Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, Fyn Alexander. We are very excited and can’t wait to learn more about you. Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
I was born and raised in Liverpool, England. Whenever I mention that people immediately start talking about the Beatles. Personally, I have never met any of them. My parents, brother and sister all still live in Liverpool or in the surrounding area. I came to Canada as an adult and have lived here ever since. I have two daughters whom I love beyond reason.
What was your first book and how long did it take to get it published?
My first published book is Precious Jade. It started out as a short story and later I decided to expand it into a full length book. I sold Precious Jade within a few months of sending it out to publishers. That sounds easy, but in fact, I had spent a number years prior trying to get published with other works. I could paper a room with my rejection letters.
How many books have you written thus far?
In total I have written about eight books but so far have published two, Precious Jade and Angel and the Assassin. I also have five short stories in print.
When did you start writing m/m BDSM? What about this genre interested you the most?
Precious Jade is my first foray into this genre. I love a love story and it does not matter what sex the players are. The BDSM twist intrigues me because of the power exchange. It takes a brave person to willingly hand over their power to another. And it takes intelligence to know when to take it back. When I conceived Angel and the Assassin it seemed right that they too should have a Master/slave relationship, but I softened it into a Daddy/boy dynamic.
Do you write full time?
I write at least forty hours a week, so that would be yes. But at this point writing is not my sole source of income. I want it to be because I love writing and I love making the customers happy.
Looking back was there something in particular that helped you to decide to become a writer? Did you choose it or did the profession choose you?
Most writers will say they have been writing all their lives and that is true for me too. Even as a child I loved to read and to write stories. I write because I love writing and I cannot not write.
On a typical writing day, how would you spend your time?
Writing, while taking brief snatches of time to walk the dog, do some laundry, housework and cooking. But at midnight I’ll still be at my keyboard.
When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?
When I begin writing I always know what my first couple of chapters will encompass. From there I jot down notes and ideas as I go. I have a general idea in my head of what I want my characters to achieve in terms of life lessons, but the plot evolves as I write and as I research.
What kind of research do you do before and during a new book?
I wrote Precious Jade–half of which was set in the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, England, after visiting the UK and spending hours walking around the Royal Pavilion with my younger daughter who was studying in England at the time. Being there gave me the idea for the book. I try to write about areas I have spent at least some time in, though that is not always possible. Angel and the Assassin has a scene in Bosnia and I have never been there so I used the internet to get a feel for the landscape. I read voraciously about a subject both at the library and on the internet before beginning to write. As for the sex, I have a good imagination. Let’s leave it at that.
How much of yourself and the people you know manifest into your characters? How do you approach development of your characters? Where do you draw the line?
I suspect it is impossible not to impose my own beliefs and fantasies on my characters. As for people I know, yes, they do show up in my writing, albeit in deep disguise. I try to make my characters real and vulnerable, even someone like Kael Saunders in Angel and the Assassin. Kael is larger than life, yet he has weaknesses, fears and foibles like everyone else.
How long does it take for you to complete a book you would allow someone to read?
Usually three to four months.
If you weren’t sitting there right this very moment answering our book of questions, what else would you be doing?
Writing, reading or walking my dog.
Do you write straight through, or do you revise as you go along?
When I start a book I write a full draft from beginning to end without stopping. Then I go back to the beginning and start revising. I do a full second draft, then a third and forth. If I feel the book still has issues that need to be resolved, I’ll do more.
Writers often go on about writer’s block. Do you ever suffer from it, and what measures do you take to get past it?
Imagine working at Walmart and calling them up one morning to say, “I can’t sell house wares today. I have selling block.” They’d laugh at you and send you packing. At a recent writers’ workshop I attended the group was told to “get the words on the page.” That’s what I do. You can always change them later.
When someone reads one of your books for the first time, what do you hope they gain, feel, or experience?
With a romance I wish the reader to be transported out of their ordinary life into a world where dreams can come true and where they can forget their everyday worries for a while. I want to take the reader on an adventure, to excite and disturb them, and I want them to finish the book feeling lightened by the experience.
Does the title of a book you’re writing come to you as you’re writing it, or does it come before you even begin the first sentence?
I find titles difficult to come up with. The names of my characters come to me long before I begin writing. A character’s name molds their personality and appearance in my mind. First names are very important to me. But book titles? I ask advice and scramble for those.
How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?
I have been told I am very dry. It could be the English background. Oscar Wilde was hysterically funny. So was Jane Austen. On a more contemporary note, I laugh at Ellen and Wanda Sykes. I think Mr. Bean is hilarious too.
What is the most frequently asked Fyn question?
“What make you write that stuff?” My answer is, “I write that stuff because I love writing that stuff.”
What are you working on now?
I am working on a sequel to Angel and the Assassin and also a vampire book.
What was the best piece of advice you’ve received with respect to the art of writing? How did you implement it into your work?
I have always made a habit of going to every writers’ workshop I can possibly get to and joining writers’ groups. I co-chair the writers’ group in my town. So, I have had loads of advice over the years and most of it has been helpful. I think perhaps the best piece was “If the publisher or your editor wants you to change something they generally know what they are doing–they know what sells– so change it.”
When it comes to promotion, what lengths have you gone to in order to increase reader-awareness of your work?
No extreme lengths. My publisher is good at promotion and getting the books out to the reviewers. Facebook is a great way to advertize, and I have a website.
Writing is obviously not just how you make your living, but your life-style as well. What do you do to keep the creative “spark” alive – both in your work and out of it?
Writing is not a chore for me. I love doing it. I have more ideas than I will ever find time to write. I take every opportunity to hang out with other writers. I love feedback from readers, good or bad.
What pros and cons surround the e-publishing industry, and how do you envision the future of e-publishing?
The pros: E-publishing saves trees. That’s got to be good. It also makes books more accessible worldwide. Most of the world speaks English at this point and when somebody in Bahrain or Germany comments on my writing I get an extra thrill that my work has travelled that far around the globe. Reading and access to writing is the key to freedom in countries that do not enjoy the liberties we have in the west. E-publishing makes this possible.
The cons. Piracy. If you would not steal a book from a store why would you do it from a website?
What kind of books do you like to read?
I love Sarah Waters and have read all her books. I have read most of Anne Perry’s books. I love Anne Rice, Jane Austen, Barbara Kingsolver.
What is your favorite TV show?
That’s easy. Coronation Street.
What is your favorite fast food restaurant? Just thought we’d throw that in for fun…
Tim Horton’s. I love their coffee.
Without getting up, can you tell us what’s under your bed? (yep, another sneaky question.)
Nothing, I am very tidy.
If you weren’t a writer what would you be?
A disgruntled would-be writer.
Lemons or Limes?
Lemons and limes taste different from each other, but both are fruit. Both grow on trees. Both produce great juice that people love to drink. Both are appealing to the eye. Both smell great. I can’t pick between them.
When it comes to the covers of your books, what do you like or dislike about them?
So far I have no complaints.
New writers are always trying to glean advice from those with more experience. What suggestions do you have for new writers?
3. Don’t stop writing even if you don’t have time or others tell you that you are a talentless moron.
4. Be persistent and keep sending your work out. Eventually someone will believe in you and give you a chance.
Can you please tell us where we can find you and your books on the Internet?
http://fynalexander.wordpress.com/ also I am on Facebook. My books are available at http://www.loose-id.com/ http://ebookstore.sony.com/ http://www.allromanceebooks.com/ and Amazon Kindle store.
Hot Pink, Yellow, Blue, or Green and why?
I love the lighters shades of blue and the mid shades of green because these colours are reflected in nature. I remember as a child looking up into the bright blue sky and marveling at the beauty of the colour. One of the things I miss about England is the varying shades of green. Here in Canada the winter landscape is black and white so the colours of nature take on extra importance in the other three seasons.
Excerpt from Angel and the Assassin
A very tall, broad-shouldered figure stood at the French windows, doing something to the lock. Either he was completely silent, or the surf and Sven’s voice drowned him out, because he made no sound.
The next few moments were surreal.
The French windows opened a slit, and a man dressed in unrelieved black stepped inside, closing them behind him so fast that the rush of the wind and surf had no time to enter with him. He was huge and handsome, with a shaved head, and his eyes were a stunning bright blue. His jaw had that chiseled, masculine look, like he’d just stepped out of a magazine.
He must work with Sven.
Sven had no idea anyone was behind him, not even when the man stood so close that he put a gun directly behind Sven’s ear and fired.
Almost no sound came from the gun, just a little pop. It looked like the kind James Bond used in Quantum of Solace, with a silencer. Sven dropped the phone and slumped to one side. Blood ran from the wound, down his neck, and onto his immaculate, white Armani shirt, creating a fractal-like pattern.
As silently as he had entered, the man turned to leave. At the French windows, he froze and pivoted round again. His body as still as a statue, he scanned the room by turning his head very slowly. Angel wanted to duck out of the way—it would have taken him a split second—but he froze, just like the stranger had a second ago.
The beautiful blue eyes met his. The man put one hand on the back of the chesterfield to lever himself and sprang over the couch toward him.
Angel ran back up the stairs and along the hall to his bedroom. His heart thudded—not from running—but from fear. Pure, unadulterated, sickening fear.
In his bedroom, he turned off the light and ran into the bathroom, flipping off that light as well, until he stood in the pitch-dark. Nothing but the sound of rushing water filled his head. On tiptoe Angel crept into the shower. The water ran hot, streaming over his body. He had forgotten he had left it running, and the room was filled with steam. The man had killed Sven, and now he would kill Angel. He pressed his back to the tiles, waiting to die.