Welcome Alex! Thanks for agreeing to answer a few of my questions. Tell us about your current release.
I'm currently promoting Apocalypse Cult which is the first book in the Gray Spear Society Series. Eight other books in the series are available at this time. The stories mostly take place in contemporary Chicago. The heroes are a secret group known as the Gray Spear Society. Their mission is to protect the world from a particularly potent, unnatural kind of evil.
In the case of Apocalypse Cult, the threat takes the form of a cult which recruits and brainwashes teenagers. At first, the protagonist, Aaron, is just trying to rescue a girl from captivity. As he becomes more involved, he realizes the stakes are much higher than the life of one girl. This cult is planning to kill thousands of innocent people in an extreme act of terrorism. He and his new friends in the Society have only a few days to discover the threat and stop it. It won't be easy.
How did you start your writing career?
I had a bad accident when I was twenty-five. I suffered serious injuries and almost died. That experience made me think a lot about my legacy. What will I leave behind after I'm gone? I had always wanted to write, but my accident gave me the impetus to take it seriously. Great books can bring pleasure to generations of readers. They are a lasting contribution to the world. I took my first creative writing class a few years later.
Who is your favorite author?
It's hard to pick a favorite. I love the work of Terry Pratchett and Orson Scott Card. I suppose if I had to pick one, it would be the graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller. Younger people don't appreciate the enormous significance of that book. It created the modern concept of a graphic novel. It was a brilliant and daring departure from the norms of the day. There are powerful moments in that book which I still reference in my own writing.
When in the day/night do you write? How long per day?
I work during the day at a regular job. I also have a wife and kids. I write in the evenings during the week and as much as I can on weekends. I probably put in about 30-35 hours a week total. That kind of dedication is necessary to succeed in this business.
How do you describe your writing style?
Intense action and intricate plotting. I pack my stories with twists and turns while also making sure everything makes sense. I don't shy away from realistic violence. These books aren't for little kids.
What is the hardest part of writing your books?
Proofreading. It takes an enormous amount of time, and it's very tedious. I'm an independent author, so most of that burden falls on my shoulders, but I know it's necessary for success. If it were up to me, I'd just knock out first drafts all the time and let other people clean up the mess.
I'm currently working on the tenth book in the Gray Spear Society series. The title is Eyes of the World, and I'll probably publish it in mid-July.
Plotter or Pantser? Why?
Absolute plotter. I don't begin the first draft until I have a complete outline describing every scene and every character. There are two reasons. First, my books are very complicated with many, many plot points. If I don't have a clear roadmap, I get lost in the weeds. "Surprises" aren't helpful when I'm juggling three different story lines.
The second reason is it's more efficient. I hate rewriting. It's a waste of time, and my time is very limited. A strong outline enables me to blast through a first draft and produce something close to a finished work in one pass.
APOCALYPSE CULT is the first book in the Gray Spear Society series. They are God's secret warriors, His henchmen, His assassins cloaked in shadows. When lives and souls are at risk, He sends the Gray Spear Society to save mankind. This time the enemy is the Church of One Soul, a cult that intends to kill thousands of unsuspecting tourists in Chicago. But this is merely the first step in plunging the world into a devastating war. The Society has only a few days to destroy their elusive foe, despite interference by overzealous federal agents.
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About Alex Siegel
Alex Siegel grew up a math and computer geek. At the age of twenty-five, he received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Cornell. He continues to make a good living as a software developer in Chicago. In his late twenties, he took up creative writing as a serious pastime with the intention of eventually making it his career. This goal has been elusive, but failure is not an option. In 2001, his wife gave birth to triplet boys. People often ask him how he still finds time to write. In 2009, he began the Gray Spear Society series, and he hopes it will be his key to literary fame.
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