1) Can you please introduce yourself?
My name is Pete Alexander. I am a father of two and live in the sleepy Suffolk town of Bury St Edmunds. I make my living as a guitar technician and own a little store selling stringed instruments.
2) What can you tell us about your book The Pod Tower?
The Pod Tower is set in the harsh winter of 2057 and tells of one man’s personal battle with a technological world that he feels has consumed and crippled society. Feeling alienated from the denizens of Mother City he moves away to seek an alternative lifestyle in a small and rustic community beyond the ‘Outer Zones.’ However, his idyllic lifestyle is clouded by his own family’s dark past which soon catches up with him, and reluctantly he is forced to return and face it.
3) What gave you the idea for this book?
It’s odd but looking back I can’t actually remember any one thing being the inspiration for the story, but definitely seeing people walking around constantly glued to their phones would be on the list. As a person of middle age I can recall hours spent as a young man, sitting around with friends listening to records, watching a film with the family and having conversations with people without the discussion being interrupted by phone calls and messages. Also, as I’ve grown older I have become very aware of the disinformation we are fed on a daily basis and people’s willingness just to accept it without question, however ludicrous it might be.
4) What are some things you do to get into the writing mood?
I am one of those people that needs silence to write as I find myself easily distracted by any noise. I also write more ‘freely’ after a couple of drinks as I find it allows me to ‘unlock’ ideas that I naturally would probably never find.
5) Where do you like most to write?
I don’t have a particular favourite place to write as such, but much of this novel was written sitting in my van parked next to some woods in the middle of nowhere. I also form ideas walking to work and back and scribble them down.
6) If you could write any book, where would you base it and why?
I do like novels that are based in England, especially London. I don’t know why but it might have something to do with the fact that Orwell’s 1984 (my all time favourite novel) was based there.
7) What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
The best writing advise I ever received was to write what feels natural to you, whatever genre that happens to be. I am aware that dystopia/sci fi/speculative fiction is a niche subject – not like crime or romance for example – so getting reviews will always be tougher, but it’s what feels right to me. One of my friends recently read The Pod Tower and remarked that she could tell it was written by me. Looking back, that might not have been a compliment….!
8) Are you a pantser or a plotter?
I am mostly a pantser I think. I have an idea and then sketch a rough outline and then just go for it. But I do believe it is important to have a good ending thought up and weave your way towards it almost right from the word go. However well a book is written, there is nothing worse than a ‘cop out’ ending is there?
9) What are your other hobbies?
My other hobbies include writing songs for my band, playing guitar, and restoring old motorcycles. I do like zoning out to old records of 1970’s rock bands too.
10) What would you say to someone who is struggling to write their own book right now?
Ooh a difficult one for a novice to answer but here goes. Write what you feel rather than what you think will sell, and when your mind goes blank, step away from your screen/paper and go for a walk. Often your best ideas come when you’re not trying to force them.