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Interview with Wendy Alec

UK Bookselling Series

by Claire Main

#109, 10 December 2007

So here I am preparing to interview this most perceptive of authors. So what to wear? I decide on pure white, but decline a veil although I was tempted by a wimple. I walk to the front door and ring the doorbell. Just for a moment I think I hear the sound of an angelic choir. The door opens, the interview begins.

BOOKTHINK: Where are you from?

ALEC I was born in the very centre of London, England, grew up on the shores of the Indian Ocean in Durban, South Africa and am now living in Cornwall, England.

BOOKTHINK: When and why did you begin writing?

ALEC I started writing my first rock opera - "Take the Pill Marked 'X'," when I was just nineteen, just fresh out of drama school - to me it incorporated my two great loves - music and drama. Writing found a way to transcribe everything I visualised in my head down on paper - it's the same today!

BOOKTHINK: What inspired you to write your first book?

ALEC I had started writing the screenplay called "Brothers" - a concept about three Archangel brothers (I was lucky enough to have been trained in my twenties by a specialist screenplay tutor from Hollywood) and was on about my fortieth rewrite for a concept I'd conceived for years when I was forced to take a long hard look at my day-to-day schedule and realised that, with my intensely frenetic day job of running the programming and network side of a multinational television channel, it was unlikely the film would get into development/pre-production until around five years later. Screenplay writing is a completely different genre to writing a novel - lean and mean versus a far freer reign. So in my down time I decided to turn the concept into a fantasy novel - purely to get the burgeoning storyline in my head down onto paper.

BOOKTHINK: Who or what has influenced your writing?

ALEC My father was an amazingly gifted man. He was a doctor who practised in London's Wimpole street for years but also played the violin, studied Russian and most of all had an incredible sense of life, people and humour. He urged me to write more than anyone, especially before he died! I remember him saying with profound passion: "Wendy - write. You have to write." He felt that it was destiny for me.

BOOKTHINK: How did you come up with the title Chronicles of Brothers?

ALEC I felt it was what is termed in Hollywood the high concept line - there have been many books on angels - but I felt that the high concept was that the saga revolves around three Archangels, Michael, Gabriel and Lucifer who are brothers, and then in the third novel, Son of Perdition, it jumps from the first heaven to earth, to three human brothers, The De Vere Brothers, so it is very character driven and all seven books revolve around two sets of brothers - The Archangel Brothers Michael, Gabriel and Lucifer and the De Vere Brothers from the Race of Men.

BOOKTHINK: What book are you reading now?

ALEC Research books for Son Of Perdition on the Illuminati/Twin Towers link with Terrorism/Secret Societies.

BOOKTHINK: What are your current projects?

ALEC My hectic day job in television and in down time preparing for the rapidly approaching film development schedule ahead for Brothers, which will involve creating the conceptual artwork, storyboards and then pre-visuals before moving on to pre-production.

BOOKTHINK: Who is your favourite author, and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

ALEC If I simply had to choose - although my style and genre is so very very different from his - I always found Robert Ludlum's complex, exceptionally visual storylines and their hidden lateral twists extremely compelling and brilliant, bordering on genius.

BOOKTHINK: Do you have to travel much concerning your books?

ALEC I travel a fair amount, so luckily I can write about what I know. I do hope to travel more re research in the future.

BOOKTHINK: Who designed the covers?

ALEC Part of my role in TV involves being a creative director, so it was really important to me setting the whole genre for Brothers. I worked with a great fantasy illustrator in the USA, a second illustrator in Australia for the back view of Lucifer, and then compiled the entire book with a designer I work closely with here in Cornwall - I'm a visual junkie! I choose every font, colour, every detail until its right.

BOOKTHINK: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

ALEC Not doing it full-time - I grabbed whatever free time I had. In between writing it, I headed up the TV side of a major launch into the USA and nearly died of exhaustion. I can't imagine what it must be like to have the luxury of writing fulltime. But I just love all the media activities I'm involved in, luckily.

BOOKTHINK: Do you have any advice for other writers?

ALEC Passion - Passion - Passion - and hopefully some great talent with it. And never give up. If you can see it and believe it, it' possible!

BOOKTHINK: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

ALEC Oh - you are just fantastic! The absolute best! Chronicles instantly seemed to develop a rapid cult following among so many of you. Also, so many genres of people just absolutely loved the stories - all age ranges - but the youth market especially seemed to get the whole concept immediately. It was your absolute passion, your comments on my space and emails, that often kept me going the extra mile. I dedicated Messiah: The First Judgement to you, my readers. I really felt that for all of those of you who fell in love with Book One - Book Two was your book. You are just amazing. I really hope you absolutely love Book Two!

The interview ended. I was amazed with the incredible energy, commitment, and sheer hard work Wendy Alec puts into her books. She certainly does not get her inspiration from chocolate or sports drinks. I think I know where Wendy Alec gets her inspiration from.

Questions or comments?
Contact the editor, Craig Stark

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