Alex Bledsoe, who once hailed from a small town in Tennessee and now resides in a village overrun by trolls in Wisconsin, is a father, husband, friend, and writer. For the purposes of this post, we will focus on the writer aspect of the man called “Prentiss” by those who call him by his middle name.
The creator of the sword jockey Eddie LaCrosse, the mystical Tufa people, a certain witch, and a rather menacing group of vampires, Alex has written 12 books and over 200 short stories. His latest book,Long Black Curl, came out May 26th and continues the much beloved saga of the Tufas. I was fortunate to read an early copy of it. I can honestly say that it’s my favorite Tufa novel, and I’ve liked them all.
Alex was gracious enough to sit down with me recently and answer some questions. Okay, actually I sent him the questions by email and he sent them back to me. Answered. We do have coffee on Tuesdays at Sjolinds Chocolate House, but we’re much too busy discussing our families, bad movies, and Kevin Sorbo to do any interviewing.
So let’s get to it. And after you’re done reading the interview, rush out and pick up a copy of Long Black Curl and read it. It will be the best thing you’ve ever done in your life. Or at least top 5, depending on how awesome your life.
1. You have a new book out, Long Black Curl, which continues to expand the world of the Tufas. When you started exploring this world, did you have a long term goal of where you wanted to go, or are you discovering it as you write?
In the case of these books, there’s not really an overarching story. There are recurring characters, and they change and evolve, but each book is meant to be a self-contained story.
2. In our conversations, you have stressed how you wanted each book to be a standalone story. Why is that important to you?
Because as a reader, I’ve been frustrated too many times by picking up a book that looks interesting, only to discover that it’s book 3 in a series and absolutely indecipherable unless you’ve read the preceding novels. I want to make it easy for readers to get into my books, not harder.
3. As a creator of several different worlds, do you ever see a when where certain characters might come into contact with each other? I only ask because I think it would be awesome to see a certain vampire enter the world of the Tufas . . .
Ha! Well, I wouldn’t say, “never,” but each world seems more powerful to me if it exists on its own. There are plenty of authors who disagree and populate their worlds with all sorts of supernatural beings, but to me, it weakens the power of the story.
4. As a writer and a teacher of writing, what advice would you give to an aspiring writer of any age?
Write every day. Just like an athlete practices every day to be ready for the big game, a writer has to practice every day to be ready for the big idea.
5. You once told me that you don’t believe in writer’s block, which has helped me immensely as a writer because it removed an out for me. Could you talk about writer’s block and your feelings on it?
Well, when writing is your job--and I firmly believe you should approach it as a job--you don’t have time for blocks. Do electricians get electrician’s block? Do mechanics? Sure, some days will be easier than others, but the point is, you go to work every day no matter how you may feel about it. Same thing with writing: you do it every day, even when you don’t feel like it.
6. What surprises can your readers expect from Long Black Curl?
It’s the longest book I’ve written so far, so you get more words.
1. Favorite writer when you were a child: Edgar Rice Burroughs
2. Best line from a story other than yours: “Next time, why don’t you just mail me your guns?” That line is hysterical in context.
3. Favorite line that you have written: “If a rattlesnake bites you, you don’t blame the rattlesnake.”
4. Favorite flavor of Pop-tarts: Blueberry
5. Are you fan of grits? I won’t change the channel if they’re on.
6. If you were any superhero, who would you be? Batman.
7. If you could be any character from your books, who would it be? Jane Argo.
8. Favorite member of the Bee Gees? Maurice.
9. If you lived in the world of cartoons, what type of character would you be and what would your name be? I’d be the guy who finds Michigan J. Frog. Poor bastard never got a name.
10. Of all of your uncles, who has the best name? Nuell.
Now that you're done reading this interview, be sure to pick up a copy of Long Black Curl. It's available everywhere books are sold and in all formats. And if you can pick up a copy at a local bookstore . . . all the better.
You can find out more information about Alex and his books at his website alexbledsoe.com.
Sadie wants nothing more than to chase her dream of opening up a little theatre in the woods where her plays can be performed.
But she can't. Because although her dream is to be the Dread Playwright Sadie, right now she's the Dread Pirate Sadie, the most feared pirate in the land . . . only she's not. She's actually quite a terrible pirate. But no one knows this. And no matter how much she wishes to leave the swashbuckling life behind, she can't. Her sister Anne, the true toughest pirate in the land, refuses to take her rightful place as captain of the ship due to a childhood incident.
The Dread Pirate Sadie is an original swashbuckling fantasy comedy (40-45 mins, 8 F, 1 M, 1 M/F) full of twists, sword fights, treasure, family issues, betrayals, lots and lots of pirate speak, fish, and two awesome ships (well, actually one- dinghies aren't all that awesome if you're a pirate.)
This scene takes place at Pugly's Pub as Sadie has her crew rehearsing a new play she's written, instead of . . . I don't know . . . finding the most valuable treasure in the world that they just happen to have a map for.
More information about the play can be found by clicking on the title above or the picture below the scene. Enjoy!
Dagger: (As a beautiful butterfly in search of a mate.) Oh, if only I could find another butterfly! One to face this dark and cold world with. (Anne enters uncomfortably as a fairy. Dagger sees her and flies over to her.) Dear little fairy, do you know where I might find what I’m looking for?
Anne: (Rather angrily and with a scowl.) To find what you’re looking for - -
Sadie: Stop! You’re helping her, Anne. Not threatening her death. Now, again, but this time less . . . you.
Anne: (Anne smiles awkwardly and delivers her line again, this time less threateningly.) You must find a tree-like shrubbery that is neither a tree nor a shrubbery, for there you will find what you are looking for. (Begins to leave and Sadie mouths “Float away.” Anne floats away. Sal enters as a tree. Sadie points Finnegan to one of Sal’s “branches.” Finnegan does so but begrudgingly. Dagger notices the tree. )
Dagger: There it is! A tree-like shrubbery that is neither a tree nor a shrubbery. Are you the one that has what I desire? (Sal enters and the “play space” and stands like a tree-like shrubbery that is neither a tree nor a shrubbery.)
Sal: (In a tree-like voice.) I am. Look to my branch. (Dagger looks to a branch.) Not that one. (Dagger looks at the other “branch.”) See it. It is a cocoon. A place of rebirth. Soon something of beauty will emerge.
Dagger: From a simple cocoon?
Sal: Yes, yes, indeed. As you emerged from one, so will it. Watch and bear witness. (Dagger watches in anticipation as Finnegan stands there.)
Sadie: It’s your turn, Finnegan. Begin emerging.
Finnegan: This is bloody stupid! I don’t know how to emerge!
Sadie: Just do something. And don’t insult my work! (Finnegan does something that is ridiculous and nothing like emerging.)
Sadie: That was the worst emerging I’ve ever seen. We’ll have to work on that. Go, Dagger.
Dagger: It’s like looking in a mirror. A mirror that doesn’t show the same image, yet something similar. Speak to me, oh new found eternal friend.
Finnegan: (Delivered poorly.) I’ve waited so long inside this . . .
Sadie: Again! This time with feeling. (Finnegan shakes head but does it again. This time it’s even worse.)
Finnegan: (Still awful.) I’ve waited so long inside this - -
Sadie: Blast it! Do it again like you’re not dead inside!
Finnegan: Don’t want to! Why can’t we just drink?
Sadie: You will get a drink when you get this line right. Now, again. (Finnegan looks at Sadie angrily. Anne touches her sword to threaten her. Finnegan looks back at her script.)
Finnegan: I’ve waited . . . so . . . long . ..
Sadie: Stop! You’re terrible. And sound nothing like a butterfly who’s just emerged from a cocoon!
Finnegan: Butterflies emerging from a cocoon don’t sound like nothin’.
Sal: I disagree. I’ve witnessed many caterpillars beginning their second life and they do make a sound. It’s a rustling sound. Very relaxing. (Dagger turns to Sal.)
Dagger: I agree. That sounds always put me to sleep as a baby. That’s why me mother made me sleep in cocoons.
Finnegan: Well, butterflies don’t talk!
Sadie: It’s called theatre, Finnegan. Where anything happens. So this butterfly, you, speaks. You must find, Finnegan, your motivation for speaking. What do you want most of all?
Finnegan: I want a blasted drink.
Sadie: Not you as you. But you as the butterfly.
Finnegan: I don’t know.
Sadie: Give me something! (There is silence and then, finally, Finnegan speaks.)
Finnegan: A shot at a new beginning. Where I am free to spread me wings and experience something me have never known. (Sadie stares at Finnegan, as if thinking deeply, and then a big smile crosses her face.)
Sadie: My god. That’s brilliant! A true breakthrough, Finnegan. I think - -
Anne: Cap’n, now that Finnegan’s had a . . . breakthrough, don’t you think it’s about time we have a drink and be on our way?
Sadie: Avast ye, matey!!! It is. We shall rehearse again on the ship. This time in costume. (Dagger Tooth and Sal celebrate.) I know, Dagger Tooth and Sal, it is quite exciting. But now it be . . . time to find Serranto’s Treasure! (The other pirates cheer.)
Here it is. Steven's blog, where his thoughts about things are revealed. Good luck.