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: Xavier Axelson is a writer and columnist living in Los Angeles. Axelson’s work has been featured in various erotic and horror anthologies including Best Gay Erotica 2016 Volume 2, Best Gay Erotica 2015, Men of The Manor from Cleis Press, The Bears of Winter from Bear Bones Books, Tricks of The Trade from Bold Strokes Books and First Time Dead from May December Publications.
Thanks so much, Xavier, for joining me!
J. Scott Coatsworth: How would you describe your writing style/genre?
Xavier Axelson: Sensual dark lyrical haunting
JSC: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
XA: Pantser 100000% sometimes I’ll be writing and a character pops us and I’m like “Who are you?” Writing for me I extremely external, I’m tuning into to whoever is knocking on the door, that’s what I love most about writing, it puts me in touch with creative energy of the universe.
JSC: How did you deal with rejection letters?
XA: Ehhh…over time you just kill/dull your ego and move on. There’s worse stuff happening in the world to get that hung up on rejection letters.
JSC: What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
XA: Writing chocolate, or hard candy on the desk…always.
A great desk.
JSC: How did you choose the topic for The Bond?
XA: The topic underneath the horror is family dynamics. At its heart the Bond is about family, friendship and enduring the unraveling of your life.
JSC: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
XA: The main part of why I wrote this book was to explore the notion of facing otherworldly circumstances but still having to do mundane things like doing laundry, washing dishes, keeping a family business afloat…what does that look like and how do you manage? I do think I achieved some small part of a bigger idea that will continue to be explored as the series progresses…I’m learning as the characters learn. We’re all in it together.
JSC: What secondary character would you like to explore more? Tell me about them.
XA: There’s a few. Deana ( I think that’s how I spelled it) Came forth late into the book and was so formidable I had to include her; there’s much more to her than meets the eye so I have to wait and see how she come out in the second book. I’m weary of her because she could spell disaster for my main character, Declan.
JSC: What other artistic pursuits (it any) do you indulge in apart from writing?
XA: Cooking, painting, anything involving plants, nature, dirt.
JSC: Would you rather be in a room full of snakes or a room full of spiders?
XA: Spiders. Although I love both snakes and spiders. Fun note my first tattoo was of a spider.
JSC: What are you working on now, and what’s coming out next? Tell us about it!
XA: I’m writing the second book in the Elemental series. It’s been a surprise, the characters are taking me on an unexpected ride and I love the flow of the story. It’s early stages so all I can say is I think this is going to be scarier than book one. I’m also working on a podcast called “Unraveling the Conversation” which will launce the beginning of November.
Four men are about to discover things are definitely not what they seem … including themselves.
Declan Makavoy, small town farmer and single father, finds out it isn’t just his thumb that’s green. Ivan Soresceau, a local reporter, who always plays with fire in life and love, is about to discover what it means to be burned. Chester Silberglocke, the ailing but sage chiropractor, finds his death is only the beginning of an atmospheric afterlife. And Vinny Pirelli, the local swimming champ, may make waves in the pool but has no idea he is the last piece in a dangerous and life-changing puzzle.
Seduction and unearthly occurrences are only the beginning in what proves to be a race against time as Declan, Ivan, Chester, and Vinny are pitted against a dark force and face unthinkable horrors as they rely on their friendship to destroy an evil beyond imagination.
The wind carried the unpleasant smell of decay. In the heat of summer, the odor is nectar sweet, but in autumn, decay is unexpected. In the summer, it could be tomatoes left too long on the vine, fresh roadkill or sewage wafting up from the dank sidewalk grates. Autumn chilled the stench, offered it bite and acid. The hair on my neck stood on end. I dug my hands deeper into my pockets.
Coming out of the tree-lined path leading to the fields reminded me of emerging from a dream. Overwrought and graphic, like an illustration in a bad comic, the scene unfolded block-by-block, piece-by-piece. The fields were barren, except where remains of gourds and pumpkins jutted from the earth like fevered skulls, things emerging to the cold dreary light. The distant pine trees lined the border of my property like sentries sent from a general to contain the scene. Beyond the trees, the forest appeared a black mass; empty and full at the same time. Perhaps Adam’s body—or Adam himself—waited, hidden in the woods.
They hadn’t found a body.
A new but not unfamiliar wave of pain welled within my chest so I thought I’d burst. Adam was dead. Dead…How could he be…?
Chester turned toward me, his eyes wide. He pointed.
Antonia sat, facing him. She’d been playing house or school with her gourd-squash students. Her singsong contrasted with the fouled air, unnerving me.
Behind her, centered in the field, something either unaware or unconcerned with our presence was consuming the remaining pumpkins.
“Declan,” Chester breathed, “stay still.”
The stench coming from the field hit like a ton of putrid bricks.
“Get her.” I heaved, trying to breathe through the stink. “I have to get her.”
Chester restrained me with more strength than I thought he possessed. “She must stay still.”
“What is it?” I asked.
“I don’t know.”
Just then a huge crow dove and we watched as the creature reached with a massive clawed paw, grabbed the bird and crushed it. It then stuffed the bird into its mouth and made horrific bone-sucking sounds of pleasure.
Antonia smiled and called, “Daddy, have you seen the goblin?”