Some Thoughts with ... Alex Robins
Alex Robins was born in Norwich, England back when it was still trendy to wear lycra tracksuits and bright pink headbands. Norwich School Library was where he first discovered his love of reading, an old converted undercroft packed to the rafters with books. The first fantasy series he read was The Dragonlance Chronicles by Margaret Weis & Tracey Hickman, quickly followed by The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and David Eddings' The Belgariad.
At the age of twelve Alex moved across the channel to Nantes in France. Speaking very little French, the first few years were difficult and sometimes lonely as he scrambled to get a grip on the intricate grammar and vocabulary of the French language. His taste in books branched out from epic fantasy to science-fiction, mysteries, thrillers, and historical fiction, but he always came back to his favourite fantasy authors when looking to escape the outside world.
After degrees in agronomy, project management, and computer sciences, Alex founded his own company dedicated to online voting. He met his wife during a game of badminton and they spent several years getting trounced in various regional tournaments before getting married. Alex now lives in the sunny Loire Valley in western France, surrounded by imposing castles, sprawling vineyards, and two children. After reading fantasy books for the last thirty years he decided to write one. The Broken Heart of Arelium is his first novel, and the first in the War of the Twelve series.
Welcome to my favourite section of the blog, interviewing authors. Today we are accompanied by Alex Robins, author of Panacea and War of the Twelve.
Let's dive in!
1.- What made you decide for self-publishing?
Self-publishing is definitely not for everyone. I'd say its major advantage (and what ultimately drew me to it), is that it allows you to control every aspect of the publishing chain, from editing to cover design to ads to distribution. For someone as pedantic and perfectionist as me, it was a good fit.
The downside is that it's considerably more work than traditional publishing. Writers who publish trad publish only have to focus on the writing.
2.- Why did you decide on this kind of historical fantasy in this new series?
Ancient Greece has always been a hobby of mine. My grandfather was an archaeologist and historian, and my father dabbles in Ancient History so I probably picked up the bug from them. The Greeks were, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest civilizations to have ever existed.
Apart from inventing democracy, they were responsible for laying the foundations of military, artistic and religious philosophies that were copied and imitated by many that came after - particularly the Romans whose gods, columned architecture, and phalanx fighting style are heavily inspired by the Greeks.
3.- Panacea shows a love for historical details. Could you tell us more about the investigative process behind this?
I was lucky enough to get to visit various Greek islands over the last few years (Santorini, Crete, and Corfu most recently) - nothing is better than actually going to the location of what you want to write about!
Apart from that ... reading, reading, reading. Xenophon, mostly (all his stuff is in the public domain), Herodotus, and some more modern historians like Nicolas Sekunda or Philip de Souza.
4.- Apart from ancient Greek history, what inspired you for writing Panacea?
Mythology! Minotaurs, Harpies, Greek Gods, and Titans. What's not to love?
5.- Out of all the characters you created for this book, who is your favourite?
Ah, that's an impossible question, it's like asking to choose your favourite child :) The first book is most definitely Dexios's story more than any others, he's the focal point that all others pass through. That will change in the subsequent novels.
6.- What can we expect in the future from Alex Robins?
The Ruined Gods is planned out to be a trilogy, so two more books are to be released there, with the next one coming out sometime in 2023, I'm writing that one right now.
I'm also working on a cover for a Ruined Gods novella called Caduceus, set roughly twenty years before the events of the first book.
And finally, now my War of the Twelve series is finished, I'd like to release an omnibus edition at some point. I have already commissioned some new interior art and by the Gods it's amazing!