Have you ever heard of the PROJECT? If so, chances are, it's because of Alex Lukeman and White Jade, the first book of his Project series.
I read, White Jade, and really enjoyed the story as well as the main characters; click here to read the review. It's only natural that I would want to learn more about the man behind the books so, when opportunity knocked, I asked a few questions that were burning on my mind. Would you like to know the topics we discussed? Great! Keep reading!
Norma: What does being an author mean to you?
Alex: What does being an author mean...well, for one thing it means freedom to express myself in many different ways. The characters speak to me. But who is speaking? It's a bit like controlled schizophrenia, all those voices in your head. The challenge is to let them speak with authenticity. They are like friends who have to learn to trust you before they will begin to reveal who they really are. I'm now on my fifth book in the Project series and that trust is beginning to deepen. I'm going to write a series of shorts featuring one character at a time. I will probably begin with Ronnie, or maybe Elizabeth Harper. Being a writer is a way to talk to thousands of people; some of them even talk back!
Norma: When did you first realize that you wanted to write and publish a book? How old/young were you at the time?
Alex: I have been writing since I was young. I would send stories to the SF and fantasy magazines, starting around age 11 or 12. I had nice rejection letters. On and off, the desire has always been there. I have an eclectic and varied background and did a lot of things, but writing was always there, somewhere.
Norma: I know you've published, White Jade, because I read and reviewed it, but was that your first published work?
Alex: No, my first published book was, The Bane of Kanthos, under the pen name of Alex Dain. I wrote it in about a month on a Royal typewriter. I sent it "over the transom" to ACE paperbacks. They bought it and put a wonderful Gray Morrow cover on it. An ACE Double against E.C Tubb's "Kalin". 1969. Needless to say, I was ecstatic. They paid me $1200.00, a lot of money to me back then. I went to Mexico for three months.
Norma: I wasn't aware you had written under a pen name but I see that you, writing as Alex Lukeman, have published several titles since I read, White Jade. Of all the books you've published, which is your favorite?
Alex: I'm afraid my non-fiction, traditionally published books are orphans. What I really care about is the Project series, which I intend to keep writing. I like them all, but my favorites are probably White Jade (Book One) and The Seventh Pillar (Book Three). There is a section in The Lance (Book Two) that takes place on the Temple Mount. I really like the build up to it and the scene itself. Truth is, I like all of them.
Norma: Has there been a particular source of inspiration for you as a writer or do words just flow when you sit to write?
Alex: Hard to pin down a major source of inspiration. Start with Thomas Wolfe, Hemingway and Steinbeck. In contemporay fiction I much prefer mystery writers like Michael Connely, Lee Child and Robert Crais. These are good, entertaining writers. Crisp writing, great characters, excellent plots. I strive to be anywhere near as good as they are. Alex Berenson is the best espionage/thriller writer out there.
Norma: All writers have their dreams. Some would love for their name to be known worldwide while others would be content to have a successful book signing. What are your greatest dreams as a writer?
Alex: The ultimate dream is to sell a heck of a lot of books. Not just for the money (that would be nice) but because it means a lot of readers are entertained by what I write. That can't be bad.
Norma: Let's change the subject for a minute and talk about quotes. Whether we realize it or not, we all enjoy a quote or two. What is one of your favorites?
Alex: My favorite quote is inscribed on a Roman tomb (in Latin, of course--here's the English): "Don't Let The Bastards Wear You Down."
Norma: Tell us a little about your average day. Are you a night owl or early riser?
Alex: An average day...I get up at 4:00 or 4:30 A.M. I wake up. Coffee. Check email to wake up. Open Word. Coffee. Review previous days work and revise. Coffee. Begin writing. Take a break every hour or so. Coffee. Write until a) my head hurts too much or b) the voice inside says, "That's it for today.") Leave Word open. Come back at odd times to change a word, edit a line, write a thought. Do the social media thing, if I feel like it. Plot success. Meditate. Think about the weather. Play guitar (folk). Think about world conspiracies. Think about politics. Wish it wasn't like that. Play solitaire. Think about making dinner because my wife works a hard, regular job as a therapist 5 days a week and she needs a break. Make notes about the book. Eat. Maybe watch Midsomer Murders or Downton Abbey or Alias or MI5 or a movie. Bed around 10:00. The late nights are over...
Norma: After sharing your typical day, it's obvious you're a thinker and philosopher. It seems your mind is always engaged with something but, in your spare time, when you try to escape from thinking so much, what do you like to do? What are some of your favorite hobbies?
Alex: Favorite hobbies ... I don't really have hobbies. I used to restore old British motorcyles and ride them. None at the moment.
Norma's closing thoughts:
I thank you so much for joining me, Alex. It has been a real pleasure getting to know more about you. I do look forward to reading additional titles in your PROJECT series and fully understand why you enjoy it as much as you do.