Amara: Hi Aleks! Come in, come in. *big grin* I’m so glad to have you back at my Place again! Sit, please, make yourself comfortable.
Aleks: Hi Amara! This is starting to feel like home. Thanks for having me. :)
Amara: Ha! Awesome. My blog is your blog m’dear. *smiles* Can I get you anything? Coffee? Tea maybe?
Aleks: Maybe I'll go for tea. Too much coffee recently (and I refuse to drink decaf…). Long, long hours. But it's fun.
Amara: I don’t have decaf, so that’s good. Tea it is. *pours a cup and passes* You’ve been working some crazy long hours by the looks of it, *smiles* I’m glad it’s been fun thou. Fun is good.
I must admit, I had a hard time trying to come up with things to talk to you about since ya know, I kinda blog about you endlessly. But you have a new book, *bounces* yaaaaay … um… *mumbles* calm down Amara, no bouncing *blushes* …yeah…sooo… *clears throat and tries to gain some composure*… I guess I’ll start there.
Aleks: Hah, no worries. It's great you're not yet sick of me.
Amara: Sick of you? *laughs* yeah, I don’t see that happening. You’re kinda stuck with me. *winks* So, this new book of yours, tell me tell me!
Aleks: Sure! "Dark Soul" is an episodic novel, really, so a novel told in episodes or short stories. Silvio Spadaro takes center-stage here; he's a hypersexual mafia hitman who not only has some interesting kinks but also some fascinating lovers. We're meeting him at the start of "Dark Soul", as he's just in the process of moving on to Stefano Marino, who's a very married, dominant guy and boss in the Cosa Nostra, basically the American version of the mafia. Stefano is fascinated by Silvio and just can't shake the attraction. Lucky then that Silvio agrees (or is co-opted by his boss) to help Stefano fight off the Russian mob. Every story focuses on one aspect of Silvio and one of his kinks. We'll see him tough, gentle, ruthless, innocent – all those delicious contradictions that make people what they are.
Amara: Aleksandr Voinov writes Mafia… faaantabulous. I’m not sure I could ask for more than that. Was there some kind of inspiration behind this one?
Aleks: There's definitely a dash of "The Godfather" in there, and I'm completely aware that the mafia I'm writing about isn't actually romantic and should probably not be romanticized. Of course, the characters who are living that life don't have issues with it. The core of the story is really Silvio – a character that showed up in my life when I was sixteen or so. He was just suddenly there and I kept writing about him. Back when I met him, he was in his mid-thirties, a serious coke-head and had just shot the top policeman of LA.
Amara: *gasp* Why?
Aleks: Why? Who knows. I saw him in the streaming rain, with a car, on a motorway. I also knew he had a couple brothers he had issues with. So, for years I tried to get a grip on the character and actually tell his story, but none of them really came to fruition. I guess I had to learn first how to write sex halfway decently.
Amara: Halfway decently? Yeah, you got that down. *chuckles* You’ve definitely got that down. *fans self at the thought* Um…*blushes*… ‘k…moving on. You know, I’ve never actually gotten to interview you by yourself. Now that I get too, I’m curious… we all know I pretty much love all of your books but which is your favorite? Do you have one?
Aleks: It's honestly always the one I'm currently working on – mostly because the others are "closed" and "done", and the current one has all the emotional investment that is still fresh and intense. So, right now, I'm working on "Dark Soul", which I love because we have such a long history and I finally manage to get Silvio right. There's "Lion's Share", which is the historical novel that I'm writing with Kate Cotoner and is the sequel to "Lion of Kent". And there are my two WWII novels, which will either be awesome or suck utterly.
That said, I love "Scorpion" and "Counterpunch" too, for different reasons. "Scorpion" has a great main character in Kendras and the book very nearly didn't happen (also, it kept me sane during the last leg of my journalism career). "Counterpunch" on the other hand came together very smoothly and quickly and was a pleasure to write. And then there's "Break and Enter", which is just genuinely funny, if your sense of humor is as twisted as mine (or Rachel's – since Rachel Haimowitz was my co-writer).
And there are books like the ones I wrote about my private equity guys and which are unfinished or need serious rewriting and that might not see the light of day anytime soon.
Yep. Not an answer.
Amara: *laughs* That’s an answer… sort of. Either way, that’s a lot of rockin’ my socks with booky goodness my grabby little hands NEED to get ahold of! Which I think is, you know...AweS000ME (<---sings that part)
I’ve always been curious, I watch you write some of your books, you know, stalker much, which of your books was the easiest/hardest to write?
Aleks: The absolute hardest – we're talking soul-destroyingly hard, was "Special Forces" by far, a project I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I very nearly burnt out of writing for good and was ready to give up. I dragged myself through the last six months of that work by my fingernails and I hope I'll never have to repeat that. The easiest were "Collateral" and "Counterpunch" which just came together without much work from my part. "Collateral" will always have a special place in my heart because it healed me from the burnout of "Special Forces".
Amara: *nods* I’ve heard you say that about SF before. I hope you never have to go through that again too. And... I’m soooo glad you didn’t give up. *smiles* You give me the best books evah. Now, I’ve always wanted to ask you, which of your characters is the most and the least like you, and in what ways?
Aleks: Martin of my private equity novel is probably the closest. He's definitely a reflection of my time in financial journalism. He's just an everyday Joe who has no clue what he's getting himself into and thinks he's really clever – at least until the other sharks have taken him to the cleaner. The least… that's a good question.
Cyke of "Break and Enter" is way funnier than I am – much more courageous, too. And he's much, much better prepared for whatever life throws at him. The guy never freaks out and never flails AND has a snarky comment for every situation – while I'm way funnier online than in real life.
Amara: I can’t WAIT to read Break and Enter. *leans in and whispers* that’s my “book of the year” *leans back* Am vera excited. *smiles* Vera VERA! What’s one thing you wished people knew about you that they don’t already know?
Aleks: I'm actually a somewhat private person – despite putting myself out there all the time, I do need a sense of privacy to gather my thoughts, think stuff through and come up with new ideas. I tend to tell people I meet and who want to become friends: "Listen, I don't look like it, I most often don't even act like it, but I am actually an introvert." Most writers are, really. We need to tend our private gardens to recharge our batteries.
Amara: Hm. *nods* Understandable. I’m like that too. Now, I want something fun. Give me an Aleks’ “fun fact”, something… *smiles*…whacky. And don’t try to tell me there aren’t any because *narrows eyes* I won’t believe you.
Aleks: I have a photo of a charging medieval knight (from a reenactment) on my desk at work. It's the only photo and only piece of decoration on there, and most people comment on it when they see it because in a bank environment, that does look a bit strange (not as strange as the collection of Egyptian gods and goddesses one of the analysts has on the floor above us, though). Whacky enough?
Amara: *laughs* Sure. That works. *nods* That is a bit whacky for a financial dude’s desk. So, tell me tell me, what’s next on your writing agenda? And when can I get my grabby little hands on your next book of the awesome?
Aleks: "Counterpunch" is out on 4. November, then there's "Break and Enter" on 20. December. By about January-March, I hope to release all the "Dark Soul" parts. Then things will quiet down a lot as I work on my historical novels. Yeah, thinking of that "vacation" makes me a bit twitchy, too, but I've realized I don't want any "publishing pressure" on my historical novels. They take as long as they take, I'm not going to rush them out.
Amara: Oooooo! That excites me! More Silvio AND your historicals. Your historicals float my boat, and, well, Silvio OMNOMNOM. Vera awesome. You seem to be everywhere these days, which question are you most sick of answering in interviews?
Aleks: I haven’t given that many interviews in my life yet, so I'm still OK with the questions. Ask me again after the big Riptide Launch Tour is over. :)
Amara: Ha! Good. Then I’ll have to start thinking up more things to grill you about and get you over here for more interviews! W00T! *smiles* Thanks for coming back to visit Aleks. I do so vera much love it when you come to hang out. Heehee, totally makes my day. :D You rock.
Aleks: You rock harder. Or, you know, we can rock hard together. *Slips Judas Priest CD into the CD player*
*cranks up high*
Amara: *gasp* Priest!!! W00T!! *grins* You are too whacky. *sticks tongue out*
*cranks up even higher and air guitars with Aleks*
This week's giveaway...Aleksandr Voinov backlist of choice. (Does not include Counterpunch or Dark Soul)
The fine details...
- This week’s giveaway is for an eBook copy as listed above.
- To enter, leave a comment on this post.
- All commenters will also be entered in end of tour giveaway of AP 3 prize packages. Details here.
- All comments will also be entered in the year-end Riptide grand prize giveaway of an ereader; Kindle, Nook or iPad. Each post commented on counts as an entry.
- Backlist book giveaways do NOT include books released in the last 3 months.
- This week's giveaway doesNOT include Riptide releases.
- Winners will be selected at random using Random.org
- If the chosen winners do not respond to my email within 48 hours, another winner will be selected.
- By entering the contest, you are confirming you are at least 18 yrs old.
- eBook giveaways open worldwide.
- Swag giveaways USA only
Also this week...
My Review: Dark Soul 1
Character interview with Silvio