Author Spotlight Interview: Alex Apostol

Where are you from? I’m from Valparaiso, Indiana. It’s a suburb of Chicago, about an hour outside of the city. Love Chicago, and possibly been through your area one time…got lost driving around two hours outside trying to get to my hotel.

How many books have you written Which is your favorite? I’ve officially written two books, Earth Angel and Hunted Angel. Of the two Hunted Angel is definitely my favorite. I actually hated the love aspect in Earth Angel, but I knew I had to build that first before what happens in Hunted Angel. But the book I’m working on now, Short Shorts, is going to be my new favorite. Looking forward to it, I bet it will be just as good than the Kamlyn Paige series!

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, and reading for longer than that. I guess the first attempt at writing something that wasn’t assigned to me for school was when I was in the sixth grade I tried to write a murder mystery short story and I had my best friend read it. I wish I still had that. My love of writing comes from my love of reading, though, for sure. It’s hard losing early pieces of our writing, been there.

What are your current projects? Right now I am working on a collection of short stories called, Short Shorts. The stories center around two female best friends who are taking a road trip across the country. I’m in love with writing it, because so much of it comes from experiences I’ve had with my own best friends throughout my teenage and adult life. We did so many stupid things and alluded so much trouble. The book is a comedy and even I am laughing out loud as I write it and remember the things I’ve done. Sounds great!

What books have most influenced your life? I know this might sound a little juvenile, but the Harry Potter series has been the biggest influence on my writing life. There are so many great aspects of it and that’s why I think kids and adults love them so much. It deals with a wide range of emotions. They make me laugh, cry, think, and so much more. The female characters (Hermione, Ginny, and Mrs. Weasly) are strong, smart women who have found a great balance of being independent and loving a man. None of her characters are perfect, such as Harry, and she’s not afraid to show all their flaws. This makes them incredibly real and easy to relate to. The stories are so well thought out that it’s inspiring to me as a writer. I never get tired of the books or the movies. HP is a great series for all, and I don’t think there is anything juvenile about them influencing you. They are inspiring books.

What inspired you to write your first book? There are many things that inspired me to write my first book, but I’d say the two biggest inspirations were love and boredom. I had a passion for writing and wanted to see if I could make it my career. I was also a stay-at-home wife (yes, wife. Not mother), so I had a lot of time on my hands. One day I just sat down at the computer and started working out my first novel, Earth Angel, which started out completely different. It was a vampire novel till I realized that was overplayed and unoriginal. Over the span of five years, as I started and stopped writing due to many moves and jobs, it grew into what it is today. Boredom can be a great motivator.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? I like to think there are many messages in the Kamlyn Paige novels for my readers to learn from. I want my female audience to see all that Kamlyn does and know that they are strong, too, and can do anything if they try. I also want my readers to know that it’s okay to be flawed and a little scared of life sometimes. I think that comes out a lot more in Hunted Angel, which I tried to make more character driven than story driven, as I feel Earth Angel is. I definitely enjoy writing strong female characters to inspire my female audience. Girl power!

What was the hardest part of writing your book? I struggle with something it seems every writer struggles with and that’s motivation. It was so hard for me to finish my first book. That’s why it took me five years! I started writing in 2009. I had all the time in the world to write and I did, but I hated everything I wrote. I probably got the entire book out in a month and then spent all the rest of those five years rewriting it because I didn’t like it. I went through great periods of “this will be the best book in the world and everyone will love it!” to “this book sucks and no one is going to want to read it.” I think all authors can relate to that, though. I do think we can relate to that, but I think that even if it is just one person that it touches it is still a good book.

What book are you reading now? I’m reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. The only reason I decided to read it was because of how much everyone seemed to love it, but to be honest…I’m not seeing what all the fuss was about. I’m halfway through and it’s getting better, but it still isn’t a book that’s going to change my life, at least not yet.
Do you ever experience writer’s block? I have to be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced writer’s block just yet. I always have so many ideas and when I’m not writing I’m thinking about my writing and more ideas on what to write next just keep popping up in my head throughout my day. Like when I’m in the shower, I think of at least five new things I want to add to my book in a twenty minute span. Maybe because it’s so relaxing in there. The only block I experience is inspiration and motivation block. It’s not because I can’t think of what to write, but more I don’t think people will want to read what I write.
What is one random thing about you? There are so many random facts to my life. One is that I’ve lived in seven states in the last nine years- Indiana, Illinois, Hawaii, Florida, California, Virginia, and now Texas. Next year or the year after we’re moving to Missouri and that will be our last stop. You’d think all the moving would be from when I was in the Navy, but really it wasn’t. I just couldn’t settle down until now, when I’m 27 years old and a mother. My baby and fiancé have really grounded me in a wonderfully great way. That’s a lot of traveling. I was going to ask if military was involved. lol.

What is your preferred medium of writing? Are you asking if I like writing ebooks or physical books or which genre? I’ll just answer both (haha) I do both ebooks and paperbacks. My favorite would have to be paperbacks because there’s so much more creativity in the layout and I love having a physical book in my hands to look at. That’s why I mostly read paperbacks and hardbacks too. I have no favorite genre to write or read, though, so long as it’s fiction. I love them all and I’m writing whatever I feel, no matter the genre, and eventually I’m sure I will find my niche…or I’ll just keep writing randomly. Good answer but I was looking for what is your preferred method of writing? Tablet? Computer? Pen and paper? Oh ok, I prefer to write my outlines out on pen and paper in my notebooks, but do my actual writing on the laptop.

What does your writing process look like? I like to outline my books first. Not too detailed so that it stifles the creativity, but just enough so I can really get to know the characters before I start writing and am able to get rid of any plot holes. If the book requires it, that’s when I do most of my research. Like with Earth Angel, I researched locations and monsters greatly in-depth. After that stage is done and I’m ready to write, I give myself a daily minimum and just sit on the couch or at the desk with my laptop and write it out, often referring to the outline. I try to finish the entire book in two months and then give myself a month of editing and promotion before I release it. It’s a quick process right now because I want to put myself out there.
Do you have any strange writing habits? Not really. I feel like a stereotypical writer. I sit at a desk or on the couch. I drink multiple cups of coffee or tea. And that’s about it. I do a lot of my brainstorming in the shower, but that’s as weird as it gets (haha).
How important are names to you in your book? When I wrote Earth Angel, names were incredibly important- the first and the last names. I chose Paige because of my love of books and writing. It’s another form of page, like the pages of a story. Cara is Italian for “Dear” and Bellamy is French for “Good Friend”. And Sari was the name of an actual fallen angel from the bible, as well as Tamiel.
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Yes, I enjoy reading all my reviews- the good, the bad, and the ugly ones. I think it’s an important part of the growing process as a writer. Knowing the mistakes I made or what my readers like and dislike about my books helps me to do better the next time. I don’t respond to Amazon or Goodreads reviews typically. I’ll just read them and learn from them. If someone does a review on their blog or sends me something through my email, I like to respond and interact with them then. I always try to remain professional and polite, no matter the review. And I always thank them for reading the book and let them know how much I appreciate their opinions. It’s just good review response etiquette.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? I think I still struggle with showing and not telling, mainly because the Kamlyn Paige novels are told in a first person viewpoint, almost like a diary. But I’m doing my best to catch this in the editing process and correct it as I go.
Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in the future? Marketing is constantly a learning process. I’m even considering getting a bachelor’s degree in Marketing just so I can learn more about it, because I feel I’m not learning enough on my own through reading. I think marketing is hard. Reaching people is a challenge, even with all the social networking out there today. I don’t think I’ve made any mistakes, just a lot of trial and error on what works and what doesn’t.
What is your favorite motivational phrase? Hm. That’s a tough one. I don’t think I have one. I do love to read quotes from other authors to get myself motivated, though. Here’s a great one from J.K. Rowling that I discovered and loved.
“It was quite a big deal for me that I had written a strong female character that was primarily about brain- that she chose to become more groomed and glamorous as us geeks do at a certain point in our lives.” – J.K. Rowling on Hermione
What is your favorite positive saying? I know it’s not a “positive saying” per se, but saying I love you to the ones you love have such a positive effect on their lives and day. Me, my baby, and my fiancé are constantly saying it to each other , even though right now our baby only says “la-la-la”, but we know what she means.
What is your favorite book and why? If I had to pick just ONE book, which is almost impossible for me, I’d have to stay true to my Harry Potter nerdiness and say Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”. It’s where we see the main three friends start to mature and become more complex. It’s also the introduction of one of my favorite characters, Sirius Black. There were great elements of surprise that I can only hope to achieve as a writer someday.
What is your favorite quote? “If you love two people at the same time, choose the second. Because if you really loved the first one, you wouldn’t’ve have fallen for the second.” – Johnny Depp
What is your favorite film and why? Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It’s been my favorite movie for so long because it’s a great story about how we shouldn’t regret anything we’ve done or forget the lessons we learned from them. It took me a long time to realize it, but I wouldn’t change anything about my life because if I did, I probably wouldn’t be where I am now…sitting in my apartment with my beautiful daughter in my lap doing an interview for my writing. Life is good!
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? Man, I feel like such a nerd, but I have to say Harry Potter again. Those books have reached so many readers and touched so many people. It must be a great feeling to know that almost everyone in the world loves something you wrote.
Do you have any advice for other authors? My best advice would be that if you’re stuck because of writer’s block or lack of motivation, then the best cure is to read. It’s a great way to feel good about your own writing and to get your brain working on things to add to your own story.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? There’s so much me and my family like to do together when I’m not writing. We like to get outdoors and go camping, hiking, hunting, fishing. We like to go to movies, concerts, bookstores, and restaurants together. But most often we are cooking a good meal at home and cuddling in bed together to watch TV or a movie. Those nights are just as good as the nights when we go out.
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
I like to think I’ve put myself out there all over the internet for people to find me. I have a personal author website (http://authoralexapostol.com) I have a writing blog (http://www.flourishandblog.blogspot.com)
I have an exclusive content website for the Kamlyn Paige novels (http://thekamlynpaigenovels.wordpress.com) I have a Facebook author page (http://www.facebook.com/AlexApostol87) A Twitter account (@AlexApostol87) and a Google+ (https://plus.google.com/104404280022827262939/posts)
My books can be found on my author website, Amazon, Smashwords, and the CreateSpace Store.
Earth Angel

and
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/464989
and
https://www.createspace.com/4662602
Hunted Angel

and
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/504565
and
https://www.createspace.com/5167582

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Published by Courtney M. Wendleton

I'm an author with an associate's in psychology. Interested in a lot of different things, and love controversy. The more controversial the better, but that's not all I'm interested in. Can be a bit confusing at times, but that's normal!

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