It’s a thrill to have here Alexandra Sokoloff as my guest today, not only because her books are awesome, but because she happens to be one of my favorite writers. Needless to say, I’ve read all of her books.
Alexandra is the Thriller Award-winning and Bram Stoker, Anthony, and Black Quill award-nominated author of multiple supernatural thrillers, and the Top Ten Amazon bestselling Huntress/FBI thriller series (Huntress Moon, Blood Moon), which has also been nominated for a Thriller Award for Best E Book Original Novel.
The New York Times Book Review has called her a “daughter of Mary Shelley,” and her books “some of the most original and freshly unnerving work in the genre.”
As a screenwriter, Alexandra she has sold original horror and thriller scripts and adapted novels for numerous Hollywood studios. She has also written two non-fiction writing workbooks: SCREENWRITING TRICKS FOR AUTHORS (highly recommended, by the way!) and WRITING LOVE, based on her internationally acclaimed workshops and blog, and has served on the Board of Directors of the WGA, west and the Board of the Mystery Writers of America.
Alexandra is here to talk about her latest thriller, Blood Moon, which I read and loved and will be reviewing within the next few days.
It’s great to have you here, Alexandra. Tell my readers about Blood Moon.
Blood Moon is the second in my Thriller Award-nominated Huntress/FBI series, which follows a haunted FBI agent on the hunt for a female serial killer. But if you talk to FBI profilers, some will tell you that from a psychological and forensic standpoint, there’s no such thing as a female serial killer. Women commit homicide, but not sexual homicide. That’s a little-known fact that has interested me for a long time. For years I’ve been looking for the right story to explore that issue.
What was your inspiration for this novel?
Two years ago I was at the San Francisco Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention, and there were two back-to-back discussions with several of my favorite crime authors: Val McDermid interviewing Denise Mina, then Robert Crais interviewing Lee Child. There was a lot of priceless stuff in those two hours, but two things that really struck me from the McDermid/Mina chat were Val saying that crime fiction is the best way in to societal issues, and Denise saying that she finds powerful inspiration in writing about what makes her angry.
Write about what makes you angry? It doesn’t take me a millisecond’s thought to make my list. Child sexual abuse is the top, no contest. Violence against women and children. Discrimination of any kind. Religious intolerance. War crimes. Genocide. Torture.
That anger has fueled a lot of my books and scripts over the years.
And then right after the McDermid/Mina talk, there was Lee Child talking about Reacher, one of my favorite fictional characters, and it got me thinking about what it would look like if a woman were doing what Reacher was doing. And that was it — instantly I had the whole story of Huntress Moon, the first book in the Huntress series.
Who is your favorite character in the book?
I love all the main characters but I’m quite partial to Special Agent Damien Epps, Roarke’s right-hand man. I wanted to write a role for Idris Elba in (Stringer Bell from The Wire, the lead in Luther…) so I could just have that man in my head all day long and call it work. Writing is a brutal job, but somebody’s got to do it.
When did you begin writing?
I just always wrote. My mother made my brother and sister and me write a diary every day, even before we were in kindergarten. One sentence as tiny kids, then a paragraph, then a page… By the time I was in high school I was an obsessive journaler. I never thought I was going to be a writer professionally, though. I was into acting and dancing, and then directing and choreography, from grade school through college. It wasn’t until I wrote my first one-act play in college and saw it performed that I got hooked on writing for a living. After college (at U.C. Berkeley) I moved down to Los Angeles to be a screenwriter, because I knew that was my best shot at making a living as a writer. And yeah, I LOVE movies.
How was your road to publication?
Very smooth. I was a screenwriter for 11 years before I snapped and wrote my first book, a ghost story called The Harrowing. I’d been writing professionally for so long that it wasn’t a hard transition, and I already had film agents who were able to set me up with a book agent. The Harrowing sold within two weeks. I tell this story and people hate me for it, but come on! I’d paid my dues as a screenwriter. Believe me, I’ve suffered enough!
Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?
I’m a full-time writer, and I work pretty normal hours, 8-5, with a break for a dance class during the day. Some of those hours are business and promotion-related. I work at night when I’m inspired. I read a lot at night, often for research, so that’s work, too, I guess!
If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?
I would have switched from screenwriting to novels much sooner. Writing books is much more fulfilling for me.
What’s in the horizon for you?
I’m working on Book 3 in the Huntress series, which will be out in late fall. And on a completely different note I have a new book out in the paranormal series I write with Heather Graham and Harley Jane Kozak: The Keepers, about three cousins with extraordinary powers who keep the peace between humans and the paranormal communities that hide in plain sight in Los Angeles. Suspenseful, but more overtly romantic than my very edgy Huntress series!
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