Friday, August 7, 2009

Interview with Alex Beecroft, author of historical novels

Alex Beecroft is the author of two fine GLBT, nautical novels set in the Age of Sail – Captain’s Surrender and False Colors. Both novels have garnered a bevy of glowing reviews. Readers can find a review of False Colors on this site. Alex graciously agreed to an interview for this site, and below is the result of that conversation.

Q: When did you start writing and how many novels have you published?
AB: Both of those are trickier questions than they look! I started writing down stories when I was 11, and I wrote my first finished novel when I was 22 but I didn't start writing with the aim of being published until I was about 35. I'm now 44 and had my first novel published in 2007.
Technically I suppose I've only had two novels published. Captain's Surrender came out in January 2007 from Linden Bay Romance, but it has now been taken over by Samhain and is currently unavailable while we edit the new edition (due in October). False Colors came out in April 2009 from Running Press, and is doing fine. I also self-published a fantasy called The Witch's Boy which is now unavailable because it's newly under contract to Lethe Press. A new edition of that will be out at some point.

Q: What was the first story you ever wrote about?
AB: I know one early one was a romance between Khan (from the film 'Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan') and his loyal lieutenant Joachim. I also wrote terrible space opera type stories in which Emerson, Lake and Palmer, the prog rock group, saved the universe with the power of music. All very embarrassing!

Q: Do most of your stories have gay or lesbian main characters. If so, why do you write about GLBT character, considering that it limits your audience.
AB: My protagonists are gay male characters pretty exclusively. I may have straight male and female characters in sub-plots or as sidekicks and friends, but so far all my heroes have been gay. It's hard to say why. These are just the characters and stories that come into my head. I would have to make a special effort to change them, if I wanted to write them as straight, and I don't see why I should have to do that.
It seems to me that in an era when Torchwood is pulling in millions of viewers with a gay main romantic couple, that the audience is there for a fun story no matter the orientation of the heroes. If there are people who won't publish those stories, and people who won't read them, then that's their problem, not mine. I think that stories about GLBT characters will be mainstream one day, as long as we all keep on writing them.

Q: Who are the authors who most influence you?
AB: Patrick O'Brian would be the most obvious. He's the one who inspired me to write in the Age of Sail. But I also owe enormous debts to Tolkien, who taught me my morality, and a love of ancient things. And the writer I would most like to grow up to be is Ursula LeGuin, whose writing is deeply thoughtful and contemplative while reading like poetry. (I'll never make it, but it doesn't hurt to aim high.)

Q: Do you need to be in a specific place or atmosphere before the words flow?
AB: I need solitude. I can't write if there's anyone else around me, even in a different room of the house.

To read the entire interview, press here.

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