Alex Whitehall

Tell us about your recent Riptide release. What was the inspiration behind it?

Second Skin is the story of Jay, a trans college student, who meets Roswell, who’s practically perfect, and the development of their relationship...and of course the bumps in the road. The theme of the story is acceptance and understanding, which is something I think happens--or at least I hope happens--a lot in college. It’s a time for educational broadening, but it’s also when young adults are meeting various people outside the setting they’ve been raised in. Even with the internet, being surrounded by one mind-set can lead a person to think only in that mind-set, and college is about challenging those assumptions.

The inspiration for Second Skin was a “what if…” thought I had one day that spiraled into what you’ll read there. I wanted to look at how we view ourselves, how we view others, and how our own identities influence those views.

What can readers expect when they read a story from you? What would you like potential readers to know about you and your books?

I hope that readers find realistic characters that they can connect to. I’m much more likely to write about Jack and Daniel from next door than Alpha Heroes who Know All. I like my characters sweet but flawed, and usually stubborn and snarky. Their stories focus on personal growth and overcoming their worst enemies: themselves. I’m a giant sap, so I love sweet happy endings, and I really like puns, so one of them usually works their way in. I limit it to one per book though.

What was the most surprising thing you learned about yourself while writing your latest release?

I really learned about perspective, and not just while writing Jay, but during the revision process. Lines that I felt made perfect sense were pointed out by different readers as being confusing or vague. Because of perspective. Phrases or actions I take for granted because of my age and the people I associate with, weren’t familiar to some people. And that made me stop and think.

In everything we do, we risk people interpreting it differently. We use terms and phrases and assume everything takes them the same way, but they don’t. And I learned through polishing this story that making minor changes to how I approach some things can create a  more accessible story, rather than digging in my heels and refusing to change. I might be “right” in my mind, but is refusing to change helping anyone? Sometimes, maybe, but it’s all about being willing to listen and not have an instant reaction.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Well, if it’s during NaNoWriMo, it takes about a month. But generally it takes about half a year, depending on length of the book. I’m not the fastest writer, mostly because I distract myself with horses, friends, and too many projects at once. But I’m working on getting a more regular writing schedule in place, so hopefully you’ll be seeing more of me in the future.

Describe your workspace.

I have a tiny cheap desk that I usually work at with my laptop, or else I balance my laptop on my crossed legs on the couch. I don’t need much, but it needs to be fairly clean and quiet--with maybe some instrumental music playing and definitely with a cup of tea.

Do you ever get writer’s block? What do you do to cure it?

I’ve always felt it’s more like writer’s constipation rather than block. Like it’s there, I can feel it, I just need to push myself a little harder....but that doesn’t work. It just makes me strain something. So I try to eat healthy and drink lots of water (to flush sugar and salt which can mess with my chemical balances), go for a walk, read different books, and maybe flip through some old stories I started that could be picked up again.

Generally taking a break from the story that’s stressing me out helps. If I don’t feel the pressure to FINISH THAT NOW, it gets me off the hook and I’m more likely to want to write it. Or at least that’s what I tell myself.

What can readers expect from you in the future?

Puns, most likely. I swear I put one in every story. Oh, you mean story-wise? Well, I have a recovering-addict ex-rocker, a plethora of shifters, a Peter Pan retelling, more shifters but in a fantasy setting, a YA contemporary, and maybe one day that post-apocalypse story…

Did I mention I like to multitask my projects?

Do you have a favorite quote?

I don’t have a favorite, but I do tend to like Oscar Wilde’s stuff, so here’s one of his:

“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”
- Oscar Wilde

If there are two types of people in the world, Alex Whitehall probably isn't one of them, despite being a person. Their favorite pastimes include reading, horseback riding, sleeping, watching geek-tastic television, knitting, eating, and running. And wasting time on the internet. And spending glorious evenings laughing with friends.

While Alex prefers sleeping over doing anything else (except maybe eating), sometimes they emerge from the cave to be social and to hunt for food at the local market. They can be found blogging, reading, and tending after their aloe plants.

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