Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’m a hybrid author – that is part professionally published and part indie published – with twenty five books out at the moment and at least two more in the pipeline. My books have won several awards – you can see details on my site, http://alexbeecroft.com
I wish I could say what genre I like to write in, but unfortunately I enjoy many. I’ve written gay romance, space opera, fantasy, historical, murder mystery and even various combinations of them all. The core of my interests seem to be something similar to Ben Aaronovitch’s ‘Rivers of London’ series or KJ Charles’s ‘Green Man’ series – that blend of fantasy, history and adventure, but with a distinctly queer twist.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest is “Foxglove Copse,” a contemporary m/m romance set in the fictional town of Porthkennack in Cornwall. In which Sam Atkins, a drifter, is accused of black magic when he is discovered over the corpse of a ritualistically slain sheep, and must find out who is really responsible in order to win the boy and clear his name.
I’m a big fan of Cornwall and also of the combination of magic, mystery and gay romance. So despite not being historical, this one was squarely in my wheel house.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I don’t think so! Unless you count taking my laptop out to the shed in order to write. My house has a revolving door. There’s always someone coming or going. So the only way to get enough peace to think is to sit in the shed in the garden. But it has a desk and a heater, so although I often do have to wrap myself in blankets too, it’s actually very convenient.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Tolkien has to be the primary suspect, then Ursula LeGuin and Patrick O’Brien a bit later.
What are you working on now?
I recently decided to take the advice to ‘write what you know’ to heart for the first time, so I’m writing a murder mystery set in the Cambridgeshire Fens in the UK, where I live. It’s an area with a history that goes back before the Romans, and yet it’s also an area that everyone else in Britain calls ‘bleak’. “What’s the best way to show people how beautiful it is here?” I asked myself. “I know! Let’s have someone murdered and then burn their body on a bonfire during the revival of a pagan ceremony. That’ll convince everyone to visit.”
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I am very bad at promotion, and so far the only thing I’ve done that made any difference at all was buying advertising space in the program of a fanfiction convention. Sadly that doesn’t seem to be happening again this year so I know nothing.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Don’t read negative reviews. In fact don’t read your reviews at all. You remember one negative review better than seven positive reviews, so all you’re doing is undermining your own confidence and will to create. Take on board constructive critism, but if a review is a train wreck just don’t even look.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Keep writing until you finish. So many novels get abandoned five or ten chapters in, because once you reach the middle of a book it’s no longer fun writing. It becomes a slog, and then your brain starts telling you it’s not worth it. This book is rubbish anyway. This other one that you’ve just thought of would be much better. So you start writing the new one, and then the process repeats.
There is no way out of this cycle other than to ignore your feelings and to keep writing that one book until you reach the end. That is the very simple secret to finishing a book – keep writing it until you reach the end. Don’t stop.
What are you reading now?
I am currently reading ‘Broken Homes’ by Ben Aaronovitch and ‘Cambridgeshire Folk Tales’ by Maureen James. Unlike the advice to only write one book at once, reading two or more side-by-side is perfectly practical.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I wish I knew. I plan to write a third volume in my (18th Century Ghost Detectives) Unquiet Spirits series, release the murder-mystery that I’m writing now, and perhaps begin a series about a magical society centred on Ely Cathedral. I am drifting away from Romance, I think, so we’ll have to see how that turns out when it happens.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula LeGuin
The Complete Aubrey/Maturin series by Patrick O’Brian