Please introduce yourself a little to our audience, tell us about yourself.
Hello! I am Xander Cross, author of “The Atlas Dystopia Apocalyptica,” a twenty book series about the misadventures of a kitsune (Japanese demon fox) in the 22nd century and beyond. I am notorious for writing mythologically inspired fantasy and I love mashing things together, like supernatural folklore and cyberpunk.
Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about?
As a matter of fact, yes! I am pleased to announce that I will be releasing Book Two “The Dragon Game” in mid-October. I am also working on the third installment of the “Come by Night” novella series, “Kitsune no Yomeiri.” That will be coming to Wattpad and Instagram in late August.
What moved you to write your debut novel, The Origin of the White Wind?
Back in 2004, I had two dreams that I blame on Charles de’Lint’s “Svaha.” One of them was about a plague that made people explode, and the other was about the adventures of a kitsune in that same dystopian/apocalyptic world. I wanted to write about it, but I already had a red fox faery in my trunked trilogy, so I initially canned the idea.
Then one day, depressed over then outcome of a recent election from a speculative historical and environmental perspective, I saw a particular image of a white kitsune, and it struck a chord. I followed up on that character, but it left me wanting more. By Christmas, I decided that if I had a wish, it would be to be that creature. Which begged the question: if such beings exist in our world, what would my quasi-immortal life be like in the dystopian future I see coming? Combine in those earlier dreams, and this book series became the answer to that question.
What do you love most about Hayate?
Everything! I love his freedom to be anything or anyone he chooses to be, his natural appearance notwithstanding. I adore his swagger, his resilience, and wow — those powers! Who wouldn’t want to conjure fire, disappear into thin air, walk through shadows, fly, and cast realistic illusions? He becomes the 007 of demons, and there’s so much to love about that.
What was your key challenge in making Hayate a relatable character?
Emotions. As Hayate becomes more of a demon, he also turns into more of a narcissistic sociopath. He saves a lot of cats throughout the series to keep him sympathetic. I also give him a code of honor, which helps us humans empathize with him, too. Of course, sometimes he is unable to uphold his code despite his efforts, and I think his struggle makes him real. No one wants to be bad, even when they can’t help their bad behavior. Hayate is the same. I place him in moral dilemmas that connect the reader with him.
At the end of the day, he’s just a guy trying to make his way through extraordinary circumstances. But at the same time, I am putting the reader in the driver’s seat of a powerful great demon, and there’s something secretly delightful about relishing one’s own evil, which is the other side of Hayate’s experience. There’s no question that he’s evil, but in an interesting twist, Hayate does more good as a demon than he ever did as a divine messenger.
What comes first for you, plot or character?
For me, the order goes: character, world-building, then plot. The character evolves out of an image I see that strikes a chord so strong, I want to be that thing. I imagine my life as that person/creature, and what kind of world I would walk through, who I would meet along the way, and our interactions together. And that’s how I get my plots, because my logic demands it all makes sense *and* be entertaining.
Goals of a certain # of words a week or when inspiration strikes you?
My goals are oriented toward daily achievement, and I’m project-driven. When I’m writing, I strive for 1000 words a day, more during NaNoWriMo. Upon finishing a book, I move on to my next project, which might be editing another book, or reading one into a microphone, and so on. I am always busy, and I am always working on at least two – three projects at one time.
What have you put most of your effort into regarding writing?
I’m not sure how to answer that, because the entire process requires effort from conception to printed book and ebook. Each phase has parts that I hate and parts that I love. For whatever reason I cannot imagine, I’m driven to do this mad act of writing and publishing fiction. I think the toughest part is continually letting go of those comfort zones and putting myself out there.
What do you think about the ebook revolution?
I love and am grateful for it. It’s the reason I can put my books out, because I want full control of the content of “The Atlas Dystopia Apocalyptica.” I want “The Atlas Dystopia Apocalyptica” to be a wild, underground cult type of ride. It’s gritty and dark. Thank goodness I can self publish it.
What has your experience been like as a new Indie Author? Bruises, highlights, lessons?
Other than the marketing aspect, it’s been a blast! There’s a difference to being published in the writer’s communities, too. It doesn’t matter whether you’re independent or traditional, or how well your book sells. Once you take that leap and get your work out there, you have entered the realm of authors. That means more work piled on as we do release parties and takeovers, beta reads, etc. for one another. But it has been an amazing year since I published, and I wouldn’t trade it.
What book that you have read has most influenced your life?
The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene. It was originally research for Hayate, but it left its imprint on me. You cannot go wrong by reading this book. Learn it, love it, live it.
Where can your fans find out more about you or your work?
Anyone can follow my public content on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Wattpad. I also have an author’s page on Amazon. I am working on cobbling a website together as we speak.