Welcome to my weekly Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.
Today, Lexi Ander – Lexi has always been an avid reader, and at a young age started reading (secretly) her mother’s romances (the ones she was told not to touch). She was the only teenager she knew of who would be grounded from reading.
Giveaway – Lexi is giving away any backlist title (eBook) with this post – for a chance to win, comment on the post below!
Thanks so much, Lexi, for joining me!
Thank you for having me!
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Hmm… good question. It really depends on how I’m feeling. I can write about 40k per month but the books that I write have been getting longer and longer where 100k is becoming the normal length of a story for me. So, a couple of months. But when I’m struggling with depression, the it can take a lot longer. I have been working on the 3rd book of the Valespian Pact for over a year, mostly because I have trashed two manuscripts already. But on the other hand, Salvaging Toby’s Heart (30k) took me a week to write. I’m not sure I have an average. LOL!
Do you ever base your characters on real people? If so, what are the pitfalls you’ve run into doing so?
I try not to base characters on real people. That seems intrusive in a way that makes me feel uncomfortable. Sometimes, I will take aspects of people I know and combine them. For instance, I took personality traits from my mother, aunt, and sister to create the base of Empress Ashari’s character, but I as wrote her and came to know who she was, she evolved far past the base I had given her.
Are you a plotter or a pantster?
Mostly I am a pantster with an idea of where I want the story to go, but most of the time, even that changes. I can do a little plotting for longer series. I need to make sure certain I remember to do something, but it has to be something very flexible. If it is too detailed, my mind insists I have already written the story and I become disinterested. So plotting is mostly a list of things that need to be touched on.
How do you approach covers for your indie stories?
I love illustrated covers or something that symbolically represents the story. Caledonia Destiny has a knot and dragon on the cover that are an important part of the story. The Valespian Pact covers have landscapes that appear in the books. Alpha Trine’s is the view Zeus had floating on the Waters of Poseidon when he was in the dream with Shaneva. Striker it the shore and storm where Zeus and the Mar’Sani made a stand again the V’Saar.
On the other hand, I chose Sūnder for the cover of Sūnder because, well, he’s beautiful. I also planned for the MCs of the Darksoul series to be the cover models of the series. Part of the reasoning I used is that it is a visual to help readers see Sunder. It also shows that the series has love interests who are not human.
The biggest part of the process is finding a cover artist who can see my vision. I have been lucky so far and have had great artists.
How did you choose the topic for this Caledonia Destiny?
The idea for Caledonia Destiny began with a story prompt. I’m sort of a story prompt addict. When I find one that calls to me, I can’t say no. Caledonia Destiny, Alpha Trine, Sūnder, Play for Keeps, and Salvaging Toby’s Heart are all from story prompts.
Thinking about it, I would say that Twin Flames began with a story prompt too because I asked myself what would happen if fated mates broke up.
What was the hardest part of writing Caledonia Destiny?
The historical aspects. What was available to the characters? What they could they wear, what did they eat, how did they live, what things were called, and how people spoke. 12th century life was dirty (gross) and things we take for granted didn’t exist or only the extremely wealthy had.
What secondary character would you like to explore more? Tell me about him or her.
Arailt, the cousin and his gillie dhu friend. Arailt is the cousin to the MC Ewen. A Scottish forest spirit, gullie dhu, took a liking to Arailt even though gillie dhus usually only show themselves and help children. I always felt there could be a story there, but as of yet, nothing has come to me.
Xun, the loong (pronounced like lung, Chinese Dragon) needs more page time, too. He is the second son to Master Yingjie, exiled prince of the air loong. Master Yingjie helped Ewen in exchange for a future favor. I would like to write that adventure but I would also need to do a ton of research into 12th century china and the lore behind the loongs.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
That depended on the day of the week. Archeologist came up a lot because I loved discovering things. As a pre-teen I loved digging in the dirt and thought it would be cool to be able to do for the rest of my life. LOL! For about a year in Jr High I wanted to be a child psychologist or social worker because I wanted to help children but discovered that I was much too tenderhearted. I love history and so archeology came back in high school. I also enjoyed creative writing and wrote stories throughout Jr High and High School but when I inquired, the high school counselors and other adults discouraged it, tell me couldn’t make a living writing books. I stopped writing the last year of High School and didn’t pick it back up until 2010-11, when I decided to try it even though people said I couldn’t.
Were you a voracious reader as a child?
As a child? Not really. I remember going to the library and participating in reading challenges when I was 5 or 6, but I could tell you what we read. My mother bought me Charlotte’s Webwhen I was 9-10 years old. I couldn’t get past the first chapter, especially with Avory going to kill the runt piglet. I was more interested in crafts such as needle point which I started doing when I was 5 and playing outside where we would pretend to be pirates (or something else that was daring) and climb trees. I didn’t really start reading until I was 14 and that was because a friend of mine would always talking about her latest read. She recommended books all the time and I eventually read a couple, which was the begging of the end. For years mom kept her bookshelf in my room. She had shelves of romance books that I wasn’t allowed to read and ones that she gave the thumbs up. Of course I read the forbidden books first (they were in my room). From that point I read a little bit of everything. Westerns. Thrillers. Mysteries. Fantasy. Sci-Fi.
What other artistic pursuits (it any) do you indulge in apart from writing?
Ha! Ha! There are a lot. I love crafts so I like making my own greeting cards, photography, cross-stitch, embroidery, crocheting, I’m learning to knit, drawing, and gardening. I used to do a lot of scrapbooking. This past year I picked up miniature painting, which is so much fun if time consuming.
And now for Lexi’s latest book: Caledonia Destiny:
A twist of fate changed both their destinies.
The wyrbears, once a long-lived species, were being lost to the forest in their prime. A people borne of a curse, their abilities not a gift but something wrongly taken, they nonetheless live in harmony with their animal spirits. But over time the curse they lived under changed, mutated, and now what once was a refuge from the world when they became too weary is culling mathan in their prime.
Ewen mhic Friscalach, the leader of his peoples, lost his father too early and is now a widower with four children. The vow he made as a youth to break the curse afflicting wyrbears has been buried by grief and responsibility.
Roi mhic Alric, a priest of Cerridwen and seer, watched his fellow priests slaughtered and his temple desecrated. The only thing that kept him going the last three horror-filled years was the vision Cerridwen had granted him of his emancipation. If freedom came at the cost of his life, well, he was more than ready for the Otherworld.
A fated meeting upon a bloody field of battle. A wrong done long ago. Their choices could save a people… or send them into extinction. Either way, their love will be legend.
The next morn Ewen rose early and stoked the fire. Roi wandered into the forest to release his water. When he returned, Ewen bade him sit atop the furs. With an unsure countenance, Roi sat and watched Ewen approach with a wary eye. Ewen took Roi’s hand and used the warm, wet linen to wash it. He rinsed the cloth in the crock of water and repeated the motions with the other hand, gently touching the abraded flesh and each of the scabs where Roi had injured himself climbing the tree.
The camp was utterly quiet as he administered to Roi afore the gazes of his kin. He did not glance into Roi’s eyes until he took the cloth to Roi’s face, cleansing the dust of the road from Roi’s forehead and cheeks. Roi’s eyes were large and round with his confusion, but he did not stay Ewen’s hand which gave Ewen hope. He unlaced Roi’s boots and pulled them from his feet and began to wash them as well. He had not imagined he would be so nervous declaring his intentions in front of his kinsmen, but this moment was important, mayhap the most important declaration Ewen would make in his lifetime.
“Roi mhic Alric, I, Ewen mhic Friscalach, would have it known that I hereby put forth afore my kinsmen my petition to court you. I humbly ask that you consider my request and if you accept, allow no other to court you until the time you decide either to accept my hand or decline it.”
Roi turned pale as milk. Apprehension pooled in Ewen’s gut as he awaited for Roi to shun him. He deserved no less for what he had done, avoiding Roi only to succumb to his desires, waking Roi from sleep to beg Roi to touch him. Whilst Roi spoke truth, Ewen had bestowed upon him harsh words instead of Ewen’s own truth in return. He should have confided in Roi, given him the story of his people’s lineage. Roi’s lack of faith in Ewen might yet be Ewen’s own doing.
Roi placed his hand over Ewen’s where he washed the dirt from Roi’s feet. “Ye be of noble blood, ye do not have to do this.”
He captured Roi’s hand betwixt his palms. “Then tell me how to win back your trust.” Roi’s visage hardened, but not afore Ewen beheld the brief flame of longing in Roi’s eyes. “I shall find a way back into your confidence, Roi, and when I do, you shall never have reason to throw me out again.”
After placing Roi’s hand in his lap, Ewen returned to cleansing his feet, then slipped his boots over his calves and carefully laced them up. Ewen had brought over a square of knotted linen, which he gave to Roi afore he rose to his feet with the crock of dirty water. Roi untied the cloth and stared down at the food Ewen had gathered for him. The offering was not much: the last piece of flat bread, some pine nuts, and the best slices of their dried meat.
Donn grinned and nodded as Ewen passed by on his way to the stream to rinse out the crock. Kneeling at the edge of the water, Ewen then splashed the cold water onto his face, growling at the way his hands trembled.
Bear chuffed with mirth. “Good.”
With that one single word, Bear soothed Ewen’s frayed nerves. For the first time that he could recall, Bear rubbed gently against his skin as if to console him. Crouched at the water’s edge, Ewen held still in shock, able to sense Bear’s emotions without Bear saying the words. When Roi was with them, Bear came alive, naught showing of the violent creature Granda had warned Ewen of. Bear now spoke to, and even interacted with Ewen, all thanks to Roi. Ewen wiped the dripping water from his face with a new clarity.
“Ewen.” He glanced over his shoulder to behold Roi standing at the edge of the trees. Anger still pinched the corners of Roi’s lips but his hands twisted with uncertainty. “I shall not allow another to court—” his brows dipped into a hard V as if he could hardly believe his own words “—me until I either decline or accept yer… yer…” He huffed. “I know not what ye be thinking courting a man, Ewen. Everything ye do confounds me no end, and my mind counsels me to leave ye be but—” Roi rubbed at his left breast, his palm pressing into his chest as if he attempted to soothe an ache “—I find I cannot deny yer request, regardless of how unseemly it be. I never thought ye to be a daft man afore.” The last was said under Roi’s breath.
“I thought you would deny me,” Ewen confessed.
“Yer declaration caught me off guard, and when ye walked away without waiting for my answer I found meself at the mercy of others who vied for my attention. Ye have much to explain, Ewen. No others be as accepting as yer people.” Roi shook his head in a disbelieving manner afore turning to leave, moving around the four men who had followed him to the stream.
Donn, Arailt, and two other cousins watched Roi go. Bear and Ewen growled. “You heard him. He has agreed to my courtship.” Ewen’s kinsmen dispersed, Donn chuckling into his fist but hurrying away afore Ewen caught him.
Lexi has always been an avid reader, and at a young age started reading (secretly) her mother’s romances (the ones she was told not to touch). She was the only teenager she knew of who would be grounded from reading.
Later, with a pencil and a note book, she wrote her own stories and shared them with friends because she loved to see their reactions.
A Texas transplant, Lexi now kicks her boots up in the Midwest with her Yankee husband and her eighty-pound puppies named after vacuum cleaners.
Facebook Author Page: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/lexi-ander/
QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/lexi-ander/
Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Lexi-Ander/e/B009PT22GM/