1/30/16: Chumming with Kim Alexander
Welcome to Chumming with Sharky™, my blog series where I treat viewers from every corner of the deep blue sea with a taste of talented authors from a myriad of genres. This month, it is my pleasure to welcome Kim Alexander, author of The Demon Door fantasy series. So, naturally, the theme for this episode is the fantasy genre. Kim even made us some snacks, so grab a tasty plate of sardines on saltines–they’re delicious and they rhyme! At the end of the interview, we’ll let you know how you can win a signed copy of The Sand Prince. Until then, grab your snack, find a comfy reclining seat, and enjoy the show . . .
with your host Robert “Sharky” Pruneda
Robert “Sharky” Pruneda, Host
Kim Alexander, Guest Author
Anchor the Hammerhead, Our Toothy Bartender
Sharky: I’d like to start off this episode of Chumming with Sharky™ to wish everyone a happy new year. I’d offer everyone some champagne, but our toothy bartender Anchor drank it all.
Anchor: Yeah, sure, blame it on me, buddy. He who popped the cork is the one that drank all of the inventory . . . and it wasn’t me.
Sharky: Anyway. Get back behind the bar and pop open those bottles of cranberry juice and Jameson Whiskey. I’m in the mood for a nice sweet and sour Kingslayer.
Anchor: Oh, brother. Going with the Game of Thrones theme this time, are we?
Sharky: Just make the damn drink, will ya?
Anchor: Yes, sir, your Sharkiness, sir! And for the lady? What type of beverage shall I make for you, my dear?
Kim: Hmm, either the tears of my enemies–salty!–or a nice Woodford bourbon.
Anchor: I think I can arrange both. vV””Vv
Sharky: While Anchor makes us our drinks (and gathers those tears), let’s have a little bit of fun. When I was a kid, I used to play Dungeons & Dragons with my older brother. And I absolutely loved watching the Saturday morning Dungeons & Dragons cartoons. What I want to know, Kim, is if you were magically transported into a fantasy realm, what class of character would you want to be (magic-user, fighter, cleric, paladin, thief, etc.) and why?
Kim: I like to think I’d be a badass warrior, wielding a blade of truth and flame, living on my wits and rescuing the innocent, but I’d probably be third peasant to the left. What are your fantasy realm prospects if you have asthma? Limited!
Sharky: Ha ha! Hmm. Well, maybe cleric would fit you best. Keep a good stock of potions of extra healing on hand. Me? I’d go with magic-user because I like the idea of shooting fire and lightning bolts out of my fingers. I’m a chaotic-neutral kind of guy. When my brother and I used to play Dungeons & Dragons, he was the dungeon master and always gave me a hard time about how I nearly took out my entire party with a fireball in an enclosed room. Oops.
Based on your last statement, I’m guessing you’d be more of a lawful good or chaotic good alignment. Yes?
Kim: Well now that you’re talking about shooting lightning bolts I want to take back my answer! Maybe I’d be a Magical Bronchodilator, blasting bolts of epinephrine to save the allergic. I’d have to peg myself as chaotic good. (My cat says he’s chaotic neutered and hasn’t forgiven me.)
Sharky: Ha ha! Neither has my dog Cujo. After the whole snip-snip episode, I think he wouldn’t mind me getting zapped to some fantasy land. Well, more than I already do live in at times. Gotta keep that imagination alive and kicking, you know? And speaking of imagination, tell us a little bit about creating your fantasy worlds as an author. What type of world can readers expect to find themselves in when reading your debut novel The Sand Prince (Book 1 of The Demon Door series)?
Kim: My books have two worlds to visit. One is a city loosely based on Washington, DC (my hometown, currently nestled under two feet of snow.) Most of the inhabitants are human (like DC) and the tech and lifestyle places it around 1900. They have photography but not electricity, indoor plumbing but no telephones. They are a very practical, commerce minded society run by a non-elected consortium of Fifty Families. My human readers could probably get along in Mistra very easily. My human heroine, Lelet, is a bored socialite with a quick mind, looking for an adventure. (Spoiler: she gets one.)
The other world is the demon realm of Eriis, on the other side of a magical portal, The Door. The two worlds have been divided for over a hundred years (on the human side) and about twenty years (on the demon side.) Eriis is recovering from a devastating war and just beginning to get back on its feet. It’s ruled by a fierce queen, who has a very peculiar son. Prince Rhuun deals with social anxiety and drinking problem, among other things.
I got to create mythology, politics, fashion, etiquette, geography and language for both sides. What interests me most is the politics of the dinner table–how much you can learn about a culture from the smallest details–how they do their hair, what does an alien culture say instead of ‘oh my god!’, what do they do when they sit down for a meal, what does the food look like? A good friend of mine challenged me to create a world free of homophobia, and in Eriis I think I’ve done that. But what happens when the two cultures crash into each other? There’s a well established history of suspicion and mistrust on both sides of The Door. Maybe love can change the world(s)!
Sharky: Some may argue that many of our politicians do live in a fantasy world, but in an effort to steer clear of American politics, we’ll move on. But first, I need to find out what is taking Anchor so long with our drinks.
Yo! Anchovy! Are those drinks coming anytime soon?
Anchor: Hey, watch it, Tunafish! Perfection takes time, buddy. And, yeah, they’re coming right up. One Kingslayer for you and a Woodford bourbon for the lady. Enjoy!
Sharky: Thanks, Anchor. You know I appreciate you.
Anchor: Yeah, yeah. Whatever. I’m still waiting for that raise you promised me.
Sharky: Goodbye, Anchor. Anyway, back to our discussion about the fantasy genre. Let’s have a little fun with this one. I normally save hypothetical scenarios for the end of the interview, but I think I’ll switch it up a bit today. Imagine you’re at the airport waiting to catch a connecting flight back home. All flights are grounded due to severe weather and you’re stuck there overnight. As you’re checking emails and social media on your phone, one of your favorite authors takes a seat next to you. What do you do?
Kim: I know the answer to this one! I used to co host Sirius XM Book Radio, and my whole job was author interviews. After a while you have to get used to talking to the people you idolize, you have no choice! I was severely put to the test by Neil Gaiman, who ended up not letting me have a heart attack by being kind and thoughtful and having the most calming voice on the planet, and Stephen King, who reminded me that if I got mugged on the flight home I could use the copy of The Stand he signed for me as a weapon. Of course in your scenario I wouldn’t have a couple of pages of notes in front of me. Still, I’ve found that if you meet an author, you can’t go wrong with ‘I love your work’ as a general rule.
Sharky: Well, heck, had I known you actually had the opportunity to interview authors like Stephen King (super jealous by the way), I would have come up with another question.
Anchor: Bwahahaha! Boy, did that backfire on you.
Sharky: Oh pipe down and go clean the bar. I guess that’s what I get for a hiring a smart-ass freak of nature as a bartender.
Anchor: I heard that! I’m serving you virgin daiquiris from now on.
Sharky: Moving right along. One of the things I love about fantasy is the variety of creatures, such as dragons, which happen to be my personal favorite. What is your favorite fantasy creature? And which book or movie do you believe portrays that creature the best?
Kim: Ooh, dragons are a good choice. The first monster I ever fell in love with was Louis from Anne Rice’s Interview W/T/V, although it’s fallen out of fashion to go for elegant, debauched vampires. Back in the 70s, Louis was everything a nerdy proto-goth preteen could want: soulful, sensitive, romantic, depressed, brooding, and yet dangerous. And let’s not forget eternally gorgeous, lots of cash, beautiful clothes and fabulous places to live. I was pretty young when I read it the first time, I feel like the points Rice was making about sexuality flew over my head. As far as the film, and speaking as someone who is not a huge fan of Tom Cruise, I think the years have actually been kinder to his Lestat than Brad Pitt’s Louis, though. Kristin Dunst killed it (so to speak) as Claudia. My favorite on-screen vampire has got to be Angel from Buffy. Let’s look at the stats: brooding, soulful, depressed, romantic, dangerous–suspiciously like the main character of The Sand Prince. I appear to have a type!
Sharky: So what comes next after the Demon Door series? Do you have plans on giving readers a taste of your love for vampires? Or do you have something completely different in mind?
Kim: No, I prefer to admire vampires from afar! My next project started out as a joke, and got serious fairly quickly. The Sand Prince is an elaborately plotted book with about forty named characters and turned out to be really difficult to do a short, two or three line pitch for. While I was sweating over the blurb I said my next book would be about time traveling crime fighters. There’s an easy pitch! Then I started thinking about it. Then I started writing about it, and now I have about ten thousand words. It’s set in the present day and 12th century France (so far) and it’s called The Flower in the Stone. You can take a look at it on Wattpad, I’m posting it over there. So I’m working on books three and four of The Demon Door concurrently and also writing the new series.
Sharky: Sounds like you have a lot on your plate that’ll keep you busy for a while. With that said, I’ll let you get back to work. Thank you so much for taking the time to hang out with me and talk about the fantasy genre today. And to our readers, thanks for visiting. Be sure to check out Kim’s website below, grab a copy of her book (and enter to win a signed copy), and follow her on social media. I’ll give you the last word, Kim. Share whatever you’d like with our readers.
Kim: Thank you, Sharky–I had a great time, although the service around here is a little fishy. The sequel to The Sand Prince is called The Heron Prince, and it comes out in May. I hope your readers will take a trip through The Door and spend some time with Rhuun and Lelet. See you when the tide comes in!
Win a signed copy of The Sand Prince
For a chance to win a signed copy of Kim’s book The Sand Prince follow her on Twitter and then let her know with the hashtag #ChummySharky. She’ll pick a random winner on February 5th.
About the Author
Kim Alexander grew up in the wilds of Long Island, NY and slowly drifted south until she reached Key West. After spending ten rum-soaked years DJing in the Keys, she moved to Washington DC, where she lives with two cats, an angry fish, and her extremely patient husband. She began writing when she ran out of authors to interview (and they pulled the plug on her channel, Sirius XM Book Radio.)
Kim was in her twenties when she finally read a book not prominently featuring spaceships and/or wizards. Turns out Jane Austen was pretty funny!
Stalk Kim Alexander
Robert “Sharky” Pruneda is a native Texan, video game “enthusiast” [addict], and fan of all things horror. He left a career in the newspaper industry in 2011 to pursue the life of a nocturnal author, brainstorming new and creative ways to creep out his readers. He doesn’t only write horror though. He also pens the occasional family-oriented tale just to keep from going completely nuts with all those creatures of the night whispering in his ears. When he’s not pulling ideas out of his twisted brain, you’ll likely find him on social media or fighting alongside his fellow gaming buddies where they all get shot up into Swiss cheese (or turned into little bite-sized chunks because of “Sharky’s” obsession with explosives). Medic!
Pursue your dreams . . . and never look back.
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