From movie star to TV star to award-winning author, Alex Cord has done it all. His new book has taken him back to his roots– the Western. When Alex was asked to write a Western, it didn’t dawn on him how popular this decision would turn out to be. Western readers are still a force in the book world, and this new Cord Western should prove to be one of the most popular Western releases of the year. How does a multi-faceted man like Alex Cord approach writing a Western? Let’s find out… This is the first interview with Alex Cord about his new Western novel, “High Moon.” Enjoy!
Which Westerns have most influenced your life?
Red River, Lonesome Dove, Monte Walsh, The Westerner, Stagecoach, My Darlin Clementine, The Wild Bunch, One-Eyed Jacks. I list them not in order of preference. They are all fine films that I have seen more than once, some more than three or four or five times. Any of John Ford’s films. John Wayne, Ben Johnson, the great, Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, Slim Pickens, Marlon Brando, Karl Malden. These are the finest of the fine.
How did you research your Western?
I didn’t consciously do any research. Just living my life. Watching the films and many others made indelible, lasting impressions and consequently have influenced, inspired and educated me. I suppose you could call that research.
Tell us about the series. What is the overall story of the series?
Love. Seeking justice. I create the characters and see where they take me. I believe they are rich, fully realized, breathing individuals who have a lot to reveal. I am looking forward to seeing what paths they choose to follow
Do you prefer writing about the heroes or the villains?
I prefer to write about human beings and discover who and what they are. There are elements of heroes and villains in all of us. Shakespeare wrote entire plays about one element of humanity. Evil: Richard III, jealousy: Othello, heroism: Henry V. I like to delve into the depths of an individual and see what I can find.
A good villain is hard to write. How did you approach writing your villains?
I don’t find them any harder to write than anything else. I just go to the villain in me and see what he has to say. I don’t like to spend too much time there. It can be a little disturbing to discover the evil in one’s self. But there it is.
What real-life inspirations did you draw from for your book? Are any of your characters people you know?
My life is filled with experiences with all kinds of people. A rich bank from which to draw truth. Most of my characters are either based on people I know or have elements of them. I have made a practice of acquiring characters throughout my life and studying them. A creative artist, writer, actor, painter, dancer, musician, must be intensely curious, perceptive and interested.
Where do you think the Western is heading? Is it dying or growing?
I don’t know. As long as there are people like me around, I think the Western will live. I suppose one chooses one’s friends according to a level of compatibility. I have many friends who will and do work hard to keep the genre alive. I dedicate my new western book, “HIGH MOON” to COWBOYS. I am grateful to Clint Eastwood, Tom Selleck, Rob Word and many more who are hard core believers in the western genre and contribute enormously to keep the blood flowing.
What was the hardest part of writing the first book?
Coming up with a story idea that motivated me to want to tell it. I think that everything one can think of has been done in one fashion or another. The trick is to tell it in a way that engages the reader. I cannot tell how to do that. I believe it is a God-given gift.
Can you see your series turned into a TV series or movie?
A movie. I see it as a love story, with sweet violence, redemption and caring for another person more than anything else in the world.
Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?
I did. That writing is fun, challenging and bloody hard work. Many people say they would like to write a book and I believe that everyone has a book in them. Getting it out from within and onto blank pages is another matter. It requires huge belief and relentless commitment.
Is there a message in your novel that you hope readers will grasp?
Yes. That I am a good writer, and that they will care about what I have to say and the way that I tell it.
What comes next?
Deeper development of the characters and curiosity about where they will take us.
If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?
A scientist. A conservationist in Africa. I’ve been to Africa many times for extended periods of time. I found it to be fascinating in the extreme and actually gave serious thought to living there. That was years ago. Unfortunately, politics have corrupted it to the extent that it is not a comfortable place right now.
Where can readers reach you to send ideas for your books?
email@example.com I would take great pleasure in hearing from you and welcome clever ideas for stories. Meanwhile, be well, and read, read, read! And thank God for your eyesight and brain.