We here at Rhodes Review would like to Welcome Ian Alexander here. Mr. Alexander is the author of an Epic Fantasy called Once We Were Kings. Welcome Ian.
Rhodes Review: Tell us a little about Ian and about Once We Were Kings.
Ian Alexander: Well, as many of your readers may know, Joshua Graham and I are twins. Not physically, nor person-wise, just literary twins. He likes to joke that I’m his evil twin, but really, I’m not evil. I’m the handsome twin, rather. (LOL.)
Seriously, though. Once We Were Kings is a work of epic fantasy that I might never have ventured to write, had it not been for my son (six years old at the time) who, while I read to him at bedtime The Chronicles of Narnia, stopped me and said, “Daddy, will you write me a book?” That is how the entire book series idea came about. And, I daresay, how I, as Ian Alexander came into existence as a result.
Rhodes Review: What was your inspiration for Once We Were Kings?
Ian Alexander: In addition to my son’s request, I would say that the two major influences have been those of C.S. Lewis (Narnia) and the Bible. This is not a religious book, but there are overtones and allegorical references of which I believe whether religious or not, readers will enjoy and find depth and meaning.
Rhodes Review: Where did you get the story idea?
Ian Alexander: Right, well you see, I have the little closet in the back of my house where I store many things such as old brooms, cleaning solutions, orphaned socks, and story ideas. Once I’ve dusted the cobwebs of any of those potentially useful items, I begin to employ them for any number of tasks that might arise. (Chuckling)
Seriously (if that were even possible for me), the story idea arose from my desire to wed the lore and mythos of both European history with that of Asian history and culture. I wanted to write a story that illustrates how one’s identity need not be tied to his/her outward circumstances; wealth, station, education, social status, etc., but rather, is defined by their innate nature, their calling and destiny. I believe that every human being (in the world of Once We Were Kings, and our own) has been designed and called to a specific purpose in life. And happy is the one who knows and flows in this. Likewise, miserable is the one who does not.
Here is a quote from the Good Book which exemplifies my view on destiny and calling:
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)
Though there is no mention of God, or Jesus in Once We Were Kings, many of the universally held values of courage, integrity, faith, hope and good vs. evil can be found alive and well within the pages.
Rhodes Review: There were a lot of similarities with today’s socio-political climate. Was this accidental?
Ian Alexander: Well, I didn’t set out to write a socio-political treatise, if that’s what you mean. Though it wasn’t a conscious effort to address such topics, I didn’t shy away from them either. I believe people of all ages face prejudice, social inequity, moral dilemmas, and live in unstable political and societal climates. Sure, this is a book of fantasy, but I believe it must resonate with the lives of my readers in order for them to connect with the characters and the story.
Rhodes Review: Music seems to have a certain importance throughout the story, is this related to your own life?
Ian Alexander: Indeed, music plays a very important role in my own life, and therefore by mere association, it does so in my books too. I have three degrees in classical music (Bachelors and Masters from Juilliard, and a doctorate from Johns Hopkins University.) I’ve performed as a cello soloist nationally and abroad, and have served as principal cellists in several professional orchestras. I simply adore chamber music! So you might say that I have music flowing through my blood. It inevitably finds its way into my writing.
Rhodes Review: Where do we see the story going in the next volume?
Ian Alexander: Ah, therein lies the rub, eh? I can’t commit to anything yet, but suffice it to say, I’ve got several possible ideas vying for my undivided attention in the Sojourner Series alone. And this is not even to mention, that pesky Joshua Graham who is always encroaching on my mental territory for some of his own Suspense/Thriller book ideas.
There are manifold possibilities. I have considered skipping a generation and bringing in the daughter of the newly established king and queen (from the ending of Once We Were Kings), but I have also in mind to write some prequels that fill in the gaps regarding some of the supporting characters. The wonderful thing about world building is that you get to create the history of the world which you’ve built. And as the story of the Sojourners spans several millennia, there is an endless amount of story to write. It could go on forever.
Rhodes Review: I’ve seen in your numerous writings, that you mention workshops. How did you get involved in these?
Ian Alexander: Beware. Not all workshops are created equal. Some are at best a big waste of time and money, and others will just pump you full of bad advice and information. But there are exceptional ones out there too.
I happened to get invited to attend professional writer’s workshop after my second short story sale. I was blessed to have gone to a wonderful, life-changing workshop and began to network with some fantastic professional (published) writers and editors. I am of course speaking of the workshops of Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch. It doesn’t always happen that you get invited to a workshop, my stories that I sold just happened to catch the eye of the editor, who believed in my future as a writer and informed me that it would be a good idea to fly up to Oregon and attend their workshops. It was the best investment I ever made! Writers of every level should visit the priceless resources on Dean and Kris’ blogs. If you’re serious about writing, you should invest in their workshops. I would not be a professional writer (nor would Joshua Graham) had it not been for their tutelage.
Rhodes Review: How would our readers go about joining similar workshops if they are interested in pursuing writing?
Ian Alexander: As my legal-thriller-writing-twin-brother would say, “Asked and answered.” see answer to the question immediately above this one.
Rhodes Review: When you aren’t writing, what do you enjoy doing?
Ian Alexander: Excellent question. I’m somewhat disturbed that I don’t quite know the answer to that. Hmmm…let’s see…Right, well, I enjoy reading (of course) the Bible and praying, spending time with my family (traveling), playing video games with my children, going to Barnes & Noble to drink coffee and read and write (oh bother! You said when I’m not writing!) playing Texas Holdem and dining with good friends.
Rhodes Review: What are some of your future writing projects?
Ian Alexander: More in the Sojourner Series, and some tie-in short fiction as well. Joshua Graham, on the other hand will be releasing a suspense/thriller called Darkroom (Howard Books/Simon & Schuster) in May 2012.
Rhodes Review: Do you have any appearances that you would like to promote?
Ian Alexander: Indeed, I am currently on a virtual book tour (of which this interview is one of the many stops) from now till the middle of June. I will do another virtual book tour in July as well. More information on the current tour can be found on facebook here: http://on.fb.me/owwktour
Thanks for having me on Rhodes Review!
Readers, please visit me at:
The Official Ian Alexander Website: www.ianalex.com
Drop me a note, send me a message, and if you love Once We Were Kings, please recommend it to everyone you know, that’s how you take part in creating a bestseller!
Once We Were Kings is available:
For nook: http://bit.ly/jeio82
For Kindle: http://amzn.to/iAWsMm
Thank you Joshua for taking the time to talk to us.