16-year-old Julia’s world is falling apart. Her quarterback boyfriend broke up with her. Her grades are tumbling. Her family’s new home under renovation is a mess. A time-travelling World War II soldier crashing into her room is the last thing she needs. In 1944, 18-year-old Edmond answered the draft & headed to war in France. A chance discovery brought him home to his own room in Chicago…in 1989! A strange girl is living in it. She drives a Japanese car & she listens to Milli Vanilli, a German band. Is their encounter an error in time or a will of fate? Find out in this timeless tale of two young people whose love for each other knows no bounds.
What will time bring to the time traveller and the teenager in ‘Eternal Flame’? To stoke the embers of the fire, I’ve been joined by Alexa Kang, the author of this timeless journey of love. Alexa, thank you for chatting with me today, and I’m very eager to learn about this romance through time, starting with what sparked Julia and Edmond’s tale?
This story is a spin-off of my World War II historical fiction series “Rose of Anzio”. After I finished writing that series, I had a vision of Ed Ferris, a young soldier and a side character in Book 4 in that story, travelling in time from 1944 into the future to 1989. The song “Eternal Flame” by the music band the Bangles is also a prominent theme in this story.
Was your love of the Bangles cemented by being a child of the 80s?
Yes, I grew up in the 80s so I’d written into this story a lot of details about what life was like for teenagers growing up in that era.
After living through the 80s, was it still a stop on your research tour, as you no doubt would have had to research more on World War II, correct?
Yes. I did plenty of research to ensure historical accuracies as to elements, fashion, food, events, etc. of the World War II era and the late 1980s to early 1990s. I’m a historical fiction writer so getting the facts correct is very important to me.
I’m very glad to hear that a historical writer is keen to get the facts right, I’d be very concerned if it wasn’t the case! How do the characters come alive amongst these facts?
I wish I know. They usually just show up in my mind and demand that I tell their stories.
*Laughs* At least they’re showing up and pushing you to write without too much trouble! So, it would be correct to say that your characters have driven this story?
My stories are definitely character-driven. They take me down the road of how the stories unfold.
What do you love most about the road that your characters led you down in this tale?
The sweet love story between Ed and Julia. Writing “Eternal Flame” brought back a lot of great memories of John Hughes movies. I think children of the 80s would really enjoy the book.
What do you hope one of those children of the 80s takes away from ‘Eternal Flame’?
I hope that through Ed, the readers will understand why the World War II generation is called the Greatest Generation.
Were the intricacies of the greatest generation where you also felt the most growth, or have your greatest lessons extended from another aspect of writing?
I’ve learned that, at the moment, it’s hard to convince readers to read a time travel story that isn’t about traveling back in time to Scotland. But World War II & the 1980s are also very interesting eras, and I hope readers will give my story a chance.
Although Scotland is great, I’m sure people will start to explore other regions their time travelling adventures once they have worked their through the Scottish high and lowlands. Personally, do you have enough interest in World War II or the 1980s to return to them in your next planned fictional adventure?
Yes, I’m currently working on another World War II epic love story and a coming-of-age story set in the 1990s.
When you’re in the midst of drafting these adventures, have your characters told you where it will end up?
Not always. I’m a pantser and I let the characters tell me how the story unfolds. They often surprise me and their actions are much more interesting than what I can conjure up with my own puny imagination.
*Laughs* I’m sure your imagination isn’t that puny! But to help that imagination along, do you try and feed it a little fuel like listening to music from the period?
Depending on what I’m writing. Often songs inspire the personalities of my characters, and the lyrics would fuel my mind to write scenes based on certain lines in the lyrics. If readers read closely enough, they may find how certain scenes in my stories are sprouted entirely by one line in a specific song.
I will have to see if I can find the lyrics in your work! Aside from slipping some lyrics, or lyrically inspired scenes into the tales, do you use any writing rituals that you use to keep that imagination fired up?
I write whenever I can. I carry my iPad with me (along with my Logitech keyboard) so I can write and not waste time when I’m at the coffee shop waiting for friends who are late, or in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, or at the airport when flights are delayed.
As you’re taking advantage of every spare second to write, do you ever find that you’ve pulled your iPad and keyboard out only to receive silence from your characters? How do you get them talking again so that you can move forward?
I ask my character to sit down with me so I can interview them and ask them what happened next.
That is an awesome technique to get things going! I imagine that your characters are less enthusiastic with the editing section as they might be changed to their detriment. How do you power through your editing?
I work with my editors. We work as a team and I’m heavily involved in the editing process. I like editing. The first draft is like vomit. You just have to get the words out. Editing is the part where I can perfect every detail and every line, and make the story into a beautiful painting with large and small gorgeous strokes.
It’s good to hear that you can make something because out of the initial…mess. When you’re working on adding those little strokes of beauty, are you cognizant of how each work will fit in with the rest of your work, and how it will fit in with your overall author brand?
Somewhat. I don’t exactly “write to the market”. I write what comes to my head and I write to my muse, so I don’t work very hard on branding. I don’t want to be locked into writing specific genres.
Fair enough, there’s less fun being locked in, even when you’re interviewing. And to make sure that these interviews don’t get locked in I like to cross genres with our quick-fire question round. Let’s start crisscrossing with what is your favourite ocean?
The Mediterranean Sea
Do you have any tips for self-publishing for other authors?
YouTube is a good place to research if you’re writing about places you’ve never been to.
*Laughs* YouTube is a fantastic place to learn anything you want to know. I spend so much of my time there! What is your favourite word?
Isn’t that more of a name than a word per say? Either way, I’ll accept it. What happens when you get scared half to death twice?
I pick up another Stephen King book.
*Laughs* Stephen King is the king for late night frights! From one great writer to another, can you wrap up our interview today by sharing an eternally endearing line from ‘Eternal Flame’?
“Last night, I loved you a lifetime and more.”
Alexa, thank you for sharing this lifetime of love with us and I hope you continue to enjoy your writing adventures in loves of times past.
Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘Eternal Flame ( ASIN: B072LQHBK3 )‘.
Want to find out more about Alexa Kang? Connect here!