Author Interview, Alex Austin

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I’ve decided to do random short interviews with fellow authors (it’ll be a new addition to this blog). Without further ado, here’s Mr. Alex Austin!

Describe yourself in 5 words:
Alex: Relentless, droll, skeptical, restive, furtive.

Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):
Excerpt from The Red Album of Asbury Park Remixed, the story of a young musician trying to make the best of his life in the tumultuous 60s/70s Asbury music scene:

I pushed myself off the bench and started walking. I looked up at the Casino, the letters of the word were split into frames: CA/SI/NO.

Above the name and a row of windows were green seahorses and above them the green roof: a crown anchored by statues of Atlas, condemned by Zeus to hold up the world forever. Inside the Casino, the carousel revolved as fast as an old 78. It was all show, for any child that mounted would be hurled into the sea. I walked around the carousel several times, as if I might see more, and then laughed aloud at my stupidity.

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):
Excerpt from Germinal by Emile Zola:

“The all-devouring mine had swallowed its daily ration of men, more than 700 workers laboring now in this giant ant heap, burrowing through the earth in every direction, riddling it like an old piece of wood infested by worms. And in the midst of this heavy silence, under the crushing weight of these deep layers of earth, could be heard — if you put your ear to the rock — the movement of these human insects at work, from the flight of the cable raising and lowering the extraction cage to the bite of the tools digging into the coal at the bottom of the mine. . .”

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:
Alex: For me, writing fiction requires separating myself from the world in order to write about it, publishing requires returning to the world. Writing is hard but honest labor. Publishing is a hustle, a con, at every level.

What is your definition of “good writing”?
Alex: I look for a distinct voice, a way of saying and seeing things that is unlike any other. Writing that restores the beauty and integrity of words. Writing that gets at what living on this planet is all about. There’s plenty of writing that will help you pass the time and feel good about yourself, but it won’t enrich you.

Please share your #1 tip for writers:
Alex: Trust your instincts to write but don’t trust your instincts to edit. I accept that everything I write could be crap. Get others to read your work and pay attention to their responses. Put a finished work aside for a time and then go back to it with fresh eyes. Read the text aloud.

Cool interview — thanks to Alex Austin for stopping by to chat!

* The Red Album, the free PDF, is available @ http://www.willcall.org/redalbum.pdf.

** Readersdiscotheque also created a downloadable mixtape of songs mentioned in the book!

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