I have the pleasure of welcoming Alexis Lantgen to Chat About Books today 🙂
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
Of course! I’m Alexis Lantgen, and I’m a writer, a teacher, and a classical musician. I love all things science fiction and fantasy. My most recent book, Saints and Curses, is a collection of my fantasy short stories. It has both light and dark stories–think snake cults, vampire cats, and Christmas elves. My first book, Sapience, is a collection of my science fiction short stories. Many of the stories are set on a colony on Jupiter’s moon Europa. I choose that setting because according to NASA scientists, Europa is one of the places we are most likely to find extraterrestrial life in our solar system!
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
I get story ideas from my life and the things around me. I taught sixth grade science for a while, and I got very enthusiastic about learning science, which inspired many of my science fiction short stories. I especially love learning about space. I’m also a super huge history nerd (I know an unreal amount about the history of Medieval/Renaissance England. Seriously, I could talk a lot about the Wars of the Roses if anyone would ever listen without me boring their pants off.) I think my love of history inspires my fantasy writing. I also try to be very curious. There’s usually something or someone interesting around if you pay attention.
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
No Comment! (For real, did my mother tell you to ask me this question?)
How do you pick your characters’ names?
I actually have a couple of baby name books floating around from when my husband and I were looking up names for our children. But mostly I just look for names that sound or feel right. Sometimes I’ll choose a name that has a symbolic or meaningful purpose. I choose the name “Chaya” for one of the characters in Sapience because it means “life” in Hebrew.
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
Write when the kids are asleep! Try to keep writing! Honestly, it’s hard when you work a fulltime job and have children. I just try to keep going, and I don’t beat myself up too much if I need a break sometimes.
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
Hmmm, I’m going with Connie Willis, Neil Gaiman, Jane Austin, Katherine Addison, and Terry Pratchett, though I will say that this list is very flexible.
If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
I’d like to meet someone who wrote an ancient work of literature, like Homer, Ovid, or maybe Euripedes. I just think it would be interesting to learn what it was like to be a writer in their time.
Were you a big reader as a child?
Yes, I read like crazy, both kids’ books and some writers/books I now know were pretty highly advanced. I read Slaughterhouse 5 and a lot of Graham Green, weirdly enough. I read anything I could get my hands on.
When did you start to write?
I wrote a few stories in high school, but didn’t really do much more until I started working as an English teacher. It was my first year teaching, and I was having an absolutely miserable time. I started writing reader’s theater plays for my students to read, because reading plays kept them engaged.
If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
Is there a book you wish you had written?
I don’t know about books, but I would certainly re-write the ending to “Game of Thrones” if I could. As for the question about books I wish I could have written, I don’t really think about writing like that. Sure, I wish I could be as rich and famous as J.K. Rowling, and I’m glad I had the chance to read Harry Potter. But I guess I just don’t see that story, or any story written by another author, as mine. It’s a bit like asking if I would want to live someone else’s life. That would mean giving up my life and what’s meaningful and wonderful about the life I have now.
If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?
“There and Back Again.” Just kidding, maybe “Tales of a Non-Alcoholic Writer: My Life in Root Beer.” Or “I Swear I’m Not Crazy I Don’t Care What That Doctor Said.”
If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?
Gandalf! And I’d be terribly disappointed if he didn’t take me on an amazing adventure where we could brew our own cup of coffee from magic elvish beans.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on a MG/YA fantasy novel about children who can turn into birds.
Tell us about your last release?
My last book, Saints and Curses, is a collection of fantasy short stories. Some of them are dark, sort of Edgar Allan Poe meets the grim aftermath of the Russian Revolution, while others are light and (I hope) funny. Think Christmas elves or magical coffee that takes you on a zany adventure!
Do you have a new release due?
My last book came out June 5, 2019, and I honestly have no idea when my next book will come out. It depends a great deal on my toddler’s nap schedule.
What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?
Oh my goodness, are we supposed to celebrate on publication days? Is that something I didn’t know about? I just usually umm, quietly stare at the computer screen and hope the sales numbers move.
How can readers keep in touch with you?
I’d also love to meet more people on Goodreads! https://www.goodreads.com/alexislantgen
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
Check out my books on Amazon!
Saints and Curses: Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07RQQKM9G
Amazon USA https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07RQQKM9G
Sapience: Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07N74LCGH
Amazon USA https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07N74LCGH
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Alexis 🙂
What kind of life will we find in the depths of Europa’s oceans? What kind of life will we allow an AI with human level intelligence? The ten stories in Sapience: A Collection of Science Fiction Short Stories explore these questions and many more.
In the near future, humanity builds a colony on Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter. They tunnel into the ice to explore the dark oceans beneath the moon’s surface, searching for signs of extraterrestrial life. What they find will change them forever, setting humanity on a path to the stars. But the old conflicts and hatreds of Earth are not so easily escaped. Will human colonists on distant planets and moons create a paradise or a horrifying dystopia?
happy reading 🙂