When I agreed to interview author Alexander Nader as part of his “Beasts of Burdin” blog tour, I had no idea that one of the characters in my head would take that as invitation to conduct the interview for me. Perhaps I should have known. It’s Will Scarlet, after all. And once he heard “Burdin ” features a private eye… well, let’s just say he felt inspired.
Trading in the medieval charms of home for a seedy office off some gray back alley, Will takes a seat across from his subject of interrogation. Red fedora angled over one sparkling blue eye; pen and notepad at the ready; unlit cigarette clenched lightly at the corner of his mouth for effect.
“So, Alexander – or should I say Alex?” He arches the one eyebrow left visible. “Seriously, which one would you rather? Your book cover and Facebook page say one thing, your blog’s title says another… Who exactly are you trying to throw off the scent?”
Alex: To be completely honest, the Swedish Mafia. You see I’m in witness protection and they took my full name Alexander and very uncreatively broke it up and swapped a couple letters to get Alex Nader. Alex-ander, Alex Nader, get it? Yeah, it’s crazy, but can we just keep that between us? Those mafia dudes are ruthless.
“Ah. Say no more,” Will says, tapping the side of his nose conspiratorially. “Well, I mean, I hope you’ll say a little more. I’ve done a little digging, and I must say, I’ve turned up some pretty interesting dirt. A certain Tweet of yours, for instance, suggests that you and I have something in common.” Will grins. “We’re both said to look like Greek gods.”
Danielle: When has anyone ever said you look like a Greek god?
“You’re all thinking it. I could be Apollo’s twin.”
Danielle: Artemis, virgin goddess of the hunt?
Will casts an annoyed glance at his author. “I am conducting an interview, here. Sorry about that, Alex. Anyway. You said, quote, ‘She did not specify, but if given the choice I guess I’d have to go with Poseidon.’” Will leans forward, gaze intent and not a little suspicious. “Why Poseidon?”
Alex: Easy. He’s my great uncle on my father’s side. Yeah, me and Posey go way back. Every time he came to visit my house smelled like the ocean for weeks. This one time he even let me hold his trident. Man, what a mess that was. It took two weeks to get all the charbroiled flounder out of the carpet.
Will laughs. “I can imagine!” He flips back a few pages in his notepad. “Now, in doing a background check on you and your family, like ya do, I noticed a trend when it comes to your children: Every single one of their names contains the letters ‘av’. It begs two questions. One, what is the significance of this alpha sequence? Two, can you think of any similar patterns to be found within the names of your fictional characters?”
Alex: Yes, the letters AV are, in fact, an acronym: Actual Vampire. It’s because they are slowly draining the life force of my checking account. I mean seriously, do you know how much Nintendo games cost nowadays? There is a similar pattern between the names of my children and my characters and it’s pop culture references. My kids are named from a movie, a song, and a comic book. Bonus points if you can guess which is which.
“Ooh, I love bonus points. Memo to self,” he scribbles aloud. “Match ‘Nader’ kids to source. Win big. Got it. Moving on, and talking of characters, in the press release for your novel— Say, I haven’t congratulated you on that yet, have I? Way to go, you! Where we fictional folk would be without you author people to spill our deepest secrets to the public for cash of which we never see a dime, I just don’t know! That sounded really bitter. I’m not actually, I swear. Seriously, congratulations. Does anyone remember where I was going with this?” He checks his notes. “Yes! Right! Press release. It describes your main character, Ty Burdin, as ‘a man women will love and men will wish were their best friend. Not to be him, just to befriend.’ That’s a pretty sweet character recommendation! How true would you say it holds from your perspective? Do you and Ty hang out as friends? – and, if not, do you wish you could? Why / why not? And say, low key,” he drops his voice to a murmur, “how do you think he’d get on with me?”
Alex: I think Ty is a lot like my worst character traits rolled into a walking, talking insult machine. Ty is really kind of a jerk so if you’re planning on hanging out with him you better have thick skin. On the other hand if you had a drink to offer I’m sure he would hang around until things dried up.
“Oh, I’m sure I could scare up a tankard of ale or seven. One last question, if I may.” Will points his pen at the face across from him. “Since you have a beard and all, I’ve got to ask: Have you ever in your childhood dreams considered joining up with the Merry Men? Not that we all have beards, obviously,” he says, indicating his own face. “But, y’know, it might be seen as a point in your favor. The same goes for hoods and tights. Or if none of that is your thing, what did you want to be when you grew up? And how does it compare with the reality you’re living, Mr. Author/Family Man/Poseidon Lookalike?”
Alex: Tights? Um, tights are to me what a three legged elephant is to tight-rope walking; incompatible. Although, as poor as I am, I’d like to give props to what you guys are doing. Keep the money flowing, chap. So what did I want to be when I grew up? Astronomer, marine biologist, chemist, inventor, Power Ranger, Ninja Turtle, X-man…Really just depended which hour of the day you caught me on.
“Merry Man, superhero… same difference, practically. And that, my friend, is a wrap!” Will flips his notepad shut and extends a hearty handshake. “Been excellent talking to you, sir. That’ll be all for now but, y’know, don’t leave town. …Not that you have to listen to me. I’m not the police. Heck, depending on which sheriff you ask, I’m the enemy. Any case, good luck with your book, yeah? And give your ‘av’ kids my ‘hello’!”
Alex: It was very nice talking with you, Will. And tell Danielle I said, “hi”. I’m done weaving my complex tales of fiction and now I can go celebrate with a drink! (…me and Ty are different people, I swear.)
About the Author:
Alex lives in the tourist infested hills of east Tennessee with his amazing wife/muse and three superb children. He would tell you more about how awesome they are, but you probably wouldn’t believe him. When he’s not hanging out with them he’s making pizzas. When he’s not doing that he’s working at a bookstore and occasionally he jots a few words down. He’s a big fan of good music, good storytelling, and mixed martial arts.
He once wrote a short story about pirates to his wife via text message that blossomed into a full length novel and never stopped after that.
Demon hunter Ty Burdin hung up his guns, knife, trench coat and fedora a year ago. Bags packed, hands washed of all demon politics, he’s done. Forever.
In fact, to get far far away, he dragged Nora, his rockabilly secretary, from Miami to the Tennessee mountains where he’s lived a life of peace—if peace can be defined as drowning in scotch and taking private eye jobs to keep the lights on. Jobs for real people. Not demons.
He’s retired from that. Remember?
Demon hunters aren’t a dime a dozen, though, and when Ty’s brother asks him for a favor—just one—what’s a brother to do? Agreeing to take down one hillbilly demon shouldn’t take that long. In. Decapitate. Out. Favor complete. Back to the office where Nora and his bottle of whiskey are waiting.
Unfortunately for Ty, staying retired doesn’t seem to be in the cards, and an avalanche of bad luck draws him right back to an agency he despises and the career that nearly cost him his sanity.
This time, Ty has no way out and will have to face his own demons just to survive.