Part II of my interview with Alexis A. Hunter. Part I can be found here:
MT: When you write, do you find yourself using similar characters throughout your works?
AH: That does tend to happen at times. My main characters usually have at least one thing in common – dark pasts, lives of regret and/or a potent self-hatred. I’m fascinated by the struggle between a man and his own character, and just how destructive that struggle can be.
I do, at times, try to get outside of the mold I make for myself. It’s nice to try to write a happy character. Or one I can’t identify with and even may ‘hate.’
But, yes, I think for many writers – as well as myself – writing similar characters can happen a lot.
And genre? Do you ever sit down and think “I want to write a [thriller/romance/mystery].”?
Actually I do. When I first decided to start focusing on short stories and flash fiction, one of the things I was most excited about was writing stuff outside of my lovely fantasy genre.
That’s one of the things I love most about short works – I can dabble in this genre and that. Explore. Learn. See what fits me and what doesn’t.
Recently I sat down and decided to try Noir. That has definitely been a good match. I have tried some minor Science Fiction before, but that’s one of the ones that just doesn’t mesh well with me.
What kind of books do you read most?
I don’t do as much reading as I would like to. But when I do, I’m usually into those in the fantasy genre. I think Keary Taylor’s Branded fits in that genre, in a way. Occasionally I get into the romance novels – ha, don’t hate me! They get a bad rep, but there are some very well written ones. I do also love a good thriller, like most of the works from Ted Dekker. I could read his books all day long – and have in the past!
Of course I’m also a huge fan of J.R.R Tolkien (who isn’t?).
Do you keep up with any writing forums or groups?
For a while I enjoyed the community over at http://www.authonomy.com. It’s a site hosted by Harper Collins, where authors post their books and get lots of responses, critiques, and vie for the top rankings in order to have the publisher read their work. When I stopped working on my book last fall though, I kind of dropped off the site.
Right now, I’m a member of the story-a-day forum/group. It’s very nice to have that sort of encouragement and constant camaraderie.
I’m also a member of a few forums hosted by small presses. Pill Hill Press and Wicked East Press both have forums that are good for keeping up with their latest anthologies and such.
What I’d really love is to find or establish a local writing group in my area. A sort of face-to-face dynamic which can’t be found online.
Last question: What authors have most inspired you and what books or movies would you say have had the most influence on the stories you tell?
The book that most impacted my writing actually affected my writing style more than anything else. That book is the written version of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. Matthew Stover wrote the book and when I read it, I remember being awed by the way he used fragment sentences to emphasize the importance of certain lines. I picked up on that, and evolved it into my style.
Other authors who served as a major inspiration would definitely be the ones I mentioned above, J.R.R. Tolkien and Ted Dekker. Tolkien really brought to life my love for fantasy works – I mean, I wrote fantasy before I read The Lord of the Rings, but his works really spurred me on.
Overall, those are the only major influences I can think of. The minor ones are constant though. A writer is made up of their experiences and every book they’ve ever read, as well as that little unique bit I call soul.
My writing has evolved a lot over the past few years. And I think that’s a good thing. I look forward to seeing where it takes me in the following years.