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. What is your age?
Alex: Hi Fiona. Thank you for having me here. My name is Alex E. Carey and I’m 25 years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
Alex: I’m originally from Texas, but I currently live in the Greensboro, NC area.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
Alex: I was home schooled and then majored in English at UNCG. I’ve always loved reading and writing. I love to spend time with my family. My mother, brother and I share a home with our dogs, which is nice. We enjoy doing fun things together. It also helps because my mother works with me on editing, publishing, promotion and so forth.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Alex: I participated in an anthology of samples and short stories which just published July 14th, titled Tales of the Fantastic. It includes a sample of my first novel, Fire’s Love, and includes samples from five other authors — Daccari Buchelli, David Gilchrist, Grant Leishman, Caitlin Lynagh, and Kim Ross. I’m hard at work on book #4 in my Elemental Series. I’m still hoping to publish that this year, but I’ve had a couple of delays that may push back the publication date. I’m also working on journals, coloring and puzzle books, and a recipe card deck.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Alex: I wrote small stories and some poems from childhood, but I don’t think I have any of those anymore. I started the Elemental Series during college. While waiting for class to start, I scribbled in my notebook. Eventually I put all those scribbles together and realized I had the beginnings of a book series.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Alex: It was actually the first time a reader told me how much they loved my book and could hardly wait for the next one to see what would happen. I thought, “Wow, someone loves my stories. I’m a real writer.”
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Alex: Like I said, I had scribbled while waiting for classes to start. The more I wrote, the more scenes popped into my head, and I had to write them down on paper. The ideas wouldn’t leave me alone if I didn’t. When I saw how much I had and realized I had the beginnings of a book, I showed them to my mother. She has always encouraged me to follow my dreams, so she was happy for me and offered to help however she could.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Alex: The demons in my books aren’t the Biblical kind. They’re more like shifters with elemental powers. For instance, Pyre is a fire demon who can produce fire in his hands and on his body. Lowell is a wolf demon in the earth element and can make plants grow. So each book is based on an element. The books have some romance, suspense, adventure – something for everyone. For each one, I looked at the tone of the book and chose the title. For example, in Fire’s Love, Kira meets and falls in love with Pyre, so Fire’s Love.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Alex: My style includes a lot of humor. I get that from my family. If we have a difficult situation, we take it seriously of course, but we face it with humor. It makes it easier to handle. Yes, I do find some things challenging. I want my books to be enjoyed by all ages, so they’re clean and family-friendly. That’s also what I prefer to read. It’s challenging for me to write romance at all, so I get my mother to help me with those scenes. When I first wrote Fire’s Love, some authors read it before I published it, and said basically, “That’s not how people talk. You need to simplify the language.” I wrote it the way my family and I talk, and we don’t an excess of big words, so I was confused. But I listened to other people speak and rewrote some of the dialog. Now, people sometimes say it’s too simple, until they remember it’s written to include ages eight and up. I love to read paranormal themes, though, so that’s what I like to write.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Alex: Uh oh, that would be telling. You know what they say about authors – if you make them mad, they kill you off in their books, lol. Actually, a lot of it is based on real life experiences. In Earth’s Embrace, Kira goes to work for a local restaurant. In one scene, one of her co-workers hides in a big cardboard box and jumps out to scare her as she walks by. That actually happened to me at the restaurant I worked for, although I didn’t kick the guy in the nose in real life, thankfully.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Alex: I’d love to do that sometime. I see authors post about travelling to places for research, but that’s not within my means at the moment. My book series is set in Russellville, AR. My grandmother lived there, and we went to visit her. I got to know the area fairly well while we were there. If I ever do get to travel for research, I think I would want to do it before the writing process, and then probably again before finalizing the book.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Alex: My mother and I designed the covers so far. We’re having a little trouble with the cover for book #4. She hasn’t read my first draft yet. She usually comes up with some ideas after reading the first draft, which we then work on together. Book #4 is the wind element, so it’ll be interesting to create that one. Might have to hire a designer this time.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Alex: I missed most of the peer pressure thanks to being home schooled. I worked with a lot of people, many my age or younger. There is a lot of pressure on teens to drink, do drugs, have sex, etc. Some want to do those things, but many just follow the crowd. Many of the girls also date guys who are abusive and horrible to them. They think that’s how it is, that they have no choice. I tell them all the time that it is their life and no one else’s, and to live it their way. Choose what they want when they’re ready for it. No one should live like that. To me, their life is a book that is being written. It should be filled with fun, dreams, love and happiness. Yes, it will also have sadness, loss and grief, but don’t let a horrible person rule your book. Kick that character out and live your life. Then make the book a long one, epic even.
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?
Alex: I love The Dragon Dreamer series by J.S. Burke and the Hearts Blessings series by Dianna Wyles. Those books are written more for children, but appeal to all ages. I’m also enjoying reading Phoenix by Daccari Buchelli. I’m looking forward to reading the books by the other anthology authors — David Gilchrist, Grant Leishman, Caitlin Lynagh, and Kim Ross. I’ve read some of their samples from the anthology we did together, and I love them! We all met in an author team that also includes Tammy Berg, Nyasia Maire, Amanda Markham, and Chris Walters. I’m also looking forward to reading the paranormal novels by C.D. Gorri, Tim Hemlin, K.N. Lee and CK Dawn. I also want to read work by Barb Lieberman, Wanda Luthman, Kimberly Grell, A.S. McGowan, Heidi Angell, Claudette Melanson, Sylvie Stewart and oh so many more! lol Yes, I have a very large “to be read” list, and I love it!
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Alex: J.S. Burke, hands down. She’s the author of The Dragon Dreamer series, who I mentioned earlier. I met her early on through the Brain to Books convention online. She is an amazing person and a wonderful mentor. She has encouraged me every step of the way. We support each other by reading and giving our opinions on blurbs, etc. She also knows how tough it can be as an indie author, so she’s always ready with a kind word, motivation, encouragement, advice, tips — whatever is needed. We keep each other informed about upcoming events and places to meet new readers. Then we both met Dianna Wyles, and she is such a sweetheart! Likewise, she’s incredibly supportive, positive and encouraging. I just love those two! I’m very fortunate to know them and have such supportive author friends.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Alex: Yes, absolutely! Authors work hard. It’s enjoyable and fulfilling work, but we work. There’s usually some sort of research involved. Months spent turning blank pages into an entertaining story. Not to mention, once it’s finished, the publishing and promoting begin. I love writing and interacting with readers. It’s the best career there is.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Alex: When I go back and read my previous books, I always find something I’d like to change. As the series progresses, I think of scenes I would have liked to have had in the earlier books.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Alex: I try to always learn something new, especially when writing my books. I learned a lot about the Scituate, MA area where Kira and friends visited for summer vacation. I wanted to visit there so much before publishing the book, but I’m hoping to go someday. I learned about different gemstones and their meaning. I also researched types of photographs over time. My mother enjoyed helping me with that because she’s a genealogist. I learn a little something about myself too with each book, because I dig deep to write each scene, and sometimes it’s emotional.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Alex: Oh, yes please! I would love to see my books on the big screen. I’ve thought about who I’d like to play the lead characters, but I’m not too familiar with the younger actors and actresses to know who would be right for each part. Most of my characters are teenagers. Kira is 16 when she starts college, Lowell is 16, and Pyre is 18. I’m a fan of Sandra Bullock from Practical Magic. She would’ve been perfect for Kira. I would love to see James Marsters (Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer) play Vitas. Vitas is a shifter who’s in charge of keeping all the records of life on earth and keeping demons in line. He can appear younger or older, whatever fits the situation. If not Vitas, then maybe Pyre’s father. Wouldn’t it be fun if Sarah Michelle Gellar or Juliet Landau played Pyre’s mother? The only other adults are pretty much Pyre’s grandfather, Juniper Bay (Kira’s childhood best friend’s mother), Kira’s father, and some of the other demons she meets. I have lots of ideas for Pyre’s grandfather – he’s a character and really funny! Michael Caine or Morgan Freeman for starters. Johnny Depp is good in everything, no matter what role he plays!
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Alex: Always follow your dreams. I’m fortunate to have a lot of family support, but many authors don’t have that. You can always improve as a writer, which doesn’t mean you aren’t a good writer. No one is ever perfect, and everyone needs to keep learning and practicing — professional soccer players, musicians, or lawyers and accountants. Yes, you do need another pair of eyes proofreading and editing. I feel very comfortable with my skills at proofreading, but other people always find something I miss. I think it’s because it’s in our heads too much. We write the scenes, visualize them in our minds, give the dialogue voice in our heads. Sometimes we imagine it a certain way, but that doesn’t always go from our minds to the paper. Another pair of eyes will point out when we didn’t fully explain something, or find the continuity problems, etc. That doesn’t mean you have to hire an expensive proofreader, editor, or other professionals. You can get help from a qualified family member who will be honest and not worry about hurting feelings, or offer beta copies for readers. Digital files are fine for beta reading, although giving a choice of digital or print is nice. If you feel comfortable designing your own cover or asking someone you know who you feel is qualified, that’s great. Go for it! But run it by your street team, reader group, social media friends – other people basically. Get their opinions. Ask if it’s a cover that would get them to pick up the book to learn more. If not, you might need someone else to design it for you, and there’s lots of reasonable or inexpensive ways to do that. When you decide to hire a professional for your editing, cover, etc., make sure you compare prices and ask for recommendations. It’s like anything else you buy. I just read a post by an author in a social media group who paid three times the going rate for editing, thinking that was the market price. Always check!
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Alex: I love my readers! I do. I love hearing from them. I love to hear that a reader loves my books. I especially love it when a teenager or child is reading the series and can’t get enough. I enjoy getting to know readers. It’s the best part of social media for me. I answer everything personally, even if it takes me a few days at times. Balancing my “day job”, family, writing, reading and everything else can be difficult, but I do my best.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Alex: I’m reading Phoenix by Daccari Buchelli at the moment. I’m not sure what I’ll read next. I’ve promised to read and review several, plus I’ve received some books as gifts or prizes through events.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Alex: My mother bought me a set of Disney books when I was little and taught me to read early. She read them to me until I started reading on my own. I loved Alice in Wonderland and Beauty and the Beast. But my favorite childhood book was Charlotte’s Web.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Alex: Children and animals. I love to watch them act funny, cute or just having fun. I hate to see them being mistreated. Our dogs have such funny personalities. We lost one of our dogs to liver cancer this year. We love our dogs like family, and it was so hard for us. She was a funny dog, fiercely protective and territorial, but scared of thunder.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Alex: Only one? Oh goodness. I would love to meet Edgar Allan Poe. He’s one of my many favorite authors. I’d like to know what made him tick or how he came up with his works.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Alex: I studied dance for several years and loved all types, but my favorite was modern/contemporary. I still keep in practice when I have the time. I’d love to take classes again. Besides reading, I enjoy making jewelry and other crafts. I also like visiting parks and walking trails or going to the gem and gold mines in the area to hunt for treasure.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Alex: I don’t watch much TV, and I miss a lot of the popular shows because I don’t have cable. Some of my favorite TV shows past and present are Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, Charmed, Moonlight, The Dresden Files, The Mentalist, Bones, and Big Bang Theory. I also enjoy anime. I started out watching Pokemon, Digimon and Yugioh. I was watching a show called One Piece, but I’m in between shows at the moment. I’ve been hearing a lot about Castlevania, and I do have Netflix, so when I get the time, I plan on watching it. As for movies, far too many favorites, lol. I like pretty much anything with Johnny Depp. I liked the Twilight books and the movies, but some of the acting could’ve been better. I love Harry Potter books and movies, the Marvel movies, Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars. I like horror, suspense, some romantic comedy, fantasy and some sci fi.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Alex: Favorite foods include bacon cheeseburgers with fries, sliced cucumbers with a bit of salt, chicken alfredo, quesadillas, and sesame chicken. Favorite colors are black, blue and red. I have so many favorites when it comes to music, but I love Evanescence and Lindsey Stirling. I like to have them playing in the background while I write.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Alex: That’s just too horrible to contemplate! lol If I could no longer write, I’d read more and get back into dance classes. When I started college, I planned to be a dance teacher or an archaeologist.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Alex: Wow, you ask the good questions! I think either “She helped us see a better world.” Or “She really lived.” I like that line from “Second Hand Lions.”
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Alex: My website, with newsletter signup, is www.AlexECarey.com . My social media are connected there under the contact tab. The only blog I have is at Goodreads for the moment.
Alex with Buffy
Links for my books:
Amazon Author Page- http://amzn.to/2pQnqKh
Links for my books:
Amazon Author Page- http://amzn.to/2pQnqKh
The Elemental Series:
Fire’s Love, book 1 http://amzn.to/2t3tSz2
Earth’s Embrace, book 2 http://amzn.to/2t3VrrI
Water’s Reflection, book 3 http://amzn.to/2tfCarB#
Tales of the Fantastic: A Fantasy & Paranormal Sample Anthology
Alex: Thank you so much for the wonderful interview! It was my pleasure and I hope your readers enjoyed it. If you or anyone has any questions, you’re welcome to contact me through my website, social media, or by email. I hope you all have a magical day!