Hi, I’m another Alex – Alex Draven. Mostly I write queer romance (sometimes dubbed m/m erotic romance, or original slash, or any one of a hundred other labels), and I’ve been putting off making my introduction post, because I always find it slightly embarrassing to talk about myself – how terribly stereotypically British of me!
My tagline is ‘Librarian by day, storyteller by night’, because that’s pretty much true – I’ve worked in various libraries, largely in London, and they’re excellent places for watching people. My writing has to fit in around the day job because I’ve learned that nothing takes the joy out of something like making it responsible for keeping a roof over your head. I’ve made that mistake before. I can’t not think about stories, though, so the writing happens in all the spaces where it can, and I get to still enjoy it.
A fair amount of what I write is set in Britain, because that is my background – I’ve lived in England and Wales my whole life.
That said, I struggled for a long while to find a way of writing contemporary stories set in the UK that didn’t get bogged down in specific locations, and my first published stories were set in the USA. (Fall, which is urban fantasy with centaurs, is out of print and freely available on my journal, and Sleeping Bears, which is urban fantasy with bears and set in Alaska. Originally published in an anthology, it has been extended and will be coming out as a stand-alone ebook from Torquere Press in October)
How did I make the jump to bringing my stories closer to home? I created fictional locations. There’s Kettle and its environs, which was home to my early experiments in English urban fantasy – some of which I plan to eventually revisit – and there’s Tawnholme, which is home to a lot of my contemporary stories, including both my current publications, Staytape and Favour (or, officially, Favor, because it’s with an American publisher). It took a long while to get a good grip on their geography, their history, but at least most of the background rules that shape the way people act – school systems, police systems, the rules of the road, media distribution, power supply – were already familiar to me.
If you followed the links, you’ll see the other reason I have ‘storyteller by night’ in my tagline – a lot of my stories are set in the UK’s goth/alternative scene. Why? Because boys in eyeliner. Okay, so that’s flippant (if a little bit true). Mostly because that, too, is my background. This won’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s wondered where my pen name comes from, but, yes, I’m a goth. Or, these days, more of a metal-tinged rivethead corp-goth with terrifyingly eclectic music tastes, depending on how you look at these things.
I don’t write from life, but I do take inspiration from what’s around me, and my aesthetic is what it is.
I had a conversation with an editor last year where they queried a description of one of the characters, and I paraphrase.
“Are you sure this is saying what you want it to say – I’m getting Johnny Depp in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, they said.
“Yup,” I said.
“Oh,” they said. “If that’s what you intended, then, fair enough. Only that’s not an image that says sexy to me”.
“Um,” I said. “It does to me …”
I’m just glad that the story found readers who see things more my way than the editor’s!
At the moment I’ve got several Tawnholme stories on the boil – the drag queen and the reluctant stag-party guest, the librarian and the children’s author, the roadie and the musician, the one where they meet by dropping milkshake on the pavement, the one where they go on holiday to Cornwall – and a ghost story that’s percolating in the back of my head.
So, in a nutshell, that’s me. Hi!
My website is currently a work in progress, so alexdraven.org.uk will take you to my journal, and the fiction that I’ve posted there.
My published works are available direct from the publisher here or via Amazon / Fictionwise / etc.
And my email inbox is always open, if people have questions or want to get in touch. (Alex@ the domain above)