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The Italian Connection: Author Interview and Book Feature!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Tell us a bit about your family. I have little in the way of family. I was taken from my parents at a very early age and placed in the foster care system. Both my real parents and those that raised me have passed away from varying illnesses. My life partner or mate, as I refer to him, is my family, along with a few intimate friends.
What is your favorite quality about yourself? I am tremendously optimistic, almost to the point of naiveté. I am easily awestricken. Internally I am eleven years old.
What is your least favorite quality about yourself? I am tremendously optimistic, almost to the point of naiveté. I am easily awestricken. Internally I am eleven years old.
What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why? ”We are all accidents waiting to happen.” Radiohead
What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life? Staying alive and loving life more each day.
What is your favorite color? Black
What is your favorite food? Sashimi, Sushi & Dark Chocolate
What’s your favorite place in the entire world? My home.
What inspires you to write and why? Life and it’s happenings inspire me to write.
I write to amuse myself, to release stuff that’s inside that I need to get out, to play God, sometimes. In a world where I control little, I can make my characters do what I want to.
Honestly? It’s a selfish pursuit on my part, allowing me to express parts of my imagination that I can’t express elsewhere. I do think of the reader in that I try to take them to the expected places in unexpected, but agreeable ways. But mostly I write to give a jolt of happiness to subdue life’s pain.
What is your greatest strength as a writer? I’d have to say emotion, I “feel” deeply, as do my characters.
Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it? I wouldn’t call it a block, more like avoidance. But I have learned that sometimes you avoid because a story or passage is percolating. Knowing the difference is the challenge.
If you aren’t sure, you sit down and write… anything, the passage you were supposed to be working on, whatever. If you lose yourself in a half hour, it was truly avoidance. If you have one bad paragraph after thirty minutes… go meditate, the passage is still percolating, forget about it for a while, it will come.
Can you share a little of your current work with us? My latest is a two-volume, stand-alone novel from my Dojo Boys series, entitled The Italian Connection.
How did you come up with the title? Well, I wanted more action in this book than its predecessor and The Italian Job is one of my favorite movies.
I generally give my stories a working title in the midst of writing them, with the intent to “really name it” after I complete it. It’s an artist habit of mine, we don’t name the artwork until after the piece is done, which is why you get a lot of “Untitled” works in the art world. Anyway, I knew I wanted an Italian male in the story so “The Italian Connection” became its working title… Afterwards I got very busy preparing for its release, so the name struck.
Can you tell us about your main character? Ah, Philippe Michael Ponty the angst-ridden lead of this story is actually a supporting character from Dragon & Crow, my previous novel. Readers pretty much demanded to know his story and so I decided to write a short story about him. The story kind of took off and turned into a two Volume novel.
How did you develop your plot and characters? The plot of Volume One, the love story, came from simply imaging what happens when you fall in love but are rejected. Well, for me you keep busy and bury yourself in work. If it’s still too painful, you get out of town or move away and isolate to a degree.
Tommy and Julian, the other leads in Volume One, were developed because I wanted to add an alternative rock edge to the story. For some reason Tommy immediately appeared in my head as a young Denis Leary “aka Tommy Gavin” of the television series Rescue Me. I tried to shake him, but I couldn’t, so went with it.
Julian, the Italian lead? Well, I wanted someone really special and manly for Philip, someone who had struggles of his own, but who was seriously mature and of course smoking hot and extremely passionate. I chanced upon a photo of the very British David Gandy and I couldn’t shake it… he became Julian, lol.
Who designed the cover? I do my own covers, mainly because I couldn’t afford Pl Nunn or Anne Cain and I wanted something in-between a manga illustration and a photograph.
Who is your publisher? Triple A Press.
What was the hardest part about writing this book? Actually this book was much easier to write than my previous efforts, because I had lived with Philippe for a longer time and knew him very well.
Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it? Get an editor, everyone who writes to publish needs an editor.
How do you promote this book? Well, so far, in the usual manner, Tweeting and FB and social networking. I try to be a little different in that I generally add pictures of the characters and images from the books that I doodle. Yes, promotion, especially self-promotion is not my strong suit, but I’m learning.
Will you write others in this same genre? Yes, I like the MM Romance genre.
I hope to have a anthology of short stories that answer a few questions about supporting characters from the completed Dojo Boy books.
Than a final 2 Volume installment of the Dojo Boys series, which will be a more active, action-adventure/romance featuring adrenaline junkies and additional information about the espionage organization known as The Tanaka Dance Company, Michael Black and Kiyoshi Kimura.
I also have a college student/drug dealer/Russian mobster series in the works
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? Hmmm, I’d say the message is pretty simple. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Everyone of us is dealing with something, trust, faith and love generally gets you through the rough patches. Just don’t forget about them… trust, faith and love, that is.
How much of the book is realistic? I think the emotion is realistic. Other than that it’s a flight of fancy, a fantasy, a palate cleanser before you take your next big bite of real life.
How important do you think villains are in a story? I think villains are important, because very real villains exist in real life. I also feel that villains… they have their stories too, often warped, but no less valid.
What are your goals as a writer? To develop a good following that like what I write, so that I can continue to share my stories.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)? Hmmm, I do my research online and have traveled quite a bit over the years, so, so far no traveling as a direct result of having published books. But my books are e-books, maybe that will change if one gets into print.
What books have most influenced your life? After Cinderella at age five, I devoured Greek and Roman Mythlogy, followed by Candide, the French classic about a simpleton at age eight. At nine I stumbled across Breakfast of Champions, by Kurt Vonnegut. It taught me about perspective, it was an extremely valuable lesson at the time.
Topaz by Leon Uris was my first thriller and anything by Ayn Rand made a deep impression on me. At fifteen I discovered A Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi, a book that I reread to this day. And then there are the works of Andrew Vachss, David Gemmell, Octavia E. Butler… Sorry too many to name.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – M/M Romance
Rating – R
More details about the author & the book
Connect with Alex Akira on Facebook & Twitter & GoodReads


  1. The optimism comment and the percolating comment are my favorite of the interview. I, too, am ridiculously optimistic. It's something I truly love about myself, but also something that bothers me greatly.

    I really enjoy the percolating comment. I've never thought of that before. It honestly eases my stress over not having written what I'm supposed to have written. It's just not done baking yet, lol.

  1. i love the favorite and least favorite things about yourself!

  1. Unknown said...:

    I love your optimism, especially after hearing about your early family life! Thank you for the great interview!