Interview (& Giveaway): Alex Adams, author of White Horse

I’m so excited to have Alex Adams on the blog today! Alex is the author of the brand new dystopian novel White Horse, and was kind enough to answer a few of my questions. Also up for grabs is 2 copies of White Horse to 2 lucky winners, so be sure to check out the giveaway details at the bottom of the post!

Please welcome Alex to the blog!

Your brand new dystopian thriller, White Horse, just came out! Have you always wanted to be a writer? Can you tell us a bit about your journey?
Writing wasn’t my childhood dream, though I did always want to be entertaining in some way. For most of my single-digit years I wanted to be Doris Day or maybe Anne Margaret. Then I went off to college to study a combination of Psych, Human Bio-science and Sociology. Probably no one would be more surprised at my writing ability than my college Sociology lecturer. The poor man asked the class to describe an apple. After reading my offering, in which I described an apple as “round and probably red,” he said, “You’re a science student, aren’t you?”

It wasn’t until I was 22 or so that I thought about writing. That idea was quickly shelved, though, when I realized I had nothing to write about—yet. I was one of those people who needed to be a little more lived-in first. Not long after I turned 30 the writing bug struck again, while I was reading a description of shoes in a chick lit book. I thought, “I can do this!” But of course I quickly discovered that writing something worth selling is massively hard.

Lucky for me, I’m quite stubborn (anyone who knows me and is reading this is either laughing or crying right now). So when I wrote a funny mystery about a pet detective and it went basically nowhere, I cast it aside and began working on the next thing. With each manuscript I gained more and more useful feedback from publishing pros. I read as widely as I could, twisting my brain like a pretzel and soaking up as much as I could about storytelling, the publishing industry, and the mechanics of writing.

I like to joke about bribing the writing gods with a combination of cakes and human sacrifices, but the reality is I just worked hard, tried different things, and didn’t quit.

How did you celebrate when you found out White Horse would be published?
To be honest I was too stunned to do much of anything; I believed it would be published eventually, but I had no idea how well. I sat on the floor with my dog and performed some highly unattractive combination of laughing and crying. Once I cleaned myself up, I went out for a burger. I think part of me was afraid that it wasn’t real, and that if I seriously celebrated it would end in a email that read “We were kidding, sucker!” (Spoiler: It was. They didn’t.)

How long did it take you to write White Horse (from writing to publication)?
The actual writing process took only a few months. But I took a break while writing so from Prologue to The End was about a year. I’d been querying for about 5-6 weeks when Alexandra Machinist, my now-agent, asked if we could talk. I signed a contract with her on October 1, 2010, and on November 1 she was calling to tell me the results of the auction. From the first words on the screen to publication date was 2 years and 8 months. Writing isn’t a short game.

Why do you think dystopian/post-apocalyptic stories are so popular right now?
I think with the world the way it is (a big old mess) we’re starting to wonder if we’re circling the drain. The whole Mayan 2012 thing isn’t helping (although I see they’re back-tracking now, telling us change is coming, not The End. Oh, those funny, changeable Mayans!) Post-apocalyptic and dystopian stories depict ways in which humankind has prevailed, despite facing world-ending events, and I think that’s appealing to readers. It’s a very hopeful thing. We want to believe we can make it through anything so we’re drawn to stories that reflect that.

There’s also something very exciting about imagining a world that used to be ours but that’s been rendered almost unrecognizable. As much as it scares a lot of us, I think we’re drawn to the idea of massive change. At least on paper and celluloid.

Are there certain books or authors that have influenced your writing the most?
Definitely. Terry Pratchett and Vladimir Nabokov have taught me a lot. Whatever you think of his stories, Nabokov knew how to make poetry out of prose. And some magical how, Pratchett makes every word count. He wrings multiple meanings out of so many of his sentences, and he knows people. Really knows them.

This is fine-point stuff, though, because I think most writers are influenced by everything they read—even junk mail. Who hasn’t drooled over really great copy from places like Trader Joe’s and Zimmerman’s?

What are you reading right now?
Lilith Saintcrow’s The Hedgewitch Queen and The Tourist, by Olen Steinhauer. Wildly different, but both are excellent. I read all over the place. I’m consistently inconsistent.

If you could read one book again for the first time, which one would it be?
Today’s answer is Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind. It’s one of my all-time favorites. Ask me tomorrow and I’ll probably give you a different answer.

Okay, now it’s tomorrow and my answer is: all the Harry Potter books.

When you manage to find some free time, how do you like to spend it?
Lately most of my down time involves sprawling on the couch with my guy, watching movies. We’re both writers, and story-telling junkies, so all movies result in lively discussion and analysis of what we’ve just seen. Otherwise you’ll find me reading or whipping up something in the kitchen. I’d bake all day if I had the time, space, and mouths to shovel food into.

Your bio says you were born in New Zealand and raised in Greece and Australia. If you could pack your bags and go anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would you go?
Europe. Most definitely Europe. My fiancé has never been and I’m itching to go back and show him my favorite places, and discover new things together. Basically any kind of travel that involves exploring would thrill me. I can only take lying on a beach for so long before I want to get up and do something.

Do you have any advice for struggling writers?
Read widely and try writing outside your own comfort zone. Even if you don’t like it, write some poetry, pen a play, anything to stretch those writing muscles. You won’t know what you’re capable of until you try.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
You can’t see me now, but I’m sitting here like a deer in the headlights. I never know what to say to open-ended questions, so let me just thank you for having me here!

Keep up with Alex: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Read my review of White Horse

**GIVEAWAY DETAILS** 
1. You MUST fill out the form below (lots of chances for extra entries!)
2. Giveaway is for 2 copies of White Horse to 2 winners.
3. Giveaway is open to US/Canadian addresses ONLY
4. Must include a valid email address with your entry
5. You must enter on or before 4/30/12
6. Giveaway book generously provided by Atria Books.
7. Please see my Giveaway Policy.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

About White Horse:
The world has ended, but her journey has just begun.

Thirty-year-old Zoe leads an ordinary life until the end of the world arrives. She is cleaning cages and floors at Pope Pharmaceuticals when the president of the United States announces that human beings are no longer a viable species. When Zoe realizes that everyone she loves is disappearing, she starts running. Scared and alone in a shockingly changed world, she embarks on a remarkable journey of survival and redemption. Along the way, Zoe comes to see that humans are defined not by their genetic code, but rather by their actions and choices. White Horse offers hope for a broken world, where love can lead to the most unexpected places.

39 Comments:

  1. I liked Alex’s comment about wanting to write at 22 but not having lived enough to have anything to write about! I’m really looking forward to reading this, and congratulations to Alex on her new release!

    rwschwarz11ATgmailDOTcom

  2. Great interview! I would love to vist Europe, since I’ve never visited. I don’t know if my hubs is willing to travel that far. Thanks for the giveaway. White Horse is going on my wish list.

  3. I love dystopian novels, but cant find much of them that really absorb an intertain you. This one sounds like it will keep you right there inside the world of–

  4. sounds like a great book…would love to read it!!! Thanks for the giveaway!!!!

  5. Yeah, I’ve gotta say this one has my interest.

  6. I love authors who have no problem saying that they love watching TV whenever they have free time!

  7. Ha! I love your story about describing an apple. :] Sometimes I get discouraged because I’m so aware of how young I am, and how much farther my writing has to go before it will be something people will want to buy and read. It’s reassuring to know that other succesful authors went through the same stage I’m in. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Great Interview and Review of White Horse. This book sounds very interesting and possible follows some of the psychological aspects that I loved in Sophie Littlefield’s Aftertime series. I look forward to reading this book.
    Cheers
    http://j9books.blogspot.com

  9. There’s always something that I find fascinating with any dystopian I read. This one sounds like it won’t be any different.

  10. This sounds like a book I would probably read cover to cover in one sitting–then read it again!!

    Michele
    MikiHope1@Yahoo.com

  11. Hi, Alex! You mentioned that in your free time you enjoy watching movies. Any favorites? What about the ones that you found yourself really analyzing?

    • @Tami, I’m pretty easy to please when it comes to movies, but lately I really loved The Hunger Games and Anonymous (the later was a really pleasant surprise). As far as analysis goes, we spent a lot of time picking apart Dream House. I won’t spoil it for you, except to say the ending has us going, “HUH? Where did THAT come from?” Much dissection followed. Another one was the newest version of the Three Musketeers. A few tweaks could have made it a much stronger movie.

      @Gabi, it’s easy to get discouraged. I’ve been there, too. Get out and live your life, do stuff you love, and keep writing. Time will have flown by before you know it.

      @Christina, I lived in Greece for several years so I’d definitely love to go back with my guy. But Spain and Italy are at the top of my must-visit lists. Everywhere else in Europe is a very close second. 😀

      @Rachel, the title comes from the four horsemen of the Apocalypse in Revelations. During the course of the story a preacher with a TV show dubs the virus “White Horse,” because the first horseman out of the seal in Revelations brings pestilence/plague.

  12. Love the comment about the apple. I also enjoy reading dystopian genre books. The what if behind each page makes them an interesting read.

  13. Sounds so good! Thanks for the giveaway! You seem so cool, Alex! 😛 It would be awesome to meet you.

  14. Thanks for the interview and giveaway! I would love to have grown up in other countries – sounds so cool!

  15. Rachel @ thejeepdiva.com

    I’ll be honest I wasn’t sure if I would like this book. I like this type but I dont know just wasn’t sure but after reading several of the reviews I am convinced. I would like to read this book and I also want to know why it is called White Horse.

  16. Victoria Zumbrum

    Thanks for the giveaway. I can’t wait to read this book. It sounds very good. Tore923@aol.com

  17. Congrats on the new release! This book was already on my TBR list and I can’t wait to read it!

  18. Very nice interview. The book sounds very good.

  19. Sounds great! Thanks for the giveaway!

  20. I have recently fallen in love with dystopian books and this one sounds amazing. If I do not win this I will be racing to buy it. Also, the cover art is beautiful. I am sorry i couldn’t like you on FB. I keep getting kicked off. Will fix that!!
    Thanks for the great giveaway. I would love to win this book!

  21. I recently started reaing Post-apocalyptic atories and I am really enjoying it. I like seeing the different world and how characters act. I have my eye on your book. It sounds so interesting.

  22. Thanks for the interview & giveaway! I’ve been to Europe also, and of the countries visited I liked France the best. I would LOVE to visit Australia someday.

    • Oooh, France is on my list, for sure. A writer friend of mine is spending a year over there at the moment and she’s completely in love with the place.

      And definitely do go to Australia if you ever get the chance. It’s an amazing, beautiful, and sometimes harsh (the desert!) place. It’s a country of contrasts.

  23. I love so much of this and am now even more excited about reading White Horse (which I was already excited about because, um, hello, dystopia + horses).

    First of all, Terry Pratchett is the man! He’s so hilarious. And, Nabokov, I haven’t read yet, but I did read the first page of Lolita, and it totally blew me away. I own it now, but I need to read it still.

    Europe is the best! Any specific part of Europe you want to go to?

  24. I love dystopian novels and can’t wait to read this one.

  25. Oh I’m definitely with you on wanting to travel Europe and not being able to sit still on vacation. I want to see everything!!

  26. Doh! I just replied in one big lump further up the page. Forgive me, folks, for I am having a dim day. 😀

  27. Pingback: Release Days!

  28. Ooooh, I’m so addicted to dystopian novels right now. I can’t wait to read this one!

    I literally lol’ed at your description of an apple. It’s fascinating that you went from so “science-minded” to writing a novel.

    • I know, right? That poor man would probably drop dead out of shock. To this day I really can’t think of a better way to describe an apple, except to maybe say that they’re also sometimes green or yellow.

      What’s funny though is that my mother recently sent me my 10th grade English assignments, and it was easy to see from the comments that my English teacher wouldn’t be surprised I’m a writer at all.

  29. I hear great things about this book. That is some great advice about reading widely & writing things out of your comfort zone. I’ll have to take it to heart.

  30. What was it like growing up in Greece?

    • Cathie, it was fantastic! We lived in a small seaside village (it makes an appearance in White Horse, one of those places where everyone knows everyone else. So it was a safe, fun place to grow up. And when you have twenty or so cousins like I do, there’s always someone to raise hell with. 🙂

      Living there definitely altered my life.

  31. i love reading dystopia books and i can’t wait to read this one. Love the cover!

  32. White Horse sounds very intriguing — like Y: The Last Man and I Am Legend, with some Island of Dr. Moreau thrown in there, though I could be wrong. And if you’re between projects (like novel drafts), it’s great advice to write something out of your comfort zone, even if it’s short.

  33. This book sounds like it will be a great one. Thanks for the great giveaway!! Gale

  34. Not really a question, but I completely agree with your thoughts on dystopian books. “We want to believe we can make it through anything so we’re drawn to stories that reflect that.” That is probably the reason I love to read them so much. Seeing the determination of the human spirit.

    Great intervew!

  35. Congrats on the book release! I love books like this so I really hope I win a copy.
    MJB
    msmjb65 AT gmail DOT com

Comments are closed