Alan Baxter writes dark fantasy, sci-fi and horror, rides a motorcycle and loves his dog. He also teaches Kung Fu. His novel, ‘Bound’, was recently published by Harper Voyager. Read extracts from his novels, a novella and short stories at his website – www.alanbaxteronline.com – and feel free to tell him what you think. About anything. Find him on Twitter at @AlanBaxter – https://twitter.com/AlanBaxter.
1. Congratulations on the recent publication of ‘Bound’, out through Harper Voyager. How has the book been received, and what was its path to publication?
Thanks! It’s only been out a couple of weeks as I’m answering this, but so far the response has been excellent. Early reviews are largely very good, iTunes and Galaxy Bookshop have it as their book of the month and stuff like that. If it carries on like this I’ll be very happy.
Its path to publication was one of agents, editorial desks, acquisitions meetings and so on – the usual traditional route that took a long time and lots of nail-biting when I knew it was going to acquisitions. It had had a couple of very positive rejections before that, but a major rewrite ended up at Harper Voyager and they liked it.
2. The protagonist, Alex Caine, appears to parallel to your own life to some extent, including his knowledge of martial arts and a house in country NSW. How often to you use your own life experience in your writing and how did you go about making Alex a distinct character?
I draw from everyone and everything I know to one extent or another. In this case, I set out to write a martial artist in these books and Alex is certainly trained in a similar way to myself and has a martial philosophy like mine. Beyond that, he’s a very different person to me. I think there are autobiographical aspects, to a smaller or larger degree, in all the characters a writer creates. Beyond that, they become a gestalt of everyone else the writer has known, read about and so on. Making Alex was a long process, as the character has been knocking around in my head for ages.
His house was something I wanted to include because I love living where I do and wanted a bit of that in (hopefully) popular print!
3. Should we expect to see more of Alex Caine after the trilogy? What else are you working on now?
I hope so! There are definite threads left for me to work with and I’ve got several ideas for further books. I hope the first three are successful so I can keep writing more in the series.
In the meantime, I’m working on a completely unrelated standalone novel. It’s a horror, noir, organised crime mashup kinda thing. It’s fun, but has been regularly interrupted for Alex Caine edits. I’ll have a first draft finished well before the end of the year though. It’s currently somewhere around 50,000 words. Otherwise, I love to write and sell short stories, so I’m always working on those. And new novel ideas are always stacking up impatiently in my hindbrain.
4. What Australian works have you loved recently?
Oh, there’s been loads of great Aussie specfic. Kylie Chan is going from strength to strength with everything she writes. I really enjoyed Andrew Macrea’s “Trucksong” – so different and so Australian. Andrew J McKiernan’s debut collection, “Last Year, When We Were Young”, is outstanding. I finally read the new edition of Kirstyn McDermott’s “Perfections” and that blew me away. I got to write the forward for a new collection of military horror, called “SNAFU”, edited by Geoff Brown and that’s a stellar set of yarns. Jason Franks’ novel of rock’n’roll and deals with the devil, “Bloody Waters”, was also superb. My book of the year last year was Max Barry’s “Lexicon”. I could go on and on. So many talented Aussies!
5. Have recent changes in the publishing industry influenced the way you work? What do you think you will be publishing/writing/reading in five years from now?
No, I still work the same really. Regardless of delivery system, there’s always a demand for great stories and that’s what I try to produce. I think we’ll see a lot more ebook reading, but nothing will change that much in five years. The face of publishing is changing and small press and self-publishers are enjoying a renaissance of sorts, but big publishing is doing fine too. It’s a behemoth that takes a long time to move, but it’s adjusting to the new world along with everyone else. There will always be change, but there will also always be books. Five years from now, I’ll be producing the same kind of stuff, and hopefully I’ll be better at it! I have some ideas for diversifying my work, but genre fiction is where I live and I love it here.