Interview with novelist Alexander Charalambides

Novelist
Alexander Charalambides
joins me today and we’re chatting about his new thriller novel, K.I.A.

During
his virtual book tour, Alexander will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble
(winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for
a chance to win, use the form below.
To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops
and enter there, too!
Bio:
Alexander
Charalambides was born in London and grew up in Berkshire in the UK. 
He studied creative
writing and graduated from the Open University.
As a freelance
writer, Alexander enjoys storytelling just as much as editing and analysis, but
often takes time off to enjoy wind surfing, do the sickest of motorcycle flips,
wrestle with deadly animals and lie about his hobbies.
In 2008, he
moved to the USA and now lives in New Hampshire’s beautiful White Mountains
with his family and two dogs, Gwynne and Gimli.
Welcome, Alexander.
Please tell us a little bit about your current release.

Hildegard
lives in a real-life dollhouse, surrounded by prop houses and actors who play
friends, teachers and foster parents. Only one man ever seemed real, and after
his disappearance, she’s had enough playing along. As Hildegard makes her final
preparations to run away from home, a swarm of black clad soldiers appear,
controlling the police and swarming across her home town. She can evade them
for now, but after learning their mission, she decides to play along one last
time, following them to Truman Academy, a lonely building on a freezing
aleutian island. Hildegard knows it for what it is: just another prop, but not
everyone feels the same way. Through the hell of endless drills and marching,
Hildegard befriends the stealthy Grace and bloodthirsty David, and enlists them
in an effort to unravel the plan of the man called G and his monstrous
menagerie of inhuman soldiers.

What inspired you to write this book?
I
took a look at the thematics of a lot of really inaccessible stuff and wondered
what made it inaccessible. I mean, almost everyone has a lot in common. I just
tried to transplant the themes from one genre into the context of another, not
telling which so as not to colour anyone’s expectations, obviously.
I guess the short version is I thought it’d be
an interesting experiment.
Excerpt from K.I.A.:
“Bacteria again,” David
says. “A biological weapon?”
“I don’t know.” Islet
slurps the last of his soup. “I only sequenced part of it, and they keep the
different teams apart.”
“Is that what they’re
going to launch from the Silo?” Grace asks.
“You knew?” Islet asks.
“We found out about the
Mobile Silo a while ago,” I say. “We saw blueprints for it, orders for parts,
too.”
“Well, that’s what they’ve
been doing for days now,” Dr. Islet says. “Hauling down the tanks of bacteria,
assembling missiles.”
“They’re going to
launch.” Grace stands up as she says it.
“Right,” I say. “There’s
not going to be any placement in special forces. Or graduation.”
A few students stand
up, like Grace. A few gasp. Most don’t seem surprised. “If I had to guess, I’d
say that once they launch, they won’t need us. It’ll be a massacre.”
“You think so?” Islet
pushes his glasses back up his nose. “It could be, we’ve been getting weapon
shipments with the missile parts and replacement components for the Mobile
Silo.”
“Stop saying we,” David
grunts. “Unless you’re with them.”
“No, no, I’m not.
Islet waves his hands back and forth. “You’re right.”
“We have to stop them,”
Grace says. I can’t help but tally up the numbers. At the very least the
baggers outnumber the students two to one. Almost certainly more, not counting
KU Giant. Then there’s the equipment discrepancy, and the differences in energy
from eating and sleeping. I know there are vehicles, too, I’ve seen plenty of
personnel carriers and jeeps with mounted guns, as well as the helicopters that
are always coming and going.
“Uh, Hildegard,” Grace
says. “We were sort of hoping you’d come up with something.”
I only wanted to find
out what happened to Cooper. To be honest, I think I might already have lost my
chance. It can’t be my priority anymore. By the sound of it, it’s not just the
students that are in danger.
“There’s only one way
we can get enough supplies, weapons, and bodies to stop the launch.”
“Okay,” Grace says. “What’s
that?”
“This should be good.” David
leans back on the walls of the cabin. All the students stare at me.
“We have to take over
the school.”
*******************************
What exciting story are you working on next?
Formula
Q (working title, the final one will probably be much, much longer) is about a
high-speed, high-tech racing league in the far future. Earth is united, but at
odds with an impoverished, isolationist Mars, and the heroes of the book
realize the first interplanetary racing tournament is really an outlet for their
planet’s rivalry, and try to stop the plot of a rising xenophobic dictator.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Probably
the first time I actually held a book I’d written, it really didn’t dawn on me
until then, maybe I’m shallow. To be honest, it still feels weird to describe
myself as a writer, but isn’t it weird to describe yourself as any single
thing?
Do you write full time? what’s your work day
like?
I
wake up, I eat breakfast, complain a little bit about the weather or the news
or whatever, and then I start writing. I keep going until lunch. Then I eat
lunch.
I
go back to writing until mid-afternoon and then, depending on the day I get
some exercise, or maybe keep going until the evening. Then I eat another meal,
and if I’m feeling really driven I write through the evening too.
I make it sound like I’m really productive, but
I promise I’m not.
Interesting writing quirk?
This
is kind of hard for me to say, since I have a bird’s eye view of the whole
thing. I know I make a point to keep the prose and the story as closely
integrated as possible, to communicate story, atmosphere and character as
quickly and efficiently as possible, but I can’t really say how this comes off
to most readers other than “fast paced”.
As a child, what did you want to be when you
grew up?
This
is a boring answer, but I did genuinely want to be a writer, not that I had any
idea what that entailed at the time.
Anything additional you want to share with the
readers?
This
can’t be overstated; every writer needs feedback, if you like or don’t like
something, please don’t hesitate to leave a review or send me a message or
something. Without talking to readers, writers would never improve, so the more
we talk the better.
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8 thoughts on “Interview with novelist Alexander Charalambides

  1. Alexander Charalambides says:

    Hey everyone! I'm a bit late, but I'll be sticking around all day to answer some questions, they don't even have to be about the book. Maybe you need directions, or just some life advice?

  2. Alexander Charalambides says:

    Also, since I'm not the most techno-savvy person, i'll just post answers like this.
    Karen, as for moving to the US, don't blame me, it wasn't my idea.

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