For my latest Author Spotlight I’m joined by the wonderful Alex Jane. We chatted about the influence of fandom and fanfic, taking the leap into publishing, stories having special memories, and the antics of her high-maintenance puppy!
Take it away Alex…
First things first, please introduce yourself!
Hello! I’m Alex Jane, also writing as Alexis Jane. I’ve been a writer about twelve years, indie-published for seven. I live in the UK near the beach and write books mostly set in the US. I’m a dog person, neurodiverse, wake up at 5am even though I’m not a morning person, like vanilla more than chocolate, have far too many pens and not enough hats.
Tell us a little bit about your writing style.
I guess, I try to keep my writing light, in a sense. I don’t do huge swathes of heavy research or deep dives into serious subjects. I try to make every moment or interaction count toward the characters finding their way out of the mess they made and realizing they are in love by the end of it. Whether that be in a soft sweet way like the Podlington Village books or something a little darker as with the mafia murder husbands in Good Faith. Similar journeys with a very different flavor.
Describe your books in only three words.
Oh this is hard… um… Found Families and Forgiveness.
What’s your next book about and when is it coming out?
My next book is a little something in the Mr and Mr Detective series, kind of a 2.5 which catches us up on the relationship between two of the supporting characters from the main story. All being well Line of Sight will be out on Friday (17th) and I really can’t wait to see what people think! There’s quite a lot of back story from the other books (Gazes Into You and A Foreign Country) so I had a lot of fun finally writing all the drama that’s been going on the behind the scenes all this time.
Out of all your books, which one are you most proud of?
Oh… that’s really tough to decide. I guess Home Is Where You Are, not because it’s my best but because it was my first. The book that launched a thousand sequels…or at least that’s what it feels like. I’ll never get tired of writing in that universe. And, although every story has its own special memories, there’s something monumental about publishing for the first time. It can be really hard to take that leap and I’m really glad I found the courage.
What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer?
Oooo, I’m going to have to say fandom and fanfic in particular. I think, like a lot of people, that I always imagined writing and publishing as something slightly lofty and serious. Getting involved in fandom and starting to read, and then write fanfic, it really made me see that sharing stories, even when they are bound in hardcover, can simply be for fun. There are some brilliantly crafted stories that come out of fandom, written for love and shared with the only expectation being ‘can I make my reader laugh or cry or throw their phone across the room?’. And coming to write in the MM community, I found it’s pretty similar. Authors and readers, we all support each other for the love of a good story.
What inspired you to start writing?
Insomnia. And getting old. I’ve always had trouble falling asleep and would tell myself stories in my head. They became one story eventually, which I thought about for years. Then, in the shadow of a gargantuan birthday, I thought I should try writing it down. I did and it was… awful. After a ton of practice, I did end up writing a version of it that became Stumble Forward. Which I thought turned out okay, actually.
What’s your writing process like? Do you have a typical “writing day”?
I don’t really have a typical day right now as I have a high-maintenence puppy who is now a high-maintenence teenager, so I’m mostly trying to write in between dealing with her shenanigans. I tend to plan a little to get some flow into my stories, breaking down the plot into chapter descriptions and then writing in continuity. That way I get some surprises along the way myself as I’m never 100% sure how things are going to play out.
What comes first for you – the plot or the characters?
Neither really, it’s more that I get an idea for a scene, some sort of interaction, and then work outwards from there – who are these people, how did they get to this point, what happens next? For example, for Gazes Into You, I would walk my dog in the early morning past an office that always had a security guy at a desk. I wondered if he ever noticed me walking past at the same time every day and if he would notice if I didn’t show up and it kind of spiralled from there.
What’s a book that you wish you’d written?
Apart from the ones I’m working on right now and should have finished already… I’m not sure. I think with every story that I really love, if I had written it, I probably wouldn’t have liked it as much. I tend to most enjoy stories that I know I could have done justice to.
If you could only write one trope for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
I think my readers will know immediately, it’s ‘the grumpy one is soft for the sunshine one’ as that’s pretty much the main trope of all my books already. It’s too perfect! What’s not to love!
What would be your three desert island books?
There are too many! But at a push… The Lord of the Rings, the complete The Same Moon Shines series by Sami, and The Dark Tower series by Stephen King. Unconventional, maybe but I need those long stories!
If one of your books could be made into a movie/TV series, which would you choose and who would you cast?
I’m one of those writers who very much sees every story playing out like a TV show in my head so I can see any of them working. The Homestead series would be great (but long!) but actually I’d love to see Devil Next Door on the screen. I think it could be wild if done right. As for cast, I don’t know. Some of my characters have definite people associated with them (Caleb Fletcher from Homestead is Tom Hardy, John Right from Mr and Mr Detective is Michael Fassbender, for me anyway) But Remy and Luke are very much their own people. I’d love to know who readers would suggest!
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Do you have a secret passion or hobby that we don’t know about?
I don’t know if it’s a secret but I do a lot of arty-crafty things. I was a professional fine artist for many years so I paint and draw, I like crochet and make my own clothes. I also got sucked into Kpop (of all things) during lockdown so I spend far too much of my time
on TikTok thinking about that.
Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur?
Well, when I was a kid it was Diplodocus, but now I’d have to go with… Rex from Toy Story. He’s such a cutiepie!
After spending years creating stories in her head, Alex started writing them down and then found she couldn’t stop. Despite the late start, she now writes m/m romance about found families, sometimes with a historical feel—and the occasional werewolf.
Free from aspirations of literary greatness, Alex simply hopes to spin a good yarn of love and life, wrapped up with a happy ending. And if her characters have to go through Hell to get there, she’s a-okay with that.
Alex writes and walks on the South Coast of England—even when her heart and spellcheck are in New York