Sunday, April 6, 2014

Interview with TBF Author: Alex London

Hello TBF fandom!

40 DAYS UNTIL TBF!!! Are you guys excited?! Well if you're not excited yet how about looking at this author interview? I'm happy to introduce Alex London, author of the Proxy series.

Miranda Reads: Elizabeth, the TBF co-blogger asks--Please tell me there's another book in the Proxy series. IT WAS SO PERFECT AND I WANT MORE!

Alex London: There is! Not only does the paperback of Proxy include a brand new short story prequel to Proxy, where we see Syd & Knox at 15 years old, but the sequel to Proxy, Guardian, comes out on May 29th (and will be available early, I think, for attendees at the TBF). In Guardian, we see old friends, meet new ones, and discover and even more perilous world for poor Syd than he could ever have imagined. The stakes are higher, the action faster, and there is maybe even a little romance for our hero...I'm excited (and terrified...sequels are hard!) to share this one with readers!

MR: What inspired you to create the Proxy world?

AL: The world of Proxy is drawn very much from our own world. A lot of things that concerned me about our society--income inequality, the dehumanization of the 'the other', the way technology connects us and isolates us at the same time, rampant commercialism and advertising, the commodification of everything (everything is for sale!), runaway student debt, environment destruction, mass surveillance...all these things that clutter my head space fed into the fictional world of Proxy. While the story is (I hope!) a ripping good yarn, there is some pretty strong political content. But ultimately, I wanted to explore how, in the face of all this ideological clutter, two young people from different ends of such a turbulent society, might see the humanity in each other. In the end, the world of Proxy is brutal and unforgiving, but that doesn't mean the characters can't find love, friendship, and kindness in it. In fact, it is even more vital that they do. I'd say the same is true in our world. To quote WH' Auden's poem written on the eve of WWII, September 1, 1939, "We must love one another or die."

MR: Are you the type of reader who cries over the deaths of beloved fictional characters?

AL: Oh yes I am. Ironically, given what I've done to so many of my own characters. There were writing days on Proxy I wept at my keyboard. But death, like taxes and puberty, comes for everyone eventually.

MR: One of your five fun facts says that you quit your job as an assistant to a Hollywood agent in order to get a Masters in Library Science. When you were an assistant to a Hollywood agent, did you see a glimpse or met any celebrities? If so, who?

AL: I met many, but never any that made too much of an impression. They're all just people after all, doing what they can to make their chosen art, bumbling through like the rest of us. As a book nerd, the celebrities I freak out over are other writers and I've met far more of them as a YA author than I did during my brief time at the lower rungs of the movie business. It continually blows my mind that I count folks like Libba Bray, Matt de la Peña, Gayle Forman, Andrew Smith, and David Levithan among my colleague and among my friends. It's a wonderful and welcoming community, but there are moments we'll all be goofing off at some conference or another and I'll have to pinch myself because I remember the words these people have written and how those words have etched themselves into my heart. Of course, spend enough time in a car with someone, and their mystique does wear off a bit...

MR: Let's pretend you're on the talent competition show, America's Got Talent. What talent would you perform?

AL: I would do a magic trick. My father is an accomplished amateur magician and I've grown up around magic my whole life. I learned a trick here and there, but mostly used them for nefarious purposes. In high school, I ran a 3 card monte game, until he made me stop. Then I did a few entertaining card tricks. I don't know many--writing really is the only thing I'm truly good at--but I'd do my best to astound. Professionally, my is a gynecologist, which translates much less well to the Talent Show stage.

MR: What author are you most looking forward to meeting at the 9th Annual Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival?

AL: I can't wait to see friends like Andrew Smith, who lives across the country from me, Jonathan Auxier, who I know trough the middle grade fiction world, and AS King, who I rarely ever get to see and who is one of the kindest people on the planet. I'm a total fanboy for Paolo Bacigalupi and it blows my mind that I not only get to meet him, but that I get to be on a panel with him. Laurie Halse Anderson is an author I have admired for ages, so I'm also pretty excited to get to hang out with her. I hope I don't squeal in her ear too loudly, although I'm sure she's used to it.

Thanks for chatting with me, Alex! See you in May!

That's it for now! Check back here for more author interviews and book reviews.

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