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Maria Alexander Interview: At Louche Ends

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I was asked to interview the accomplished Maria Alexander for, and the more I researched and read about her and her work, the more intrigued I became with the artist herself. She has proven her abilities time and time again in fiction and poetry, along with her unmatchable creative side which touches on singing and martial arts, as well. Her life travels and experiences show in her eloquent words and the worlds she builds. With her poetry collection, AT LOUCHE ENDS: POETRY FOR THE DECADENT, THE DAMNED & THE ABSINTHE-MINDED, on the shelves, Maria was kind enough to share her time and a little about herself.

Amber Keller: Can you give me a little background on when you started writing? For instance, were you a journal keeper in your youth and it naturally progressed, or was it more of an epiphany one day?

Maria Alexander: I’ve always written stories, poems, songs—even music!—ever since I can remember. While music was probably a much bigger part of my youth, I wrote lots of stories. I remember writing some uber-gross horror stories when I was 13 years old and asking my Dad to copyright them for me. The look on his face when he realized one was about a girl at a slumber party who has a psychotic breakdown, slices open her stomach and starts eating her own intestines. Priceless! I didn’t think of writing as a profession until I was in college. My parents had pressured me into majoring in Biology. When that wasn’t working out—ya think?—I visited a beloved English professor who couldn’t believe I was having this dilemma. She convinced me to change my major and just not tell my folks. I did and never regretted it.

Amber Keller: There are many references to mythology in AT LOUCHE ENDS. Do you have a passion for mythology, and if so, do you prefer the Greek or Roman myths, or others? Who are your favorite gods and goddesses, and if you could be one of them, which one would you be and why?

Maria Alexander: Mythology has always been a huge part of my life. I’m partial to the Hellenistic pantheon because my Greek father raised me with a sly nod to the gods in nature. Thunder claps were “Zeus bowling strikes” and the full moon was “Diana.” My Scottish-British mother talked about “the little people” and was intensely superstitious. My Celtic roots draw me to The Morrigan and Lady Brigidhe. I had a fantastic time playing in the ancient Gallic world as I wrote my first novel. You’ll find gods from all pantheons in my fiction. But I don’t think I’d want to be any of the gods I truck with. I mean, Greek mortals especially had lot of power over their gods. They’d just say, “Hey, Zeus, Imma not likin’ what you’re doing so Imma goin’ to pray to Apollo instead.” And that had the desired effect. Too many mortals push me around in life as it is.

Amber Keller: You have explained poetry should be thought of as music. I believe this is a great way to explain it to others who have not been exposed to poetry, or are apprehensive about reading it. Have you ever considered becoming a lyricist? Also, do you listen to music while you write? If so, what bands or types of music did you listen to while you wrote AT LOUCHE ENDS over the years?

Maria Alexander: Growing up a classically trained musician, I find the whole music metaphor makes the most sense. About 10 years ago, I wrote a collection of a capella songs I call Dark Folk for Dark Folk. I used to sing these at the open mikes around town as Lady Euthanasia. But I don’t listen to music while writing poetry. There’s too much inside my head pounding to get out to have something outside my head pounding to get in.

Amber Keller: I also write poetry. Not as much now as I used to, but I will always have a special place in my heart for its form. For me, writing poetry is about my feelings, my emotions in the piece that I am trying to convey. It is very different than when I write a piece of fiction. I’m very visual, so for my fiction I write what I see. It’s much like having a movie playing in my head that I’m able to manipulate if I need to. The poetry is more of a voice on its own. How do you describe the difference in the writing process between poetry and a piece of fiction?

Maria Alexander: It’s identical for me, although fiction entails slightly less weeping, gnashing of teeth and throwing of random objects. Short fiction, that is. My books hit emotional notes for sure, but they’re not sustained (thankfully). Poems and fiction are both visual for me. I prefer that and it seems kind of necessary. Read anything by poets who publish in Star*Line. They paint galaxies of feeling with words. Or just check out the poetry on NPR’s website, like this snippet from Jack Gilbert’s “Failing and Flying”:

…But anything
worth doing is worth doing badly.
Like being there by that summer ocean
on the other side of the island while
love was fading out of her, the stars
burning so extravagantly those nights that
anyone could tell you they would never last.
Every morning she was asleep in my bed
like a visitation, the gentleness in her
like antelope standing in the dawn mist.

Maria Alexander: Breathtaking, touching and hella visual. I find that you’ve got to make feelings concrete, give them a face, posture, landscape, activity. Otherwise, you run the risk of fulfilling that Oscar Wilde quote: “All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling.”

Amber Keller: With AT LOUCHE ENDS, the emotions you invoked in me were powerful. Some of them I had buried away and feeling them come to the surface again was a bit of a surprise. Especially with the intensity in “Scarification”, the cry for relief in “Lament” and “Walking House”, all the way to the almost sanguine tone in “Amber, Lapis, Emerald”. One of my favorites, “Lord Arux”, felt nearly palpable in its rich depths of desire and striking imagery, rapture and ecstasy. “Sticky Winter Lips” is so clever in that you used refrigerator magnets to compose it. It was a great addition to the collection! Do you have a favorite out of the collection? I know they were written over a period of time, but which one elicits the most emotion from you? Did any one of them give you trouble, or do your words usually flow?

Maria Alexander: I’m pleased it moved you and that you like “Lord Arux” so much, as that’s definitely a favorite of mine, as well. (When Lord Arux himself read the poem he said, “Ugh! Bugs!” but he still loved the poem.) Probably the one that is hardest for me to re-read is “Changeling.” Crushes can come and go, but family is forever.

Amber Keller: Do you see yourself putting together any more poetry collections in the future? If so, will you stick to this genre or try something new?

Maria Alexander: I have no idea. I’ll keep scribbling in my mopey goth girl diary and see what happens.

Amber Keller: Are there any other published works that you would like to get the word out about? Can you tell us about any new projects you have coming up?

Maria Alexander: If you like suspense, grab the Kindle anthology LEFT HANGING: 9 TALES OF SUSPENSE AND THRILLS. It was my first anthology as editor and it’s full of great stories by award-winning authors, including Simon Wood, Lisa Morton, Scott Nicholson and Kelli Stanley. Otherwise pick up a copy of NIGHT TERRORS II from Blood Bound Books, as it’s got one of my favorite stories, “Revivified” or even MUTATION NATION, if you want to read a very personal story called “Nickelback Ned” that was inspired by a dream. It’s all new stuff, all available for the Kindle. Check it out!

maria alexander at louche ends

I would like to thank Maria for her generosity and time. AT LOUCHE ENDS is a fiery, passionate poetry collection that you won’t want to miss, as well as her other works. Along with Maria, you can also find a story from yours truly in the horror anthology, NIGHT TERRORS II. I wish Maria much success in her artistic endeavors. Keep your eyes open to see what creation she will loose upon us next!

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Posted by on Monday, April 30th, 2012. Filed under Books, Headline, Professional. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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