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On the Road with Alexandra Sokoloff & Huntress Moon

IN THE July 11 ISSUE

FROM THE 2015 Articles,
andMysteryrat's Maze
SECTIONS

by Alexandra Sokoloff

Details at the end of this post on how to win copies of all 3 of Alexandra’s books at the end of this post.

I’m on the road doing research for book four in my Thriller Award-nominated Huntress Moon series. I spend quite a lot of time on the road these days, since the Huntress series is at its heart a road trip, following a haunted FBI agent on a California-based interstate manhunt for a female killer who never stays in one place, who is constantly crossing state borders to confuse jurisdictions for her crimes.book

It’s a series that takes a lot of research to get right. Luckily, I’ve been doing that particular research my whole life.

I know that there are certain life lessons generally associated with the back seats of cars. And okay, I’ve had a few of those, too! But I really believe that the back seat was where I learned how to write.

My father was a peripatetic kind of guy. Because of various revolutions and natural disasters and immigration restrictions, his Russian family moved from Leningrad to Tokyo to Mexico City before he was three years old. (We think we live exciting lives, but if you ask me nothing we do holds a candle to what our parents have lived through.) That sense of movement never really left Dad. He got into the U.S. when he was fifteen and rode the rails all over the country before he was eighteen and I’ve never seen him happier than when he’s behind the wheel of a car.

author

Alexandra Sokoloff

Both my parents are educators, and at the time my siblings and I were growing up, California schools still had those three-month long summer vacations. And we always spent those long summers on the road, driving all over the state and all over the US, different routes every year, because my parents thought that we should see the country. All of it. Intimately. You might even say (would definitely have said if you had seen how grimy we all got after two months on the highway) that we became one with it.

So, some of my earliest and most enduring memories and sensations are – movement. Perpetual movement. Constantly changing scenery and huge contrasts: endless brutal deserts turning into palm oases. Towering craggy mountain ranges with pockets of ethereal fields of wildflowers. Geysers and glaciers… and grizzly bears trying to claw their way into the car.book

I don’t think it’s any surprise, then, that I’m a sucker for big visuals in my reading and my writing, or that I crave stories that have a constantly moving pace and surprises around every bend. I definitely picked up those rhythms and preferences on the road.

And God knows all that traveling – the national parks, the different cities, the museums and art galleries and reservations and ghost towns along the way, gave me a whole lifetime of fodder for different stories.

I’m eternally grateful for the traveling because it’s made me not just unafraid about doing research traveling, but eager for it. I write supernatural thrillers as well as crime thrillers and the place of a ghost story is sometimes the most important part of the whole deal. I always want to visit and explore the city or region I’m writing about, because it’s the best way to give a reader a true and complete experience. I need you to believe in the reality of the story – to feel and smell and hear things – so I can sneak in there and scare the pants off you.

bookIn between the childhood road trips and the more recent research for my thirteen novels, I’ve seen every one of the fifty states, and I’ve appreciated every one. But I have to say, I love California the most. I love it even more now that I’m living half my life out of it (my partner is the Scottish crime writer Craig Robertson, and we split our time between Los Angeles and Scotland. Talk about a commute!)

In my Huntress Moon series, my main characters are all native Californians, and reviewers often say that California itself is a major character in the books. I am creating a sensory experience of place, not just for my readers, but for myself. Even this far away from California, I can indulge my sense memories of it, and pour all of that into the books:

the eeriness of rest stops in the middle of the night and the vague menace of desert truck stations. The magical realism of San Francisco and Berkeley and Santa Cruz. The anachronistic charm of Pismo Beach and San Luis Obispo. The surreal Daliesque landscapes of Blythe, Indio, and Joshua Tree. The primal power of the Sequoias. But especially, especially the roads.

There is power on the road, for good and for bad. Serial killers are travelers. That’s why they’re able to kill without detection for as long as they do. And that’s a stark reality of my Huntress series. But there is also something profoundly healing about the road – it’s a place out of time where sometimes, even in these dark and haunting books, magic can happen.

To enter to win a copy of all 3 books in the Huntress Moon series, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Huntress,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen July 18, 2015. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.

Check out the rest of Alexandra’s Blog Tour:

Cold Moon Blog Tour Poster

KRL Banner Ad - Footprints in Frost

Alexandra Sokoloff is a Thriller Award winner and Anthony and Bram Stoker Award nominee, a produced screenwriter, and teacher of the internationally acclaimed Screenwriting Tricks for Authors workshops. Her bestselling, Thriller Award-nominated Huntress Moon series, following a haunted FBI agent’s hunt for a female serial killer, is out now. You can learn more about Alexandra and her books on her website.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lynn Demsky July 11, 2015 at 10:59am

Sounds like a wonderful reading trip – thanks for chance to win all 2! Will look for these, if I don’t win! Thanks!
lynn@tangledyarn.com

Reply

2 Alexandra Sokoloff July 13, 2015 at 4:18am

Thanks for stopping by, Lynn! Enjoy your summer!

Reply

3 KarenM July 12, 2015 at 11:43am

I loved the Huntress Moon. Thank you for the reminder that there is more in the series. Safe travels.

Reply

4 Alexandra Sokoloff July 13, 2015 at 4:19am

I’m so glad to hear it, Karen, thank you! Enjoy your own travels!

Reply

5 Atty Eve July 13, 2015 at 5:15am

Loved Huntress Moon and I just started Blood Moon. So excited she lives on.

Reply

6 Alexandra Sokoloff July 14, 2015 at 2:35am

Thank you, Atty! Yes, something keeps her going. Someone has to, right?

Reply

7 Barb Heintz July 13, 2015 at 5:20am

Great post again Alex, and insight into your writing. What a fascinating life you’ve led. I can definitely see your travels in the stories you write because you go into such detail. As I’ve said before. I love this series.

Reply

8 Alexandra Sokoloff July 14, 2015 at 2:36am

Barb, you are always so supportive. Thanks so much for stopping by!

Reply

9 Lorie
Twitter: @mysteryrat
July 28, 2015 at 2:52pm

We have a winner
Lorie Ham, KRL Publisher

Reply

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