Inksmith Publishing would like to offer a warm welcome to our new author Alec Arbogast, author of The Last Odinian! Below are some questions he has answered for us to help get to know him better!
Message from Alec: Hello! It’s nice to meet you. Thank you for reading, and let us share in our love of storytelling together.
Q: What is your favorite book?
A: Even though they aren’t single stories, my favorites would be The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allen Poe, and also The Great American Short Story Collection. They have both had a great impact on me. Regarding single, full-length stories, I first read The Shining by Stephen King when I was a teenager. It became a sort of catalyst for my creative mind, introducing me to the immense world of storytelling, the concept of tasteful, imaginative horror. It made me aware and reflect on the struggle between good and evil, and the grey area between the two.
Q: What is your favorite food? Favorite color?
A: My favorite color is blue, and I love Thai food.
Q: What/whom is your favorite mythical creature?
A: This is a hard answer to narrow down. Recently, I’ve been drawn to Slavic and Norse mythology. However, Medusa from Greek mythology is my overall favorite. She’s a singular, terrifying creature, who can make quick work of almost anything or anyone- even the Titans.
Q: Can you share a little of any of your current work(s) with us?
A: I have three writing projects I’m currently working on. One is an action-adventure novel revolving around an elite group of soldiers; one is a story that blends elements of time travel, mystery, and horror; and the other is a gangster drama set in post-Civil War America.
Q: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
A: I find quite a few aspects of writing challenging, but it’s always a good challenge. I’m drawn to historical fiction, and in these stories it’s a challenge to make sure I’m accurately representing the event while also molding it to fit my narrative. Pacing is another struggle as well, as I find it tends to do one of two things: the narrative flow develops naturally or can be hard to keep on track. Almost like an intractable horse, I feel like sometimes I have to nudge it in the right direction while it wanders off.
Q: Did you learn anything from your book(s)?
A: I learned the forbearance and discipline it takes to finish a full-length book, which can be equally an exhilarating and daunting process. I stretched myself intellectually at the same time as discovering who I was as an artist and what message I’d like to be sending. I also learned the worlds you create are a tenable space in your mind and can leave a mark on your soul.
Q: What inspired you to write your first book?
A: The Last Odinian originally came to me on a whim, to be honest. I started writing it knowing the setting and atmosphere I wanted—the haunting forests of the Pacific Northwest–and developed a narrative around that (almost similar to The Twilight Zone).
Q: Do you remember how your interest in writing began?
A: I’ve always been interested in the function of stories, and produced some short films in school with a few friends. I didn’t discover the writing form of stories until a few years ago.
Q: Do you have a specific writing style?
A: My style varies from story to story, actually. I try to find a voice that feels right with each individual story, and the characters within. I think my prose tends to have a grounding in the contemporary style while borrowing from romanticism and transcendentalism.
Q: Who is your favorite author? What really strikes you about their work?
A: I have many favorites, but I’ll try and narrow it down. On the classic side, I admire Edgar Allan Poe’s complex prose. He tackles haunting subjects, like the inescapable reality of death, in a truly singular way. Edith Wharton made me a lifetime fan based on just one of her short stories, Afterward, due to her unique style. On the contemporary side, Stephen King has influenced me with his unending creativity, and I respect his voracious need to tell stories. His characters are always vivid and three-dimensional, and he has a pragmatic approach I admire. Craig Johnson has a sort of straight-forward and laconic approach to his prose, but it’s riddled with sardonic insight.
Q: Do you have any advice for other writers?
A: Find a writing process that speaks to you. Some people prefer a meticulous preparation: a diligent outline, layers of notes detailing each character, the narrative mapped out beforehand, etc. Others prefer a more organic process wherein the narrative, characters, subplot, and all the other details just flow naturally. And these are just two examples of the compositional process- everyone develops their own process. Another tip is to be true to your story. Don’t let your own moral standards and ideologies overly influence your characters or narrative. It’s important to realize the difference between who you are and what you create within your writing. On a similar note, don’t be too concerned with your audience or their opinion of you based on your writing. Write how you want and what you want, and your creations will be truer. Finally, your final story will likely be quite different from how you originally wanted it to be, and that’s okay.
An Excerpt from The Last Odinian
Seeing him in plain sight was an abhorrently different experience than through the peephole of his hotel room. Light and shadow played across Kendric’s mutilated face like a symphony of horror as he stood under the bar lights. Koenig forced the coffee down his throat and exhaled. Like a boxer caught off guard, he didn’t know whether to swing a punch or duck for cover. For a moment he just stared at the decrepit man, and the man stared right back, his one working eye fixed on Koenig. Words came to him at last, and he steadied his voice… “Any final thoughts?”