Hi friends! I hope you’re having a fabulous February so far, I’m currently flying solo while my husband is in Scotland for work, it’s like a little refresher course before he goes on deployment to Qatar later this year (coincidentally right when the World Cup happens to be on…)
In case you missed it, my second book, The Solitary King came out on 31 January and it’s been so much fun seeing everyone’s posts as the book has arrived, and the handful of reviews that have come in so far.
Hi Xander! Thanks for chatting with me. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Xander Cross, and I live a rather quiet life with my spouse in Maryland. I have a bad habit of writing mythological fiction that is politically charged, and I practice Soto Zen with Taoist influence. I have a deep love of Eastern philosophy, and I obsess over gongfu tea. Currently, I’m learning Chinese.
That sounds so interesting! I travelled around East Asia a few years ago and absolutely loved it, especially Singapore. The street food is incredible! So, when did you start writing and who encouraged you?
I started writing when I was six. No one encouraged or discouraged me. I have always liked to read and make up stories to entertain myself.
Six, wow, so it’s been a lifelong creative passion! And what are your favourite kind of stories to read and write?
I love books with conspiracies and puzzles and Easter eggs, where I can tell the author really worked it through, loved the story, and trusted the audience to leave a breadcrumb trail for them. Stories like that excite my imagination, and that’s what I try to deliver for my audience, just because I think it’s so much fun and awesome!
I love a good bit of foreshadowing, especially when it turns out unexpectedly but still feels credible. Tell us about your published books.
My series, “The Atlas Dystopia Apocalyptica” is an Action/Adventure/Supernatural series that begins in the 22nd Century and goes well beyond. Beginning with The Origin of the White Wind, the first half of my book series begins in a Far Eastern dystopia, the world on the brink of apocalypse by human greed and mismanagement, the second half to follow life post-apocalypse. Our anti-hero, Hayate, is a fallen divine messenger of Inari Okami, and we follow his adventures as he turns from angel to demon, and moves from a bleak life off-grid into a cyberpunk megapolis to prevent his starvation. In New Tokyo, we enter a dark, neon world of shadows and monsters, some of whom are fighting to save what is left of the planet.
My latest book was released last October, which is the sequel to Origin, entitled The Dragon Game. I hope to release The Onmyōji Gambit late this year or early next.
That sounds absolutely incredible! And so original. Where do you find inspiration for your characters or settings?
Usually an image takes my fancy, and from that it grows in my psyche until I have to make a character, and from that character grows relationships and interactions in a complimentary world, until a plot evolves. Folklore and mythology are pitted against human nature and politics, because I believe that from such themes, great epics emerge.
The inspiration for The Atlas Dystopia Apocalyptica is based on Japanese folklore.
I haven’t read many Japanese inspired novels, I’m looking forward to reading it! Do you consider yourself a plotter, pantser or plantser?
I am a proud plantser. I plot a series to the end, and leave myself room for creative inspiration between the main scenes.
That sounds like the perfect writing method to me, I love a loose plan with room to wander off track. What are you working on right now?
I’m about to edit Book Three, The Onmyoji Gambit, of my current series, The Atlas Dystopia Apocalyptica. I’m hoping to begin recording Book One next month for a possible audio. I have a trunked trilogy I need to dust off soon, Book Four to begin writing for November NaNoWriMo, and complete a short story for this amazing anthology (Enchanted Forests), of which I am deeply honored to take part.
I’m really excited about our anthology, and so proud of our mission to raise funds for the Rainforest Foundation. What one piece of advice would you give aspiring authors?
Let go of perfection on that first draft and learn to take joy in the editing process. It’s in the edits that the magic really happens.
I definitely need to take your advice and learn to enjoy editing, it’s my most hater part of the process! That was so much fun, thank you for speaking to me and sharing your journey and advice. Before I let you go, how can we find out more about you and your books?
Please visit my website, listed below! There are pictures of a grown man wearing ears and a tail — how can you not be entertained? Granted, I need to update the darn thing soon. I will, just as soon as I get through my next edit of The Onmyōji Gambit. Maybe sooner, but probably not.
Facebook page/group: https://www.facebook.com/ayakashifoxstudios/
If you’re a fan of Asian inspired speculative fiction, then you’ll definitely want to check out Xander’s books and follow him online! And don’t forget to preorder your copy of Enchanted Forests, where you can read Xander’s story, Pingguo and the Dead Forest, as well as mine, One Fair Eve, and ten more awesome fantasy stories by USA Today bestselling, award-winning, and up-and-coming authors.