Today we have a new special guest for our Author Articles: Alex R. Khaler. I recently discovered his book Runebinder, a story that gripped me from the first pages. You can read my review here. I’m now well underway into his other books. When I contacted him (like the fangirl I am), he graciously agreed to do an interview. So without further ado, please give a warm welcome to Alex.
Hi Alex and welcome to Bookwinked. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview. So tell us, who is Alex R. Kahler and how did you get into writing books?
Thanks for having me! As a quick bio, I’m from a small town in Iowa but left at 16 to travel and learn more about the world. Haven’t stopped moving and acquiring stories since. Writing books has always been a calling for me—I needed to find a way to share the worlds I built in my head.
This is the question all authors get, but where does your inspiration for writing your stories come from?
Oof, all over? I’ve had stories pop into my head at 3AM while trying to sleep, others while listening to music or driving or reading or watching a movie. I’m a bit of a grazer when it comes to finding inspiration.
Your book Runebinder is the first book in a new series. A story set on a post-apocalyptic earth with magic, monsters and a hero on the rise. Can you tell us how Runebinder came about?
Runebinder came about 15 (yes, 15) years ago. At least, a variation of it did. Since then, it has gone through dozens of rewrites and reimaginings. But at the core, it was always a story about discovering magic, and overcoming the monsters humanity created in its wake.
Runebinder is the first in the series. Can you tell us a bit about your plans for the Runebinder chronicles?
A little! I can tell you that book two, Runebreaker, centers around a new protagonist Aidan, who is marooned in Scotland and is the fiery, polar opposite of Tenn. He may or may not be an anti-hero. Aidan and Tenn may or may not meet in book three—with varying degrees of camaraderie. And in book four, well…all hell breaks loose. Somewhat literally.
You have several published fantasy series, how important is the fantasy genre to you?
I grew up on fantasy. It’s lifeblood to me, and certaincenters
fantasy worlds helped me through a lot of tough times. I think it allows us to explore so, so much that other genres can’t. Beyond the magic and monsters, there’s a very human element that modern myth allows us to delve deeply into.
Runebinder has a main character who doesn’t see himself as a hero or important. How did a character as Tenn came about?
Honestly, Tenn was moody the moment he stepped into my brain. But I think those two qualifiers—not feeling heroic or important—are important to recognize now more than ever. I mean, look around—so many of us feel like that all the time. Like we can’t change the world around us. I wanted to show a hero who, for the most part, personifies those traits we all have. And I wanted to show him not only overcoming them, but proving that everyone has a story and a role, and that being a hero has nothing to do with being heroic or doing heroic deeds: it’s about showing up and doing what you can to change the world for the better. And that’s something all of us can do, no matter how it manifests.
Do you have a writing process when writing a book?
I wish. I write when I can, where I can, as much as I can.
Runebinder features main characters that are gay not just relegated to the supporting cast. It’s not your first book that features characters from the lgbtq-spectrum. Is publishing a mainstream book with lgbtq characters different?
It is. Honestly, they don’t reach as wide an audience as books with straight characters do, at least not in my experience. It’s a smaller pool of readers. That said, the reader response is so much stronger. As someone who identifies as queer, it’s rare for us to see characters who live and breathe and love like we do, and when that resonates, it can be life-changing. Especially when we are allowed to be the heroes and have powers and not, you know, be killed off by the end.
Which of your books did you find easiest to write and which one was the hardest?
That’s a hard one. Immortal Circus definitely flowed, but that might just be rose-colored glasses and hindsight at this point. Runebinder is definitely up there in difficulty, if only because it has been rewritten so many times. The finale to the Pale Queen series, Black Ice Burning, nearly killed me, but I was incredibly proud of it at the end.
What is the funniest thing that happened to you when writing?
Well I had my computer stolen two weeks before a deadline, without having backed anything up? Does that count?
If you could be a part of any book you want to be, which book would that be and why?
Harry Potter. Hands down. I know that’s probably everyone’s answer but I desperately want to go to Hogwarts and be British. I mean a wizard.
About Alex R. Kahler
Alex is many things, but first and foremost, he’s a Sagittarius.
In the past few years he’s taught circus in Amsterdam and Madrid, gotten madly lost in the Scottish wilderness, drummed with Norse shamans, and received his Masters in Creative Writing from Glasgow University. And that’s the abbreviated list.
He is the author of THE RUNEBINDER CHRONICLES, THE IMMORTAL CIRCUS, THE PALE QUEEN, and RAVENBORN.