Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.

 

Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name.

Hi! I’m Xio Axelrod.

 

Fiona: Where are you from?

I was born in New Jersey, but I grew up in Philadelphia, PA. 😀

 

Fiona: A little about your self (ie,  your education, family life, etc.)

Well, as I said, I grew up in Philadelphia. My family is deeply involved in the music industry, so that makes up the bulk of my chidhood. I went to university in Maryland, and then lived in London for a bit before returning to Philly. I’m married to my own romance hero. We have a fun life together.

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

I will release my first MM contemporary romance on 6/27. It’s called Fast Forward (an Alt Er Love novella). This book is near and dear to my heart, and it’s the first in a series of standalones.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve always written, though my focus was on songwriting until 2013 when I “accidentally” wrote my first novel. It was a serial on my blog that went viral. Four years later, I’m writing my 7th book.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Hmm…I suppose it’s when my first book started to pick up steam. I didn’t think anyone would buy it, to be honest. But they did, and it got great reviews, picked up a few awards, etc. I guess that’s when, though I still struggle with the concept of myself as a writer.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

I was deep into my love of Outlander (books by Diana Gabaldon/TV series on Starz) and the fandom that sprouted up around the show. I write a lot of ‘what-if’ stories. The Calum was ‘what if a woman obsessed with a particular romance hero decided to fly to Scotland to find him, or someone like him?’

 

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

It was originally called A Jamie for Christmas. I emailed for permission to use the name and references from Outlander, but never heard back from Diana Gabaldon – go figure-  so I changed it. It took a bit of time to find a name that was Scottish and not over-used, and that sounded good as a title. Hence, The Calum.

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?

I don’t have a style that I can point to, unless ‘earthy’ is a style. I tend to write very realistic dialogue, which some people love and some people hate. It’s what I like to read. People don’t always speak in complete sentences. In fact, we rarely do. I play around a lot with that in my prose. The challenge in writing contemporary, at least the way I write it, is being faithful to the universe. My universe is very diverse, and I want to be true to that in the books. Sometimes I have to police myself, when I start to repeat myself/my characters and ignore the other voices around me.

Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I only recently started to draw from my experience in the music industry. But I haven’t based any characters off of anyone I knew, except for one who has shown up in the last two books. She’s a long-distance acquaintence that I have a great affinity for, and she just keeps popping up.

Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?

I do travel for research, sometimes after the fact, lol. I went to Scotland last year to do some research for the Calum series, even though the first book is out. Next year, I’ll be in Norway for the Alt Er Love series, for the third book that’s actually set there. And to (hopefully) sit down with my muse for a big single title that I’m working on. Oh yes, I like to meet my muses. My latest release, Camden, features my friend Stuart Reardon on the cover. We met at a signing last October and decided to work together. After getting to know him, though, I found it difficult to write the love scenes in his book(s). I had to picture someone else. He’s too much like a brother or something to me now. LOL!

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Some are my designs (The Warm Up, Fast Forward, Falling Stars, Starlight, La Promesse, and Remembering the Alamo,) and the others are by Lou Harper Designs (The Calum – redesigned, and Camden.)

 

Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

My message is very simple: we are all the same, even in our differences. We all want love, we all want peace (I hope), and we all want the best for the people we care about. Most importantly, love is love, and no matter who you are or who you love, you deserve to love and be loved. Alt Er Love translates to everything is love, or love is everything. It’s a motto I picked up from a TV show called SKAM, but it fits so well with my outlook on life that I have adopted it.

Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?  Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?

I have so many favourites. I’m glad you asked me about new authors, though. As a new author myself, I’m a big believer in paying it forward. Sarah Hegger is a big favourite, also Susan Scott Shelley, Pintip Dunn, Mika Jolie, Sarina Bowen, Alyssa Cole, Sierra Simone, Robin Covington. I told you there were a lot, lol. Right now, I’m in love with the work of Roan Parrish. She brings the pain in her books, they’re so poignant and striking, but filled with so much love and hope. She blows me away.

Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.

I didn’t tell my family about it right away, lol. It was ‘oh, by the way, I just released a book.’ Once it was reviewed for USA Today’s blog, it became harder to hide. But a librarian, and friend, in Philadelphia named Dena Heilik is probably the biggest reason why I’m an author now. She read that first, viral story and decided I needed to do something with it. She even created a Goodreads profile for the book. And then another friend, Denny S. Bryce, told me about Romance Writers of America, and took me to a conference with her. That was the summer of 2013. That story became Falling Stars and Starlight.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

If you had asked me four years ago, I would have laughed at that question. Now, though, I absolutely do. I love writing, I love helping others with their writing, I love it all.

Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

I would have made it longer, but I get to explore more of the story in the follow-up, with a bit of a twist. I’m having fun writing it.

Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?

I learned that some people will close their minds if something challenges their reality, and that others will embrace the challenge with open minds and open hearts. I have some of the best readers in the world, and they’re pretty open to whatever I decide to write.

 

Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

The book spans seven years. For the younger Ian, I’d go with the original inspirations: Tarjei Sandvik Moe, and with Henrik Holm for young Jessen. For older Ian and Jessen, maybe Josh Hutcherson and someone like Alex Pettyfer if he were taller. Henrik is 6’4”, lol.

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

Keep writing. Keep reading. Network. Engage your readers, and not just by hawking your book. They want to get to know you. Stay positive, be kind, and believe in yourself. And realize that your path is your path, don’t try to follow someone else’s.

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

Thank you for supporting me, I wouldn’t be where I am without you.

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Heart of the Steal by Roan Parrish and Hot Cop by Sierra Simone and Laurelin Paige.

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

The first book? No. The first romance I read was Crazy, Little Thing by Tracy Brogan.

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

A well-crafted, angsty story with a happy ending.

 

Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?

Right now, I’m itching to meet my muse, Henrik Holm, and his mom, Siv Svendsen, who is also an inspiration.

 

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

I still write and record music, and do shows occasionally. I don’t tour the way I used to. Writing has replaced music as my primary career.

 

Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?

SKAM, which just ended, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, American Gods, Outlander, Sense8 (which was canceled, grrrr.) I love SciFi and fantasy. Genre TV. Anything fresh, and new, and challenging.

 

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?

I love seafood, and English custard. Not together though, lol. Favourite colours are black and purple. Favourite music? Way to much to list, but right now I am obsessed with Cezinando, Verdensrommet, and Crooked Colours.

 

Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?

I love to travel, and to learn languages. Right now I am learning Norwegian. I’d love to learn more. Travel more. I can’t imagine not writing, whether it’s books or music.  

 

Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?

She tried her best. She loved as hard as she could. She hopes she left you with a smile.

 

Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?

http://www.xioaxelrod.com I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc, aas @xioaxelrod

Fast Forward Author: Xio Axelrod Release date: June 27th, 2017  Publisher: Xio Axelrod LLC ISBN: 9780998931616 Print ISBN: 9780998931523 ASIN: B072R5X1GL

Blurb ~ As a nineteen-year-old, wunderkind doctoral candidate, Ian Waters had little interest in social interaction. Books were his companions, and that had suited him just fine. Then a hurricane named Jessen Sørensen blew into his life, throwing Ian off his axis.

On the cusp of rock stardom, Jessen had burned brightly, and Ian had fallen heart-first under his spell. But Ian soon learned he was only a temptation, a pit stop on the road to the rocker’s dreams, and Jessen was gone as quickly as he’d come. Ian buried his heartache in academia, the only home he’d ever known.

Author Links: Website:  http://www.xioaxelrod.com  Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/XioAxelrod/e/B00JCFOOHY  Email Signup: http://eepurl.com/SunFL    Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/XioAxelrod   Twitter:  https://twitter.com/xioaxelrod   Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/xioaxelrod  Instagram:    http://instagram.com/xioaxelrod/

 

Excerpt (PG-13: use of language)

“Aren’t you going to invite me in for a nightcap, or whatever?”

Ian arched his brows. “I wasn’t, actually. No.”

“Ouch.” Jessen flattened his hand over his heart as if mortally wounded. “I’m surprised by how rude you’ve become, Ian.”

Before he could react, Jessen slipped the keys out of Ian’s hand and jogged up to the door. He chose the right key on his first try, because of course he did, and strolled into Ian’s home like he belonged there.

Which he most certainly did not.

This was so fucked up, but Ian followed him inside and flicked on the lights.

Jessen whistled. “Fuck, Ian. This is beautiful!”

And it was. Ian had painted the walls of the main living space in Wedgewood blue, true to the period in which the house was built, and it set off the pristine, white wainscoting beautifully.

A large bay window let in plenty of light during the day and provided a comfortable reading spot at night. Oversized furniture in cream twill made up the bulk of the seating.

He’d transformed the formal dining room into a makeshift A-V suite, which housed his iMac and his Mac Pro, plus his other editing equipment. Unconventional, but it suited him.

“This is really nice, Ian,” Jessen murmured, turning to him. “I’m really happy for you.”

There was awe in his voice and reverence.

Ian suppressed the wave of pride that swept over him. Jessen was the only person he’d told about his tumultuous childhood, his deadbeat father, and disturbed mother. He was the only person he’d told about his dream of owning a beautiful home and planting roots in a community.

Most people never asked about the family of a prodigy, as long as the prodigy kept producing.

Siv knew a bit about his wrecked childhood, but only Jessen knew it all. Every dark and dirty detail.

Ian had told Jessen everything one night, overwhelmed by the emotions spilling over him after

their first time having sex. Making love. They’d done a lot before then, just about everything, but it wasn’t until that night that they’d gone all the way.

Ian had given Jessen his all, every little bit of himself. Had spilled his heart and soul to the man who had cracked open his hard shell for the first time in his life.

And then he had woken up one morning to an empty space in the bed next to him, and a note on the floor.

I’m sorry.

He still had the note.

Those two words had splintered Ian into a million indiscernible pieces. Pieces he was still trying to fit back together.

And there stood Jessen Sørensen, in his fucking dining room, glowing like he kept his own personal sun somewhere behind his rib cage.

“Do you have any coffee?”

“Yes.”

“Could I possibly get a cup?” A smile danced at the edges of his sinful mouth.

“No.”

Jessen laughed. “Please?”

“There’s a Char-bucks on the corner if you want coffee. I am not making you coffee, Jess.”

“Aww,” he pouted prettily. “Why not?”

Why not.

Why not.

“Why not?”

“Yeah.” Jessen was grinning. No, he was smirking.

The bubbling volcano in Ian’s belly erupted.

“Who the fuck do you think you are?”

The blonde’s eyes widened and the smirk melted away. “I…”

“Seven years, Jess. Seven. Fucking. Years. You walked out of my life in the middle of the goddamned night, no goodbye, nothing. Just ‘I’m sorry’ scratched on a piece of brown paper bag.”

“I know, and I…”

“Shut the fuck up.”

To his credit, Jessen did shut the fuck up.

To his credit, Ian wasn’t screaming. Yet.

He turned on his heel and stalked into the living room, throwing himself onto the couch. It was

big and plush and the first piece of furniture he’d purchased for the house.

His house.

His.

He felt like his safe haven had been invaded by the enemy from his heartbroken past.

Ian’s chest heaved. There was so much he wanted to say, so much he’d bottled up and walled off. And Jessen was right there. Right there.

The other man entered the room slowly, carefully. He sat on the coffee table across from Ian.

No one sat on the coffee table. It was an antique that had come with the house and Ian was proud of it. But he didn’t give a shit right then. Fuck the goddamn coffee table and the man sitting on it in his five-hundred-dollar skinny jeans.

He wanted Jessen gone, and yet he was terrified to let him go.

“What do you want me to do?”

Ian blinked up at him, confused by this all-too-sober sounding Jessen. “What do you mean?”

“If you want me to leave, I will leave. Right now, just say the word. If you want me to give you some time, I will.” His gaze softened. “If…if you want me to stay, I’ll stay.”

“What if I wanted you to leave Philly and never come back?” Ian eyed him carefully. “Would you do that?”

Jessen looked pained, but he nodded. “Eventually.”

“What if I wanted you to go back in time and fix what you broke, could you?”

“God, I wish.” He’d choked out the words.

Ian frowned. Studying Jessen, he noticed a slight hunch in his shoulders. There were dark circles

under his eyes. He seemed smaller, dimmer. It was confusing, conflicting with the mental image he’d always carried.

“Why are you here?”

Jessen exhaled and rested his elbows on his knees. He knit his fingers together and faced Ian ,his expression more serious than Ian had ever seen.

“I owe you an apology.”

Ian snorted, he couldn’t help it.

Jessen’s smile was slight. “I know, seven years too late, but…I hope…I was hoping…”

“What? Thought you’d pop back up, bat those pretty eyes of yours, and I’d bend over for you?”

“You still think my eyes are pretty?”

“That’s what you focus on?”

At least he had the grace to look contrite. “Sorry.”

“Are you?”

Jessen’s expression morphed into a mask of regret. “Yes, God. Yes. You have no idea how sorry I  ran away, Ian. I ran away from you, and I’ll never forgive myself. Even if you somehow find a way to forgive me, I’ll never forgive myself. I hurt you.”

“You hurt me?”

“I know I did.”

“No, Jess. You don’t know shit. You didn’t just hurt me, you broke me. You fucked up an already fucked-up kid.” Ian ran a rough hand through his overgrown hair. “I could barely function after you disappeared. I missed classes, had to postpone my exams, I was a total wreck when you fucked off and out of my life.”

Ian was shaking, his jaw trembling so hard his teeth chattered. And he was pissed because it shouldn’t affect him this much anymore, not so many years after the fact. He was beyond this pain.

“Fuck, Ian…I’m so…” Jessen reached out as if he were going to touch him and Ian pressed himself back into the cushions. He could not let that happen.

“I’m so sorry. God, that sounds lame. Even to me.”

“Because it is lame. Sorry? Sorry was seven years ago. Six, maybe. I’d even give you five. But now?”

Jessen nodded. His gaze flicked toward the door, and Ian panicked.

The thought of letting him walk out in the middle of this long overdue conversation was almost paralyzing.

“Don’t go.”

Jessen’s gaze snapped back to his. “What? No, I…”

“You were thinking of leaving.”

He nodded. “Yes, but only to give you some space. I had no idea I’d cause…I didn’t think you’d…”

“You thought I was over you.”

Jessen’s jaw hung open, his eyes wide. For the first time since he’d first met him, Ian saw fear in

Jessen’s eyes.

“Are you?”

Ian wanted to pretend. Wished he could. He wanted to lie, but even after so long he knew it

was pointless. He was an open wound where Jessen Sørensen was concerned. He could never

hide the bleeding from him.

“No, Jess. That’s the problem. I’ll never be over you.”

BIO

Xio Axelrod is a USA Today Bestselling author of love stories, contemporary romance and (what she likes to call) strange, twisted tales. She also writes erotica as Xio Nin.

Xio grew up in the music industry and began recording at a young age. When she isn’t writing stories, she can be found in the studio, writing songs, or performing on international stages (under a different, not-so-secret name of course).

She lives in Philadelphia with one full-time husband and one part-time cat.

Author Links: Website:  http://www.xioaxelrod.com  Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/XioAxelrod/e/B00JCFOOHY  Email Signup: http://eepurl.com/SunFL    Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/XioAxelrod   Twitter:  https://twitter.com/xioaxelrod   Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/xioaxelrod  Instagram:    http://instagram.com/xioaxelrod/

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