Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Interview with Carl Alves and a Giveaway!

Carl, welcome to Hardcover Feedback!  
A lot of people are on Twitter these days, so can you describe Two for Eternity for us in 140 characters or less (which is the size of a tweet)?
A historical fantasy novel covering 12000 years of history chronicling two immortal enemies.

When did you begin writing Two for Eternity?  What inspired this book and how much research was involved in writing it?
The genesis of this novel stems from a thought I had kicking around in my head for a long time – what would it be like to live forever.  If one lived forever, that person would have lived all over the world, would be able to speak a multitude of languages, would have performed every imaginable occupation and would have countless skills.  This in itself doesn’t make a story, so I had to create a foil for this character, someone who had similar skills and backgrounds, but was an evil entity.  The next thing I contemplated is what periods in history would make for interesting writing, and a number of time periods immediately came to mind.  As I began to research and write the novel, a theme started to develop in my mind, and that was to in my own way correct some of the incorrect depictions of history.  There is saying that he who wins the war writes the history.  What is taught in history classes is often skewed as a result.  I tried to use some alternative, non mainstream sources of historical events when doing my research.

What or who made the biggest influence on you wanting to become a writer?
The author that most influenced my was Stephen King and the book that most influenced me is The Stand by Stephen King.  That novel was so well written, so epic in nature, and had characters that came to life.  I read the book when I was in high school, and I remember when reading it that I never wanted this journey to end.  Whenever I picked up the beat up paperback copy that I had, I was thoroughly absorbed into the world that King created.  It was reading this novel that made me want to tell my own stories, not that I thought I could ever write anything at that level.

What was the first book you ever wrote about and was it ever published?
I first started writing in high school.  After about a year I came to the conclusion that I wasn't very good at it, not to mention that I majored in Biomedical Engineering in college and had no time to write.  I restarted about seven years later when my wife urged me to start writing again.  That was the point where I got serious about learning how to write and pursuing it professionally.

My first novel, “Conjesero”, is a horror novel about a shape shifting serial killer.  I’m in the process of re-writing it.  It amazes me as I do the re-write how my writing has evolved since that time period.  I read some parts of the book, and my reaction is “What was I thinking?”  It also shows me that I have to continually improve my writing and learn more about the craft of writing.  I don’t think I will ever get to the point where I’m fully satisfied with the quality of my writing.  There is always room for improvement, and writing is a continual evolution.

Do you have any writing habits that people might find unusual?
I do virtually no outlining, other than maybe a two or three sentence high level overview.  I am constantly working out the story in my head.  Usually I'm looking at the next two or three chapters, figuring out the plot details, the dialogue, any action scenes.  I also work out in my head longer term what's going to happen in the story, and working out the story arc. I usually start off with maybe the two or three main characters and then as the story goes along I create new characters.  Sometimes these characters evolve as the story evolves.  I have killed off characters or saved characters who I thought I would kill off based on how they develop during the course of writing the story. 

By the time I sit in front of my laptop, the writing tends to flow easily because I know what I want to write and how I want to do it.  I wouldn't necessarily recommend this method to other writers.  I think the development of plot and character isn’t a formulaic thing but something that each writer has to figure out. 

Do you have a favorite character or one that is especially close to your heart?
Raiken, the protagonist in my novel Two For Eternity is someone who resonates with me.  Raiken has been alive for 12,000 years.  He has lived everywhere, performed every type of occupation, has been rich and powerful as well as poor and meek, and can speak dozens of languages.  Unlike Vrag, his immortal counterpart, he always tries to use his knowledge, skills and experience for the betterment of those around him.  He starts off in the novel mostly concerned about protecting his family and those around him, and then evolves into someone who is more of a protector of humanity in general as his counterpart, Vrag, raises the stakes in the deadly game they play.

What is the best gift you have ever received, do you still have it and who gave it to you?
My wife introduced me to the wonderful world of e-books when she gave me a Nook for my birthday.  I don’t think e-books will ever completely replace traditional paper books for me, but I think the Nook is great for traveling and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.

What is something that you have always wanted to do, but just haven't gotten around to it yet?
My lifelong dream was to have a novel published, and Two For Eternity satisfied that dream.  I guess the next one would be to make it onto the New York Times bestseller list.

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you hope to find in your suitcase? 
I would want flint to start fire, a spear for fishing, and a bow and arrows for hunting.  What can I say, I’m a practical guy.

What is your all-time favorite book?
The Stand by Stephen King.  Brilliant novel.

Other than yourself, who is your favorite author?
Stephen King’s early work is phenomenal.  So many of his novels resonate deeply with me.  I’m not so fond of his more recent work, however.

If a TV show was based on your life, what type of TV show would it be (i.e., comedy, drama, suspense, etc.) who would you choose to play the leading character (you), and what would the theme song be? Why?
It would probably be a drama of a family man trying to juggle a million different activities and responsibilities with family, work, and writing.  I would like Juaquin Pheonix to play my character just because we’re around the same age and he’s such a phenomenal actor.  The theme song would be “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns-N-Roses. 

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I don’t have spare time.   I work full time as an engineer at a pharmaceutical company, and I have two small children.  My wife is a physician and I frequently have to take care of the kids.  I write whenever I have the opportunity to do so.  If that means a few minutes here and there, then so be it.  Other than that I work out on a daily basis and enjoy watching sports.

Are you an early bird or a night owl?
I suppose both.  I’ve come to the conclusion that sleep is overrated.  Lack of sleep helps me get things done.

What is your favorite TV show and/or movie?
I’m really enjoying Game of Thrones these days.  The writing for the series has been great with memorable characters, excellent tension, great action and great drama.  I have yet to read the series by George R.  R. Martin, but I look forward to doing so.

If you were throwing a dinner party and you could invite five people (fictional or real, dead or alive), other than family or friends, who would you invite and why?
Stephen King, Darth Vader, Captain America, Charles Barkley, and Theodore Roosevelt

If you had the opportunity to go anywhere you wanted, at anytime in history, where would you go and why?
I would go to the time of the Vikings circa 1000 A.D. around the time that they were travelling to North America.  This was a time period that I wrote about in Two For Eternity.  For one things, the Vikings were really fascinating.  Secondly, I would like to document first hand that the Vikings arrived in North America prior to Christopher Columbus.

What are you currently working on?
I generally work on about three or four different novels/short stories at any given time.  I like to bounce back and forth between them, which helps keep things fresh.  Right now the project I am most excited about is a novel entitled Beyond Ragnarok, which is a post apocalyptic version of what takes place after the Battle of Ragnarok from Norse mythology. I am also getting ready to do the edits with my project manager for my forthcoming novel Reclamation Mother Earth.

Where can people connect with you online?
People can reach me at, on Facebook I’m listed as Carl Alves, and on Twitter @authorcarlalves.

Thank you so much Carl for being on Hardcover Feedback!

From the beginning of human history, two immortal beings have battled against each other. Vrag has pulled the strings of malevolent leaders, and has caused endless destruction and chaos. Raiken, his immortal counterpart, has opposed him at every turn.

Two for Eternity is both a historical and contemporary fantasy thriller that takes many controversial interpretations of history. From ancient Egypt and Babylon, through the time of Christ in Judea, spanning the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, through World War II, Raiken and Vrag have engaged in an inhuman battle of wills. Now, the stakes have never been higher as Vrag has set his sights on the destruction of society. Raiken has always been the defender of humanity against his immortal enemy. They will battle one last time to settle their score for eternity.

Product Details:
  • Paperback: 330 pages 
  • Publisher: Weaving Dreams Publishing (November 1, 2011) 
  • Language: English 
  • ISBN-10: 1937148041 
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937148041 
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Available to purchase at Amazon

Enter to win Two For Eternity by Carl Alves. Giveaway is open to residents of the United States and Canada only! To enter, all you have to do is follow this blog in at least one way and then complete whichever extra entries you want in the Rafflecopter form below. If you are not familiar with how to use Rafflecopter HERE is a link to a how-to video. Giveaway ends July 8th at 11:59p.m. (e.s.t.). Good luck!

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  1. Parabéns Carl
    Comecei a ler o teu livro, devagar mas irei chegar ao fim.
    Gosto do titulo e do tema.
    José louro da Costa