Name Alex Laybourne
Where are you from Originally the United Kingdom but I now live in the Netherlands.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life ect
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I am applying the finishing touches to my second novel It is the second installment of my Horror Trilogy Highway to Hell. On a personal level, my wife and I are expecting our 4th baby due in October. We already have two boys and a girl, and cannot wait to find out what we are having this time.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing when I was 14/15. I was on holiday in Spain and everybody stopped in the afternoon for their siesta and I didn’t want to sleep so wrote a story, and it kind of grew from there.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
It was probably about a year ago that I really started thinking of myself in that sort of way.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Well I was on holiday in Spain and didn’t want to take a midday siesta so grabbed a pen and started writing. It started out as a teenage action book but went through several phases, all progressively worse than the last. I was inspired back then by the TV shows I enjoyed the most. Buffy, X-Files that sort of stuff.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Not really, I just sit down whenever I can – quite literally – and write. I always write my novels in order, I cannot jump to and fro, and aside of short stories for my blog, I have to write one piece at a time, from start to finish including editing. I have no idea why. It just seems to be the way my mind works.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Well the title for my first published novel came to me when I found the cover art image. It just all fell into place and I couldn’t be happier. The title of my upcoming (re-edited and re-released) short story anthology is The Musings of a Hideous Mind. It came to me one day and I just fell in love with it. I plan on publishing several different volumes under this title.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not really. There are probably lots of messages that could be taken from the novel, but none are really intentional but rather natural by-products of the story itself. Such as Redemption or the Duality of Man
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Well 99% of the novel is set within Hell, so I am not sure how much is realistic. If I’m honest I hope none of it is, because I would not like to end up in some of the places I have created.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I think any writer is not being honest with themselves when they say that their characters are purely fictional. What we do as writers is to take in what we see, to use what we hear and learn throughout our lives and to twist and sculpt it within a healthy spoonful of out imagination. All of my characters are everybody in my life, but none of them at the same time. Some are even mysel, or maybe who I wish I had been.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
I think 1984 by George Orwell is a book that had a profound effect on my youth, particularly my adolscence. Also the Books of Blood (Volumes 1-3) by Cliver Barker had a great influence on my writing.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
From a genre perspective it would have to be Stephen King or Clive Barker. H.P. Lovecraft is another writer that I would love to be able to sit down and talk shop with. These are just a few names, because in reality I have many mentors. Every Indie writer is a mentor to me. By sharing tips and stories (of both success and filure) we are helping one another develop and hone our writing skills on the frontline.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I am currently reading a collection of 4 horror stories called Dark Bites. I am also working my way through Full Dark No Stars by Stephen King and The Books of Blood (4-6) by Clive Barker
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
There are a wealth of talented authors out there, and I honestly want to read them all. However, at this point in time Carrie Green is the next writer on my list to read. She is a horror writer and has a coule of short story comilations out on the market right now.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I am currently working on the second installment of my Highway to Hell Series, and have plans to re-edit and re-release a short story collection that I had rushed into publication a few years ago, and thankfully pulled from circulation before too many people bought it. I am also planning out a new character driven horror novel.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I guess the biggest support outside of my family would be the Indie Writing community as a whole. I have many wonderful people and have so many amazing friends as a result of my involvement on Twitter, Facebook and the like
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I treat writing as a career. I approach it in a professional manner and with a dedication that is probably unrivalled even by that which I give my day job.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
To be honest with you, no. I am delighted with Highway to Hell, and the way it turned out. If you were to put a gun to my head I would maybe say I would add a little more dialogue, but I don’t beleive it would have really added much to the story.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I have always loved reading and writing. My desire to become a writer came from a holiday I took to Spain when I was 14. I was sitting in the apartment with my friend, whose family had kindly taken me away. It was early afternoon and the resort kind of closed for the siesta time. I was bored, and kind of daydreaming, and suddenly decided I would write a book. I still have that original manuscript. It was awful but it holds a special place in my heart.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I will glady share a little glimpse of my published novel Highway to Hell with you. My current WIP is still going through final edits nd is not yet ready for any eyes other than my beta reader.
The angels looked from one to another, as if conferring. Once again it was Nemamiah who spoke. “You think of it in such simple terms. The world you think of as being the centre of your universe will not be destroyed, nor will the people in it – not all of them, at least. They will simply be overrun. When the barriers to your world begin to break, beings will emerge. First it will be the lower level sentient beings, like those you encountered. They will overrun your world and fill it with terror, getting ready for the cracks to open wider and allow the Kingdom of the Damned to take control. To answer your question, if that is even what it was, then no, this isn’t new. Cracks appear all the time and beings escape, as do souls – those brave enough to fight through their way through the torture racks and pain thresholds. We do our best to keep it to a minimum, although there are always a few who manage to evade us. It is just that this time… this time something big is brewing, and…” Nemamiah looked across at the other two as he spoke. Once again they seemed to smile at him, a wry smile that none of them noticed, not even Nemamiah, who had returned his stare to the group.
”You don’t know what it is, do you?” Graham piped up, seeming to take quite some degree of pleasure in the statement.
“Lucifer was thrown from Heaven after a great war within our family. He questioned our Father’s decision’s. We tried to reason with him, we tried to help him find his faith, but his anger made him powerful, more powerful than many of us realized. So there was a war, civil war. The angels fought amongst themselves, our purity was ruined, and our Utopia was ripped apart like the Garden of Eden had been after the touch of mankind. With our brother Michael leading our army, we banished Lucifer and his followers from Heaven. As punishment his soul was tainted, meaning he couldn’t find a vessel on earth, and so he fell deeper, into the very bowels of the universe itself,” Nemamiah said with the soothing tones of a storyteller. All five of them stood captivated by his words.
‘You mean the like the core of the earth?” Helen asked clumsily.
“No, female, that is not what we mean. We mean the bottom of the universe, the basement of all existence. It is here that he came to rest, and even that was too good for him, the traitor,” Sariel began, but he was cut short
“Sariel, bite your tongue or offer penance,” Nemamiah bellowed. The power of the voice was enough to make the group of mortals jump, and had it been directed at them they were all certain that it would have been too much and turned them into liquefied jelly puddles. Thankfully, however, it was directed at Sariel, who shrank visibly, and took several steps backwards. Even Nakir seemed to shrink away. Then, as if nothing had happened, Nemamiah continued talking.
“Lucifer fell. By your own way of calculating the passage of time, he fell for millennia, before landing on a desolate piece of rock at the bottom of the universe, the edge of all existence. So fierce was the wrath that God unfurled on him after his defeat. It was there, on a small rock fighting for its survival in the truest possible sense, that Lucifer began to create his realm. Four of his followers survived the descent and impact. Their bodies were broken and disfigured, twisted into hideous beings with a thirst for revenge that consumed them completely. Lucifer saw his chance and so fuelled their rage with crazy promises and desires, the same way Gollum was consumed by the ring. Lucifer spoke to them so as to keep himself whole. His anger was channeled through them, and as time passed they grew stronger. They remained there, balanced on the brink of everything, when more rocks began to pass them by; used up, dead chunks of everything, crushed down into rocks and floating debris islands by the pressures that the end of all existence exerts. There were gathered together and fused to each other, and thus his empire began to grow. The denser it became the more it began to rise. Not ascending, no, the path home was closed to him, but they pulled away from the edge. It was here, as they rose, that Lucifer found the portals, and so too he found their weaknesses.” Nemamiah stopped, pausing to let everything sink in. To give them time for a question and answer session. None of them knew what to say; his voice held them captive, while his anger kept them tamed.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Um, besides editing, which I can never find the same rhythm with as I can the actual writing process, I would say that simply finding time to write is the most challenging aspect. With a full time job and three young children at home, all of whome love to get up early (around 5am) which is really the only pure writing time I get in the day, it can be tought to get that momentum built up.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
My favorite author would be Stephen King. From the scope of his works, to the detail that goes into each book. From character backgrounds and interactions to the simple setting of a story. The ending to the Dark Tower series alone, what a stroke of genius.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No, all of my books come completely out of my imagination, and giving the setting of the current series, the internet gives me all the research and information I need. Setting a novel in Hell with Angels and Demons has its advantages. I have to travel 80km a day to get to my day job, so any other travelling just isn’t in the budget.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My brother in law. He is a grpahic designer and has designed all of my book covers for me. In exchange for the odd piece of translation work.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The time, and telling myself to stop when I am in the groove. Sometimes I have to pull myself back otherwise I wuld stay up all night long writing, and then be dead at work the next day. It’s never fun to stop writing, but sometimes, it has to be done. Those damned bills still need to be paid, and until the time comes I can do it with my writing, my hands are tied.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned a lot about what it takes and means to be a writer. I learned about the importance of editing, the importance of having a good and trusted beta reader. Someone who will stand up to you and tell you something sucks. Not to be mean, but to make your work better.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write, write every day, not just on a computer, but on paper. Blog, write letters… we all remember those right. 🙂 Write emails, write a diary, even a shopping list if you need it, but just make sure you write something every day. Even if inspiration doesn’t flow, you will keep yourself limber and read for when the inspiration returns.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I would love to be able to thank each and every one who has bought my books and read my blog individually, but sadly that is not possible. So instead a blank Thank you is the best I can offer. I am humbled by every sale I make or every visit my website received.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done ?
My dream was to join the police force, and still is to this day. I was a member of the Special Constabulary when I lived in England and I had the best time there.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? if so what is it?
My website is www.alexlaybourne.com