The Magician’s Sin starts off with an epic action scene in a large cathedral where a demon is banished back to the underworld by the main character. Anson is an immortal, and his job is to seek and destroy demons.
By chapter 3 the author begins a noir spin very different from the action scene we just witnessed. This threw me at first, but then I reflected on the dark chapel and the rainy night. It was there, but in the background.
Anson has a Private office, but claims to not be a detective. He smokes and drinks. He fulfills the noir tropes 100%. He is cold and seemingly unfeeling due to a troubled past.
There are flashback chapters thrown in to bring depth and history to many of the characters, not just Anson.
Anson ends up mentoring a young female tied into this fantastical world of evil parallel to our own dark, stormy, urban, noir 1930s city life. His quest, woven with hers, crosses both dimensions in action packed scenes, prolific dialogue, and a mix of characters from devout to mafia. This book is dark, but Anson’s dry wit and exasperation at having to be immortal brings a suave flavor that makes it go down smooth. Also, the well-crafted action scenes never let you get lost. As the action ramps up the characters converge in one huge melee. It’s such a formidable climax that you’re looking for the twist – the one thing that even if the heroes fail, you still will root for the book. That comes in character development, not entirely a surprise, but a sweet justice. No deus ex machina here.
Deus Ex Machina:
: a person or thing (as in fiction or drama) that appears or is introduced suddenly and unexpectedly and provides a contrived solution to an apparently insoluble difficulty
Watch this YouTube to explain it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iviZR85VMcU
This book was hard to put down once you got into it. The magic described crosses paths with supernatural and god-like forces. Even Amazonian women join the fray. While you could get lost in a bad way amidst all the magical and spiritual rules, Alexander masterfully guides you through it.
We wholeheartedly recommend this book.
Mutants & Masterminds for Green Ronin and New Millennium Games, as well as Quantum Black. Madness at Miracle Mile is a fantasy noir short story set within the same universe of his debut novel The Magician’s Sin.
If you could sit down with one writer from any period who would it be?
I would have to say Charles Dickens. He’s one of my biggest influences in terms of characterization and themes, and he was a rock star in his time. I would love to see how that exposure changed his process and the pressures he felt to hit his monthly deadlines. I also really want to hear what he thinks of a Muppet Christmas Carol.
If the universal super being came down right now and said, “I give you two choices. 1 – I will give you 100 million dollars for your work, but no one will ever be able to read a word you write, or 2 – You can never ever benefit even one dollar ever off of your work, but 100 million people will read every book you ever write. Which one do you pick?
I would have to go with the second choice. If I was in it for the money I would pick something other than writing to pursue. I chose this job because I have stories inside me that I need to release into the world. I love knowing that people are reading the words that I’ve written and seem so far to be enjoying them. *Knock on wood*
How do you deal with bad book reviews?
I try to remember that a book review isn’t written FOR the writer. It’s written for readers by readers. Each person is approaching your text with their own taste and their own experiences and it is impossible to please everyone. Just grit your teeth and keep working through the frustration and anxiety you may feel. If you notice that some criticism is consistent from review to review, take a look at that specific aspect of your work, but one bad review is not a trend.
What was your hardest scene to write?
I don’t want to spoil too much, but there is an emotional reunion between two former lovers near the end of The Magician’s Sin that was tough to get through. There are a lot of people in my past that wound up in my past without closure, so a lot of those personal emotional beats really came to mind in constructing that scene and conversation. I probably wrote six versions of that scene trying to get the right emotional response from myself and my beta readers.
Do you relate more to one of your characters or do you see bits of yourself in all of them?
I do see pieces of myself in all of them, but the one I relate most to is Anson. He actually began life as a character in a tabletop roleplaying game called Mutants & Masterminds, so he’s even closer to my heart than a lot of characters who originate in my novels. I love his snark, his pain, his heart of gold under the cynical shell. I relate to those elements on a deeply personal level. I’m happy that a lot of people have said he feels real and deep.
Where do you want to be one year from now?
I hope in a year I will be able to sustain myself entirely on writing. I have always had trouble working a day job from an anti-authority and frustration with my hard work benefiting some faceless CEO way more than it benefits me stance. I want to wake up every morning, sit down at my keyboard and let the words flow.
Your answers are wonderful, Alex! It was a pleasure to meet you.