Sunday, October 15, 2017

Author Spotlight: Alexandrea Weis

New Orleans. Voodoo. Curses. Ghosts. It's October, dear readers. Creepiness real and imagined abounds with the season, and who's to say which stirs us more? Worry not, though -- we're no fools, and we're duly renown for being protective of our precious patrons. We're the first to concede some creepiness is to be avoided by the wise, and far be it from us to unleash such upon you. But, there is other creepiness. Delicious macabre. Tasty spooky. The eerie stuff that keeps you up late into the dark, cold night because the fear is something you invited to share the warm, orange glow in front of your crackling fireplace. That genus of creepiness is a valued guest who's both entertaining and mesmerizing. When it knocks at your door, or scratches your window, you usher it in, breathless in anticipation of the thrills and chills it brings to your rapidly beating heart.

Creating compelling stories stories full of the fear that fascinates is a specialty of today's esteemed guest, who has so graciously agreed to submit herself to the daunting glare of the Gazalapalooza Author Spotlight. As an advanced practice registered nurse, her mastery of the corporeal is profound. She was born and reared in New Orleans, so she's steeped in in the myth, legend and lore of America's most haunted city. She was raised in the motion picture industry, imbuing in her from a tender age appreciation of the art of spinning spellbinding imagery to whisk you where she wants you to be. She is also a permitted and certified wildlife rehabber, rescuing orphaned and injured wildlife, so she brings too to her craft a tender heart of gold. She is Alexandrea Weis, and we're very pleased to present her to you here, in our humble confines.

Weis visits us today with a fresh copy of her brand new novel, titled Damned: A Magnus Blackwell Novel (Book 1). The book tells the tale of Lexie Arden and her fiancé, Will Bennet. The couple have acquired a old, neglected island mansion called Altmover Manor, determined to restore it and make it their home. But the abandoned mansion's previous occupant, though a man dead over a century named Magnus Blackwell, hasn't completely surrendered his dominion over the property. Blackwell is drawn to Lexie. He senses the young woman's supernatural gift, and he wants to exploit it for his own ends.

New Orleans. Voodoo. Curses. Ghosts. With these things pulsing in her veins, it doesn't seem Weis should be scared of being strapped to a hard wooden chair in our grim guest quarters, under the blistering blast of our unforgiving klieg light array. We see now, she's not. Very well. Laissez les bon temps rouler.

Gazala:    In my omnipotence, I've sentenced you to be stranded alone on a desert island for offenses best left unnamed. In my beneficence, I've decided to allow you a limited amount of reading material to make your stay a little less bleak than it would otherwise be. I'll spot you your religious text of preference, and the collected works of William Shakespeare. In addition to those, name the one fiction book, and the one nonfiction book, you'd choose to take with you, and tell why you choose them.

Weis:    My non-fiction preference would be easy. Mary Renault's The Nature of Alexander. I am a huge Alexander the Great fan. Fiction would be a bit more difficult and would probably be A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. I love that story, and of course, it has ghosts.

Gazala:    Your newest book is an excellent and gripping paranormal tale titled, Damned: A Magnus Blackwell Novel (Book 1). The story follows the spine-chilling adventures and ominous discoveries of a young couple trying to make a home in an old mansion not yet surrendered by its long-dead previous possessor. As the woman, Lexie, explores her new surroundings, she unearths terrifying secrets from the specter's dark and twisted past. Compelled to learn all she can about the mansion's former owner, Lexie becomes immersed in a world of voodoo, curses, and the whereabouts of a mysterious dragon cane. I've read Damned. I enjoyed it immensely, and recommend it highly. Shockingly enough, however, from time to time my bare recommendation doesn't always motivate a book's potential reader to become a book's actual reader. Tell us something about Damned, and why its potential reader should make the leap and become its actual reader.

Weis:    Wow! First, thank you for that. I am thrilled you enjoyed the book. And why I think readers should indulge in my story is because it involves all things spooky and delicious about a place dear to my heart--my hometown of New Orleans. If you can't experience the city firsthand, then read this story and experience it through Lexie's eyes. I grew up in the French Quarter with all manner of the strange and spooky around me. I tried to bring that home in Damned, along with the unique flavor that is New Orleans.

Gazala:    What are books for?

Weis:    Books are a means to awaken the imagination and give it a voice. For the writer and reader, books take you away and open your mind. As long as imagination is nurtured, our souls continue to grow.

Gazala:    W. Somerset Maugham said, "There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are." Do you agree, or disagree, and why?

Weis:    I so agree. There are no rules for writing, only grammar. Every new hit book coming out on the market shows that. Fifty Shades of Grey would never have been considered a groundbreaker, but it was. It broke all the rules. When writing never follow the rules, break them. Be your own writer; not someone else's.

Gazala:    You'll pardon me -- it's well past midnight and a diaphanous, rakish man is beating on my door with the head of a strange dragon cane. While I go see what he wants, ask yourself a question, and answer it.

Weis:    Question: Why do I write? Answer: I have worked as a nurse, earned a Ph.D., and taught at the university level, but never in all my medical experience did I feel like I was using all of my brain. When I write, I do, and it makes me feel whole.

You can feel it, can't you? Halloween's lurking in the close shadows, watching you, and waiting. Who better to help you prepare for sight and frights of All Hallows' Eve than tonight's acclaimed Spotlight Author? Recall she confided to us, "I grew up in the French Quarter with all manner of the strange and spooky around me." She's a subject matter expert on matters particularly requiring her expertise this shuddersome time of year. Delve for yourself. You're see we're right, and you'll thank us for the tip. It's easy to do, so quick and painless. Steel yourself, gather your courage, and click here to snatch your copy of Damned right now from Amazon.