Alan is a British-Australian author celebrating the release of his latest novel Bound (which I’m really looking forward to) first in an urban fantasy series starring MMA fighter Alex Caine. Amazingly, the novel is free for kindle for the whole of July – you can check it out over here!
Alan was kind enough to do an interview for my blog – hope you enjoy it! Once you're done reading, check out Alan’s site here and follow him on twitter right here.
Ashley Capes: I’m really looking forward to Bound, especially as the mix of MMA and magic sounds awesome. I wanted to ask whether balancing realism and the fantastical was something you consciously worked on while writing, or whether it came naturally?
Alan Baxter: I don’t know that it comes naturally, but it comes easily. I really enjoy melding a magical, mythological undercurrent to a gritty real world environment. It’s an excellent playground.
AC: With your own background in martial arts, does any aspect of the somewhat sedentary lifestyle of a writer ever frustrate, or do you possibly find a sense of stillness in writing?
AB: I enjoy the yin or writing to the yang of physical activity. Having said that, the art of writing and the art of fighting are so similar in so many ways. I plan to write a book about it one day.
AC: That sounds great, can you tell me more about that? For instance is it a case of similarities via discipline as opposed to say, reaction?
AB: Certainly. All the principles of working hard, striving to learn, always looking to improve when your only competition, really, is yourself. Also aspects of focus and self-discipline, determination, learning to take a punch (a rejection!).
AC: Your fans will know that you teach Kung Fu and as a teacher myself, I’m curious as to whether you see any overlap between the world of teaching and writing?
AB: See above! There is loads of overlap, more in the process of practicing martial arts and being a practicing writer than in the teaching of martial arts.
AC: In terms of writing practice I’m curious to hear where you fall on the ‘pantsing – plotting’ continuum? For instance, the mention of ‘playground’ above is interesting and rings true to me, because there is an element of play to creation, surely? How do you see writing in that sense?
AB: Definitely – it’s loads of fun. I’m a hybrid panster/planner, in that I plan loosely and then pants all the bits in between. And if something comes up that goes against the plan, the plan goes out the window and I rethink the direction. I love the organic process of creation.
AC: I notice on your blog you’ve recently posted about having a good team around you as a writer. You go on to mention how vital you feel it is for this team to be critical, in order for a writer to grow. I hear a lot of new writers ask, ‘how do I find a great writing group/support team’? Do you have any insights on how to go about that task?
AB: Best thing is to join your local writers’ centre and search around online for a community of likeminded people. Like making friends anywhere, it takes a while, but it’s completely worth it. With any luck you’ll gather a group of people who will grow with you as a writer and you’ll all help each other. Otherwise, just keep writing and submitting and never give up – once you’ve been around a while, people gravitate towards each other.
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Ashley Capes is an Australian writer of fiction, poetry and very occasional non-fiction.
Imperial Towers (Never Book 5) - draft 1
Moss Dragon - draft 1
Reed Lavender (working title) - draft 1
Unnamed Spec Fic - draft 1
Whisper of Leaves (sequel) - Outline