Wednesday, 8 July 2015

AUTHOR IN THE SPOTLIGHT - Alexandra Sokoloff - BLOG TOUR

 I am delighted that ALEXANDRA SOKOLOFF is joining me on my blog today, as part of the Blog Tour for her books Huntress Moon, Blood Moon and Cold Moon. Alexandra's Huntress Moon series is published by Thomas & Mercer. Cold Moon was published on 7 July 2015.



So Alexandra, what inspired you to write a book in the first place?
It was a number of factors, but one thing especially. I’ve always written very dark crime and supernatural thrillers, and when the Saw horror movies started coming out and were so incredibly successful, every studio and production company in Hollywood suddenly wanted to jump on that torture porn bandwagon. I was actually asked in script meetings to write torture and rape scenes. Well, I wasn’t going to do that for any amount of money.
But - screenwriters have no real power to say no to that kind of demand because you'll just be fired and someone else who will do it will be hired in your place. I knew I had to do something else entirely for a living, because the kind of cycle that a successful franchise like the Saw movies starts can go on for years and years. So that’s when I started writing my first novel, a very spooky college ghost story called The Harrowing. And luckily that book sold right away in a two-book deal and I did the maths and realised I could make a living writing books without having anyone tell me what I had to write. It felt like being let out of prison!

You write supernatural thrillers as well as crime thrillers. Where do your ideas come from?
Ideas come from absolutely everywhere. I dream some of them (I think any writer who isn’t keeping a dream journal is working too hard!). I’m always doing random research about hauntings and paranormal experiences, and about different aspects of crime.
I also find rage a great motivator. I get tremendous inspiration from things that make me angry. Social injustice especially. My supernatural thriller Book of Shadows, and another very different crime book that I'm outlining now are both partly inspired by the gross miscarriage of justice that resulted in the accusation and conviction to the West Memphis Three in Arkansas: three teenage boys wrongly accused of the murders of three little boys. I am especially outraged by crimes against children and women: rape, abuse, trafficking. My Huntress Moon thrillers definitely draw on my rage about those crimes and my anger at society for not making their elimination a top priority.

Have your personal experiences influenced your writing? And if so, how?
Very much so. I could go on about this all day, but just to give one very important example - before I sold my first screenplay, I worked in the Los Angeles County prison system, teaching juveniles. The boys were mostly teenage gang kids and the girls had been arrested mostly for prostitution. Yes, they arrested the girls instead of the men who were trafficking and abusing them. The whole experience taught me a lot about the vicious circle that the so-called justice system is. We are failing our next generation, and it's heartbreaking. I know I write crime thrillers before of that early experience, and I draw on the emotion of it - and the criminal procedure I learned during that period of life - all the time.

Describe your writing style in 10 words or less?
Intense, highly visual, highly sensory, spooky and page-turning.

Do you have any strange writing habits?
I’m laughing. My partner, Craig Robertson, is also a crime writer and he finds it very strange that I move around to all the rooms of the house in the course of my work day. I can only stay about two hours in one place and then it feels like there’s too much energy in the room and I have to go somewhere fresh. And I also change clothes four or five times during my writing day. After two or three hours whatever I’m wearing doesn’t feel right any more and I have to change it up.

Do you plot out the whole book before you start or just start writing and see where it leads you?
Oh, I am a total plotter. I wouldn’t ever have been hired as a screenwriter if I couldn’t go in and pitch the executives, producers and director the entire story, from beginning to end. I use index cards and a three-act, eight-sequence story structure grid to start brainstorm plots. The index card method is a very common plotting technique in Hollywood because you often have to come up with full story ideas so quickly, sometimes literally overnight. If you’re not familiar with the three-act, eight-sequence structure, I teach this method in my Screenwriting Tricks for Authors workbooks and on my blog.

I have really enjoyed all three of your books. What made you write about a female serial killer?
Thank you! When I was a screenwriter, I worked on several film projects featuring serial killers. So for several years I was doing research into the subject every way I could think of besides actually putting myself in a basement with one of these monsters. I tracked down the FBI's behavioural science textbook before it was every available to the public. I stalked psychological profilers at writing conventions and grilled them about various real life examples. I went to forensics classes and law enforcement training workshops.
And while I was doing all that research, one thing really jumped out at me about serial killers. They’re men. Women don’t do it. Women kill, and sometimes they kill in numbers (especially killing lovers or husbands for money – the “Black Widow” killer; or killing patients in hospitals or nursing homes: the “Angel of Death”) — but the psychology of those killers is totally different from the men who commit serial sexual homicide.  I couldn’t believe no one was writing about that, and so for years I’ve been thinking about a great storyline and characters that would allow me to explore these issues in a series of nail-biting thrillers. I finally hit on it with Huntress Moon.

What do you consider to be the hardest part of your writing?
The first draft. I love the research, I love the pre-plotting, I love the editing and layering once the first draft is done, but actually bashing through that first draft is absolute torture. I hate it.

Do you read? If so, who are your favourite authors?
I read compulsively, often five books a week or more. Considering how little time I have to read, that's a lot. I love Tana French, Mo Hayder, Denise Mina, and Val McDermid - the way these authors deal with crime from a feminine perspective, and how they cross police procedure with an almost supernatural sense of evil. I'm a big fan of Stephen King, early Thomas Harris and Lee Child. And of course, my partner, Craig Robertson. What can I say - great writing is sexy!

If you were writing a book about your life, what would be the title?
The first thing that came to mind was 'Against the Current'. Which makes me think that I might be making things too difficult for myself! Seriously, I would never write a book about my own life. Fiction is so much more interesting.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Oh gosh. I blog and teach about this constantly. So I guess the advice is, read my blog! The self-publishing revolution has made it possible for more writers to make a living than ever before. The promotional tools are unprecedented. But you need to understand how self-publishing works before you hit 'publish' on that KDP upload screen.

And lastly, why should people read the Huntress Moon series?
Readers who enjoy serial killer thrillers are fascinated by the way the books turn the genre inside out. Readers who are sick and tired of seeing women portrayed as victims are thrilled by the way these books turn the tables. But mostly, the books are about haunted and haunting characters engaged in a life-or-death battle with real forces of evil. If you like books that make you think and feel along with your adrenaline rush, I think you’ll love them.

Thanks so much for having me, Vicki!

About Alexandra Sokoloff
Alexandra Sokoloff is the Thriller Award-winning, Bram Stoker and Anthony Award-nominated author of eleven supernatural, crime and paranormal thrillers. As a screenwriter, she has sold original scripts and written novel adaptations for numerous Hollywood studios, and teaches the internationally acclaimed Screenwriting Tricks for Authors workshops. She lives in Los Angeles and in Scotland.

Find Alexandra Sokoloff:



Huntress Moon crime thrillers
















All three books are published by Thomas & Mercer

Series synopsis: 
Special Agent Matthew Roarke thought he knew what evil was.
He was wrong.

FBI Special Agent Matthew Roarke is closing in on a bust of a major criminal organisation in San Francisco when he witnesses an undercover member of his team killed right in front of him on a busy street, an accident Roarke can't believe is coincidental. His suspicions put him on the trail of a mysterious young woman who appears to have been present at each scene of a years-long string of 'accidents' and murders and who may well be that most rare of killers: a female serial.

His hunt for her will take him across three states, and force him to question everything he believes about evil and justice.

Click on the links between to read my reviews.
Huntress Moon
Blood Moon
Cold Moon





11 comments:

  1. These look brilliant. I'd love to read them. Great questions (some of which I'm pinching for my next author interview!). Thanks for the chance to win them.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Linda! They are great questions, aren't they!

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  2. These are a great set of books, have read them all and can certainly recommend them. good luck everyone.

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    1. Love to hear that from you, Sarah, thank you!

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  3. Another new author for me. All the books sound like great reads. Great Interview !

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    1. Thanks for stopping, Jaffa! Vicki is a pro.

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  4. Crimeworm: I seem to be hearing about these incessantly at the moment and they sound great!

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  5. Hey Crimeworm - sorry if you're being overexposed… on the other hand, maybe the Universe is trying to tell you something! :)

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  6. I'd not heard of these books before, but they sound right up my street. Intrigued by the idea of a female serial killer too!

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  7. Dave, I'm glad they've finally crossed your path!

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  8. New author-sounds great.Love to read these

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