Interview with Alex Fiano

What motivated you to become an indie author?
Years of trying to publish through traditional means. I had some vague favorable responses but no one wanted to take a chance on the series, especially as publishers began to disappear (in particular LGBT publishers). With the advent of channels like Smashwords, I realized I could try another way. I could take on the design and editing aspects myself, and learn about marketing. Most of all, I could ensure that my characters and stories stay true to my vision, rather than be altered for a different agenda. This series is more than just a set of books, and I'm good with the stories and characters standing or falling on their own. The response I've had has been incredible--when people just get it, and get into Gabriel's World. I made the right decision.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Both in providing an outlet to different retailers to carry and sell the book, and also in providing really good advice on marketing and preparation of materials.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Building this world, Gabriel's World, bit by bit. Every book, every short story, every extra on the website makes it more real, and can be something that a reader can get into, relate to, and enjoy. Finding out that someone was entertained or touched by the stories is the most fantastic part of this. I thank all the readers of the Gabriel's World books.
What is your writing process?
A story in essence comes to me--a theme, an event. The urgency of it tells me it is the heart of the story. From there, I begin intensive research. A good deal of what is in the books is from my own experience. However, I base everything, even the small stuff, on research. It may veer a little in print, but that is suspension of disbelief. I also consider my characters. Where are they now, what is happening to them. What messages do they want to send--what is the next level in their lives? I write out of order, whichever scene tells me to be written. Then I tie them together and ensure that all of the plot makes sense. I go back to previous books to ensure that continuity stays true.

The next part is editing--the most important part of writing. Finding typos, taking out dialogue that doesn't work, taking out actions that are not true to the characters, and cutting, cutting, cutting, to make the story flow. Once the story is finished, at least six read-throughs and edits by myself and trusted persons with critical eyes are necessary before I feel comfortable setting it out publicly.
What's the story behind your latest book?
--With Two-Faced Woman, I wanted to make the atmosphere more intense than The Hanged Man. Each book has a different style and feeling. Duality is the major theme here--events happening twice, people having two sides to them, different ways to interpret life.
--Gabriel's spirituality is further explored here, in a mystic, rather dreamlike manner. He is suffering badly, which I feel is realistic considering the events of the first book
--I also wanted to address certain types of crimes--arson, violence against women, and in particular modern-day slavery.
--For this story, I had a transgender character to introduce, Geneva, who will be a permanent part of the series. I believe in a varied community of characters who can be considered role models. They do not act perfectly, but they have integrity.
--Finally, another difference in this book is a heavier emphasis on the 'personal life' aspect. Specifically, Gabriel needs to resolve who he wants to be with, and what his relationship with Joel really is. That is settled in this book.
What are you working on next?
The third book in the series, The Book of Joel. This book will be released in 2014. The book involves both a new dangerous case for Gabriel, and an excursion in the past for Joel, who has come into his own as a major character. The story lines are tied into each other. All books have intertwining story lines that will play into future books. The Tertullian Society also steps back into the picture in this book. The book is intended to visit the theme of how one's choices and past affect the present, and affect character. The tag line is, If the Past Doesn't Kill You, the Present Will.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything. I'm a fan of various book series and TV/movie series, and I enjoy losing myself in the stories--I want the books' fans to do so as well. The books have LGBT characters but are for everyone who enjoys suspense, crime, questions of ethics, and some relationship issues. Gabriel's World has an audience that gets the meaning of the books, and I hope to continue to build interest and loyalty with each book. The fans are the best marketing, because they are recommending something that is meaningful to them. I appreciate all the Gabriel's World fans so much.
Who are your favorite authors?
Steig Larsson, Umberto Eco, Rex Stout, Ross MacDonald, Raymond Chandler, Sue Grafton, Sara Paretsky, Peter Straub.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I can't list individual books, although I have a couple I will turn to over and over, Focault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco, and The Throat by Peter Straub.
I more have favorite subjects that I get into, and these become part of the stories. Film history and culture; I'm a movie buff. Political intrigue and conspiracies. Conspiracies get a bad rap; I think every theory should be considered on its own merits, not lumped together. Esoteric phenomena, the occult. My mom instilled that interest in me, and someday I plan to write in that genre. Mysteries/thrillers--I grew up with them and still love them. LGBT history; this is a topic dear to my heart and part of my advocacy.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I am a full-time teacher online. I teach critical thinking. I'm also an attorney, not in a practice but occasionally consulting. I'm also a LBGT advocate, particularly for youth.
Published 2013-12-18.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Dead For Now (Gabriel's World)
Series: Gabriel's World, Book 4. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 112,980. Language: English. Published: March 6, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled, Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » General
NYC private eye Gabriel Ross has justified paranoia--a rogue faction from the sinister Tertullian Society is stalking him. Psyops master Damon Clement has dangerous plans for Gabriel. Gabriel tries to protect his loved ones while still secretly exposing the Society's misdeeds. His actions spawn a viral protest movement even as he heads for a showdown with the Society.
The Book of Joel (Gabriel's World)
Series: Gabriel's World, Book 3. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 143,180. Language: English. Published: February 23, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled, Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » General
NYC private eye Gabriel Ross's boyfriend Joel finds his initial success as an artist is shadowed by his need to confront his estranged parents and overcome his past. After discovering Joel's father is involved in a corruption scheme, a shocking turn of events follows. As Gabriel and Joel investigate further, they are pitted against a notorious hitman and the malevolent cop who first abused Joel.
Two-Faced Woman (Gabriel's World)
Series: Gabriel's World, Book 2. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 145,400. Language: English. Published: December 20, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled, Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » General
Gabriel Ross, still suffering mental trauma from previous events, takes on two new clients with unique problems, and finds himself tracking two evil men. But Gabriel's personal relationships are suddenly exploding around him, as he desperately tries to reconnect with his spirituality. And now Gabriel must face human monsters who strike with a level of brutality that threatens to destroy him.
The Hanged Man (Gabriel's World)
Series: Gabriel's World, Book 1. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 113,090. Language: American English. Published: August 28, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General, Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » General
(5.00 from 1 review)
Raymond Booth hires New York City P.I. Gabriel Ross to probe a disturbing incident at Raymond's charitable foundation and then disappears. His sister Toni wants Gabriel to find the missing man. Gabriel turns up evidence of abduction, but Raymond turns up dead. Pulled into the mystery Raymond wanted him to solve, Gabriel unravels a sinister secret connected to the foundation.