Interview with Sydney Alykxander Walker

Published 2014-10-09.
When did you first start writing?
That's a bit hard to say, really. I don't think my ten-page book I wrote in grade four counts - not that you could consider it as such, but I digress - but if we're looking timeline-wise, I'd say perhaps around 2004, when I was about seven years old. My first book, however, came around when I was eleven.

Not that I'm ever going to publish it, mind you; I have my pride.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Approaching Farewell is another "pilot" novel, if you will, as I attempt my hand at the supernatural genre. I had previously written up the beginnings of a draft two years ago, but it had never really taken off so the idea just sat there. Yet, in January of this year, I decided to give it another go; I redesigned the main character and the setting, doing a lot more research than before and refining the basic plot. It quickly grew into something right after my own heart.

The story of Sage and Elijah is, by far, my favourite. I have loved every moment of its creation, and am sad to see it end but am also glad to finally share it with the world. I've weaved some of my favourite myths and folklores into the novel, also attempting my hand at writing modernised myths, and am extremely satisfied with the result. Also, it's going to officially be the first item checked off the list of my secret, grand project, so I really can't complain.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The fact that I've always wanted to tell my stories motivated me - I'm a storyteller by nature, and thoroughly enjoy having people read or listen to the tales I weave. My friend introduced me to this site, which is by far the easiest e-book publisher I've ever dabbled with, and I was sold.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I adore knowing people are taking the time to read my book and are enjoying it. When someone tells me what they think, or that they started reading it for that matter, it's the greatest thing in the world. To know that my tales are being read, enjoyed and people read them of their own free will - well, there's nothing like it.
What do your fans mean to you?
The world. My fans are the people who encourage me to keep doing what I love, because I know they enjoy reading the stories I've weaved. If I had it my way, I would never charge for my novels - I don't like charging for the enrichment of one's mind, and as an art it deserves to be shared freely - but since I can't, I hope they know that I really appreciate their support, silent or otherwise.
What are you working on next?
A variety of novels, really. I have been working on the third instalment to Destiny Rising, titled "Shadows of Light", and am currently going over possible ideas on how to proceed.. Then I hope to write the second novel to Breaking Bonds, titled Final Days, wherein our loveable duo is joined by a scientifically-created Gifted, another with a natural affinity for his, and a third from a different kind of chaotic background, set in Africa.

These books, hopefully, will make their appearance before the end of the next year. They are all tales I've enjoyed weaving, and that are close to my heart.
Who are your favorite authors?
Inspiration wise, that would be Alexander Gordon Smith, Darren Shan and Neil Shusterman, as they got me into the horror aspect. Their literary works are something to behold, and I highly recommend picking up one of their novels. I promise, you will not regret it.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I compose music. Sometimes I read and sometimes I draw as I listen to music, but generally I stick to the arts. I also like finding a nice patch of sunlight and falling asleep there, which is as enjoyable as it sounds.
What is your writing process?
Oh, I'm supposed to have a process? Woops.

I honestly just get an errant idea for a novel, such as the basic idea for a storyline or character, and I run with that. I sit down and type, and most of the time I don't get far, but I don't intend to either. When I feel it's starting to kick off and I can work with the idea, I sketch out the character design, sometimes do a bit of research if need be or as the need arises, and type until I finish it or until I can no longer continue it due to an unwavering writer's block.
How do you approach cover design?
I like simplicity. Nothing complicated, really; I just think about the thing that is the most significant in the novel, and then I run with it - and it's effective, I find. I believe it's better to keep to simplicity, as complex designs can sometimes be too much, you know?
What's the most memorable novel you've ever written, and why?
Without a doubt, that would be the series I titled Destiny Rising, the seven books that follow the lives of (eventually) twelve demigods who must protect the worlds from creatures made from the empty matter of space itself. It's the umbrella for this grand project I'm working on, which is insane to begin with and I do believe no one's ever been crazy enough to try. Nonetheless, this series holds a special place in my heart, as it was the first series I've ever written that featured a gay couple that wasn't just hinted at.

It's also first series where I create an anti-hero, and to be quite honest I love that. It's been a thrilling experience.
Describe your desk
Messy. You have post-its, a cork board littered with memos, a pile of paper, two notepads, a heap of books, my drawing tablet, homework I'm strictly ignoring (yes I'm looking at YOU, ominous paper of death) and of course my laptop itself. Then, further distraction: my keyboard, which sits beside my desk within easy reach and is rather inconvenient, and two cases full of 3DS games further tempting me into distraction. Curse my ADD!
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Do I ever. I wrote a ten-page child's story about twins when I was ten, and believe me when I say it was as bad as it sounds. It's a fond memory, however, despite the result, and helped me become what I am today. Therefore, all I can do is tip my hat to ten year old me and thank her from the bottom of my heart.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
OH MY GOODNESS YES okay that was in grade two I think and I'm surprised I can remember that. It was this little green book the size of my hand that had a lot of pictures, and there was this entire collection of them. I remember reading them all and liking the pictures but loving the words more - I don't quite remember what it was about, unfortunately. An animal, I think. Probably a beaver - and deciding then and there a single thing.

That was what I wanted to do.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
My friends, add these to your bucket lists: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, a brilliant book that begins the adventure of a lifetime; Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith, especially if you love horror. This book really inspired me to love the genre even more and want to write it; The Merchant of Death by D. J. MacHale. I have nothing to say about this except that the series is a thing of dreams, and that MacHale is one of my idols; Unwind by Neil Shusterman, and again if you love horror then I promise you that if you don't feel ill reading this novel I will treat you to dinner and a movie; finally, please add any of Rick Riordan's novels to your lists. My love of mythology was rekindled through the Lightning Thief, and if it wasn't for that I wouldn't be where I am now.

Honorary mentions: The Replacement (Brenna Yovannof); The Graveyard Book (Neil Gaiman); Lord Loss (Darren Shan); Nightwalker (K. V. Johansen); The Fetch (Chris Humphreys); 13 Reasons Why (Jay Asher); Mercy Among the Children (David Adams Richard).
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born and raised in Quebec, so basically in the back end of Canada no one really likes to talk about. As a result, being a fluent English speaker in this province is both a blessing and a curse, and as a matter of fact my French is equally as good as my English so I get by either way. This has influenced my writing as I really like to implement French Canadians into my novels (see: Approaching Farewell's "Elijah Woods") who sometimes like to curse flat out in French (for this, see: Aurora's "Claude Valois" (Coming soon)). It's very entertaining for me.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I never thought I would publish any of my works; I was waiting for the day I would find a publisher, and although I'm still looking and hoping for that day, it's still such a blessing to know that I've met my dream to an extent. I'm an author - who gets to say that? Sure, it's digital and it's not that great a pay, but I'm not in it for the money.

There are hundreds of thousands of lives waiting to be told, burning inside me, and I can't wait for a publishing deal to let them out. They're loud and proud and getting the limelight they deserve.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author or publisher.