Autodidact: self-taught


An Interview with Author Alex Giannini

by V. L. Craven
Alex, as illustrated by Abigail Larson

Alex, as illustrated by Abigail Larson

A couple of weeks ago I reviewed Sarah Faire and the House at the End of the World  (TL;DR I loved it) written by Alex Giannini and illustrated by Abigail Larson. Then at the weekend I had the opportunity to ask the author a few questions.

First, I really enjoyed, Sarah Faire and the House at the End of the World. And I would have loved it as a child, as well.

Thank you so much for the kind words, and I’m so glad you liked the book!

How long have you been writing? Do you typically write for children?

Out of college, I worked on the other side of the desk, as an editor, but I’ve always wanted to write, and I’ve always written on the side. These days, my day job has me writing (a lot) for a website, but my passion lies in telling stories–particularly creepy ones–with my own characters.

While I’ve been writing for a while, Sarah is my first published book, and it’s the exact kind of thing I’d like to keep on doing.

I enjoy writing for kids, and I find myself writing odd things that are geared towards a younger audience. Sarah, especially, is the kind of thing I would have liked as a child, and it’s very cool to think there are kids out there reading something I wrote. My favorite moment with the book so far is watching and listening to a mom read the book in a coffee shop to her two daughters–twice! That was a humbling experience for me.

Sarah Faire

That must have been really fun. Sarah is a great character–is she written for anyone or based on anyone you know?

Well, she’s named after my Grandma Sarah, who was a pretty cool lady. Very independent, right up until she was 93 years old, which always amazed me.

Sarah is brave and loyal and determined, and she’s adamant about doing the right thing. Which is pretty cool.

What are your favourite children’s books? 

Hmm…I have so many. I especially love Coraline, though, because it never speaks down to the reader. Kids are smart, and Coraline is smart, and can be enjoyed by any age group.

What inspires you as a writer?

I’m inspired by lots of things, and I have a lot of creative friends who help in that regard. But at the end of the day, the thing I enjoy most is writing, and that inspires me to keep writing. Because, maybe, there will be a day when I don’t have to go to a desk job. And, really, there is nothing more inspiring than that.

Writing as an inspiration to continue writing–I really like that!

You had Amber at Southern Gothica make a doll of Thomas (isn’t she fabulous?) are there any plans for pairing more dolls with the book when it’s released?

Amber is the best. Her Thomas leaped off the page–he is Abigail Larson’s art come to life! I do have some plans, actually, but I’m focusing on really getting the book out there for the moment. I bring Thomas to store signings and conventions, and people love him, so there’s definitely something there.

I’d ideally ask Amber to shrink him down a bit, and offer a Book and a Bear box set. Which would be kinda awesome, I think.

Thomas by Southern Gothica on Etsy

Thomas by Southern Gothica on Etsy

Abigail Larson’s illustrations are a perfect compliment to your story. What was the process of pairing up with her–tell me about that.

I cannot express how lucky I am to have come across Abigail’s art online. I sent her an email, mentioning how much I loved her work and that I had this thing that I’d written and liked quite a bit. I asked her if she was interested in maybe taking a look, and if she’d consider illustrating it. She was so nice to even say she’d read the script, but cautioned that she had a lot of work and maybe she’d be able to do the cover.

When she got back to me, she told me she wanted to illustrate the entire book, because she really liked the script. That was a really great day for me!

Abigail is incredibly talented, and she deserves so much credit. The book is what it is because of her.

How involved were you in the design of the characters and the house?

Beyond making a couple of notes in the script (“Sarah is wearing a pumpkin dress”; “Thomas is a stuffed bear”)…it was all Abigail! She told me she developed a connection to the characters I’d written, and I think it’s pretty obvious in the finished product.

I think our sensibilities mesh pretty well, and sometimes it seemed like she pulled things right out of my head, but there were so many instances and pages that are just so far beyond what I imagined while writing them.

She really is amazing.

What’s in the works? Do you have more plans for Sarah Faire?

Ideally, there will be a couple more books. I like things that come in threes, and I’d love to get to work on the next part of the story.

For the moment, however, I really want to focus on getting Sarah Faire and the House at the End of the World out there and in front of as many people as I can. I’m scheduled to appear at a few shows and a couple of in-store signings this fall, which I am very excited about.

Do you have a released date?

The book is currently available. It retails for $15 US and I have been hand-selling it at shows and to bookshops and comic book stores (I’m actually appearing at a comic convention tomorrow morning), and people can order directly from me: a.giannini(at)sbcglobal(dot) net.   The website is still in the works, but hopefully will be done soon.

The comic convention is exciting! Good luck with that. Any other appearances scheduled?

Two October signings are tbd, but one will be at the Barnes & Noble in Norwalk, CT, which should be interesting.

Excellent. Let me know about other appearances and I’ll pass the info on to my readers.  Thank you so much for chatting with me, Alex. Good luck!

Thank you so much, Victoria, for taking the time to talk about our book!

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