you wouldn’t take home to mom and dad. He’s the one you jump off on a motorcycle with, to ride into the sunset. He’s also Vivienne’s guardian, and only hope at survival when a magical past tumbles into her orderly reality.
Caught between darkness and light, a battle she has no intention to fight – let alone the knowledge to win – Vivienne quickly finds out not even closest allies can be trusted.
Can she look within and access powers from long past, become the enchantress Merlin meant her to be… Or will she lose it all over love, to save Sébastien’s soul? This is a battle between good and evil you don’t want to miss.
AUTHOR CHARACTER INTERVIEW
1. Tell me a bit about your character. Who are they, how old are they? What do they look like? Vivienne du Lac is 23 years old. She has long, raven black hair that goes past her waist, a toned body, and emerald eyes. She has lived her entire life not remembering she is, in fact, the reincarnation of the Lady of the Lake.
2. Do they have any strange or unique physical traits?
3. Does the character have any quirks? It’s debatable if you can call it a quirk J but Vivienne gets deja-vus, and very often. A sight, smell, or phrase can trigger them, and she falls into a sleep/trance/vision for the duration, usually a few minutes.
4. Where do they live? What’s it like there? Vivienne lives in Avignon, France, the city of Popes. Avignon is a beautify city, located in the southeastern Provence region of France, on the Rhone River. It has retained some of its medieval roots. Cobblestone paths and ruins of monasteries fit in well with tourist cafes and romantic restaurants. You can still find there the Palace of the Popes (Palais des Papes) and the ruins of the Saint-Bénezet bridge, or the Pont d’Avignon. Rich in history, this city was perfect for the setting of the book.
5. What is their role in the story? Are they the protagonist/antagonist, a supporting character? Vivienne is the protagonist of the story, the centre around which everything revolves. Her romance, history, struggles with darkness and light, and friendships are at the core of the plot.
6. What do they do for a living? Vivienne is a historical researcher. She takes contracts from different people – teachers, authors, etc. – who need research done, and travels and does it for them. Though she does not have to work – her parents ensured she has inheritance aside – she loved being able to do something.
7. What do they do for fun? Vivienne loves spending time with Alistair, her Caucasian Shepherd dog. Whenever she’s not working, her idea of fun is long walks in the city, with him by her side.
8. What is their greatest weakness, their greatest strength? Vivienne’s greatest weakness is Sébastien. She will do anything for him, even though at times it is detrimental to her. Her love for him is his ultimate salvation. Her greatest strength is her ability to pull through and adapt through any situation, without losing her cool. Be it warlocks attacking, Sébastien being hurt, or memories assailing memories, she ultimately survives and becomes stronger.
9. What is the best that ever happened to them? The worst? Sébastien is the best thing that happened to Vivienne, despite their struggles. The worst thing was becoming Lady of the Lake – because of the events that led to it, and the pain she endured.
10. What do they want from life? What are their goals? At the beginning of the novel, Vivienne does not want a lot from life – she already has it all. By the end, once she is aware of her history and memories, she wants to protect the world from evil, in her role as guardian of good. Of course, a much-needed vacation with Sébastien is also in the works!
11. And to wrap things up, does this character of a “theme” song (or several)? Roar – by Katy Perry – because Vivienne embodies the lion, strong and protective at once
Welcome to Roxana’s blog!
Q: Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
I was born in Romania (yep, Dracula's country!) in 1992. As a curious kid, I devoured every book I could on Greek, Roman, Ancient Egyptian mythology. I studied university in political science and languages. I speak five of them: French, English, Romanian, Italian, Spanish (feel free to correspond to me in whichever language!). My current hobbies outside of writing are Starbucks, training dogs, running and reading.
Q: Do you think that your school years have had an impact in your writing career? If so, what were you like at school?
Definitely! When I moved to Canada at 11, the school system was very different, and I had a lot of free time on my hands. As a result, I devoured everything in the school library – and my city library! Reading all those books so young and falling in love with the characters, has contributed to my own love for writing. I wanted to be able to give young readers what I had: a story you could get sucked into, an escape from reality, and likable though imperfect characters.
As for what I was like in school… a terror! No, I’m kidding, I was a model student, for better or worse. My parents never had anything to complain, though I did! High school was not quite what I expected, maybe on account of being too mature for my own age, and I breezed through it, eager for the end.
Q: Were you good at English or like Einstein you excel now in a field that was a nightmare for you as a student?
English and History were my favorite subjects! I drove my history teachers up the wall with my questions, and much too long presentations. As for English, my issue was always sticking to a word count. They’d ask for a 500 word essay, and I’d write 1000 words. A 4 line poem, turned into 12. And a short story, became the beginning of my novel.
Q: What are your future ambitions for your writing career?
I would love to get my book for sale in Chapters/Indigo. Also, I would like to have my name on Chapters’ wall of Canadian authors, I feel it would be an important milestone.
More closer to now, I’m working on a few other books, and I would like to get those up and ready by next summer.
Q: So, would you mind telling us what you have written so far?
I’ve written quite a few short stories while in high school, one notably for my final exam in French called My Ghost Love – Mon amour fantome. My first book was The Sage’s Legacy – book 1. I wrote book 2 but never published it, soon to come though! And now, Avalon Dreams is my pride and joy – the first in a trilogy.
Q: Where can we buy or see them?
Until Sept 1, Avalon Dreams can be purchased at ½ price through Smashwords using coupon code PP83P
It is also available via Amazon
https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01JTLWT2W or https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01JTLWT2W
Q: What are you working on at the minute? What’s it about?
I’m currently editing The Sage’s Legacy – Book 1. It’s a young adult novel, about a young girl, Delia, who has to fight the supernatural in order to save the world. Book 2 of the trilogy is also in the editing process, soon to be released.
I’m also currently writing Avalon Wishes – the second book in the Avalon trilogy. It’s the prequel to Vivienne and Sebastien’s story, where their entire history (as well as Merlin’s, Alistair’s, Arthur’s) are covered.
Q: What genre are your books and what draws you to this genre?
Mainly fantasy with a healthy dose of romance. I’ve always loved fantasy, the supernatural, I find a fantastic world makes it easier to escape reality. If I read a book about the modern world, it doesn’t always grab my imagination – though some do. With magic/fae/warlocks/etc, it’s a given conclusion. As for the romance, I love sizzling chemistry between well-developed characters, and I’ve tried to give some of the same with mine.
Q: How much research do you do for your books?
A few weeks, usually. For Avalon Dreams, I spent weeks getting immersed in Camelot folklore, reading on Merlin’s background, Nimue’s, as well as watching movies with Avignon. I usually try to have a good idea of my setting and characters before I dig into writing.
Q: Do you write full-time or part-time? Do you have a special time to write or do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?
I write part-time; unfortunately I have to maintain a regularly boring 9-5 job. I usually write in the evening, sometimes staying up until the wee hours of the morning, unable to detach from the story. It’s a very bad habit, but not one I’m looking to get out of J I would say when I’m into a story, I write 7 days a week. I try to take time off it, but that usually happens after I have a rough draft of the story. Then I take time off, and go back after a week or two to re-read and finish. I also write while at work (though I’m really not supposed to – but what can you do.. when the need strikes!)
Q: How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
When I look back at the stories that I used to write, I’m always amazed they came from me! I do find I evolved a lot with my writing style. Not just grammar-wise, but with descriptions, the settings, the relationships. They all have more substance now than when I was writing at 14.
Q: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I hate plans, personally. I always write for a bit with the idea, to see where it takes me. At some point, I’ll take a break and think things through, and come up with an outline namely in terms of how many chapters I want, and how long they should be. Then I divide the story over the chapters, so I have a rough idea of where it’s going. Mind you, by the time this is all written, I’ve already completed the first rough of the story.
Q: In your opinion, what is the hardest thing about writing?
Disengaging from the story. For myself, I find when I write and it’s a really good story, the characters are with me 24/7. When I’m at work, at home, walking my dogs. When I’m in the mood to write, anything and everything inspires me, and it’s hard to disengage until the story is written.
Q: Now, what about the easiest thing about writing?
Getting past writer’s block! All I need to do is find a new song playlist, and I’m back in business J
Q: Do you ever get writer’s Block and if so do you have any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
It’s happened a few times. When I write, I usually create a playlist of songs to match the mood of the actions. If it’s romantic, I’ll have some romance songs; for action, I’ll have some rap; for nostalgic, I’ll have some sad songs. Etc. When I get writer’s block, and the music doesn’t do it, I usually take a few hours away from writing. I’d normally recommend taking 24hrs, but I simply can’t – I’m stubborn when it comes to finishing something. So I walk/run with the dogs, then come back and switch my playlist. And I’ll listen to some songs, all the while thinking of my characters, and eventually something gives. A lot of times, I go through 30+ songs by the time this happens… but it happens!
Q: Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors? For your own reading, do you prefer eBooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
I read a LOT. Some of my favorite authors are Christian Jacq – his Ancient Egypt series; J.K.Rowling – Harry Potter; Kristen Ashley – Rock Chick series; James Patterson – everything.
I’m not a big fan of eBooks, I usually got for paper/hard books. Nothing quite compares with the smell of old/new paper when you open the book.
Q: Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
It’s a mix. For Avalon Dreams, I had a friend of mine, who’s incredibly good at editing, have a look. He pointed out some plot holes and things that would do with changing. Then I took the reins and did the editing – two months’ work!
Q: Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?
Yes, definitely. I find it gives a new, fresh perspective on the story and characters. And things you liked before, you might like or not like quite as much.
Q: Tell us about the covers of your books. How did it/they come about?
Rocking Book Covers can be credited for that. I ran into Adrijus Guscia’s covers on a website, and fell in love. When I contacted him for questions, he was quick to answer, and I appreciated the professionalism. The cover I’d seen originally, I couldn’t get out of my mind. So the minute I could, I purchased it. Adrijus further helped me with some suggestions on tweaking, created a full wrap-around cover, and I was blown away at the full result!
Q: Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
Yes, definitely. The way I see it, covers are what attract the reader. The back blurbs clinch the deal.
Q: What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
Doing everything myself. The editing, marketing, formatting… It’s hard, I won’t deny it, but the euphoric feeling when you’re all done and it’s launched, can’t be bested by anything!
Q: How do you market your books, if you do the marketing yourself?
Social media, Goodreads ads and Facebook ads. I’m still learning, that part is a work in progress.
Q: Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future?
I’m very wary with putting money down for “we can promote you” scams. I feel a lot of those, are things the author can do themselves. Yes, it’s a lot harder, but in the end, you get to keep your hard-earned money. For myself, I’ve held back on major promotions (such as through ENT) until I get a few reviews for my book. I feel like with no reviews, any promo I pay for, won’t have the impact I would like it to.
Q: Why do you think that other well written books just don’t sell?
Could be a lot of reasons, but I think what turns off readers a lot are: bad covers, bad blurbs, bad grammar.
Q: What do you think of “trailers” for books?
I’m not a fan. I feel trailers are for movies, and I don’t see Youtube as being a good place to market a book. I’ve been reading since I was super young, and not once did I check a trailer for a book. I’ve asked a few friends, and they say the same. It might work for some authors, but I personally am not a fan.
Q: Do you think that giving books away free works and why?
I think it does, to some extent. It can garner reviews, and raise talk of your book. Word of mouth is important to us indie authors, and free books does tend to get a lot of downloads, from what research I’ve done online.
Q: How do you relax?
I read, walk with my dogs, listen to music. I love being away from big cities, in rural areas, and breathing in fresh air.
Q: How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Alexa-Whitewolf/e/B01JZH0HK6
Smashwords author: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/alexaw92
Smashwords book: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/656960
Book Links: (* American, UK, etc.)
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.
Born sometime in the past century, living in the 21st century.
Sometimes I have good ideas... (what do you think?)
Sometimes fascinating guests!
(that for sure!)
Sometimes I have to share some of my frustrations,..
(not too tempting, huh!)
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