Exclusive with Alexandrea Weis
(We at the Strand are huge fans of Alexandrea Weis. Her novels are riveting thrill-rides, the action never stops, and they can best be described as those books which makes you miss your train stop or forget that you’ve been immersed in her novel for hours. We caught up with Alexandrea and asked her about her latest novel and how she manages to be so inventive and creative, in a genre that is so competitive.)
TSM: First off, I thought your book was fantastic. What provided the inspiration for it?
AW: My manager sent me a pre-made book cover—yes, the cover is pre-made—by Gabriel De Leon. She said, “This girl has a story to tell, and I want to know what it is. Can you write it?” The haunting look of the girl struck me, so Have You Seen Me? was inspired by the model on the cover.
TSM: The horror/crime genre at times can feel shlocky, you managed to imbue your book with a literary feel, yet there was an immediacy that had me turning the pages and forgetting time, how did you manage that balance between the conventions of the genre and also create something that felt real?
AW: I always strive for reality in anything I write, even paranormal. If the setting and characters don’t ring with authenticity, then it doesn’t work for me. I immerse myself in a story, picturing every facet, and that is what I write. I want the reader to become part of the novel. I never set out with specific literary or genre parameters in my head. I just write and let the story take me where it needs to go.
TSM: Who are some of your favorite horror authors?
AW: I adored Poe growing up. He had such a way with words, hypnotizing you with his stories. Anne Rice was another favorite, and because she is from New Orleans, a considerable influence. I also read a lot of Dean Koontz. I loved his style and ability to sweep you into a storyline.
TSM: What are you working on now?
AW: I just finished writing the next book in the Waverly Prep series, Things That Won’t Stay Buried. I had a ball revisiting the survivors of Have You Seen Me? and returning to Waverly. This book has some of the elements people love about the first book, but with new characters and a little more of Waverly’s history woven into the tale. It is another roller coaster ride.
TSM: Are you an outliner or a pantser?
AW: I outline to a degree, but once I start writing, the characters tend to go where they want. I often surprise myself when something new comes alive on the page. So, I would say at heart, I’m a pantser.
TSM: What advice do you have for a beginning author?
AW: Write, no matter what. Keep writing and never stop. I see writing as a muscle, and the more you use it, the stronger it gets. The voice you have in your first book will not be the same in your tenth book. Change is not something a lot of people take to, but as a writer, it is critical. If you aren’t evolving, you get stale, and your readers get bored.
TSM: how did you spend quarantine?
AW: Writing. I never stopped. I got a few books and other projects done. But quarantine didn’t change my lifestyle at all. I spend my days writing and taking care of my menagerie of pets, which includes my husband. So not much was different from me.
TSM: The industry has seen many changes, are you optimistic about what this decade has in store for us?
AW: I have seen so many changes in the book world since I published my first novel (the year before Kindles hit the market). But every shift in direction leads to something better, a new way to reach readers and share my stories. I am always interested in what comes next. With streamers from Netflix to HBO Max being very popular, and platforms such as Wattpad and Tapas launching studios, I believe many authors will branch out into other mediums, and that is very exciting.
TSM: I am surprised, I have not seen a film with a byline that the story was based on one of your books. Is there a chance that one of your novels will be adapted for the big screen?
AW: I actually have two projects under option, one is the St. Benedict series, co-authored by Lucas Astor. The first book is Death by the River, a thriller, and book two, A River of Secrets, is coming February 2022. Two production companies came together to develop and co-produce the series, and a very popular actress is attached. I’ll be sure to let you know more as soon as I’m able. You’ll recognize the people involved, and it’s very exciting!
In addition, APA Agency read Have You Seen Me? and reached out to my manager. They said they love the book and want to work on finding the right production company to adapt for film/TV. So I’m excited to see where that goes as well.