Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Alexander Delacroix

Alexander Delacroix earned Masters degrees from Brigham Young University and Western Governors University. He has black belts in Shotokan karate and kobudo and is an avid foreign language learner. He has been an aspiring author since the 3rd grade. It was around this time that he discovered the joy of losing himself in a good novel, and his bookshelves have been overcrowded ever since.

Delacroix's new novel is Heart of the Impaler.

My Q&A with the author:

How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

This novel went through several titles before my editor, Emily, suggested Heart of the Impaler. The moment I saw it, I knew this was the perfect title. The word “heart” suggests romance, and that’s an important element of the novel. Put “heart” together with “impaler,” however, and you have something much darker.

What's in a name?

I didn’t get to choose Vlad Dracula’s name because he already came with it. History must have a sense for who a person will become because Dracula is a fitting name for a young man who eventually earned the epithet “impaler.” The Romanian word dracul can mean either “the dragon” or “the devil.” Vlad’s contemporaries certainly must have grasped the irony of that family name.

How surprised would your teenage reader self be by your new novel?

My teen reader self would be both thrilled and surprised. I dreamed of becoming an author from the time I was in elementary school, and I was constantly reading novels and writing stories of my own. I was also trying to teach myself Romanian, and my teen self would have thought a novel set in 15th century Romania was pretty cool.

Do you find it harder to write beginnings or endings? Which do you change more?

Both beginnings and endings are hard for me. Like a movie director, I have a vision of what I want in each novel, but getting that vision on paper is challenging. The beginnings are hard because I’m seeking a balance between the right amount of action and finding imagery that draws readers into the setting. Endings are hard because I want something both satisfying and natural. This said, I change beginnings more because they’re written earlier in the process and I have more time to stew over them.

Do you see much of yourself in your characters? Do they have any connection to your personality, or are they a world apart?

It’s hard not to put at least some of myself into my characters. I’m interpreting their behaviors not only through my imagination but also through the lens of past experiences. In Heart of the Impaler, I channeled my struggles as an introverted, self-conscious teenager into Andrei. Ilona got my perfectionism and anxiety while Vlad picked up a magnified version of the selfish tendencies that I think lurk inside all of us, waiting to seize control if we don’t keep a watchful eye on them.

What non-literary inspirations have influenced your writing?

My background as a martial artist has influenced the way I write fight scenes. It helps that I’ve handled a variety of weapons and know something about how the body moves and a weapon reacts. I also have past experience as a locksmith, and that was useful while writing some of the opening scenes for Heart of the Impaler. Movies have also affected my writing. I’m fascinated by how movie directors use lighting, visual cues, music, and silence to create tension and mood. Recently I’ve been fortunate enough to take a class on kinesics, the study of what different body movements and gestures communicate. I’ve already had opportunities to apply those principles to my current writing project.
Visit Alexander Delacroix's website.

--Marshal Zeringue