Thursday, 6 August 2009

Author Interview! Alex Bledsoe

I had a real blast reading Alex Bledsoe's 'The Sword Edged Blonde' (you should read it too, that's all there is to the matter) and had some questions that I wanted to run past the man himself. Alex was kind enough to take time out to answer my questions and here's what he had to say...

Hi Alex, thanks for agreeing to answer a few questions...

If you’d mislaid a princess, would you hire Eddie Lacrosse to find
her? Or do you know enough about the trade, having written a book on it, to find her yourself...

I think Eddie knows more than I do. It's his world, after all. He lives in it, I just visit from time to time.

The last time I saw ‘Sword Edged Blonde’ on the shelves it was with Nightshade, now it’s with Tor. Why the switch?

Tor picked up the paperback and sequel rights. Night Shade did a great job on the hardcover, and of course took a flyer on an untried author with an unproven genre mashup story, so I'm eternally grateful to them.

Was Eddie’s character based on anyone in particular or did he just appear in your mind as he is on the page?

He was inspired by, if not actually based on, Tom Skerritt in the original "Alien." I loved the then-novel idea of a scruffy, mumbly, laid-back hero. Later he took on elements of Robert B. Parker's Spenser and Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe, as well as developing his own unique qualities.

I saw Philip Marlowe in Eddie but not not Tom Skerrit, I'm going to have to watch 'Alien' again...

Did you have to read a lot of detective novels to get the feel right for ‘Sword Edged Blonde’? Any favourites that you found?

I didn't read detective novels for any reason other than that I enjoyed them and responded to the style and view of morality. Over time they cross-polinated what was originally a very standard fantasy epic, so that with each draft the sword-and-sorcery tropes were replaced with more and more detective elements. When I had the right balance, the story just came to life.

The works that most influenced the novel are Robert B. Parker's Spenser series, the works of Raymond Chandler and the Burke series by Andrew Vachss.

The sequel, ‘Burn Me Deadly’, is being released in September. Is there anything you’d like to tell us about it before the book hits the shelves?

Given that a series is by nature somewhat repetitive, I'm trying to repeat myself as little as possible. The new book delves a lot more into the politics, religions and civic structures of Eddie's immediate world. Unlike "The Sword-Edged Blonde," which moved around both geographically and chronologically, "Burn Me Deadly" is a linear story that takes place in one location and deals with it in some depth. You'll get a sense of what a regular day is like for Eddie, as well as how many mysteries lurk just beneath the surface of his deceptivedly placid life.

How many books do you see Eddie’s adventures taking up?

As long as I have story ideas that take Eddie somewhere new both professionally and personally, and as long as people are interested in reading those stories, I'll keep them going. All it takes to start a new adventure is for someone to walk into his office with a problem.

You’ve also written a vampire novel, ‘Blood Groove’, that I haven’t read as yet. What can you tell us about it? I forgot to say that you only have ten words to describe it in...

Dracula meets the Lost Boys in 1975 Memphis. No sparkling.

You come across someone, in a book shop, who is trying to decide between buying ‘Blood Groove’ and ‘Sword Edged Blonde’. They can only buy one book, which one do you recommend reading first?

Depends on their mood. If they're feeling optimistic about humanity, I'd recommend "Sword-Edged Blonde." If they're more pessimistic and nihilistic, definitely "Blood Groove."

What are you reading right now and why do you think we should all read it too?

"Shadowfae" by Erica Hayes. It's urban fantasy set in Australia about a hard-luck succubus, and both the character and her world are vividly realized. I also wholeheartedly recommend "The Alchemy of Stone" by Ekaterina Sedia; it has elements of steampunk and fantasy, but ultimately it's not like any other book I've read. And I'm re-reading the Alba and Gorodish novels by Delacorta, staring with the classic "Diva."

Finally, Phillip Marlowe and Eddie LaCrosse are looking for the same missing woman. Which one will find her first?

That depends on whether they're looking in Marlowe's Los Angeles, or Eddie's world. In either case, you'd have the best man for the job.

Thanks Alex!

Here for Jeff's interview with Alex Bledsoe and, when you're done reading that, click Here for Alex's website.


Deborah Blake said...

I read both books and have to concur that Alex is a great writer. The Sword-Edged Blonde is one of the most unique and amazing books I have ever read, and I recommend it to everyone I know! Can't wait for the next Eddie book.

Nathalie Mallet said...

Great interview, Graeme! I know Alex, and he is as nice as he is talented. I loved “The Sword-Edged blonde” and can’t wait to read “Burn Me dearly”.

Kat Hooper said...

I'd like to recommend the audio version of Sword-Edged Blonde -- it's really terrific. I'll choose that version for the next novel, too.

ediFanoB said...

Great interview! I can't wait to read "Burn Me Deadly". Excellent stuff. I liked "The Sword-Edged Blonde" so much that I wrote a Review: The Sword-Edged Blonde.

Graeme Flory said...

My copy of 'Burn Me Deadly' arrived while I was away on holiday! Keep an eye open for a review in the next two or three weeks...