Interrogation—Maria Alexander

Who: Maria Alexander

What: Maria Alexander is a multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning and Anthony Award-nominated author of both YA and adult fiction. She’s also a student of Japanese swordsmanship. She lives in Los Angeles with two ungrateful cats, a Jewish Christmas caroler, and a purse called Trog.

Where: Los Angeles

Interview conducted by email. Some questions and answers have been edited.

Congrats on your recent Bram Stoker Award! Can you tell us a little about SNOWED?

SNOWED is a YA paranormal mystery about the teen skeptic Charity Jones who discovers she should not only believe in certain Christmas myths, but she should be afraid of them.

What went into creating Charity Jones?

Charity is today’s teen. Because of her racial background, her family’s dysfunction, and her intellectual gifts, she’s got a lot to deal with. But throw in the complicated business of online life and the resulting information overload, and teens today have way more to process today than I did when I was in high school.

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A Little Weekend Reading

Really stoked that people are interested in my debut mystery novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION. Thank you all for the support. Please keep those Amazon reviews coming, it’s the best way to help authors spread the word in the Algorithm Age. At 16 now, aiming for 25 before the end of the year!

If you’re in the Los Angeles area, I’ll be reading at Book Show in Highland Park on Sunday, Nov. 22. This is the launch party for the new Josh Stallings novel, YOUNG AMERICANS. The party starts at 5pm and also features readings by Tony Peyser and Danny Gardner. Info HERE. Come say “Sup, bro?”

And if you have a little extra time this weekend, here are some guest blog posts and interviews from the last week You might even win a signed copy of BCC):

Jochem Vandersteen Interview—This Q&A is brand-spankin’-new! It was just posted today over at SONS OF SPADE. In it we talk about BCC, my protagonist Greg Salem, the eBook revolution, punk rock and genre fiction.

Holly West Interview—I love the DO SOME DAMAGE blog, so I was thrilled when Holly West asked to do an interview with me. In this one we talk a bit about how it feels to get published, my writing process, and some of my  influences.

rsz_screen_shot_2015-11-17_at_60347_am“A Classroom With Liquor”—My guest blog post over at THE SIRENS OF SUSPENSE. This one’s all about the lessons I learned on both sides of the bar, and how it influences my fiction. Leave a comment at the bottom of that blog post for your chance to win a signed copy of BCC.

S.W. Lauden’s debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, is available now from Rare Bird Books. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published by Down & Out Books in 2016.

Cozy vs. Noir: Thoughts On Genre

Cozy vs. NoirIf you write or read books under the greater “mystery fiction” umbrella, then you will be familiar with these two popular sub-genres—”cozy” and “noir”. Here is how Wikipedia defines the two:

  • Cozy mysteries, also referred to simply as “cozies”, are a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are downplayed or treated humorously, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community.
  • Noir fiction is a literary genre closely related to hardboiled genre with a distinction that the protagonist is not a detective, but instead either a victim, a suspect, or a perpetrator. Other common characteristics include the self-destructive qualities of the protagonist.

I know, I know: Freakin’ Wikipedia?! But they make it so easy. It also seems pretty accurate.

Genre has been on my mind a lot recently because I got invited to participate in an  awesome event on the first night of the California Crime Writers Conference. It’s called “Cozy vs. Noir” and it is sponsored by the Mystery Writers of America and hosted by the one, the only, Eric Beetner. I am absolutely thrilled to take part, but the whole concept has got me thinking.

Luckily, I have interviewed some great authors who have strong opinions on the subject. We’ll start with Rob Hart, author of NEW YORKED (out June 1 from Polis Books):

unnamed-1Is NEW YORKED a crime novel in your eyes? How important is genre to you as a writer?

Genre discussions make me go cross-eyed. If I was pressed I’d say it’s a little noir, a little literary. But I’m firmly in the class of: A good book is a good book, and I don’t care if it’s YA or poetry or literary or crime or a cookbook.

(Read the whole Rob Hart INTERVIEW)

And Scott Adlerberg, author of JUNGLE HORSES:

JungleHorsesIs it important to you as a writer to jump between genres?

Is it important to me? It’s not so much important as a question of what works for a particular story. With JUNGLE HORSES, as I was doing it, it seemed to work. The second part, the fantastic part, just grew out of the noirish part, without strain, I felt. I wouldn’t try to force genres together just to be odd or “different.” But what’s fun about genres is how fluid and flexible they are and how you can play around so much with them. There’s a lot of ways to be inventive.

(Read the whole INTERVIEW)

So, if you’re in L.A. on June 5, please stop by. The event is free and open to the public. If not, I will let you know how it went afterward, right here.

S.W. Lauden is a writer and drummer living in Los Angeles. His short fiction has been accepted for publication by Out of the Gutter, Criminal Element, Akashic Books, Spelk Fiction, Shotgun Honey and Crimespree Magazine. His debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, will be published in 2015. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published in 2016.