I do not often participate in such things as "blog tours" but on occasion a writer will catch my attention for all the right reasons. One such is A.J. Alexander. A.J. Is a Fantasy author from across the pond, you can easily find her blog "Writers treasure chest" and she has a new novel out, so I decided to host her here on my blog tonight. I think that many of you will enjoy her works.
A.J. Is a very different writer from me even if we often share a genre, her style straightforward clean and easy to follow. I think you would find her books a pleasant change from my arty Dickensian monstrosities.
Earlier today I conducted a short simple interview with the author. A Transcript follows.
Interview with A. J. Alexander.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I'm reading on a Kindle Paperwhite
Describe your desk
I have a computer desk with a laptop and an extra monitor, a multi-functional printer device and books, papers, paper sketchbooks and pens, pens, pens.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
My upbringing does not have any influence on my writing. I'm writing fantasy and paranormal romance.
When did you first start writing?
I’m not sure there ever was “a start”. I learned to write at the age of four and I remember developing little stories since I’m a Kindergarten kid. In school, when others complained about essays, mine were easily 6 – 10 pages long, I enjoyed it so much.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Writing is my passion. Writing is a way to focus my creativity on building a (hopefully) good story. Writing relaxes me, calms me, challenges me, and it makes me happy. It is a part of my life.
What are you working on next?
I'm working on 'The Council Of Twelve' series and 'Soul Taker' is the first book of the series. Different books of the series are in different states of completed. Right now I'm writing the seventh and eighth book in the series while several are being edited or waiting with my editor.
Who are your favorite authors?
I love reading Eric van Lustbader, James Clavell, Clive Cussler, and many other famous writers. But: I read books by L.W. Smith, Merlin Fraser, Micki Peluso, Taylor Fulks, Jim Spencer, Allan Krummenacker, and many others who held me intrigued and entertained. There are so many fantastic new authors out there. I’m adding their books to my “to-read” pile. Every single one of their books can teach me a lot about writing.
What is your writing process?
The first draft is written by hand. By typing it into the computer I am able to catch the major flaws and can correct them. After that, the manuscript goes to editing, from there to filing for copyright. Then I send it out to Beta readers. That's how I did it with the first book in the Series, 'Soul Taker'. Let's see how it works out and if the process will slightly change with the next books. Of course, there are more things in between, marketing, book cover, writing blurbs, getting a trailer done, and so on.
How do you approach cover design?
I have KJ Magical Designs, Kathryn Jenkins, who does the covers for me. She is educated in graphic design and did a wonderful job with the first book of the series. I saw her work on other books and I'm happy I decided to pick her as my cover designer for that book series.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
The answer is no. If I wasn’t happy with the book the way it is I wouldn’t call it ‘completed’. My work is completed when I’m satisfied with the book, the characters, the plot and the entire story. How can I expect readers to like it if I don’t fully stand behind my work?
But we are really here for A.J. to advertise and discuss her new novel "Demon Tracker" which was released on the 30th April this year in kindle e-book format.
Zepheira is the best Demon Tracker working for the Good side. With her unusual looks, her phenomenal sense of smell, and her bravery, she quickly draws ‘The Big 7’s attention to her talent. They hire her to find one of them. Leaving her familiar surroundings and regular work environment unsettles Zepheira at first. But the challenge to prove herself and to increase the reputation of her infallibility tempts her.
She is convinced she will be a great asset to ‘The Big 7’. Little does she know she will be a much greater asset in Heaven’s fight against Evil. Zepheira suddenly becomes more than a hired tracker. She finds herself an important pawn in the game of love, heat, and fire. Will her courage and sacrifice be sufficient to dance with the flames?
And the best way to introduce the novel is to provide you with a "taster" a small part of the novel for you to read and see if you like it. I suspect that you will.
Excerpt from Book 3 of ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series – Demon Tracker
Less than twenty minutes later, I received a message from Michael. I was strictly ordered not to do anything but stay where I was. Andreas would pick me up a little later. In the meantime, I could work out in the gardens with some of the angels if I wanted to.
“I’m sorry, Zye. I must leave at once,” Uriel whispered. He kissed my cheek and was gone.
I worked out with Robbie and Daniel while Maria watched us carefully. All three of them were excellent sword fighters and we had a good time. After the workout, I rinsed the sweat off my body, dressed in black pants and a white t-shirt and went outside again to sit down and just enjoy nature for a while.
I watched frogs climbing out the pond, sparrows and hummingbirds flying and hopping all over the place and butterflies filling the air with breathtaking colors.
After a while, Andreas sat down next to me on the white bench. “Hello, Zye.”
“Hi, Andreas. I was told you were supposed to take me somewhere?”
He smiled. “Not just somewhere, Zye. You will be meeting the ‘Council of Twelve’.”
I froze. “Are you joking?”
He shook his head. “No.”
I felt my blood drain from my face.
Andreas jumped up. “Holy Mary! You’re not going to pass out on me, are you?”
I carefully stood up, testing whether my feet would still carry me.
My body trembled.
Andreas laughed. “Listen, Zye, there is no reason at all to freak out. Yes, they’re Archangels, but they won’t eat you. Don’t forget, Uriel will be there as well and he’s likely to protect you!”
I took a couple deep breaths. “Yes, he will. But what can he do when eleven others are voting against me?”
Andreas laughed. “What do you think they’d vote for? Killing you? Zye, they’re angels, standing on our side, fighting against evil. Just like what you do!”
His words made me think for a few moments before I finally replied, “I can’t help myself, Andreas. I’m still scared to death.”
He smiled mildly. “There is no reason to fear them. Of course, respect them. After all, they’re probably the most powerful individuals on Earth besides our one and only Creator. They’re not going to do anything bad or evil to you.”
I slowly tried to slow my heart rate and bring my trembles under control. “See? You’re getting better.” Andreas grinned. Then he opened his arms and offered to carry me to the assembly hall.
The so-called “assembly hall” was an enormous room, beautifully built, with polished marble of purest silver-gray, inlaid by some marble that looked like the veins of fire. The ground was covered with anthracite colored stone and harmonized beautifully with the light gray walls and the beautifully painted fiery ceiling. The ceiling was so high, even the Archangels could fly within the hall.
The room was equipped with a small waiting area with black leather seats and a small glass table. It was quite modern, but comfortable. Andreas gave me a brief description before we started to prepare me for the impressive and pompous sight.
After our arrival, I stepped away from Andreas and in my head heard Uriel’s voice: “If you’re going to do this more often, girl, I will have problems with that.”
I grinned. “There is only one solution to this problem,” I replied.
“And this is?” Uriel’s buoyant voice asked back.
“Next time pick me up yourself, Mr. Taxi,” I snarled.
I enjoyed the mental clash and the growing closeness it showed between Uriel and me.
Andreas curiously examined my face. “You were just somewhere else with your thoughts,” he commented with amusement.
I blushed furiously which made him chuckle.
“I’ll wait here for you.”
I swallowed. “I… okay.”
Then I turned to the huge ornate white door that opened by itself to let me inside.
There I found two huge angel warriors in full armor and a beautiful winged woman gesturing for me to follow her. She led me through a light, nearly empty corridor to a smaller pair of wooden doors. She opened them to let me enter. I hesitantly entered and the door closed behind me.
There I stood in front of a simple long table with twelve tall, exceptionally beautiful Archangels, each of them unique Still, I had the impression that these individuals formed an enormously strong singular entity.
Of course, I saw their different manifestations , but what caught me off guard was the fact I could perceive them all so clearly. Their smells and aromas were much stronger than the ones of other individuals I had encountered.
I already memorized Uriel’s scent. To me he was the purity of flames and heat, fire, and blaze. But to be truthful, he smelled deliciously like cinnamon. I hid a smile.
I interrupted my train of thought when Michael stood. “Please, Zye, come closer and meet the ‘Council of Twelve.' From your left: Uriel, Myself, Anghariel, Zachariel, Centriel, Deonur, Raphael, Gabriel, Benadrel, Santanael, Tsechirel, and Simael.” He threw me a sharp look. “You seem to be totally in shock, Zye. Are you all right?”
I almost collapsed; my mouth was as dry as an Arabian desert. I had to swallow before finally I was able to reply. “Forgive me, Mylords. I just discovered that I apparently can catch your natural fragrance in a very strong and unique way. It hit me when I entered the hall.”
Gabriel rose, eyeing me curiously. “Wow, really? You’re not kidding?”
I only shook my head.
“Does that mean, even if you can’t see us, you’re still able to tell we’re here?” “Not only that,” I explained. “Each one of you smells unique.”