Q&A With Romance Author K. Alex Walker
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Do you have a writing routine, or do you write when inspiration strikes?
I am definitely the “inspired” type as I barely can follow a routine in any aspect of my everyday life. I’ve actually tried to do the whole “Tomorrow, I’m going to sit down and write for four hours between 12 and 6,” only to end up trying to get out that last chapter before midnight. I’m usually inspired to write by phrases, paragraphs, or scenarios that come to me during random moments throughout the day (the shower… don’t underestimate it), and that also ends up being what has me sitting in front of my laptop in the wee hours of the night.
When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer?
Very, very young. I actually wanted to be a writer probably around age six or seven when I used to hand write books on wide ruled paper. I would draw my covers on construction paper, and even did my own illustrations. I shied away from it after a while because writing was not seen as a lucrative or promising career in my, ahem, environment. I was a smart kid, sometimes too smart for my own good, so a more secure career was encouraged as my best bet. That didn’t last too long, however.
Where do you find your inspiration for characters?
Everyday people. I’m a compulsive people watcher (but not in the weird sense where I don’t look away when you’ve spotted me). I love human interaction. Two of my favourite subjects are psychology and biology, so it’s fascinating to me to watch the back-and-forth of a conversation, the difference between how lovers and friends interact, as well as the pain behind unrequited or ill-timed romances. Then, after that’s been established, I go with the “what if.” For instance, I see a guy and girl walking together and wonder, “What if she found out that he’s in love with her too?”
When you begin to write a story, do you know how it’s going to end?
I write romances so, at the very least, I’ve got to throw an HEA (Happily Ever After) in there. I’ve actually tried not writing an HEA and it gave me stomach knots (I’ve been known to ooze from maple trees). However, and this is the most interesting aspect of writing, I try to envision what I want to happen. I go through the characters’ dialogue and experiences, jot them down, and then figure out what gets them to that point. They almost always stray in a frustratingly indelible fashion, but then you’ve created characters so realistic that their personalities control your story.
Do you get writer’s block? If so, what technique gets you writing again?
Never in the crippling sense. If I find myself stuck, the first thing I do is reread the last thing I wrote; I just know that something is wrong with it. I see writer’s block as my brain’s way of saying, “Nope, doesn’t work. Try again.” So, I delete. And delete. And delete. If I’m not too far into my story, I try switching the POV. If all else fails, I get up and walk away. If I stay away, I’ll stay away. If I come back, then I love the piece—there is just a hiccup in the process.
K. Alex Walker was born on the island of St. Thomas in the USVI, and began penning “scribble stories” before she even had a full set of teeth. Over time, she became a lover of the love story, fascinated by the generally dreaded “happily ever after.” She is the author of bestseller The Game of Love and novelette A Very Special Christmas. When she’s not writing, you can find her… actually, she’s usually writing. If not, then food.
When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?