If you are anything like the reader I am, when I read a fascinating tale of fiction, I desire to know more about the creator of the tale. Alex Rigby, author of The Second Chances of Priam Wood, was gracious enough to indulge my inquisitive nature and granted me an interview. Read on to find out more about this wonderfully talented author.
Valcine: Your bio says that you have been writing, “stories about witches and warlocks, to magical trees, sagas set in outer space, adventures of freshmen in high school, and a tale of two gay best friends struggling with life in the city.” What inspired the writing of The Second Chances of Priam Wood?
Alex: I have always been fascinated with the idea of how the choices we make in life affect our future. The smallest occurrences can make such an impact in our lives, while big events may end up not really mattering much in the long run. I have often wondered if I had done things differently, how it would have played out and changed where my life has gone. This is where the idea for Priam Wood came from. I wanted to write a story where a man with a great deal of regrets had the chance to redo parts of his life. At the same time, I wanted to show that sometimes things go wrong for a reason, and that not everything that occurs in our life can be explained.
Valcine: You recently graduated from the University of Pittsburgh. What did you obtain your degree in?
Alex: I received a bachelors of art in both Political Science and Anthropology.
Valcine: What’s next for you? What are you currently working on as far as writing goes?
I currently work for a publishing company in downtown Pittsburgh. I am working on my second novel, which is entitled ‘What Happened to Marilyn’ it is a sci-fi love story set in the year 2062 in Savannah, Georgia. I am about halfway done with it now, I am hoping for it to be released early next year.
Valcine: Having now published your first work, do you plan on revisiting any of your previously unpublished works with the possibility of publishing them?
I have thought about going back to some of my earlier works and redoing them, but at the same time, a part of me just wants to leave them how they are, as they were all stepping stones to get me to where Priam Wood emerged, a title that I believed in wholeheartedly from beginning to end. I actually finished a book in the summer of 2011, entitled Maple Lane. And although I do like a great deal of the novel, I was unhappy with parts of it as well, so I decided not to publish it. Nevertheless, writing that book taught me a lot about how to write effectively.
Valcine: Many authors have various natural abilities and some which they need to work harder at refining. As far as writing goes, what for you is the hardest part and what is the most natural?
Alex: The hardest part of writing for me is to get myself to actually sit down and start to write. Once I start to write, the words usually flow faster than I can write them. It’s finding the time and effort that is the most challenging part of writing for me. When I get into a new chapter I always feel inspired, especially when I am planning the outline for the chapter. I always have an overall outline of a book when I start it, but I flesh out each chapter in an outline before I write it. I would have to say that is my favorite part of writing, because it is when most of my ideas come forward, and it’s always a very exciting feeling.
Valcine: Without sharing any details which you deem too personal for this article, if you were given one day which you would have a second chance to relive, what day would you choose and what would you hope to achieve as an outcome?
Alex: This is a very hard question, and I am glad that it is, because it seems to tell me that so far, I have had a very fortunate life. I feel very lucky for all of my blessings, yet of course there are days I wish would have gone differently. I suppose the day that keeps shouting for attention in my mind is the day my dad told me that he was moving out of our house and that my parents were separating. At the time I was only seventeen, and although very upset, looking back I wish I would have done more to try and convince them to try again. I don’t know if it would have done any good, but I wish I would have tried to make him realize all he had to lose. My parents are still very close even though they are divorced, so a part of me always wonders what would have happened if he had tried to make it work a little bit longer, would they have made it all the way? I don’t know, but I would like to see if it was possible.
Valcine: Every author tends to have their own way of getting into their zone. Some write in the morning, some burn the mid-night oil, and some only write as the muse leads them. Describe to our readers your prescription for writing. How are you best motivated?
Alex: I love writing while listening to music. In fact, I was pretty much listening to music the entire time I was writing The Second Chances of Priam Wood. My favorite band, The National, was playing most of the time, and their lyrics influenced my words a lot. I don’t write at specific times of the day, but with Priam Wood most of it was at night. I liked listening to The National, with my room dark and only a few candles burning, while drinking a glass of wine. That was my typical process for this first book.
Valcine: When writing, do you start with your characters and their background or do you develop your characters as you go along?
Alex: I would have to say a little of both. I always have an idea of what my characters are going to be like when I start out, both physically and emotionally. Usually though, they are fleshed out as I write more about them. They stay true to the original idea I have of them, but sometimes smaller characteristics about them can change.
Valcine: I can imagine The Second Chances of Priam Wood on the big screen. Has the thought ever occurred to you or have you been approached by anyone to consider such?
Alex: It makes me happy to hear you suggest this idea. I would love to have my novel become a film one day, and I would be lying if I were to say I haven’t thought of it. I think it would make a great film, but at the same time, since the book itself is pretty long, I know a lot of the content would have to be cut from the film. Nevertheless, I am sure the story would still translate well on the big screen. No one has approached me with an idea to make Priam Wood a movie, and I don’t think anyone would unless the book would become more popular. Since it is independently published, I realize it is very hard to get noticed. I am very happy with what has happened so far though, as my main goal of writing this book was to share the story, and I am happy to say that many people have read it, and I haven’t heard anyone say they haven’t enjoyed it as of yet. So for the time being, that is enough for me.
Valcine: What are your plans for the summer?
Alex: I will be working and trying to enjoy the nice weather. Pittsburgh is a lot of fun in the summer, and there is always a lot going on. I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, and traveling whenever possible. At the end of summer I will be going on a trip to four countries in Europe with my mother, which I am very excited about.
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