Friday 28 December 2012

Guest Author Interview - Alex Roddie

Welcome to the last guest author interview of the year, today we meet Alex Roddie. You can read what he has to say below:

Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
I'm Alex, a writer of historical and mountaineering fiction based in Lincolnshire. I lived in Glencoe between 2008 and 2011 and have been an active mountaineer for several years now. The history of climbing in this country is an endless source of fascination for me: it's the most remarkable tale of adventure, heroism, and courage (with a liberal sprinkling of death and disaster). It exemplifies mankind's questing spirit and is a fertile source of stories! I am also a student of the 19th Century, and like to combine the two in my fiction.

What first inspired you to start writing?
I've been doing it all my life. Some of my earliest memories are of imaginary worlds built in my own head, and in time, I came to draw those worlds out and write the stories down. I have been attempting to write full-blown novels for about twelve years. It seems to be something I can't prevent myself from doing!

Who is your favourite author and why?
Difficult question. My passion for 19th Century literature has divided my reading habits; on the one hand, I am a devourer of novels by Dickens and Thackeray, but on the other, I need more contemporary material to provide balance. Recently I have been enjoying the historical novels of Ken Follett, and am currently reading Winter of the World. I also enjoy the work of Bernard Cornwell.

Do you listen to music while writing? If so, what do you like to listen to?
Music has powerful associative qualities for me and I use it as a tool to modify my mood. Mozart is great for providing energetic background noise; Beethoven brings out strong feelings in my writing; Dvorak's melodies take me back to specific places and times I have been. I can't listen to anything with lyrics when writing.

What do you enjoy most about writing?
The research and planning stage! I get carried away in the enthusiasm of it all and plan meticulously. The birth of a new character is always an exciting moment.

And the least?
I procrastinate dreadfully, something I am always trying (but often failing) to fight. In fact, you could say I'm procrastinating right now as I write this ...

What advice would you give new and aspiring authors?
Seek out as many critical opinions as you can, but do not doubt yourself too much: your work is unique and it has an audience. Success is only a matter of honing your skills, working with diligence and honesty, being patient (for years if necessary) and striving to reach that audience. Failure is only assured if you give up.

What are you working on at the moment?
A historical novel set in 1848, entitled Alpine Dawn. It is the story of some of the pioneers who helped launch the golden age of Alpine exploration in the 1850s, and how they find their greatest champion in the unlikeliest of places. Thomas Kingsley, a coward and fraud who is crippled by debt and insecurity, breaks free of the prison he has built for himself and discovers a new life in the Alps.

Tell us about your latest work and how we can find out more.
My first novel, The Only Genuine Jones, was published in October 2012 on Amazon Kindle. It's the story of two rival climbers, O.G. Jones and Aleister Crowley. Both are brilliant and ambitious, but each has a very different concept of honour and neither will admit the other is the better climber. In an alternative vision of late 19th century mountaineering, revolutionary equipment allows these men to risk death for the ultimate prize: an Alpinenorth face.

OGJ is available on Kindle here:
Or on Smashwords here:
A paperback version is planned for February 2013.

You can find out more about my novels, and read my blog about mountain literature and everything else connected to the outdoors and the Victorian era, at

Thanks to Alex for sharing his thoughts with us. On Tuesday we welcome Paul Turner to the hot seat.

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