Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Author Interview: Alex Adena, author of Signs and Wonders

Welcome, Alex Adena, author of Signs and Wonders

After working in journalism and telling other people's stories for more than 20 years, Alex Adena decided it was time to create a few stories of his own. The result is his debut novella "Signs and Wonders," a story about a fallen faith-healer who goes on a journey of redemption.

What inspires your stories?
Usually there's something in the news or in culture that leads to the story. With "Signs and Wonders" I was flipping channels and came across faith-healer Benny Hinn's program. I know that some folks believe Hinn's claims, but I see him as a charlatan. So I was watching Hinn "heal" people and that led to the idea -- what if someone who had been spent their entire life conning people suddenly discovered they really COULD heal people? What journey of redemption would come out of something like that? That led to my main character, Annie Grace.

What genre do you gravitate toward and why?
I guess you would call it family-friendly fiction. I just like to tell stories that are entertaining and make people think without being preachy about it.

What are your work habits like?
When I'm writing, I set aside time every day -- at least an hour in the morning before work or after I get home in the evening. I know there are writers who can crank out 3,000 or 4,000 words in one session, but I can't do that. I'm too fussy about my words to work that quickly.

What do you consider your best work?
Hopefully, it's the next thing that I write! It shouldn't matter whether you're John Updike or a first-timer -- every writer should strive to keep getting better.

Do you plot out your novels in advance or do you write on the fly?
I prefer to have an outline with the main storyline plotted out in advance. Otherwise, you run the risk of taking too many wrong turns. That leads to a bloated book that disappoints the reader.

What experience do you want for your readers?
I want them to be entertained by the story and hopefully think about faith. What do you believe and why do you believe it? Too often we go through the motions and fail to take a good look at ourselves. That kind of introspection almost always leads us to become better people.

Are any of your character traits or settings based on real life?
Much of "Signs and Wonders" is based on real places in Texas and events that have happened there. I don't want to give away too much detail or it will spoil an important plot point.

What are your most significant challenges when you write?
Writing authentic and snappy dialogue. All the character details in the world aren't worth a hill of beans unless they talk like real people.

What are you currently working on?
A second novel featuring some of the characters from "Signs and Wonders." I don't know yet if it will become a series -- that's up to the readers to decide, I suppose. But there's definitely another story I want to write involving those characters. Then I want to write a sweet romantic comedy involving minor league baseball.

Do you have any writing advice you would like to share with aspiring authors?After you write the final chapter, let your book sit for a few weeks before you look at it again. You'll be surprised what jumps out at you. Also, don't rush the editing process! You want that first impression to be as good as possible.

"Signs and Wonders" is available at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, the Apple bookstore, and Smashwords. You'll also find a new sign every day at my blog.

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