Author Interview: Tobey Alexander

Book Squirrel

Interview Lime

Hey folks, I’m here today interviewing author Tobey Alexander!

Welcome, Tobey! 

Thanks Squirrel, I’m glad to be here!

Me too! I mean, uh… I’m glad you could make it!

Haha, okay!

Tell us, Tobey, what inspired you to write?

I have always written as an escape from what I have been doing in my everyday life. I wrote through college and university to, probably more honestly, avoid the work I should have been doing. But, I never did anything with those stories. Perhaps because I didn’t have the skill to write properly back then but now, since I have had children, I have decided to lead from the front and get my stories out there.

It all came to a head when I saw my youngest son’s growing imagination and how it makes him look a little odd to other children. The way he plays, the stories he comes up…

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Serious progress – so far!

Well, while work has been all encompassing recently with rest days mismatched, shifts changing and having to deal with “internal politics” the work on my books had taken a back seat.

Thankfully, however, it would appear that has changed. So much so that I have now announced the cover, or best intention of my cover, for INTO THE DARK. Yes! I am aware it isn’t coming out until January 2018 but I want the cover to become familiar and desired.

1 FC v17

I’ve also created a sign-up list for Advanced Review Copies which I aim to start releasing in September/October so people can enjoy it and then upon release review it honestly. I am hoping after all this work that they will enjoy the story but that will be out of my hands by that point.

If anyone wants to sign up then follow the link:

HERE

There is also the promise of two more books…………..YES TWO MORE………..before Into The Dark hits the shelves.

Origins Of The Magdon: The Journey Ahead will mark the end of Archy’s story ahead of January. This is set to be the ending everyone has been waiting for, allowing Archy to finally face The Magdon and bring a finality to his journey.

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AND……..

Blue Light Christmas 2: A Cry For Elf, a Christmas sequel to last year’s charity book for Care Of Police Survivors charity.

So between now and Into The Dark we’ve got new things coming and I am planning to do some giveaways with the complete Origins Of The Magdon series so watch this space.

I know it’s only a short entry and one to plug projects but I’m brewing a new idea in the background, under the working title BLACKOUT. This, if I continue with the story, is a whole new story, no Magdons, no Jack James, nothing I’ve done before…………a whole new story to tell which is very much in the idea formation stage but it may grow and grow until I decide to commit it onto the page.

“Mind Movies”

The one thing I love about writing is escaping. Escaping everything that seems to hammer at me and be seen as the frustrations or difficulties of “normal” life. The only problem is you can get so absorbed in it that not only does your story seem real (hell I’ve been living as a whole different guy while I’ve been writing – does that mean I’ve been cheating seeing as I have two children with another woman and live in an alternative life!!!???!!!) – rest assured that was a sarcastic perspective in case anyone actually thinks I am being serious….happily married, well as happy as married can be ha ha ha.

I have become acutely aware of just how absorbed I have become in writing INTO THE DARK and can totally sympathise with my wife’s preference I don’t take on a new project aside from the short Christmas COPs (Care Of Police Survivors) charity story I am trying to pull together (being 5,000ish words though the story is pretty much sorted in my head so transcribing to page should be pretty simple and I will advertise/push better this year hopefully writing it before September so I can beg my skilled artist to do some more of his fantastic illustrations.

Aside from that though I am banished to only edit INTO THE DARK and not start the mish-mash of ideas that are properly swimming around my head at the moment. I’m sure people I am paired with at work think I am totally insane the way my ideas go off at a tangent. This morning at 2am having been rather busy through the night my partner for the night asked me how the writing is going……I;m sure my answer sent her to sleep as I went wildly wandering into the vast plains of my imagination.

I do love my imagination though. As I have said before I am massively visual when it comes to writing. Having always been a fan of films growing up I like to play my story in my head, hence the desire to reach out (rather unsuccessfully I might add) to Ewan McGregor as my “Mind Movie” had him as Gabe for INTO THE DARK. Sometimes I wish I had studied something other than Psychology at University and instead done film and be able to make what’s in this addled brain appear for others to enjoy.

Sometimes I think how interesting it would be to be able to play my raw imagination onto a projector for people to see. Although I expect I would soon find myself confined to a room locked from the outside being watched by a white-coated doctor!

I suppose that is why I like writing. Growing up I always meditated and tried to create this relaxing place to retreat to, I did the same when I found myself becoming overwhelmed a few years ago with the expert guidance of a friend. Now I think it’s become my blank canvas where I can just literally detach myself from the norm and wander through the open world of my imagination.

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If I were to describe how my Mind it would be a vast open landscape. I know some people have a mind palace (forgive the riffing of Hannibal there) which signifies a building with rooms but I prefer the open. I pretty much always start either in a field of golden wheat or else on a bluff overlooking the rolling countryside. From there I can invite anything in and play out whatever my head needs to explore in order to fix the stories in place.

I know that sounds rather random and probably self-proclaiming but it is far from it. If someone asked me advice how to write I would just say “do what feels right”. That’s all I do. I like to think it creates some fairly decent stories along the way but in no way do I flatter myself and claim to know what I am doing. I’m just someone playing at trying to get it right – but isn’t that half the battle….looking like you know what you’re doing even when you don’t!?!

But back to the start of the post! I know I split myself between work, home, gym, family, alone time, writing, revising, stressing about one or more of the aforementioned things…and for the most part I think I almost manage it but perhaps not equally proportioned. I suppose all I ever try to do with it all is my best, sometimes that won;t be good enough for one or more of the aspects but I do my best without compromising or giving up on any single aspect.

Anyway I will shut up for fear of turning you all off my stories as they continue to come out for your…….enjoyment(?)

As ever, thanks for taking the time to read it and if you got this far to the end you’ve really done well and I thank you for your perseverance.

Give the blog a follow or a share if you like, I’m always happy to entertain you with my random life (footprintsontheothersidedotcodotuk.wordpress.com)

 

Otherwise grab a FREE copy of the first in my Novelette series ORIGINS OF THE MAGDON and see just what the hel I am writing and creating https://books2read.com/TheMagdonSeries1

Of a mood

Although it has been rest days for me I’ve been plagued with irritations which have hampered most of what I had planned to do. Needless to say that sudden change in good old British weather probably hasn’t helped as I had hoped to get across to the Peak District with the new puppy which hasn’t happened (I can’t even stomach the idea of a muddy dog in my car).

I can’t actually put my finger on the niggling annoyance in my addled brain but it is probably a culmination of different things. Not least of all a decision in respect of my full-time job which I have made and now have to wait and see if I have made the right choice (cryptic yes but that’s just how I am).

As for writing. I am, thankfully, nearing the end of the master re-edit of INTO THE DARK and it’s gone swimmingly so far. Nice to see some of the continuity errors I had made with some minor details. Pulling it all together now I am happy with the story.

Which brings me to the style of this one. I confessed to another author on a Facebook Page that my first novel was one that was ruled by what I thought was the right length. Researching expected word counts and that perhaps influenced my story into being a little…..padded perhaps with aspects that need not necessarily have been there. Sure I may be no more famous or established since then but I feel I have learned from this and perhaps grown in my writing style.

With the ORIGINS OF THE MAGDON series, I was once again ruled by word count but in the opposite end of the spectrum. I wanted, needed, these stories to be accessible to all levels of interest, attention and reading as I wanted them to be a story shared between parents and children mainly. I knew I had to write a succinct story that appealed to younger and older audiences but wasn;t too convoluted and distracting.

And so the feedback was positive but some people wanted more….so from too long to too short.

With INTO THE DARK I’ve simply let it evolve. I haven’t set myself a word limit or goal, I’ve just told the story as it has played out and ironically it falls around the right “expected” length of a novel for Young/New Adults…funny that isn’t it. Let your head just spill the stuff out and somewhere along the way it makes it all work out.

I say that but I haven’t released it yet so could be saying all this and in reality churned out some utter tripe that people really do say to me “why the hell have you bothered you talentless hack?” I hope that isn’t the case though!

Who sets the conventions, who is to say they are right, who am I to say they aren’t? It’s a bloody funny world all of this and I confess I have no real idea what I am doing. I quite literally make this all up as I go along and find a few rules and conventions to follow along the way.

It’s the same with the Agent search. Low and behold I don’t find my inbox filled with requests for full manuscripts. I get that. I get that I am not writing the stuff that most Agents seem to be asking for. I’ve written a story I know I will enjoy, it’s not politically charged, it’s not filled with sex or foreplay, it’s not touting LGBTQ aspects…..what it is really is an escapism story for me (sorry to say I am a less than average married father with an enjoyment for life outside of the 9 to 5). So I expect little or no response but I can’t sell my self to write something I don’t think I would connect with and as such fail to deliver on a level that would make it worthwhile for people to read.

Making me my own worst enemy and a stubborn bugger that does what he does in the hope someone, somewhere will connect and like it.

But until then I can be my own Agent, my own Publisher and my own (pitiful) Marketer.

I suppose I should get back to the last 9 chapters of full re-hash edit having got extremely soggy with the doggy!

Nice to get a rant off my chest.

Soggy!

Reaching out to the famous!

I have decided to try and reach out and see if the “little man” can make contact with one of the famous people in this world. I wrote quite an open and honest, far less formal than I probably should have, email to the agent office of Ewan McGregor. You may ask why, but when I created Gabe in my head I always try and write with an actor in mind (should my mad ideas ever become more than a self-published book) and so Ewan sprang to mind for Gabe.

So, being the slightly odd, idiot I am I decided to write his agents an email. Now I fully expect nobody to reply to it and for him never to even hear of me/my pseudonym or my books but you don’t know if you don’t try.

I originally posted this as a Facebook post which reached over 1,000 people but I could not “boost” the post as my picture contained “too much text”…….no surprise as the picture is of the original email. So I have created it as a blog post to hope I can get shares, love and perhaps use the power of the internet to reach my desired target audience.

I don’t expect anything from this (that sort of luck rarely happens for me).

But here is the original email to let you see what I am trying to do.

Website links:

gmsfootprints.wixsite.com/tobeyalexander

gmsfootprints.wixsite.com/themagdon

FREE EBOOK OF BOOK ONE (that created this story and journey)

Cheeky Letter
A few bits blanked out for privacy but this is what I sent word-for-word – a natural style?

Escaping reality – sometimes needed

In light of all the events in my home country recently I have been forced to take a leave of absence from my other life. This has been one of those entirely unavoidable times when work must boil over and become the be all and end all of everything, even more so than family sometimes which again has taken its toll. Although I don;t go into my work life very often it’s clear to say the family within which I work has been tested to almost breaking point and whilst I may be on the fringes it has been felt.

To that end I offer my apologies for not being “Tobey Alexander” and not devoting enough time to being present. I know it is easy to assume this writing/author identity and believe me I have used it to escape the pressures of day-to-day demands quite effectively recently.

I have also introduced a new addition to my already substantially large family and now add a puppy to the three children, two cats, wife and me! Ironically unlike more conventional authors (I never claimed to follow convention) but I have named my dog after my own character, not the other way around. So my Cockerpoo (yes that name makes me laugh) is called Archy in homage to my fake great grandad!

He is, of course, demanding some of my attention, again a welcome escape from work but that does not mean I have not been doing at least a little behind the scenes work as Tobey Alexander.

I have compiled some approaches to Agents To be truthful I’m not sure why because I suppose being self-published gives me full freedom. Indeed it adds a lot of pressures going it alone (I despise poorly presented book covers so spend as much effort as I can coming up with covers I would like to look at without employing the services of others). I think an Agent or someone in the elusive “industry” would in a way add some credibility to me, maybe more to massage my own ego and stroke the sense that maybe I am not just a hack at all of this.

I don’t know, I know it is what “should be done” so I will go with it and see what doors, if any, it opens.

As you’ve guessed already by now I do tend to speak my mind as it comes into my head which is why some of my Blog entries spin-off at tangents. But I can be forgiven for that……..can’t I!?!

Alas I can confidently say I have no idea which cover I like at the moment for my next big project INTO THE DARK. I still have the final Origins Of The Magdon book to release in Autumn that will bring Archy’s own adventure to a close. Albeit that is designed, edited and completed and sat waiting to be released.

As I keep saying, my ability to promote my own material, advertise my books and be the noticed rising star is about as reliable as being guaranteed to see the sun for the entire of summer in England! That being very little! I really do need to bite the bullet and either pay or get my finger out of my own posterior and add yet another new skill-set to my ever growing attempts at being writer, editor, designer, publisher and who knows…….publicity attemptor!

Well I should get back to Archy (the puppy not the character although…..sorry I will shut up).

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Smile everyone, as much as you can.

Mind’s eye minding the way it looks!

Mind’s eye minding the way it looks!

Busy! Busy! Busy! That’s probably the best way to describe the past few weeks. Work has been very much overwhelming to the point I have not kept my usual barriers intact and there has been some seepage across the divides of my mind. Alas though I think I’ve managed to sort it all out and we are back on track (just in time for tests etc at work).

Well, the good news is I have managed to complete the first draft of my next full-length novel. Now to find a genre it fits in and a bloody new title seeing as the world already has enough “Legend” titled films and books.

As I have said before the editing process is something I dread but this time I have a work-based process to keep everything in order. I’ve created check-sheets and spreadsheets to keep a track of quantifiable changes and edits along the way. Working on paper for the actual edits then processing it all into the pages before we go for any additions I need to the story itself.

What I have also tried to do is come up with the visual representations of people in the book. By that I mean I have tried drawing (and believe me after ten or so snapped pencils and a dozen piles of screwed up paper) I will admit I have resorted to tracing the main features then adding what I want in terms of features and details.

I have managed to get some bits down which help me to share what I want some of the characters to look like and most importantly I have created the first visual representation of the Nivag monster.

It’s quite strange in reality bringing the Magdon story to a new level. I have accepted the criticism of shortness for the novelette series but that was justified by me the reason of wanting to keep the stories accessible to a younger audience. This story, however, is a new beast, bringing my love for action and adventure in the story that will seriously entertain an older audience. Looking into different categories it sits somewhere between YOUNG and NEW ADULT books.

I have come to realise that my books are so in the past. The cry in readers doesn;t seem to be for good old adventure romps but instead about sex, realism or crime. None of these are what I intend on writing (at the moment).

Don;t get me wrong, I have tried my hand at “sexy stuff” and I honestly use my writing to escape so I don’t want it to be ultra-realistic. Crime, well we will avoid that because I cannot go there for many reasons. So, vicariously, my stories are my British therapy, my not talking to anybody and hinting all the way through.

After all who doesn;t want to go on a made adventure, have chases and sword fights and all that stuff (without real consequences like getting arrested or spending copious amounts of money – hence the realism constraints don’t sit too well).

My head is a messed up place. My way of coping with the things I do, the lives I lead, is to segment myself. I have Tobey Alexander my author personality, I have Gavin the husband and father personality, I have mad gym personality and serious work personality. That way I can keep things ticking over quite nicely…….maybe that’s why I enjoy writing because it gives me an acceptable excuse for being as quirky/strange/odd/random as I am!

I think my segregation started when work/home life became a battle and it had repercussions on both sides. It was learning my coping mechanisms when facing a time of turmoil that I remembered I used to write. I have always been visual in my imagination and mind (which I learned more when I sought help when I was struggling from a person I now have a lot of respect for) which I think feeds well into the writing I put together.

People don’t believe me when I say that I see my scenes in my head so being able to finally add them onto a page helps me see that what is up in this noggin isn’t entirely mad. I think that is why I have enjoyed writing a more visceral story with some (hopefully) good action scenes. I’ve played them out in my head and watched them as if they were a film and made sure as the audience I would enjoy them. That way I can put the best version onto the page in a hope it connects and entertains.

Of course that all helps if I can get it seen, get it read and get it OUT THERE.

Marketing again! We get to my nemesis, no matter how good the story is there is one thing in the way….my (in)ability to market properly.

I’m trying to build an email list of potential readers but have no idea where to start. I want to build an intrigue into the release but don’t know when is the right time to start…..too early and it gets forgotten, too late and I miss the boat.

Arggggghhhhhhhh (SIGN UP FOR EMAILS BELOW IF YOU LIKE)

http://eepurl.com/cPpmwX

Anwyay, before I implode, I’ll leave you with my character sketches to tease you about what is to come in the next novel…..currently looking towards being called:

INTO THE DARK.