Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on Cozy Mystery Author Alex Erickson.
Alex, Can you please tell us briefly a little about yourself and your writing? How would you like us to introduce you?
I am an introverted metalhead who spends an inordinate amount of time cuddling kitties. I am contradiction. I am, in a word, boring, and I like it that way. I also hate, hate, hate talking about myself or putting the spotlight on ME as a person. But I am thankful for those who do enjoy my books or my company, even when I’m too nervous to say much more than a mumbled “hello.” And when it comes to my writing, my only hope is that, no matter what genre or tone, someone finds joy in it, something to connect to.
Where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!)
In most cases, everywhere! The only exception (for now) is Dial ‘M’ for Maine Coon, which is a Barnes and Noble exclusive until the end of August.
How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?
I am admittedly bad at posting on social media, but I do post updates on releases on both Twitter – https://twitter.com/author138 – and Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/alexericksonbooks – as well as my website – https://alexericksonbooks.com/
For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from Death by French Roast?
I currently write cozy mysteries. They are meant to be fun, despite the murder and deception taking place within them. Whenever a reader picks up one of my cozies, they can expect a story that will hopefully be entertaining, fun, and has pets of the (sometimes) cute and cuddly kind. In Death by French Roast, we get to explore a bit of the unsavory history of the town of Pine Hills, so it is a little different in that we’re working with a cold case, but you still get the same characters—and cats—that you’re used to!
What else can we expect from you in the near future?
The full release of Dial ‘M’ for Maine Coon will happen at the end of August. It was a year-long Barnes and Noble exclusive, but will soon be purchasable everywhere. After that, the next Bookstore Café novel, Death by Hot Apple Cider, will release near the end of October.
What is/are your passions when you’re not writing? How do you make time for your non-writing hobbies/things you love?
Three things: Reading (duh), music, and gaming. I can’t sit still, can’t just stare mindlessly at the television for hours. I HAVE to be doing something that makes my mind work or I get bored and twitchy. I read daily and the genre doesn’t matter, though I tend to drift toward mysteries, thrillers, horror, and sci-fi/fantasy. I listen to music quite a bit and have three guitars I’m terrible at playing. And when I can get together with my friends, we usually game—both board and online video games. How do I find time for it? I don’t sleep! Okay, I sleep, but tend not to consider bed until well after midnight. And since I don’t spend more than an hour or so watching television, and I rarely leave the house, I have lots of spare time to do whatever I want.
What is one thing that most people don’t realize about you?
I’ve written more than just cozies! I wrote a series of urban fantasy novels under the name E.S. Moore, which are currently out of print, but can still be found in used book stores. I hope to reissue these books in the near future as e-books, and in doing so, hope to fix some of the newbie writer issues that cropped up in them. If you follow me on Twitter (yes, yes, I know, I’m bad about posting there, but hope to fix that!) or on my website, I’ll be announcing the Kat Redding rereleases there when they are ready to go!
While you’re writing, do you prefer music, silence, other? Please elaborate!
SILENCE! And I mean absolute silence. If people are talking down the street and I can hear it, it distracts me. A cat sneezes in the next room, I pause. It’s the same with pretty much everything I do. I can’t read if there’s any noise at all going on around me. I can’t watch TV or focus. My mind latches on to every sound and insists on analyzing it, considering it, and that’s not very conducive to work.
Writers very often have furry or feathered or otherwise non-human companions to “help” them through their work. Do you? What do you have? How do they “help” (or, “not-help”) with your writing?
Of course! I have three tuxedo cats who all help out differently. Loki tends to leave me alone and spends most of my writing time sleeping somewhere out of the way. Luna likes to sit on the armrest of my chair and demand pets. If she does not get them, she’ll trample me and my laptop, which can be a hinderance. And Jinx . . . Oh Jinx. He makes sure I can’t focus by meowing, jumping up onto the table where he knows he’s not supposed to be, and gets behind the TV to mess with the cords until he’s chased off. I’m pretty sure he hears voices that tells him to be as distracting as possible and he doesn’t hesitate to oblige them.
What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned, thus far, in your writing career?
Don’t give up. Don’t listen to those who would put you down. Not everyone is going to love what I do. Some of them are going to be very, very mean about it. And, yes, those criticisms will sting, and they will stick with you, but they don’t define you. I set out trying to make everyone happy, and all I did was stress myself out. All I can do is write the books that make ME happy, the ones that my faithful readers would love to read. Nothing else matters. If someone doesn’t like the book, that’s okay. Constructive criticism is great. Abusive attacks and insults shouldn’t even register, and don’t deserve my attention.
Thanks so much for taking some of your time away from the kitties to answer the questions for us, Alex! Please give them a pet for us!