After enjoying Lex Trent Versus the Gods, I'm delighted to present Alex Bell! Alex kindly answered the questions I had for her. I have it from her publicist that she enjoyed answering the questions, which is always nice to hear. A huge thank you from me to Alex for this interview.
Check out my review of Lex Trent Versus The Gods
1)Where did the idea for Lex's character, and story, come from?
I was sitting in a European Union law lecture one day at university when the idea for Lex came into my head fully formed. I remember writing his name in the margin of my lecture notes so that I wouldn't forget it! I think I was so bored by the lecture (public international law is the only subject that's arguably more boring than EU law!) that the idea of a law student ditching the law for an exciting adventure really appealed to me at the time.
2) Is Lex a version of yourself? (Lex vs Alex). Is he the complete opposite of you?
Ha! No, Lex is not a version of me (although I do sympathise with his feelings about studying law). The reason I named him Lex was that I was watching quite a lot of Smallville at the time, and really enjoying Michael Rosenbaum's version of Lex Luthor. I liked the name Lex because it has notorious connotations thanks to Superman. It didn't even occur to me at the time that his name was a variation of mine. Honest! That is interesting - I automatically put Lex against Alex's name.
3) As for Schmidt's character, who for most of the book is a contrast to Lex, did he feature in the original story ideas, or was his a character which came afterwards?
Schmidt was like Lex - he walked into the story on his own, right at the beginning, as a fully-formed character. I didn't necessarily intend for him to be a main character but events unfolded and he ended up getting dragged along for the ride. I'm afraid I rather enjoyed making his life miserable! His miserable life is an appealing part of the story.
4) The story touches on the issue of dementia/Alzheimer's. Did this come about by accident, or did you want to broach this subject? Lex and Lucius react quite differently to their grandfather's illness. Did you plan it this way or did your Muse run away the ideas?
The Alzheimers thing was accidental, really. My grandfather was diagnosed with the illness a couple of years before I started writing Lex, and although I usually try to keep my own life out of the books, this just seemed to creep in and, once it did, it seemed to fit so well as a backstory for Lex that I wanted to keep it. I also liked the fact that it gave Lucius - who is usually the biggest wimp going - a chance to be brave in a way that is much more noble and heroic than anything Lex has ever done.
5) Do you have an actual Muse? Or do the characters speak to you? (Yes, I realise both might label you as missing a few screws but most writers either have a Muse, or characters talk to them.)
It depends on the kind of book I'm writing, but when it comes to Lex, the characters definitely talk to me! I end up doing things to them just to see how they will react.
6) Will there be any further adventures with Lex and Schmidt in?
There is a second Lex Trent book that will be coming out probably early next year, although the publication date hasn't been firmly set yet. Schmidt's role will only be a cameo this time, though, as Lex has a new companion for the next Game - one who gives every bit as good as he gets!
YES!!!!! A second book!
7) What has the road to publication been like for you? At what moment did you feel 'Yes, I can write'? What do your friends and family think about it all?
The road to publication has been relatively smooth for me, although I wrote three novels and spent two years sending things out before my third book got picked up, so I've had my share of the rejection stage too. I've always enjoyed writing so I don't think there was a particular moment when I decided I wanted to do it, although I didn't start seriously trying to get published until I was seventeen. My friends and family are very supportive of my writing, and always have been. I think they believed in me much more than I believed in myself at the beginning!
8) What happens in a typical writing day for you
Nowadays I try to fit in with normal people (and my young, energetic Great Dane) a little more so I don't write at night as much as I used to. I tend to read through the previous day's work whilst I have my morning coffee, then write new stuff all morning, take a break in the middle of the day, and then go back to writing until about six o clock in the evening when I stop for the day. I always aim to get at least 2,000 words done during that time, but 3,000 words is more ideal.
That's a decent amount of word count there.
9) A few random questions: Can you write through any distraction (music/children/ etc) or do you need silence? What is your favourite writing snack/drink?
Again, this depends on the type of book I'm writing. Ideally I prefer silence - and I never write to music - but I find Lex Trent books so easy to do, and I get so sucked into the story once I start, that I have written scenes on holiday, in public places and on trains. I think I could happily write a Lex Trent chapter in the middle of a rock concert. (Now I would like to see this happen!) For the serious adult books, though, I need the house to be as close to silent as possible.
My favourite writing drink is Red Bull, and my favourite snack is chewy spearmint mints, but I find them so addictive that I always end up eating more of them than I should. I'm with you on the addiction to spearmint mints. There is just something about them.