Thursday, February 24, 2011


As an author I am constantly seeking frank feedback with which I am guided to create stories that are believable, intriguing and entertaining. Today I would share with you the most powerful thing that anyone has ever said about my work.

I found this post on The Mostly Harmless Book Club thread this morning, this is a very active Kindle discussion group in the UK, mostly in and around London that I periodically participate in. It was through this group that I sold my first book in the UK, to a fellow author named Peter.

I posted my response which is also below.

Thanks for your interest,

Paul D. Alexander


Paul? DARK STAR.That is one hellofabook mate, my wife is now muttering obscenities in her sleep. I'm two thirds and caught. I have to say, it is very well written Paul. Its an excursion for me, away from where I have been in terms of literature, as I have been beavering away on 'the promise' trilogy. The fact that it shocked my wife and made her feel too uncomfortable to continue for the moment I think is a testament to your honesty without frills style, in taking a theme as dark as this surely is, and riding it fearlessly through the whole gamut of human depravity while retaining that higher morality of trust and humanity. I have this ambition, to write without fear. Peter.

The Promise


Hi Peter,

I truly appreciate your comments and your frank feedback about my work. If you will indulge me, I would like to tell you a story.

A few weeks ago my very straight-laced aunt, who is in her late 70's asked to read my book. I agreed, but I did not give her any warning about the language or the theme. She called me for my birthday on Sunday morning the 6th. After her tradition of singing happy birthday over the phone she said, "Paul David, I want to talk to you about your book." My mother always used my middle name when I was in trouble.

She continued by saying that she had taken the book with her on a trip intending to read it then. She read just a few pages, was put off by the language and stopped.

She then returned home and saw an article about my work on the front page of the newspaper. She was intrigued by the article and decided to give the book another go. With her next words I nearly dropped the phone, "I started last Thursday, finished on Friday and I loved your book."

The door was open so I took the opportunity to explain to her that the language and the events in the story have nothing to do with me and everything to do with my characters. If I had not written this story with a language and events that are true to life, then my story would not ring true, it would not seem real. It would be absurd to think that a prostitute, who has three personalities, is the daughter of a prostitute and murders people to make her points would say "gosh darn" when she was mad.

Peter, I am a deeply religious, very spiritual man. You will notice the careful intertwine of scriptures in my story which help build suspense. I believe that God has made us aware of hell because it is important for us to know the whole story. If we did not know that good and evil both exist, then good would not mean the same thing to us.

Dark Star was reviewed by a minister who I hold in high regard. Not only did he find the story exceptional he wrote a positive review and posted it on Kindle in the U.S.

I hope that with this book I have effectively lifted the covers and created a story that is powerful and true to life. If we are to see the world for what it truly is, we must know what and who it contains.

Of Mice and Men ends in a sort of mercy killing because given the circumstance Steinbeck saw no other way. I am, by no means, comparing myself to Steinbeck. I am merely saying that it is all out there. I think that if we are to be good writers then we must be willing to take risks and be true to ourselves, our readers and most of all, true to the words.

I hope that your wife finds the strength to finish, I would not want her to miss the twist at the end which left even my old Aunt saying "wow."

Dark Star


 I think book clubs are wonderfully interesting groups. The members read a book and discuss their thoughts and what they think the author meant. Because I write upmarket fiction I am caused to see book club conversations in my mind while writing certain specific passages.

I always write scenes with a distinct message in mind. I want the reader to understand and relate to my message, but I never want to be so boring as to just spell it out in elementary terms. I like to disguise my meanings within the color of the language without being unclear. For a writer, it is a very fine line.

I do this by visualizing every detail of every scene. When I step into the scene, in my mind's eye, I can see, hear, feel, taste and smell the complex fabric of human interactions and their affects on each other and the physical world. Something that I really like is to cloak a meaning in a character's actions then reveal the actual meaning at a later time in the story. I love when my readers say something like, "Oh, now I get it!"

Dark Star is preceded by an Epigraph which refers to the work of renowned geoligist John Michell. Perhaps when you read the Epigraph, before you read the book, it will mean very little. It may actually seem like I was just rambling and filling space. However, once you finish the book I am convinced that you can reread the Epigraph and clearly see its relevance and my message.

As you read my work I hope that you will let me know what you think and ask me any questions that you may have.

In Good Fiction,

Paul D. Alexander
Dark Star  


How many people do you know who have said they would like to write a book someday? Perhaps writing a novel or a text is something you have thought about for yourself. Typically what I hear along with this declaration is something about when, like; "When I retire, when the kids leave home, or when hell freezes over, I'm going to write my book."

I can only speak for myself. There is never a perfect time to start. I think if you have an idea, make the time to commit the plot to paper, write an outline and if it feels right, start writing. When I wrote my first book I stole a few minutes here and there and it took years. When I decided to write a second book I promised myself to write two pages per day. I kept my promise by getting up extra early (I am much more creative in the morning) and I wrote my two pages before my work day began. It took six months to write that book and another twelve to edit it.

I still write in the early morning. I arrive at my office around 6:00 AM and write until 8:00, then I put on my day job hat and try not to think about the book until the next morning. Of course there is always that unexpected flash of an idea that I am compelled to write on the back of a napkin or capture on my mini recorder in my truck.

Thomas Edison said; "If we did all things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves."

I say; if you have a book on your mind, make the time and write it.

In good fiction,

Paul D. Alexander    


I have previously made reference to writing with all five senses. To me this is an important part of the writing process, because it helps to make the work almost three dimensional.

If you walk into a room and are blinded by sunlight which pours in through huge plate glass windows, smell something so strong you can also taste it on the top of your tongue, hear an unsettling groan and suddenly feel someone grab your ankle, you are truly in the moment.

This is what five senses writing means to me and it is not always so easy. We have a tendency to experience things with all five senses without ever labeling them. Only in writing is it necessary to consciously convey the message to the reader in order to fully involve her and bring her into the room and the story.
Very often I speed through the creative process of getting a fresh idea on my computer screen without burdening myself with detailed sensual exposure. This means that I always have to go back, reread the words, close my eyes, and transport myself into the scene so I can experience it in the same way that I hope you will.
I welcome your comments about five senses writing and reading and how important it is to you as a reader.

To the power of the written word,

Paul D. Alexander
Dark Star