Earlier today I reviewed Sharp, the second book in Alex Hughes Mindspace Investigative series. Now she is here for a chat!
Who is Alex Hughes? Give us the low down.
Alex Hughes is a total nerd, a history major, a science geek, a foodie, a good friend, and a lot of fun. As a writer, she loves madness, adventure, strange worlds and strange people. She took ballet for years growing up, she read DragonFlight at age thirteen, she’s mad for neuroscience, and she loves to cook and to eat a ridiculous variety of foods including American-style Italian. She grew up on CSI and Star Trek and ended up combining the two in her current series.
There is so much to love about your debut book last year, Clean. Your hero is a police consultant, a very strong telepath and someone who has a daily struggle to stay off of drugs. He is flawed yet so likable. I noted in my review that he is so gifted with his telepathic abilities, yet finds himself in such despair and depression due to his struggles with his addiction recovery. Tell us what inspired you to develop him this way.
Thank you so much for the kind words. I’m honored.
In college when I got the idea for the series, I had just read Joan D. Vinge’s Catspaw, a book about a strong telepath in a dark future world struggling to find his way. I wanted to write a book like that, but naturally my hero would be a detective like the cop shows I’d watched for so many years. A good friend of mine at the time was struggling to recover from anorexia, and she let me into her world and her struggle. It touched me, and I knew I wanted to write about that struggle somehow. It seemed to fit with the dark future world concept I was playing with, but I knew for this project I would need an addiction that was easier to understand. I’ve done a lot of research since then and had many conversations with an AA sponsor, which have both impacted the character significantly as he’s grown into his own. But the despair and depression were part of my friend’s struggle from the beginning, and so they were always part of this character.
I feel like your hero and his partner Isabella Cherabino have a similar relationship as Harry Dresden and Murphy. Forced to work together, find every possible way to give each other a hard time, yet there is that little flame between them and those small glances that hint at romance. Do you have plans for Cherabino and your hero to explore a more passionate side?
Adam and Cherabino are both deeply flawed people. There is an element of mutual attraction that is there between them, but their flaws and conflict make it hard for them to really address it. Keep reading to see how those dynamics play out as the story progresses.
I keep referring to the hero in this series as "your hero" because in the first book, you don’t give us his name until the last page. And the funny thing is, I never even realized I didn’t know his name until the very end of the book!! You are very tricky! Why did you choose to do this?
Thank you for the compliment! I’m glad it worked for you. I was going through a very literary phase when I made the decision–which I’ll note my writer’s group regularly objected to. The idea is to show his struggle to find identity. He’s in limbo, not sure where he’s going or who he is, until he makes the decision at the end that gives him clarity. In a meaningful way, the reader finds his name when he finds a piece of himself that was missing.
Sharp takes up a few weeks after Clean leaves off, with Payoff happening in between. You don’t need to read the novella to understand the second book (I wrote them out of order, actually) but it’s still fun to do so. Sharp spends a lot of time dealing with two major consequences of the first book (I won’t list for the sake of spoilers). Adam’s job is on the line due to police politics, an old student of his has been found murdered, and Cherabino’s old nemesis cop killer has shown back up in town. Adam’s under an incredible amount of pressure, and he has to see if he can stand up under that pressure.
Right now, I have nine books outlined for the series. I’m planning on exploring consequences of the Tech Wars, of the organized crime syndicate I reference in passing in Book One but which becomes bigger in Book Two, and of course going more in depth about the Guild. It’s a big world and a scary one, and there’s lots of room for Adam to be tested in ways he doesn’t yet understand.
I read in a previous interview that you love a good red wine. I do as well *grins* Do you have a favorite you can share with us?
You’re going to laugh, but my honest favorite right now is a California blend called Acronym. I bought it for the name and keep buying it because the blend is brilliant.
Do you do anything special for release day?
I throw a party for friends and family, eat cake, and sign books for my sister, parents, and grandmother. That part makes it all real.
Places to find Alex:
Giveaway Time! I love this series so today I will giveaway two copies. Winners choice of either book one, Clean or book two Sharp. I will gift them through Kindle, Nook etc. Open to all through April 5.