Lexi Revellian, Remix and a Replica of the Big Red Chair…
I’m a member of a peer-review site called Youwriteon.com, the same organisation that publishes my books in print. Over the years I’ve seen Lexi Revellian’s acute opinion appear on the forums but she would disappear as quickly as she had arrived.
Then I discovered a link to her blog and there has never been a single post she has made that hasn’t given me food for thought.
She e-published well before me with the ‘accidental detective’ Remix and I found the astonishing success she had over a short space of time incredibly interesting. This was the beginning of the New Dawn for me, with Lexi, Mark Williams and Saffi Desforges and many others illuminating a new pathway. My fellow YWO writers were gradually being seduced by the new medium of the e-book and I owe it to people like Lexi that I finally took the step.
Lexi’s figures are good; she regularly reveals them on her blog and most recently she has featured as one of e-publishing’s success stories in David Gaughran’s Lets Get Digital.
Thus it’s a pleasure for me to have someone of Lexi’s calibre in The Big Red Chair. Lexi, welcome and let’s begin…
1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?
Born in London, educated at a mediocre private school in a south coast town, returned to London at seventeen to go to art college and stayed. I like London.
2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?
At twelve, I’d just got over wanting to be a ballet dancer, as I’d realized I was going to be about a foot too tall. That was a blow, and I hadn’t yet found a dream to replace it. By the age of eighteen, I was at art college studying three-dimensional design, and still didn’t know what I wanted to do. By thirty, I was passionate about making jewellery,
and beginning to have success with my own business.
3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?
At eighteen, I believed the people in charge knew what they were doing. I’ve gradually realized they actually aren’t any more clued up than I am – sometimes less. This is quite alarming, and I preferred being in a state of innocent trust.
4. What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?
- Being wrongly regarded as non-academic at school made me choose a career in the crafts, which I’m also good at. Had my teachers recognized my potential, I’d have studied English Literature at university, and maybe started writing a lot earlier. But I’d have missed out on the jewellery and silversmithing – you seldom reach the same level doing something as a hobby.
- In 2006 I told my daughter a story when she was feeling ill to distract her, and she said, “Let’s write a book together!” We started, she stopped, I carried on.
- In 2010, a year’s worth of rejections of Remix by agents made me become a very reluctant self-publisher. 38,000 ebook sales later, I’ve morphed into an enthusiastic self-publisher.
5. Considering the innumerable electronic media avenues open to you- – blogs, online newspapers, TV, radio, etc – why have you chosen to write a book? Aren’t they obsolete?
Humans have a basic need for stories that will never go away. Leaving aside the sheer convenience of a book, the right novel goes straight from the writer’s mind to the reader’s in a way other forms of story can’t.
6. Please tell us about your latest book…
Replica, which I published in April, tells the story of Beth, bright but unassertive, who is accidentally replicated in a flawed experiment. When Beth Two overhears plans to liquidate her she goes on the run. With no official existence, homeless, penniless and pursued by MI5, she has to learn how to survive on icy London streets. Meanwhile, the original Beth, unaware of what has happened, becomes romantically involved with Nick Cavanagh, the spec op she believes is there to protect her. In fact, he’s hunting her double.
The idea came to me after I broke my shoulder when my bicycle slipped on an icy speed cushion, and for months I walked half an hour each way to work in bitter weather, brooding on unexpected things that happen, and wondering what it would be like to have no home to go to.
7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?
My finances for the better :o) Seriously, I do think a good novel helps readers to understand other people, and maybe this leads to their being more considerate, which is a very good thing.
8. Whom do you most admire and why? Many people set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?
The writer I admire most is Mary Renault. I read The Bull from the Sea when I was twelve, lying on Bournemouth beach, utterly gripped. I’m afraid to say I didn’t realize just how good her books are – I thought them too entertaining to be worthy. But she’s a terrific writer, one of the greats of the last century. Favourites: The King Must Die, The Charioteer, Mask of Apollo.
I have a simple goal; to make a living creating things I like, silver or novels or maybe wooden toy horses…
10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
Never bore the reader. Get the craft issues right – I don’t mean modern fashions like single POV, I mean grammar, punctuation and spelling, dialogue attribution without loads of tags, dispersal of backstory. Don’t be too easily pleased. You should enjoy all the re-reading of your novel you will have to do – if you get bored, I fear the reader will too.
11.What are the last five websites you visited?
- Youtube to listen to my current favourite track by A Flock of Seagulls, I Ran (so far away).
- Amazon, natch, to check my rankings.
- Hotmail to read my emails.
- My blog
- The Kniphausen Hawk – the original for the Maltese falcon. I got sidetracked when thinking about MacGuffins in fiction.
12. What is your guiltiest pleasure that few know about?
Reading my own books for pleasure.
13. If music be the food of love, what do you think writing is and please explain your answer?
Writing is the dinner party of the mind. Nourishing, intoxicating, educational and fun.
I’ve read Remix and can say without hesitation that I recommend it. The heroine is a rockinghorse craftsman-creator and its been a delight to see pics of Lexi’s real rockinghorse work on her blog. This is an instance of a writer who has a deep experience of something her protagonist actually does.
Replica is on my Kindle TBR list along with quite a big list of books by fellow indies, but all of them, Replica included, will be read and reviews placed on Goodreads and Amazon.
Thank you, Lexi, for taking the time to talk and good luck with your books.