Exclusive Interview: ‘White Horse’ Author Alex Adams
Author Alex Adams’ first novel White Horse is definitely not what you would expect for its title. There is no white horse in it, instead we find our protagonist, thirty-year-old Zoe, living in a world where the most of the population has been wiped by a plague called “White Horse.”
Now that I have your attention, let me continue by saying that the book is also a love story as Zoe is on a quest to reunite with her lover, Nick, who has fled to Greece. Adams alternates chapters between Zoe’s life pre and post-apocalypse as we slowly start to understand what happened. And this is only the beginning. White Horse is the first book in a trilogy.
Author Alex Adams recently took some time to answer a few questions about White Horse, including the inspiration behind it and a small tease as to what we can expect from book two, Red Horse. You can purchase your own copy of White Horse on Amazon.
What inspired you to write “White Horse”?
Alex Adams: It’s more of a “who,” actually. Two years ago I was busy writing funny stories that were going nowhere fast. I needed a shake up, something to push me in a new direction. My boyfriend and I both enjoy mythology, tales of heroes and their struggles and triumphs, so I decided to whip up a short story to entertain him, loosely based on the story of Pandora’s box–something darker and as far from funny as it gets. A scene or two in, the story quickly evolved and it became clear this short story was supposed to be a novel. So I went with it.
What was the most challenging part of writing “White Horse”?
Alex Adams: Probably working out the logistics. Zoe covers a massive amount of distance during the duration of her story, so I spent a lot of time at Google Maps, figuring out her path, feasible walking times, and geographical landmarks. Sometimes the landscape wouldn’t do what I wanted, so it was easier for the story to change, rather than fudge it.
What was the most fun part of writing “White Horse”?
Alex Adams: Every part of the puzzle had its charm, but I loved the work that began when that first draft was nailed down. Digging in and tinkering with sentences until they’re pitch perfect (at least to me) is enjoyable. Yes, the actual writing was fun, but I really love the polishing. It’s satisfying.
Can you tease what we can expect in Book 2 of “White Horse”?
Alex Adams: Let me say up front that Red Horse isn’t a Zoe and Nick book, though readers will definitely be meeting them again in books two and three. Red Horse belongs to Emma, a radio talk-show host in City One, a dystopian society, crudely built on Cuba’s bones. Medical research is king. Asking questions carries a death sentence. Emma has lost her husband, child, and brother to City One’s primary law. But this new society is slowly dissolving into an (un) civil war.
What is your writing process like?
Alex Adams: I’m not much of a planner. I start with a first line, a character in a particular situation, and then everything flows from there. Usually I’ll have an end point in mind (White Horse‘s ending, for example, is almost exactly as I envisioned) and work toward that, but I remain flexible and let the story go whichever way feels right. If I get stuck it’s because I’ve pushed something the wrong way.
I do try to nail my prose in the first draft where possible. Throwing everything at the page in the first draft doesn’t really work for me. I’m not sure if that’s because I’m lazy or fussy. But by the time I get to The End there never needs to be a complete overhaul. It’s just fiddling.
What book have you read recently you would recommend people read?
Alex Adams: This is a tough call because I’ve been reading lots of good, satisfying books lately, across several genres. But I’m going with Daniel O’Malley’s The Rook. It was just…fun. It’s an interesting book: there’s no romance, not even a glimpse of it, which tends to be rare in Urban Fantasy. But there’s so much going on that lovers of love stories won’t miss it.
Also, I just started Karen Thompson Walker’s The Age of Miracles and I can already tell this is something special. I can’t wait to see where this one is going; I think it’s going to be huge this summer.
Follow me on Twitter @sosandrine