Let’s kick things off with a rundown of you and your books. In other words, tell us about yourself and what you write!
After a long career in media and international organisations I received ‘the calling’ to start writing epic fantasy. The first two books I wrote, The Forbidden City and The Lion Prophecy, are part of a series called the King’s Lion Tales. The King’s Lion, undefeated General Leandros, is someone who, as a reader wrote in a review ‘pays particular attention to what he calls “the logistics of war”, the copious preparation regarding provisions, weapons, assistants, the morale of the soldiers, the mind games with the enemy, etc. He is a specialist in organizing a war and every specific battle in it’. He also has the idea to harness the various kinds of magic of his world. But when magic enters into the game, majestic things happen. In my books one will find a combination of military action, romance, humor, several kinds of magic including shamans and seers, mystery and surprises until the last page.
How long have you been writing? And how long have you been publishing?
I love playing basketball. I often picture offence in basketball as a kind of siege, where the attackers must drive the defenders off-balance and strike where and when they least expect it. For this reason, I have always wanted to write a siege scene, but was too lazy to do it, until my wife suggested to me to write something in order not to look so bored during the Christmas of 2013. So, one winter day, there I was, writing down the scene that had existed ever since at the back of my mind.
Once I had the first draft ready, I found myself facing the unavoidable question. Who are these people and why are they being besieged? Before I knew it, I found myself in front of my pc screen again, writing what seemed to be a simple story. And then the King’s Lion arrived.
Since a young age, I have felt passionate about strategy. I read the works of Sun Tzu, Julius Caesar, Von Clausewitz, even Miyamoto Musashi. I studied the strategies of Von Moltke, Patton and Rommel, trying to imagine how they approached warfare. I even researched battles like Little Bighorn or Alexander’s battle of the Hydaspes.
Needless to say, I was playing PC strategy games. So, I guess the King’s Lion is, to a certain extent, a product of this interest.
On what concerns magic, I had, since young, an interest in oriental approaches like Zen and Taoism and, for me unavoidably, about the very ancient practices of shamanism. I managed to combine, in The Forbidden City, various forms of magic, together with shamanism and astrology. There will be much more on that in other books.
I am publishing since July 2016.
What “kind” of writer would you describe yourself as? (Traditional, Self-Published, Hybrid, Something else entirely?)
I am a self-published author
How did you decide what publishing route to take for your books?
Before publishing, I was really not thinking about selling my books. All I wanted was to see them printed. I live in Belgium and it is not easy from here to look for an agent or a publisher. So, I opted for self publishing.
While waiting for the books to be produced, I sent my books to several people from different nationalities and reading tastes. I chose, on purpose, people who did not care much about this genre. To my surprise I received very positive reactions. Some passed my manuscript to others and suddenly I saw a blog on Fantasy books and movies mentioning my work.
I published my first book, The Forbidden City in July 2016 and the second, The Lion Prophecy, appeared at the end of August 2016.
What one piece of advice would you give to anyone looking to do the same?
To start thinking of marketing even before finishing the first book
If you could make one decision differently in your publishing career so far, what would it be?
I am still debating this issue with myself. Logic dictates that it should be early marketing but since when do creative people put logic first?
In terms of writing and publishing, what’s something new thing you’d like to try in the future?
In terms of writing I am thinking of a kind of epic sci-fi idea. In terms of publishing I cannot hide my interest in seeing my books published by a traditional publisher. Living in Belgium, where they prefer French and Dutch, it is not easy for me to get in touch with agents and publishers who deal with English language books
What’s next for you?
I have started writing the third book in the series of The King’s Lion Tales. It is based on an original idea that the General’s wife had in The Lion Prophecy. At the same time I have begun planning the fourth book in the series which I hope will be majestically epic
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
Funny that you ask that. In fact, several readers of my first book, The Forbidden City, have mentioned that, while reading it, they felt as if watching a movie (one reader even made a review in Amazon.uk suggesting that it should become a film).
I dream of Mr. Sean Bean at the role of the King’s Lion, Ms Keira Knightley at the role of Countess Helena and Ms Anne Hathaway as Princess Roxane. If I could not have any of them then I would love to see Sir Sean Connery play the role of the wise First shaman. Dreaming is free, right?
When did you decide to become a writer?
Am I a writer? Since when? I suppose that by that term we define people who are professionals. I am just someone who published two books a couple of months ago. Can we agree that, as soon as I decide to call myself officially ‘a writer’ we will organise another interview? I will provide the champagne
Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
I keep notes on paper but I write on a computer. My only difficulty with the notes is when I meditate. During meditation ideas about my stories appear magically in my mind and I have to struggle not to interrupt my meditation in order to put them on paper.
After a long career working in the media and with international organisations, which took him across four continents, Alexander has combined two of his great passions, writing and strategy, to produce the King’s Lion Tales. The books, in order of publication, are:
THE FORBIDDEN CITY
THE LION PROPHECY
Alexander is currently writing the third book in the series.
Books on Amazon.com