My name is Alex R. London, and I’m a self-published author just trying to create the vision inside my head. I currently attend the University of Texas at Dallas while working on my writing career, and love nothing more than sitting down and depicting events and characters inside my fictional world.
How did you get into writing?
I began writing before I can recall, but my first full-length effort came in the seventh grade when I wrote a one-hundred-page book based upon a history paper.
Suffice to say, my current work is much better. That initial story was, frankly, poorly crafted and not valuable beyond practice, yet to this day I look at it fondly. From there, I continued to evolve my ability and have grown to creating expansive and distinct stories set in worlds of my own design.
What can you tell us about your daily routines that help you focus and your creative habits? So, for example how do you come up with some of your ideas and inspiration for your book?
Most of the ideas in my book are largely just made up in my head, but I have taken some inspiration from friends and family, as well as taking lessons from other books I’ve read like “A Song of Ice and Fire” and “The Wheel of Time”.
Reading books from these great authors really allows me to see what sort of thing people want or works in a fantasy tale and lets me make something I think could prove exciting and engaging. Several names in my book are taken from other places, then tweaked to be my own or reflect the world I’ve made.
Is this book very personal for you? If so, how?
I would say that my book is very personal to me, but not for any deep or emotional reason. I’ve just wanted to write and hold a book of my own for a while, so doing so is incredibly special. A lot of writers talk about it but seeing a physical copy of your work in real life is a wonderful feeling.
“The Stranger’s Orphan”
How did you come up with the book title?
Funny story. My book was originally entitled “Everflame” until I looked it up and discovered that there’s already a book called that. I’m glad now, because it wouldn’t have ended up fitting well anyway, but at the time I was rather disappointed.
After that unfortunate failure, I decided to go ahead and leave out a title while I wrote. I got about fifty pages in, and if you read it then you’ll notice quickly that the title is an indirect quote of something one of the characters say when describing another figure. The line just really spoke to me and I chose it for the whole story.
Book Plot and Synopsis
Can you describe what the book plot and give a detailed synopsis of the book, of course without any spoilers?
Essentially there are six separate stories going on in this sprawling world of mine, and they cover two continents and multiple cities. The world just recently went through a horrible war that left one continent, called Tagar, entirely in ruin.
Now, as these “new threats” are beginning to cause fear and turmoil again, the point of view characters need to face the different effects they bring. Sometimes that means physical conflict, and other times it means mental and emotional obstacles.
There’s a lot that goes on in this first book, and all six stories start to sort of overlap a little. You can definitely get a sense that things are only going to get more complicated from here.
Is there any movie, book, or television series that you can somewhat liken your story to? So for example, some books you can say are like Game of Thrones or Star Wars, what mainstream and popular movie do you think your book somewhat “feels” like? Did you want this to be the case?
I always tell people that it feels kind of like a hybrid between Game of Thrones, and the Lord of the Rings.
I took inspiration from “A Song of Ice and Fire” for the structure, establishing multiple point of views and such, and there are certainly elements like Martin’s books. On the other hand, while his epics are relatively grounded, my book features beings like elves, and dragons, and ogre, and some new races which I took the time to create on my own.
Even some established species get twisted a bit for my own reasons, so it’s more high-fantasy like Tolkien’s work. There’s certainly a lot less sex and graphic sections than you’d find in Game of Thrones.
Themes or Messages
What themes and deeper meanings or messages can we expect to find in this book if any? Is there any deep meanings or philosophical questions being explored in the book?
Realistically, book two and future installments are going to get more into philosophical matters and things which are a bit more complex.
That’s not to say that there aren’t important themes present in “The Stranger’s Orphan”, but they are slightly less prevalent. I’d say that growth and maturity are going to always be something to look at, especially with my younger characters. Family too.
Off the wall question, but would some of the issues being explored in the book relate to us here in the real world?
I would like to think that there’s a good deal of content that is able to be related to and felt as though it could be real.
I already said my book deals heavily with fantasy, but the human connections and relationships are all human, they’re not dissimilar to our own issues and woes. Love, death, fear, all these things affect the real world and they’re all important in my work. I hope people can find lessons or realism within it.
What can you tell us about the setting that we will be seeing in this book?
My setting is kind of complicated, as the primary country of Armea is split into what I have deemed a “Tri-regency”. Essentially, this continent is divided up into three sections politically, and each one is ruled by a separate king or queen.
All three regents make their own rules and govern as they wish, but the other regents have some say and control over what happens. It’s kind of like a separation of powers situation.
What cultures or societies can we expect to see and can you tell us about how you came up with creating these societies? Was it difficult to get deep into how the societies function?
Obvious the primary focus is on humanity in my book, and all six of my point of view characters are regular people. However, readers also get glimpses into elven society during this book, and will get a bit of information regarding dragons, and other beings.
A core aspect of my series is a species of humanoid I dubbed “cylen”, which is a combination of two other races, and they will eventually play a larger role as well. The history and lore of all these cultures will continue to deepen as the story unfolds in different directions. It’s complicated.
Tell us about the history of the land or world or worlds that we will be exploring through out the book?
Armea and all the other places within my book have centuries if not more worth of history, most of which I have well laid out and thought through.
You get tastes of the crazy and important stuff which happened before The Stranger’s Orphan began, and more will come with each chapter. I can’t just give it all away though. I’ve always thought that discovering and figuring out that sort of thing on your own is half the fun in reading.
What can you tell us about some of the main characters and villains in this book?
They aren’t your typical fantasy characters. That’s what one reviewer has told me after completing The Stranger’s Orphan, and I agree completely. Aspects of classic architypes are present, like the knight and the mage, and the presence of what I think of as “Frodo-esque” backstories where a character from a rural region leaves to become something bigger than before.
The villains are also more fleshed out than some other stories out there, as I don’t want entirely black-and-white conflicts in the tale. I suppose that goes back to my Game of Thrones inspiration. There aren’t going to be too many pure bad guys in my books. I want characters who are multi-faceted, not just one-sentence cookie cutter figures.
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