Welcome Alex Pearl
Author of, among others, Sleeping with the Blackbirds.
(Links to where books may be found are at the end of this interview.)
Please tell us a little about yourself.
I am an advertising copywriter by trade, and I suppose I’ve always been reasonably good with words. English and art were the only subjects I enjoyed at school. I came to writing fiction in 2011 with ‘Sleeping with the Blackbirds’, which I initially wrote for my kids. And in 2014 my short story ‘Scared to Death’ was published by Mardibooks in an anthology entitled ‘The Clock Struck War’ to mark the centenary of the First World War.
What first inspired you to write?
My English teacher at school was inspirational and brilliant at instilling in his pupils a love for words. His lessons were totally unconventional and unpredictable. On one occasion, he asked us to mark his old essays.
In what genre(s) do you prefer to write?
I don’t have a preferred genre. As an advertising copywriter, I’m used to adopting different tones of voice for a diverse range of clients and audiences. The same goes for my attempts at fiction.
How/Where do you get the ideas for your stories?
I think you have to use a lot of life experiences in your writing. Write about things you know and have observed. I once had the pleasure of sitting next to Beryl Bainbridge at an awards dinner. She constantly took notes in her notebook. Some of her observations will have no doubt ended up on the pages of her books.
Are you working on another book?
I am currently working on a thriller based on the 7/7 terrorist attacks on London in 2005.
If your books have required research: What do you consider the best resources?
I use the internet – particularly sites like Wikipedia and books from Amazon for research. For my current book, I needed to know how terrorists were using the internet to send messages in 2005, and I found a whole book on Amazon that’s dedicated to the subject.
Do you consider your book(s) convey messages to readers?
I wanted my first book ‘Sleeping with the Blackbirds’ to convey several messages to young readers. I wanted to make the point that people are shaped to a large extent by their circumstances, and that bad people are often bad for a reason. It doesn’t make their behaviour excusable, but it does make it understandable.
What advice would you give to authors who are just starting out?
Enjoy your writing. Don’t be afraid to share it with others. And never be put off by rejection letters from literary agents. The best of us have received them. Even JK Rowling has.
Do you self-edit or do you think a book should only be professionally edited?
‘Sleeping with the Blackbirds’ was edited by the original publisher PenPress. But a few errors were missed and the second publication was re-edited by Red Button Publishing and myself.
I think it’s well worth getting your manuscript edited by a professional editor because you are too close to it, and a fresh pair of eyes will most likely spot ways to enhance your text.
It’s always best to get a recommendation from another writer – someone whose writing you admire.
How do you go about marketing your books?
I did a reading at a local primary school, asked friends, family, local newspapers and bloggers to review it, and offered it free on Smashwords. I also had a website and trailer made. And I tried a couple of online promoters and asked Readers’ Favorite to review it, which they did free of charge.
How important do you think reviews are?
Reviews are vital. And the two websites that matter most are Amazon and Goodreads.
If you consider reviews important, how do you go about obtaining them for your books?
Do you have a preferred genre for when your read?
I don’t favour any particular genre.
This is an age old question but one I consider of interest. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you like to have with you?
They’d have to be books I hadn’t read, and assuming that I’d be on this island for some while, they’d have to be long. Don Quixote by Miguel De Cervantes would be my first; Moby Dick by Herman Melville, the second; and War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy would be my third.
Please share with us links to where readers may obtain more information and insight into who you are.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/%28Copywriter%29-Alex-Pearl/e/B00AR0T3QA
Smashwords Author Page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/blackbirds
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2842442.Alex_Pearl
Thank you Alex for sharing with us.
Sleeping with the Blackbirds is available in paperback and digital (e-book) formats.
Smashwords (digital formats for all devices) (Book is FREE here.)
If interested, you may read T. R.’s review here.