Interview With Author Alexander James
Alexander James is a backpack enthusiast, lover of D&D and author of the horror novel, The Woodkin. I recently interviewed Alexander about how his passions influenced his writing, his path to publication, writing advice, and more!
Tell us a bit about The Woodkin and what inspired it? The Woodkin was inspired by a backpacking trip out in the mountains! I was in the middle of a writing project that wasn’t exactly going my way, so instead of coping with it like an adult, I threw a sleeping bag, a tent, and a bottle of bourbon into a backpack and fled into the wilderness. In the middle of the night, I woke up to pee and someone was watching me from the woods.
I see that you love D&D. Did your interest in D&D contribute to this horror story?
Dungeons and Dragons makes its way into everything I write somehow! I think that’s how we do this entire thing as writers; a little piece of us bleeds onto the page. I think there was a definitive D&D element in one of the original drafts of the book, but between my agent and editor, we scrubbed it out to focus on Josh and his shall we say...real life problems.
You also are a backpacking enthusiast. Did your backpacking experience help you research for this book?
Absolutely. I describe this book as half a love letter to the PNW wilds that I find so much comfort in, and half a horror story about being alone out in those woods. There’s a serenity when you’re so far removed from humanity...but there’s that much space between you and others to hear you screaming for help.
What was your path to publication?
Jeez. Big question. I started querying a terrible historical fiction book that ended up going nowhere. But in querying that, I found the writing community twitter, which led me to Pitch Wars, which led me to signing with my incredible agent Becky LeJeune. We went on sub with The Woodkin and signed it later that summer! It’s been a wild ride of rejection and acceptance and change and thrill. It’s...yeah, definitely been an interesting time to be a traditionally published author, I’ll just say that.
What is a piece of advice you’d give to an aspiring writer?
Don’t stop. You can’t ever stop. There will be times when it will feel like the only way out, when the rejection hurts too much or the silence is too deafening. But you wrote one book, you can write another. And another. And you’ll always be better the next time around.
Where can people order The Woodkin?
Go to your local bookstore and ask them to order it! We distribute through PGN. Beyond that you can of course go to Barnes and Noble, or Amazon. I think Walmart also stocks it, right between the diapers and the assault rifles.
Where’s the best place to follow you?
I’m on TikTok @DrunkScribe, and you can also follow me on Threads @drunkscribewrites.