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Tuesday, 6 February 2018

ℚ♫ K.I.A. - Alexander Charalambides

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about K.I.A. (, Byzantion Books, 346 pages), a New Adult Thriller.

“Clever characterizations and outstanding writing elevate this Young Adult novel far above other stories in its genre… KIA is a storytelling triumph by standout writer Charalambides.” Publishers Daily Reviews 

“K.I.A. by Alexander Charalambides… lures the reader in immediately and doesn't let up. Strong characters that you either love or hate, a plot that has some fantastic twists and turns and the pages of K.I.A. almost turn themselves.” Alvin H. Rightler

|| Synopsis || Teaser: KCR Preview || | Author Q&A || About the Author || Giveaway & Tour Stops ||

A very warm welcome to Alexander Charalambides; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

We love music, so Alexander Charalambides has shared with us his awesome music playlist for K.I.A. - enjoy!

What was the inspiration for K.I.A.?
"In order: I thought the “prep school spy academy” sub-genre was a little bland, so i wanted to spice it up a bit, second, I wanted to know if I could write a female-led YA airport thriller sort of plot, and lastly, everything Francis does at Marlin Academy in Malcolm in the Middle."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"I’m glad I got this question, because I’m a pretty reserved person, and I think my unwillingness to put parts of myself in my writing might be my biggest weakness as a writer."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover. Can you tell us about your cover for K.I.A. - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"The earliest idea I had for the cover was a blank cover with a window front and centre, with a snowfield visible through the window.

If you read the book there are a few reasons why I thought this might be fun, but the novel has a very tight first person focus, and Hildegard’s worldview is very narrow and focused. I didn’t really like the window, but Mina Chara (who I recommend) designed a really simple, abstracted arctic landscape, swapping out the darkness for bright red to underscore the violence brimming under the surface of the story."
Why should we read K.I.A. and what sets it apart from the rest? What makes your book unique?
"Aside from the focus on a single character’s voice and worldview that I mentioned above, I’d say the unique aspect of K.I.A. is Hildegard’s agency.

A lot of lip service is paid to the idea of “strong female characters” but I still feel the idea itself sort of hamstrings you, when they should really just be characters.

Hildegard explores and then fully embraces entirely ruthless courses of action, executes complex, desperate plans and, when she has to, shoots a lot of people. Her decision making is what drives the entire story forward."
Can you tell us something quirky about K.I.A., its story and characters?
"My favorite character wears a fishbowl on his head at all times, and I’m quite proud of his dying monologue."
Who would you recommend K.I.A. to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"Violence! Naughty words! Teens Kissing!

I’d say the book’s predominantly an action thriller, so if you like that sort of thing you should like K.I.A."
If you could / wished to turn K.I.A. into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"Listen. Come closer.
Don’t do this to me. Stop.
The great thing about books is that the reader imagines the characters, which is great for helping people to feel included and represented. It’s that simple, just give your readers that little extra blank space where they can write their own bits, they’re probably pretty good."
What do you like to write and read about? Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?
"I feel strongly that I need to settle on a genre, but I’m still experimenting with a ton of different stuff, and I have a lot of different novels in various stages of development.

As for reading, I often end up with a simple YA/NA fantasy just because there’s something comfortable about it, I almost always know where everything’s going, and if the novel surprises me, even better!"
What is your writing process?
"Step 1: Have an idea.
This usually comes from other stories with parts I really like, where I don’t think the author has done them justice.
It might be more accurate to call this stage “steal an idea”
This usually happens while talking over a story I enjoyed with someone else.

Step 2: Develop the Foundation
This is when I choose the shape of the plot, finalize the characters and their relationships, and determine the essential events of the plot.
This usually happens while lying awake in bed.

Step 3: The Hard Part
This is when I lay out each individual scene, writing them down in my notebook. This is the part where mistakes create the biggest problems.

Step 4: First Draft
You know it, you love it, this is the part with the actual writing.
Naturally this is all computer, all the time.

Step 5: Second Draft.
I leave two weeks between finishing the First Draft before working on the second.
I read it through and identify problems. After I’m confident all problems have been identified, I eliminate them.
This is Step 5, but really this a rinse and repeat thing, I do this step as many times as I need to.

Step 6: Copy Edit
I edit the text to eliminate spelling, grammar and formatting mistakes.
This is the boring part.

Step 7: Release.
A lot of this happens in parallel with step 5 and 6, blurb writing, getting a cover, and thinking about marketing. For example, we didn’t decide to create the special edition of K.I.A (hardcover with bonus materials) until everything else was done."
What is in store next?
"My next novel is still in Step 5, with a few big edits still in the works, with only a working title. It’s about a futuristic racing league where inter-planetary tensions lead to violence on and off the track."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"Here is a picture of Gwyn"
Gorgeous! A big hello and lots of cuddles to both fur-babies!
Thank you for sharing Gwyn with us!

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