I was lucky enough to meet Alex White at this year’s San Francisco Writers’ Conference. He has a lot of great books, and has even penned the newest and latest foray into the land of Xenomorphs, ALIEN: THE COLD FORGE.
A dramatic new Alien novel, as Weyland-Yutani seeks to recover from the failure of Hadley’s Hope, and successfully weaponize the Xenomorphs.
With the failure of the Hadley’s Hope, Weyland-Yutani has suffered a devastating defeat–the loss of the Aliens. Yet there’s a reason the company rose to the top, and they have a redundancy already in place. Remote station RB-323 abruptly becomes their greatest hope for weaponizing the Xenomorph, but there’s a spy aboard–someone who doesn’t necessarily act in the company’s best interests. If discovered, this person may have no choice but to destroy RB-323… and everyone on board. That is, if the Xenomorphs don’t do the job first.
What is the most fascinating aspect of watching people blacksmith?
I love the repetition of it. In many ways, smithing is identical to the publishing process. You put all of this fire and energy into an immutable thing, you take it over to your anvil and you beat on it with everything you can before it cools. When that’s finished, you’ve barely changed anything at all. To the untrained eye, you’ve basically gotten nowhere. Then you do it again, and again shaping the object into the future you want to see. You can’t rush it, or all of your efforts will be ruined, and you have to start over. Blacksmithing is the combination of patience and hard effort over long periods of time in punishing conditions. I can’t think of a more apt metaphor for breaking into publishing.
Neither can I, and yours is a great one. Your latest book, ALIEN: THE COLD FORGE, offers a new glimpse into the land of Xenomorphs. How did this novel come to be, and what do you hope readers take away from the story?
The publicist for my first book, Lydia Gittins, moved from Solaris to Titan Books in the middle of the production cycle for EVERY MOUNTAIN MADE LOW. She emailed me to let me know that if I ever wanted some free Titan books, she could provide, so of course I hit their website immediately because I’m a sucker for that. I saw they had Alien as a license and called my agent, Connor Goldsmith, to say, “Get me an Alien deal.” He delivered brilliantly, setting up the pitch meetings with editor, Steve Saffel. From there, it was a wait, pitch, wait, pitch game for about two years. Once the contract came through, I had four months to write the book.
I want people who read THE COLD FORGE to look at the consequences of inhumanity. The Xenomorphs are far from the worst things on the space station. The real danger comes from the Weyland-Yutani corporate culture and their willingness to do anything for the bottom dollar.
Inhumanity in its worst form can offer great (and terrible) lessons for us all. Speaking of EVERY MOUNTAIN MADE LOW, I was fascinated by how the book deals with the effects of haunting. What did you enjoy most about exploring Loxley Fiddleback and her world?
Loxley is a unique protagonist because of her autistic worldview. She’s clever and adaptive while dealing with extreme social difficulties. She’s braver than most other people, too. The ghosts of EVERY MOUNTAIN MADE LOW are terrifying and cruel, completely inhuman, but she’s still willing to approach them if she can solve the murder of her best friend.
That takes definite tenacity. What are some of your current projects?
I’m extremely excited about the first entry in my Salvagers space fantasy series: A BIG SHIP AT THE EDGE OF THE UNIVERSE, which hits shelves on June 26th! The book follows Nilah Brio, a pampered race car driver, and Boots Elsworth, a once-famous treasure hunter turned con artist. The two women accidentally uncover a galactic conspiracy and have to team up with some of Boots’s old friends to locate a legendary warship. There’s magic, intrigue and romance among the stars. What’s not to love?