I love this cover. Its dark, sinister and absolutely delicious.
Aleksandr Voinov is the author of the Dark Soul Series.
He is my final guest for the Riptide Publishing Tour. Please enjoy.
What do you like most about writing? When I hit the flow (which is rare) – the words just come out and they are all perfect. That’s an amazing feeling. Also, when the story just takes its twists and turns, keeping me on my turns, and my character surprise me with the stuff they’re doing and which I’d have never expected.
What genre do you write mostly and what appeals to you most about your genre? I’m the wrong guy to ask. I get bored with every sub-genre after a couple books, so I constantly need to move from contemporary to military to sci-fi to fantasy to military to thriller and back again. I follow the story – and if the story happens to be in a certain genre or sub-genre, I try to learn the rules of that really quickly.
Where do you get the names for your characters? Sometimes they are homages to existing people. William Raven was named after William Marshal, one of the most famous knights of his time. Raven is an allusion to Ravensbourne, which is a little town on my daily commute. As I like in Kent and William is “the Lion of Kent”, that seemed very fitting.
Silvio Spadaro – “Silvio” means “of the forest” – the forest being wild and untamed and dark/threatening terrain (think back to fairy tales – weird and horrible things happen in the forest). “Spadaro” is an old Italian name pointing either to a Byzantine officer (there’s the soldier connection again) or to sword-maker. There’s the whole Biblical idea of who takes up the sword will die by the sword – very good symbols for a mafia killer, I thought.
So, yeah, I spend a fair amount of time thinking about the names. The right one will just simply click in my head.
What are you reading now? Non-fiction about medieval warfare and the Third Reich. All research.
Who are your favorite authors? On the literary side, William Faulkner and A M Tuomala. In our genre, Kirby Crow, Manna Francis, Rachel Haimowitz, Peter Hansen, Kate Cotoner, Rhianon Etzweiler, and many, many more.
When did you start the adventure of writing? I was telling stories from a very early age. Started to actually write them down as a teenager. Published my first short story at sixteen and my first longer piece of fiction at 23, I think. My first novel at 25. It just kinda grew from there.
What’s the funniest scene you’ve ever written? I’m not actually good at comedy. I hope my characters are funny at times, but they tend towards snarky and witty rather than funny. So, uhm, I’d have no clue where to start looking.
A quick quiz: Answer as fast as you can.
Favorite Hero: Frank Castle, aka The Punisher
Favorite Dessert: Toroncino affogato – semi-frozen nougat then drenched in hot espresso.
Favorite Villain: Luke Skywalker and friends. Ruined a perfectly good empire.
Favorite Song: The Sentinel, Judas Priest
Have you ever written to music? All the time.
What music? Anything loud and rhythmic: metal, hard rock, R’nB, industrial, reggaeton, film and games scores
What is the most interesting thing you have learned from your research? I’ve done some very interesting research on medieval hunting techniques for “Lion of Kent”, and I’m currently reading about the French tournament circuit. You basically had this year-long event of tournaments being held all over France, and half of Europe’s knights touring from one to the next to win a lot of money and even more fame and political power. Fascinating culture somewhere between touring bands and celebrities like Brad and Angelina taking their kids around the world, drawing huge crowds.
What would you advise an aspiring author? Keep writing, read books on writing craft, read outside the genre, and learn how to accept feedback and critique. Keep working on your prose even if you get to the point where you think you know what you’re doing. An honest critique will hurt you badly, but without honest feedback, you might never grow out of your beginner’s mistakes.
-Thank you, Aleksandr, for coming by.
Here is a sneak peek of Dark Soul, vol. 1 by Aleksandr Voinov
Stefano Marino is a made man, a happily married west coast mafia boss who travels east to await the death of a family patriarch. All the old hands have gathered—of course sharks will circle when there’s blood in the water—but it’s a new hand that draws Stefano’s eye.
Silvio “the Barracuda” Spadaro is protetto and heir to retired consigliere Gianbattista Falchi, and a made man in his own right. Among his underworld family, being gay is a capital crime, but the hypersexual—and pansexual—young killer has never much cared for rules. The only orders he follows are Battista’s, whether on the killing field or on his knees, eagerly submissive at Battista’s feet.
But Silvio has needs Battista can’t fill, and he’s cast his black-eyed gaze on Stefano. A fake break-in, an even faker attack, and Silvio is exactly where he wants to be: strung up at Stefano’s mercy, driving the older Mafioso toward urges he’s spent his whole life repressing. Stefano resists, but when the Russian mob invades his territory and forces him to seek aid, Gianbattista’s price brings Stefano face to face once more with Silvio—and his darkest desires.
Want more? Read the excerpt here.
Here’s a sneak peek of Dark Soul, vol. 2, by Aleksandr Voinov
The second volume in the Dark Soul series features the stories “Dark Whisper” and “Dark Night.”
In “Dark Whisper,” Gianbattista may have broken Silvio’s heart and sent him off to the States, but he’s still just a phone call away. When Silvio returns from a sex shop with a bag full of goodies, Gianbattista can’t resist topping his boy one more time, even if they are 4,000 miles apart.
In “Dark Night,” the Russian problem comes back to haunt Stefano, and when a dark encounter leaves him bloody and broken, Silvio knows just the right way to ease his pain.
Want more? Read the excerpt here.
Here’s a sneak peek of Dark Soul, vol. 3, by Aleksandr Voinov
In “Dark Lady I,” as Silvio Spadaro plans to take on the Russian hit squad that kidnapped his boss, he decides the best way to deal with four extremely dangerous men is to become an even more dangerous woman.
In “Dark Lady II,” Stefano discovers yet another disturbing—and arousing—truth about Silvio and how easily Silvio can use a man’s weakness to his own ends.
“Dark Brother” brings another player to Stefano Marino’s household. Franco Spadaro has just been released from the French Foreign Legion and is catching up with his little brother. In the middle of a war, a skilled sniper comes in right on time—but two Spadaros might be more than Stefano can handle.
Want more? Read the excerpt here.
About the Author
Aleksandr has been published for twenty years, both in print and ebook. He has ten years’ experience as a writing coach, book doctor, and writing teacher, and he works as a financial editor in the research department of a pan-European investment bank.
After co-authoring the M/M military cult classic Special Forces, Aleksandr embarked on a quest to write edgy, dark, sometimes literary M/M and gay fiction (much of which is romance/erotica)—the only way he can use his American Literature degree these days. He’s been published with Heyne/Random House, Carina Press, Samhain Publishing, Loose Id, Dreamspinner, Storm Moon Press, and others.
Where to find Aleksandr
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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The winner gets choice of backlist books (Counterpunch excluded)