Tuesday, January 16, 2018

K.I.A. NBtM

Blurb:
Hildegard lives in a real-life dollhouse, surrounded by prop houses and actors who play friends, teachers and foster parents. Only one man ever seemed real, and after his disappearance, she’s had enough playing along. As Hildegard makes her final preparations to run away from home, a swarm of black clad soldiers appear, controlling the police and swarming across her home town. She can evade them for now, but after learning their mission, she decides to play along one last time, following them to Truman Academy, a lonely building on a freezing Aleutian island. Hildegard knows it for what it is: just another prop, but not everyone feels the same way. Through the hell of endless drills and marching, Hildegard befriends the stealthy Grace and bloodthirsty David, and enlists them in an effort to unravel the plan of the man called G and his monstrous menagerie of inhuman soldiers.


Excerpt:
“Bacteria again,” David says. “A biological weapon?”

“I don’t know.” Islet slurps the last of his soup. “I only sequenced part of it, and they keep the different teams apart.”

“Is that what they’re going to launch from the Silo?” Grace asks.

“You knew?” Islet asks.

“We found out about the Mobile Silo a while ago,” I say. “We saw blueprints for it, orders for parts, too.”

“Well, that’s what they’ve been doing for days now,” Dr. Islet says. “Hauling down the tanks of bacteria, assembling missiles.”

“They’re going to launch.” Grace stands up as she says it.

“Right,” I say. “There’s not going to be any placement in special forces. Or graduation.”

A few students stand up, like Grace. A few gasp. Most don’t seem surprised. “If I had to guess, I’d say that once they launch, they won’t need us. It’ll be a massacre.”

“You think so?” Islet pushes his glasses back up his nose. “It could be, we’ve been getting weapon shipments with the missile parts and replacement components for the Mobile Silo.”

“Stop saying we,” David grunts. “Unless you’re with them.”

“No, no, I’m not.” Islet waves his hands back and forth. “You’re right.”

“We have to stop them,” Grace says. I can’t help but tally up the numbers. At the very least the baggers outnumber the students two to one. Almost certainly more, not counting KU Giant. Then there’s the equipment discrepancy, and the differences in energy from eating and sleeping. I know there are vehicles, too, I’ve seen plenty of personnel carriers and jeeps with mounted guns, as well as the helicopters that are always coming and going.

“Uh, Hildegard,” Grace says. “We were sort of hoping you’d come up with something.”

I only wanted to find out what happened to Cooper. To be honest, I think I might already have lost my chance. It can’t be my priority anymore. By the sound of it, it’s not just the students that are in danger.

“There’s only one way we can get enough supplies, weapons, and bodies to stop the launch.”

“Okay,” Grace says. “What’s that?”

“This should be good.” David leans back on the walls of the cabin. All the students stare at me.

“We have to take over the school.”



Hi Alexander. Let’s start with how you started writing.
I think most people get started the same way, don’t they?

Once you graduate from basic literacy in school, you move on to simile, metaphor and literary classics.

I enjoyed my first writing assignments, even though I had a weird phobia of dialogue, but after a while the teaching on the subject started to seem underdeveloped.

Friends, teachers and family encouraged me to keep writing, but after sticking with writing in higher education I got pretty tired of theory that didn’t seem to go anywhere. I had to try it for myself to find out how things worked, and I think that’s why I keep writing, too. If I didn’t feel a sense of progress when I sit down to develop an idea or edit a wayward paragraph, I’d probably just give up.   

  
What was the inspiration for your book?
I wouldn’t call K.I.A. deep enough to be a meaningfully feminist work or anything, but the inspiration for the book came from what I think of as the most masculine genre: the all-action airport thriller. What would happen if I translated the conventions of an action heavy spy novel and added the elements necessary to transform it into female-led YA?

Along with wanting to try out a faster pace and practice plotting out action sequences, I thought I might end up with something fun, engaging and new.


What’s the one genre you haven’t written in yet that you’d like to?
I’d like to try writing a really complex mystery, K.I.A. has a lot of espionage and intrigue as part of the plot, but it’s not the main focus. I’ve stayed away from mysteries until now just because of their complexity, but I think a really strong mystery is something every writer should aspire to.


Are there any genres you won’t read or write in? Why?
I have to be completely honest here and say erotica, AKA pornography.

I don’t have a problem with people using it or writing it, it’s just than when it comes to indie authors it gets in everywhere.

Is it possible, or even necessary to have a real plot or characters when you can just lean on broad stereotypes and self-inserts for your build up and payoff?


What are you up to right now? Do you have any releases planned, or are you still writing?
I’m currently working over the second draft of Formula Q (working title), and aiming (translation: hoping) for a summer release.

It’s a novel about a high-speed, low-rules racing tournament set on Mars amid an attempted fascist takeover. The heroes, who come from Earth have to survive the Martian’s violent driving and outwit an aspiring dictator to prove their way of life is better, and try to help the impoverished and desperate Martians while weathering their hatred and fear.


Favorite color?
I really like a bright red with just a touch of orange to make it really stand out. It was the inspiration for K.I.A.’s covers, especially the special edition.  


Favorite movie?
I think it has to be a tie between Amadeus and Life Of Pi.

Ultimately I think Amadeus is the better told story, and despite being a little out of date does some really clever things with genre signifiers that people should really be stealing, but Life of Pie has Ang Lee, who gives the whole film just the right abstract, fairy tale atmosphere it needs to complement its themes.


Book that inspired you to become an author?
I don’t think I could point to a single book. I started out with the early Harry Potters, moved up to Lord of The Rings while waiting for J.K. to finish new ones to come out, and then ate through everything Cliff McNish wrote (at the time), those were my foundation.

After that, I drew a lot from Melvin Burgess’ Junk, and even though Ender’s Game in general is pretty pants, the voice Orson Scott Card affects taught me a lot about economy of language.


You have one superpower, what is it?
I think I’d choose the power to “erase” time.

Essentially, I’d pick a point in the future (I’d have to be able to see the future), and then change the amount of time between now and then to zero, choosing what events did and did not happen in the intervening (now erased) time.


You can have dinner with three people, dead, alive, fictitious, etc. Who are they?
I don’t know if I can think of three people.

The only person that comes to mind is Nobunaga Oda. He was an incredibly divisive figure in 16th century Japan, known for being completely ruthless, but also very tolerant, dissolving barriers between rigid social classes and introducing foreign cultures.

I guess I wouldn’t be able to really understand such a complex person over dinner, but I’d like to try. Was he just so far ahead of his time that he knew no-one would go along with him, so he had to force everyone to toe the line? Or, was everything he did that we think of today as good, just theatrics?

Either way, I think in the future I’d like to try to write a novel about a fictionalized version of someone like that, trying to impose change for everyone’s benefit, but having to fight without mercy to put those changes in place.  


Final question. Which of your characters are you the most like and why?
This is kind of a tough one for K.I.A., since it doesn’t have a lot of “normal” characters, but I think I’d probably say Grace. She doesn’t really condone violence, tries to solve everyone’s problems with communication, but sometimes gets into trouble by being too curious or saying something stupid.


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Don’t forget to visit the other stops on the tour.


Author Bio and Links:
Alexander Charalambides was born in London and grew up in Berkshire in the UK.

He studied Creative Writing, and graduated from the Open University.

As a freelance writer Alexander enjoys storytelling just as much as editing and analysis, but often takes time off to enjoy wind surfing, do the sickest of motorcycle flips, wrestle with deadly animals and lie about his hobbies.

In 2008 he moved to the USA and now lives in New Hampshire’s beautiful White Mountains with his family and two dogs, Gwynne and Gimli.

Website     |     Facebook     |     Twitter

24 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed reading your interview, thank you!

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    1. I really enjoyed both writing it and you telling me you enjoyed it!

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  2. Nice to to see someone else who enjoyed Life of Pi. Enjoyed your interview. Do you have a least favorite film?

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    1. I think everybody knows there are a lot of bad films in the world, but even the worst can have a nugget of something good to use as inspiration, and that's my excuse for why I'm always watching crap films.

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  3. Hello Everyone! It's me, Alexander Charalambides, thanks for featuring and submitting so many great questions, Emily.
    Real Talk: I have a mild flu and I've been up all night editing, so while I'm game to take questions all day, my answers might not be the most coherent, and I may suddenly fall asleep.

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    1. It was a pleasure to have you on today! Weird coincidence, but my brother just got the flu as well, so I hope you both feel better soon!

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  4. I enjoyed reading about your book; congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win :)

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    1. Hi Lisa, tou know if you enjoyed reading ABOUT the book, you might also enjoy reading the book! Seriously though, thanks for taking the time to comment.

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    1. Glad you think so! Thanks for taking time out of your day to comment.

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  6. Thanks for sharing the great post, I enjoyed reading it!

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    1. Thanks Victoria, it was a lot of fun being interviewed so Im glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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  7. Who is your favorite literary character? Thanks for the giveaway. I hope that I win. Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

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    1. Hi Joseph and thanks for the question. It's a really tough one, but I think I have to say Dr. Frankenstein. No, not the monster, but the fact that he’s inseparable from his creation is a testament to how concise and effective his character is in evoking emotion, atmosphere and proving drive and opposition. Thanks for the interesting question!

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  8. What a lovely interview. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it!

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    1. Thanks, Stephanie, for taking the time to read and comment. I'm glad you enjoyed the interview.

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  9. Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment, I'm glad you think so!

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  10. What is your favorite type of book to read? Thanks for the giveaway. I hope that I win. Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

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    1. Hi Jospeh and thanks for the question. My favorite type of book is a good one, I can't be more precise than that. I like to read a good story. Don't we all?

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  11. Sorry I couldn't be here the day of the party. I got sidetracked now I'm playing catch-up!

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