Thursday, April 26, 2012

Alexia Purdy Interview

Alexia Purdy is a  Las Vegas, Nevada writer and Registered nurse. A mother of 4,  she loves to spend every free moment writing and playing with her four rambunctious kids.   She is a very avid devourer books, especially paranormal fantasies and finds genre books and independently published books to be irresistible.  She has been writing since she can remember (probably since the age of 6) and loves creating paranormal urban fantasy and poetry.  She also enjoys watching movies, dancing, singing loudly in the car and Italian food.  

Her debut novel was Ever Shade: A Dark Faerie Tale. Ever Fire (A Dark Faerie Tale #2) was released in October 2012. Reign of Blood, her latest novel is releasing this Sunday, April 29th 2012, and Ever Winter, the third installment of A Dark Faerie Tale series is set for release in 2013.

She took an hour out of busy schedule to answer my questions. 
Below is that interview.


You live in Vegas, did you also grow up there?

I grew up in Reno but moved to Vegas when I was about 13 years old. Been here ever since.

Is there any difference living in Reno as opposed to Vegas?

Oh yes, the heat! It doesn't get nearly this hot in Reno. Reno also has four seasons, snow and ice, nice springs and falls, and great summers. Vegas is either cold or hot.

How has and how does living in Vegas affect your writing, if it does at all?

It affects it a lot. My newest book Reign of Blood takes place entirely in Las Vegas and the surrounding areas. It's been great writing about my surroundings and bringing it to life for readers. I think I only could do that living here.

 In a nutshell, what is Reign of Blood about?

 A viral epidemic has killed everyone or turned them into various mutations of vampires. April and her family are the only humans left. One day they are taken and April searches the city and battles it out to find them. She discovers there is more in the city than she bargained for.
 It takes place in Vegas of course ;)

 How did you come up with that idea, and where do the ideas for your stories come from?

 The opening scene to the novel was actually from a dream I had. I get most of my ideas from my dreams, I have vivid ones and they can be pretty whacked out. I also have a great recall of them, that helps when I need ideas. :)

 Have you had any dreams that you wished you remembered for a story, but could not?

 I have, I kick myself in the pants every time too when I realize that the dream is gone from my mind. I try to write them down, the ones that are really vivid, I seem to remember more but there have been a few that slipped away from me.

 Have you ever dreamed the same dream over again?

 I used to have this one dream when I was younger over and over again. I was standing by a river and a knight in shining armor would stand on the other side holding his sword as he stood there watching me. Creeped me out back then. That is the only one I remember dreaming many times. Otherwise, my dreams don't usually repeat.

 If you could move to or live in another city, anywhere in the world, what would that city be?

 Oh that is soo hard, I haven't gone many places to check them out yet! It's on my list! I would say right now, somewhere like Rome Italy. I might change my mind later though when I visit it, who knows?

 Any particular reason why Rome popped into your head?

 It's a city I have always wanted to visit. It's history is vast and it has some nice countryside, all of Italy really looks awesome.

 Do you think, in that case, you would write a story based on something you saw there?

 I might, I am always taking in my environment to take down the details for story ideas. I actually have a story set in Tokyo, Japan, I have researched it but I'm dying to visit the city to get the real feel for it. Nothing replaces that.

 What kind of educational background do you have?

 I have an associate degree in Nursing. I am a Registered Nurse but I consider myself a writer first. I took tons of creative writing in high school but nothing like that in college. I am playing catch up now with the creativity that health care kind of kills.

 Most don't know this, you are a nurse by profession. What made you decide to do that for a living?

 I always wanted to be a nurse and a writer since as far as when my brother got his tonsils removed and stayed at the hospital, we were 3 I think. The nurses were awesome. I really admired them. I also always loved books so they both were ingrained in me since forever. At least I can now say I've done both.

 How does doing that work affect or involve itself in your writing?

 I do have some scenes in a hospital in Reign of Blood. I plan to write a book about quirks in nursing one day but that's in the far future. It has influenced me greatly, I have met so many different types of people as a nurse and that helps me develop my characters.

 Give me a short example of one character or story scene that came from a hospital experience.

 One character in Reign of Blood who's name is Grace is a nurse. Her scene is very short but I hope I convey the professionalism and concern that she has for my main character in that short scene that ends up turning tragic. How a nurse portrays herself to patients is important for they trust you with the most private things.

 If your writing becomes successful enough to support you would you give up the nursing?

 Yes I would. Don't get me wrong, I do love being a nurse but the long hours and demands are vast and patients and families are much less appreciative nowadays than when I first started nursing. It saddens me but sometimes it is downright abusive. I hope some change comes about for my colleagues, it is not an easy profession at all.

 You have 4 kids, how hard is it to write and manage that task, in addition to your day job and a husband?

 OMG, it's very hard! My 4 kids alone keep me very busy. I have to find time to write like nap times and when they are sleeping. Otherwise, I can't really write when they are around.

 Do any of your experiences raising your kids make it into your books?

 Yes, actually, I do try to convey the hardships of a busy family in my stories. They are not the main focus but are there and I try to add this as a realistic view of modern families. Ever Shade's character Shade has 3 siblings and a single mother who often get's too busy to tend to everyone's needs. Reign of Blood, the Mother is very organized and precise, coordinating scavenging trips while maintaining the seriousness of the situation. My own experiences bleed into my books quite a bit.

 In terms of life experiences, what is off limits as far as you are concerned?

 What do you mean by that?

 What has happened in your life, that while it may be interesting, that you won't use in a story..if anything?

Hmmm, not much I wouldn't use to inspire a story. I guess talking about my own family's issues would be taboo. Thank goodness I write fiction.

 I have a friend who will not use any past sexual experiences they have had in any story they write, what are your thoughts on that?

 I agree to an extent, no names of course, things that would hurt people or my current life are taboo, it's all in the past so I try not to really think much about it. It's great material for writing, but I would change the names.

 You are known to be a very aggressive promoter of your work, how have you found that to work out for you?

 I think it helps a lot, I haven't managed to find that magic place that sells thousands of books for me, but every sale helps. I think you do have to put yourself out there to get noticed. People forget very quickly and you have to remind them of your product frequently. That's just how it works. I do admit it can get exhausting and frustrating at times and fruitless. But sometimes it is very successful and gets me to keep on going. You are selling yourself in a way, you have to make it visible.

 Of all the methods you have tried, what has worked best for you so far?

 Facebook is by far the best for me. Next is Twitter then goodreads. Blog interviews and giveaways help a lot on book blogger sites. Just interacting with others is probably one of the best ways to get your name out there. 

 What is your writing process?

 I am a pantser writer. I have an idea, and I sit down and write. The story comes to me later. I do outline characters but I have pretty much just come up with the plot as I go.

 In terms of genres, what is your favorite to read and/or write?

 I enjoy Epic Literature and Urban Fantasy. I like YA a lot but more of the Fantasy paranormal genre. I enjoy writing paranormal urban fantasy the most and poetry.

 Your genre is primarily young adult and paranormal, how do you go about adding sexual content to your work, if that is a consideration at all?

 I actually have no sex scenes in any of my books right now. I do intend to add some more sensual scenes in the future, maybe some implied sex but actual sex scenes is pretty much taboo in YA

 In 10 years, where do you see your career?

I do hope to be a bestseller of course.
I plan to have a lot of novels under my belt

 You are one who gives a lot of freebies away. What is your theory there and how have you found that worked out for you?

 It's touchy, I do give out free bookmarks and some free books, I do try to space them out to bring me some exposure when sales are slow. It's hard to say if they help much, most people who enter giveaways are those that have already read my work. Sometimes you get the new ones interested. I think that helps a bit. :)
 Do you have a writing agent? What are your thoughts on agents, pros/cons?

 I did query some agents when I first finished my manuscript for Ever Shade. I got rejected, they seem harder to get one interested in you than a publisher. I think it would be nice to have one but nowadays with all the publishing options, you are better off with a lawyer to look at paperwork for you and you dealing with the publishers yourself.

 Your blog consists mostly of interviews of other author friends you know. How do you find that helps you in anyway?

 It helps me and the authors by bringing traffic to my site. I have all my work and projects listed there too and I am hoping to bring some people over with awesome interviews, free stuff and get them to look around a bit, hopefully notice my work and check it out. I hope they definitely check out the guest's work too, they are nothing but awesome authors.

 If you could only show one blog to anyone, of all the ones you have done so far, what would that be?

 Oh boy. Hmm. I think I really liked Linna Drehmel's interview a lot, her work is colorful and different. I enjoy her writing a lot. There are so many I hate to decide on just one though! They all rock!

 Tell us something that no one in this group knows about you?

 I see dead people. LOL, it sounds crazy but I do see spirits and entities a lot. I have seen them all over, hear them speak, get picked on by some. It's definitely not something I tell everyone but it is pretty interesting. I don't sleep very good, they are pretty noisy around me, the ghosts I mean.
 I don't think I'm insane but who knows right?

 You aren't the first person to tell me that. I think a lot of people have things like that happen to them but mostly keep that to themselves because of the stigma that gets attached to it.


Anything else you want to say before we wrap it up?

 Thanks for having me, Mark! It's been awesome! Reign of Blood launches April 29th, that's also my birthday! :)


Excerpt from Reign Of Blood

Chapter One

Never tease anything that wants to eat you. The ravenous eyes that bled death all around and peered from their windows drooled at the sight of us. The buildings loomed above as we rushed across the concrete and asphalt, hurrying to beat the sun as it set. They lurked in every window, shrouded by the shadow from the searing sun.
The east sides of the buildings were crawling with vampires. They smirked and sneered their inhuman growls, hissing right at us as we jumped from sunbeam to sunbeam, racing to the awaiting van. Only the light kept them at bay. Only the light kept us from their sharp, gripping fangs. 
Each block felt like it stretched longer and farther, growing with each of our steps. My mother ran hurriedly, as fast as she could with my little brother wrapped around her, molded to her chest, afraid to look up. I was dashing right next to her, afraid to get left behind and afraid to be first in any place. My backpack bounced on my back with each jump and step. I tried hard to not look up. To look upon them was to feel your soul drain of life, to wither away. Mom always said not to let them look into your eyes; they can steal your humanity and freeze you in your steps. But I did look, and I did study their red searing eyes. Even while running, I had glanced up into their pale, grey ashen faces. I waited for them to take my soul; I waited and discovered that I was immune. Immune to their mind control and their deepest desire. I wanted to smile and flip them off but I didn’t think that my mother would appreciate that. I wasn’t sure if she or my brother were immune. I wasn’t about to piss her off by admitting that I had given in to such a temptation and had stared eye to eye with monsters.
So for now, we ran. We ran to our awaiting van where mom tied my little brother into his seat and slid quickly into the driver’s seat, turning the ignition and slamming the gas as though our lives depended on it. 

Actually, they very much did. Soon the sun would fade, inhaled into shadows and we would be surrounded by monsters capable of draining our bodies of every little drop of crimson blood. They did not discriminate. They would rip even me and my younger brother to shreds. For now, they waited in their makeshift graveyard; the
city’s dilapidated buildings and streets.
I stared out the windows of the van and hugged my knees to my chest. Mom had her serious and stern face on. Sometimes I wish I could see her smile again, like the old days, before any of this happened. Before foraging for food had become an absolute for survival. Before running was a daily occurrence. Seeing her hair streaked with grey was not something I thought I would see so soon. She wasn’t that old. Times like these, even I felt old.
We left the city limits well before sunset. We were safer in the rural areas, where vampires feared to tread, too far from the shelters of the concrete jungles. I learned early on that some part of their humanity must still be intact because unlike the stories and movies I had heard and seen about vampires, these ones hated to sleep in the dirt. Oh, and all that crap about mirrors and garlic? Definitely not true. Stake to the heart? I had found that it did work but decapitation was a much more successful option. Missing the heart was too easy a mistake. Crosses and holy water? Well, that does work but you must be a believer for it to work as intended. If you did not believe, well, let’s just say you might as well be throwing plain water at them.
An arsenal of swords, crosses and faith was pretty much all I needed. It had been just a year since the virus had turned more than three quarters of the population of the Americas into blood-seeking walking dead.
Most died within days of contracting the strange ailment. I’d had all the practice I needed for a lifetime in learning how to kill vampires. It definitely made for an interesting life but I would give anything for my old one.
Nothing beat a cold soda and movie on a Saturday night. High school issues seemed petty compared to the ones I had now. Stability, security, all gone. Staring out the dusty windows of the van as the trees grew thicker and the dusk seeped into the sky, I felt nothing but numb. Everything was all but gone.

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