I am super excited to bring you all an exclusive interview today with Alexandra Christo! For those of you who don’t know, she’s the New York Times Bestselling author of To Kill a Kingdom, a dark fantasy retelling of The Little Mermaid! Which is phenomenal, by the way and you should definitely read it if you haven’t already 😍 AND she just recently released her second novel, Into The Crooked Place, the first in a breathtaking new fantasy duology perfect for the fans of Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology!
(Check out my reviews for them if you want to hear more 😉)
I had the greatest honour of being able to ask Christo ten questions on her writing, her books, and about herself. Check below if you’re curious to see what those questions were and what she answered! And then be sure to go pick up her books, (available anywhere!) ASAP 😉
1. What other jobs have you had aside from being a writer?
All of my jobs as an adult (and I use that term loosely!) have been writing-based. I was a proofreader straight out of university, and then worked as a copywriter the year after that, and then I got my book deal! It was really important to me that I got a job where I could do the thing that I loved: writing, in any form, and luckily my degree (Creative Writing) opened up a lot of doors for that to be possible.
It also meant that I kept my editorial eye pretty sharp while I was working on my manuscript and had a lot of coworkers who were more than happy to red-pen my work!
2. What subject were you bad at or did you not like in school? What was your favourite?
Oh man, I was SO bad at Maths. I ended up having to get a private tutor and even then I only passed my exams with a C. Oops! I dread to think about taking a Maths test now *shudder*.
My best subject was English (I know, I know, such a cliché!). But I loved reading and analyzing books, and I really loved exploring language. My mum taught me to read and write when I was super young, before I started school, and so books and words were things I enjoyed from the very beginning. I’d do spelling tests at home and look for new words I could learn. I’d even read to the other kids in class while the primary school teacher did other things. I just loved throwing myself into not only new stories, but new ways of telling them and seeing them.
3. What do you love most about writing or being a writer?
Being able to work in my pajamas. Kidding (well, mostly!).
I love getting to travel and meet readers, whether it’s down the road in London or across the world in Colombia. Writing books has given me the opportunities to talk with and meet people I never would have otherwise. Meeting readers who love my stories and getting to laugh with them is the greatest feeling, and I’m so lucky to be able to do so.
I also really love the freedom writing affords. I suffer from anxiety and being able to work from home, set my own hours, and structure my day depending on how I’m feeling has been a great help. Writing can be extremely stressful and there are a lot of different balls to juggle, but there’s also the ability to bounce between tasks and explore whatever stories or projects you enjoy most.
4. Which character, from any of your books, has been the most fun to write?
Wesley Thornton Walcott has just taken over the lead from our killer siren queen Lira.
Wesley was a ball to write, because he’s at once this big bad-ass who has supposedly murdered his way to the top, and yet he loves coordinating his ties with the days of the week and telling dad jokes in life or death situations.
It was so fun writing INTO THE CROOKED PLACE and balancing his dark side with the oddly endearing need to find humour in even the worst situations (especially when those situations are of his own making!).
5. Which of your characters do you see yourself most in?
It’s hard to say, because a lot of them are murderers and I’m not sure if there are any police reading this interview. You’re not a cop . . . are you?
I’d probably say Tavia (she hasn’t technically killed anyone!). She has this thirst for exploration and to get out and see the world, but also a great need for home and family and stability. Basically, she doesn’t know what she wants, which I think we can all relate too.
I wish I was as good at magic as she was though, but I think I’ve got her killer puns down.
6. Has anyone in your family ever read your books? Was that weird for you?
Yep – most of my family buy and read my books. I don’t find it weird at all and actually love to hear what they think, or have them live-text me while they read. I think I’d find it stranger if they didn’t want to read something I had spent years creating.
It’s cool for me to show the people I love most something that I’ve achieved and have them be just as excited to see it as I was to write it. Sometimes I get nervous they might not like it, but so far so good!
7. Do you have time to read while writing? How do you balance it?
It has been really hard to balance reading and writing since TO KILL A KINGDOM came out. I love books and people always say that you can’t be a good writer if you don’t read, but nobody tells you how hard it can be to find the time to read between all the deadlines.
I remember there was a time when I’d read literally hundreds of books a year. I think so far this year I’ve read . . . ten? My Goodreads challenge is very angry at me.
8. What’s your favourite genre? Do you have a favourite series or author?
Fantasy. Specifically, fantasy that’s set in a version of our world. I love magical realism and I love books that make you question what’s real. I say this a lot, but Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle series is a great example of that and will forever be a favourite of mine. Also the Diviners by Libba Bray.
Saying that, I also LOVE a good contemporary mystery. My total weakness is modern day Sherlock Holmes retellings, especially if there’s a sprinkle of romance in the mix!
9. What’re your top favourite quotes from Into The Crooked Place and To Kill a Kingdom?
This is kind of hard as you never really know what lines people are going to like most until the book is out, and sometimes it’s really surprising!
Personally, for TO KILL A KINGDOM, I really like Elian’s opening line of: ‘Technically I’m a murderer, but I like to think that’s one of my better qualities’. While readers really seem to gravitate toward: ‘In my heart I’m as wild as the ocean that raised me’. I see that one on pins and candles a lot!
For INTO THE CROOKED PLACE, following the theme of opening lines, I really liked Tavia’s: ‘Tavia Syn made a living on magic and it was rarely the legal kind’.
And basically any time when I got to play with how magic had been stripped of so much of its wonder in this world: ‘It was magic made to collect dust, destined for a life inside finely crafted cabinets, too valuable to bother using’.
10. If you could have any pet, literally ANY, what would it be and what would you name it?
Would anyone not say a dragon? Because, of course, A DRAGON. I’d call it Albus, or Albie when it wasn’t looking so fiery and murderous. If nothing else, it’d save me a fortune on plane tickets.
Synopsis for Into The Crooked Place: