Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Getting to know Alix Bekins

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I live on the northern California coast with my partner and dog.  It’s a little hippy college town, very liberal and quirky and fits me perfectly.  I won’t say how old I am, but I will say that I can see forty from here.  A few years ago I made a drastic life/job change and went from a records management career to editing and writing.

What’s your typical writing day like? Do you have a certain time during the day when you’re more creative?

A typical writing day is in my jammies, with a few scented candles burning, non-word music playing (lately California Guitar Trio), and wearing my plastic Viking helmet – yes, I seriously wear it.  I get up, I make a cup of tea, and I start writing before all the other parts of my brain start chiming in with the five million other things I need to do that day.  I wouldn’t call it morning, more like brunch – 9ish to 1 or 2ish.  I do my best writing when I do it first-thing.

What’s your favorite genre to write in?

I definitely prefer writing contemporary, humorous, erotic stories.  Kinky ones run a close second, because I love getting into the mental component of BDSM, what makes it work, why it’s hot for the participants, how it evolves.

Who has given you the most support in your writing career?

My partner’s been tremendously supportive, but I’d have to say my online friends have been the most critical.  They listen to me bounce around new ideas, offer virtual shoulders to cry on when the writing isn’t going well, brainstorm solutions to obstacles, read and review, and even proof read before submission.  One even “pokes” me every few days to see where I am with my writing.

Do you use critique partners or beta-readers? Why?

I absolutely do; they are invaluable.  I think it should be a requirement that all writers everywhere have someone read and comment on their work before they submit it.  They catch typos and grammar mistakes, word-choice errors (like sidewalk/pavement for a British character), and let you know when you’ve totally gone off the rails or something just doesn’t make sense.  Writers need someone to say things like “needs more here” or “too much exposition” or “OMG this was hot!”  That kind of feedback keeps you writing, and also improving.

Let’s talk about your latest or upcoming release.  How did you come up with the title and where can we find it?

My latest release was my first novel, “Relationships 201,” in December, from Dreamspinner Press.  The title came to me early on because I wanted to write a story that wasn’t about first-time-falling in love, but about what happens after that.  The main character is a graduate student, so it made sense to go with a class-title sounding book title.  He’s learning about romance and relationships, but not at the beginning level; this is an advanced class.

My next release is a short story, “Assurance,” part of the First Time for Everything daily dose package at Dreamspinner Press, available in June.  Assurance is the one thing the main character is looking for as he explores the new kinky side of his relationship.

Tell us something about your characters and why readers will connect with them.

My characters are so real to me.  They usually come to me as dialogue or interior monologue, and I try to stay with thoughts and ways of speaking that I would use myself (or my guy friends would use).  My boys are usually a bit quirky, a little insecure about something, geekily interested in something else, and oddly enough, massive coffee addicts.  While I don’t model them on people I know, I try to model how they talk and think and behave on people I know – so I hope that makes them easy to relate to.

What was your first reaction when you got a glimpse of your cover art?

So far I have been head over heels for all of the covers I’ve had from Dreamspinner Press.  They do some amazing work, and have a lot of very talented cover artists in their stable.

Are there certain scenes you have difficulty writing? What was the most difficult scene to write?

I have a hard time with the angst.  I love writing humor and sex and interior babble…  I tend to get really wrapped up in my characters, so when something bad happens or there is angst they have to deal with, I get angsty and depressed, too.

Now for the fun stuff.  Do you have any guilty pleasures?

I’m trying to get over feeling guilty about any of my pleasures.  I do delight in milk chocolate, scones with clotted cream, jammies days, the cave train ride at the boardwalk, and reading erotica on public transportation.

Name one thing readers would be surprised to know about you.

I hate coffee.  I know all my main characters love it, but ew – so bitter!

If you didn’t have to worry about counting calories or fat, what’s the first food you’d reach for?

Ice cream.  My hometown has a little shop that makes the best flavor I’ve ever had and never seen anywhere else – caramel flavor ice cream, with caramel and crushed-Oreo swirl.

If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation where would you go and who would you take with you?

I have a travel/bucket list a mile long.  At the top is the UK, because I have friends to stay with there as well as outdoorsy things to do and so much history to wallow around in.  Second choice at the moment is somewhere in the Caribbean, with my goddess-sisters, and cabana boys with margaritas all around.

What’s your favorite music? Do you dance? If so do others think you can dance? ~wink~

I like most kinds of music.  I listen to a lot of classical, and a lot of what was called “alternative” in the 90s.  I love dancing, although these days I’m more likely to go to a belly dance class than out clubbing.  Or maybe the occasional lap dance, if you’re lucky.  *g*

If someone hasn't read any of your work, what book would you recommend they start with and why?

I would recommend “When Work is a Pleasure.”  It’s a novella-length story about a magazine reporter who does a story on the porn industry and meets one of his crushes at the Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco.  I had a lot of fun writing it, both the awkwardness and the hotness, and I think that pleasure comes through in the story.  It’s short and fun and hopefully also hot!

Do you have other books you’re working on and when will we get to read them?

I am actually in the middle of one novel, trying to resist/postpone another very different novel, and wondering when on earth I’ll find time to also polish up a few short stories I’ve got lying around.  I’m not a very fast writer, so I have no idea when I’ll finish.  I hope to have one of the novels done and submitted by this summer, and if it’s accepted, maybe published this year.

What are your goals for 2011?

Write every weekend, and occasionally try to do a few hours per day.  Hope for the best.  Fix my website.  Exercise outside more.  Learn to bake good bread.  Breathe.

Thanks for spending a bit of time with me!  Best wishes for your continued success.  Where can readers find you on the Web?

Thank you for the opportunity!  I had a great time answering the questions. 
The best places to find me are my blog and on Facebook:

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