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Alexander Watson is the talented author of River Queens: Saucy Boat, stout mates, spotted dog, America. Today I share my exclusive author interview with Alexander. Watson shares how he began his writing journey and his goals for the future- enjoy!
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I knew I wanted to figure out what my editor was telling me on August 17, 2017. I had submitted my manuscript for his perusal before his taking the job. I sat and listened as he waved his hand across the first page of what would be River Queens and spoke words whose meaning I thought I knew full well, but I did not understand at all.
Can you share your journey to becoming a published author?
Long. Tedious. Cruel. Heartbreaking. Dale and I sailed up the Arkansas, Tennessee, Cumberland, and Ohio Rivers in our vintage Chris-Craft, Betty Jane, in order to start a new life away from the Texas heat.
“I’ll go with you, Alexander,” he said, “as long as we do not end up in the South.”
Dale is a native Wisconsinite, transplanted to Dallas by his father’s pursuit of a livelihood.
We had already had successful careers in Texas and planned to retire as bon-vivants in Cincinnati, The Queen City. But the river had ruined us for city life, and we were not going back to Texas. I had to do something.
Many acquaintances, recipients of our missives along the journey, recognized my ability long before I did. They suggested, rather insisted, I write a book. Three years passed before I produced a manuscript for which I was willing to pay cash money to have a professional editor look at.
What do you find to be the biggest challenge, as an author?
Dale and I have salvaged all kinds of businesses from bankruptcy. We are used to physically and financially challenging work. I had no idea how difficult getting good prose on the page would be.
My first lesson came at that first lunch with my editor, John Baskin (Orange Frazer Press: Wilmington, Ohio).
He said, “First you write a line. Then you write another line. The two have to have something to do with each other.”
What do you find most rewarding, as an author?
I am reminded of the great Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim describing the creation of the song for Sunday in the Park with George wherein the principal character, Georges Seurat, paints on stage and sings, “Look, I made a hat.”
Sondheim says, “I worked all day and all night on that song without noticing the time passing. As dawn broke and the sing completed, I said to myself, ‘Look, I wrote a song.’ I have created something that was not there before.”
Share with us a daily habit of yours, that helps you reach your goals.
Get up, get dressed, have breakfast and prepare myself as I would to go to work at any other job. In the early stages of River Queens, I took the bus to the Mercantile Library in downtown Cincinnati where there were absolutely no distractions beyond the rest room.
Later, I learned to work at a small table and chair stuck in the corner of our apartment.
What is one piece of advice you would share with an aspiring author?
Finish these sentences:
I am most grateful for…
The opportunities given to me and the stamina—emotional, physical, financial—to pursue them.
If I could give my 18 year-old self one piece of advice it would be…
“Don’t worry about it.”
My favorite thing about being a writer is…
The people I get to be around.
My least favorite thing about being a writer is…
All the unanswered doors.
My goals for the future are…
Another book as rewarding to write as River Queens: Saucy boat, stout mates, spotted dog, America
I love living a creative life because…
I have known no other. Creative talents filled the house and my awareness when I was a small child. My mother was launching her career and what-would-become reputation as the grand dame of Dallas Interior Design. Subsequent ventures in real estate and fine art, including rescuing her business from the creditors after her premature death from cancer, required imaginative cunning to succeed.
The last book I read was…
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.
My favorite book, ever, is…
Far from the Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy.
Outside of writing, my favorite hobby is…
Boating. A boat requires maintenance. A wooden one takes specific skill and patience.
The most important thing to do if you want to achieve your goals is…
Acknowledge the rules, don’t necessarily follow them.
A few more questions...
Tell us about your books (genre, where we can find them, etc.)
River Queens: Saucy boat, stout mates, spotted dog, America is the memoir which chronicles how the purchase of a boat left to sink altered the course of Dale and mine life together—who we are as partners, as men, and how we view the world and its denizens.
Where can readers find you (i.e. website, social media, etc.)?
Amazon Author Page
Goodreads Author Page
Orange Frazer Press
Anything else you'd like to add…
My writing did not blossom until I interviewed, hired, and listened closely to the advice and counsel of my developmental editor, Mr. John Baskin. Thank you, Mr. Baskin for curating River Queens into the best book I can write.
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