GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Sheep Interview: Alex Hughes + swag giveaway | I Smell Sheep

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Sheep Interview: Alex Hughes + swag giveaway

We booked this interview with Alex a while back and then found out she was going to Dragon*Con too! So we caught up with her and grabbed some pictures for the interview. We even asked her to do that amazing feat of balance and finesse she included in her bio.
Hello! Welcome to I Smell Sheep…grab a moonpie and some kool aid and have a seat.

Sharon: Clean is your debut (congrats on that by the way) so our readers might not be familiar with your book yet. Would you tell us a little about it?

Alex: Thanks! Clean is about a telepath who is also a recovering addict helping the police to solve crimes. In this case, he and his partner-slash-love-interest Cherabino are on the case of a serial killer who kills with the mind.

Katie: How does one kill with the mind? Is it like worst scary senario drives them insane?

Alex: No, actually the killer literally burns out the brain through the Ability center. You’ll have to read the book to find out why <G>

Sharon: You have a male lead protagonist. Why did you decide on a male character and how did you get your female brain into his male brain and I am going to say male one more time cause I obviously like the word…male…

Alex: Addiction is a little more socially acceptable from a man, I think. Plus I was heavily influenced by a male cyberpunk telepath character (the hero of Joan D. Vinge’s Catspaw) and it just seemed natural to make him a guy.

I’ve always been good at math and science and so in school (especially high school) I always seemed to be in these classes with mostly guys, and in a position to watch them when they weren’t thinking about being watched. Plus I’m fortunate enough (or unfortunate enough) to be able to think both in lines (a typically male trait) and in webs (a typically female trait). In the beginning with this character, it took a lot of work and mental acrobatics to get fully in his head, even so. But these days we’ve come to an understanding and mostly I just write.

I am very indebted to my mostly-male writer’s group, however. They’re kind enough to point out all the flaws after the fact. While I may disagree with some of their statements (liking Christmas, in my opinion, is not unmanly), there’s always room for thought and consideration, and the work always ends up better.

Sharon: So he has learned to shut up and listen to you, like any smart guy should? <G> Has your husband had to tell you to quit acting like that guy?

Alex: LOL, not yet but anything is possible!

Katie: What's been the funnest part so far about being a writer?
Sharon: Other than meeting us at Dragon*Con…

Alex: Well, meeting you guys at Dragon*Con was pretty darn spiffy!
(We did not bribe her with moonpies or dungeon privileges to get her to say this)
Actually, it was going to the big bookstore on my release day and standing in front of the new releases section… with my book sitting right there looking back at me. That was the Big Dream, the thing that seemed impossible when I was a teenager, the windmill I couldn’t help tilt at.

Sharon: You like cooking and the Food Network. What is your favorite show on the Food Network?
Alex: Oh, wow. Must I choose? LOL. I’m a longstanding Top Chef fan and I adore Chopped. Part of the fun for those shows is that I have a library of tastes in my head for various things and I can usually put them together in my head as the people do on TV – so I can pseudo-taste the final dishes. Makes it a lot of fun to try new things without spending calories! I also love a bunch of their other shows, and I’m a huge Giada de Laurentiis fan – I own all her cookbooks and play around with her style of cooking all the time.

Sharon: Have a favorite flavor or spice?

Alex: Today I’ll say the caper-and-lime-juice-with-mustard-and-parsley mix of my modified Chicken Piccata recipe.

Katie: What was your favorite time period in European history? Would you want to live in that time period?
Alex: My favorite time period in European history is probably the very late medieval times (or very early early modern) in France and England. There’s a lot of fun drama going on, lots of wars and such for excitement, plagues for tragedy, but also some really cool technological innovation. The world is changing faster than it ever has before. If I’m really focusing in on a time and place, let’s do Elizabethan England. She knew how to run a country, and England’s coming into its own as a world power for the first time. I could meet Shakespeare. But, despite the female ruler, women didn’t do all that well in this time period, so I’d love to visit but don’t want to stay.

Where would I want to live full-time? If you’ll let me be a rich young widow from a good family (read: have lots of freedom), I’d love to be in an Italian city-state in the 1500s or 1600s. Really cool stuff going on there, but let me do my research first to figure out exactly which decade and city to land in. There’s a *ton* of wars going on I’d prefer to avoid entirely.
Sharon: O_o you really put a lot of thought into this question. Smart lady.

Sharon: What is the longest you have played Tetris in one sitting?

Alex: Six hours? Maybe a little longer as a teenager. It’s been awhile since I had that kind of time
Katie: Still say Tetris is the best game ever!

Sharon: Which of the 7 deadly sins have you committed most recently?

Alex: Lying. It was a small lie, but even so
Sharon: Did you get away with it?

Alex: Mostly <G>

Sharon: Are you a grit eating, sweet tea loving, ya’ll calling southern girl?

Alex: I’m a southern girl, absolutely, but a little bit unconventional. I like ginger peach sweet tea with only a half-cup of sugar for a gallon of tea (not much at all in the southern way of thinking), pulled chicken barbeque, and I call y’all when it suits me. I do, however, use “all y’all” which I’m told is the nail in the coffin. Grits are fine, so far as they go, but we don’t really eat them much in Atlanta, which is a large metropolitan.
Sharon: Grits rule! Especially with lots of bacon in it.

Katie: Or sugar! Yum!
Sharon: WTH? Who puts sugar on grits...oh, you are from California...never mind <G>
Katie: Ha!
Katie: Would you want to be a telepath?

Alex: I’d love to be a telepath in a few two-hour spurts, especially when walking alone on the street. It would be so comforting to be able to knock someone out who’s threatening you, or to make yourself seem more dangerous than you look. It would be fun to spend some time in Sam’s head, for example, especially if it went both ways. But to be a telepath full-time? No thanks. There are too many strings attached and sanity becomes really tough with that many other thoughts in your head.
Sharon: Is this something your protagonist struggles with, why he became a drug addict in the first place?

Alex: This is definitely a problem for my protagonist in his current situation (surrounded by normals) and the two feed into each other, but he met his drug originally by accident.

Sharon: Give us an amazing fact about the brain.

Alex: It’s plastic. Meaning, it can recover and rewire from things that you’d think would ruin everything. Small children with brain injuries can often make full recoveries, even with permanent damage to certain sections. And blind people rewire the visual cortex to process touch and sound, so that they’re getting a depth of information from their surroundings you’d think would be impossible. One guy in the northwest has actually learned to echolocate (like a bat) well enough to ride his bike on the streets, despite being totally blind. And Scientists/Engineers are actually in the testing stages of a rig that translates a camera’s view of the world in front of you to a flat surface attached to your tongue, which puts the visual information into touch/pressure information. One of the guys testing the rig, despite being totally blind, can use it to see well enough to climb a rock face. He says after a whole bunch of practice working with the rig, he can “see” the handholds and footholds now. Not feel them on his tongue; “see” them. His brain is rewiring.
Sharon: The brain is pretty amazing…it is no wonder zombies love them so much :P

Now on to the rapid fire round!

Sharon: Coke or Pepsi?

Alex: Please! Coke. I’m Southern enough for that!
Katie: Woot, Woot!

Katie: Covered in Bees or covered in scorpions?

Alex: Bees. Stay very still and they may not sting.

Sharon: Oregano or curry?

Alex: Yes, please. But not in the same dish.

Sharon: Rollercoasters or carousels?

Alex: Carousels. But they won’t let me on them anymore. Apparently I’m too old.
Sharon: No, you are too old for merry-go-rounds, but Carousels are completely different!

Alex: Not according to the last few Carousel operators I’ve talked to. Apparently I need to obtain a five-year-old to get me in, or it’s a no go. Sadly, no five-year-olds have volunteered for this duty.

Katie: Bruce Willis or Liam Neeson?

Alex: Bruce Willis.

Sharon: Duck or goose?

Alex: Duck. Roasted with orange sauce. Or stir-fried with plum sauce.
Sharon: *jaw dropped* I didn’t mean for eating!!! OMG!

Alex: What else would one do with water fowl?
Katie: To be or Not to be?
Alex: That is the question. Probably be. ‘Tis nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of life.
Sharon: did you have to memorize that in high school too?

Alex: I’ve just heard it enough it stuck in my brain – I love the shape of the words and the rhythm Shakespeare uses. He’s kinda brilliant.

Sharon: Venus or Mars?

Alex: Mars. Seems more habitable with specialty equipment.
Katie: Plus all those sexy alpha men! Yeow!

Alex: LOL. True. But I thought you were making me choose a space colony! The surface temperature of Venus is like 900 degrees, which is hot enough to melt some metals. Not very hospitable. I don’t know what this says about John Gray’s view of women, but it can’t be good. J

Katie: Spring or Fall?

Alex: Fall. Without ragweed – that stuff is nasty.

Sharon: Scooby Doo or Winnie the Pooh?

Alex: Both. But not on the same day.

Thanks to Alex for stopping by. Be sure to check out Danielle's review of Clean here.

About the author:
Alex Hughes was born in Savannah, GA and moved to the south Atlanta area when she was eight years old. Shortly thereafter, her grandfather handed her a copy of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonrider series, and a lifelong obsession with scifi was born.

Alex is a graduate of the prestigious Odyssey Writing Workshop and a Semi-Finalist in the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. Her short pieces are published in several markets including EveryDay Fiction and White Cat Magazine. She blogs about writing craft, revision, and editing at

Alex’s work is complex, dark, adventurous, and a little funny, with a emphasis on great characters and interesting worlds. She gets her inspiration from history (she majored with a European history focus in college), family members, and headlines, as well as whatever book she has in her hand. Lately she’s been reading neuroscience books; the brain’s a cool, cool place and the mind even more so.

An avid cook and foodie, Alex loves great food of any stripe – even better if she can figure out how to put it together. Great food is like a great book; it has lots of layers that work together beautifully, and the result is delicious and harmonious. She’s working on figuring out Indian food right now – suggestions welcome!

Alex loves swing dancing, tetris, music of all kinds, and has been known to get into long conversations with total strangers at restaurants about the Food Network, much to the embarrassment of her sister. She can also balance a spoon on her nose while crossing her eyes, and talk for hours about absolutely nothing.


We have a Sheep postcard and bookmark signed by Alex along with some other cool DragonCon swag and Sheep swag
To enter:
1. leave contact info
2. Tell us your favorite flavor or spice!
*double entry for followers
Contest ends: Sept. 22 at midnight


  1. Another fun interview. I am going to be thinking of how many of those sins I have committed.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

    1. you should strive to do all of them at some point :)

  2. Oops, my favorite spice is cinnamon and I am a follower
    debby236 at gmail dot com

    1. haha, my teenager practically eats the stuff raw. I just had some in my oatmeal :) but it is best on a buttery sugary slab of dough and then cooked and dunked in icing...

  3. My favorite spice? Probably chile powder! But cinnamon is a close second. And I'm Lisa R, at keizerfire at

  4. Great interview.
    My favorite spice is black pepper goes great on hamburgers.

    GFC Follower-Cassandra Ruiz

  5. My favorite spice is cinnamon. Thanks for the chance to win!
    I follow by email.
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

  6. I love curry does that count a spice? If not then I would go with mint especially with chocolate :O) Carin
    GFC Carin
    mawmom at gmail dot com

  7. Vanilla, Sounds boring, but....

    gfc kerry johnson
    email follower

  8. Favorite spice... saffron...thanks for the chance to daughter loves this type of book as do I. I follow by e-mail.

  9. My favorite spice is black pepper!
    GFC: Gisele Alvarado


  10. My favorite spice is salt. I am a follower. GFC and email


  11. Well since you said flavor OR spice, I'm gonna say chocolate!!! I follow by GFC and Facebook: Ashley Applebee and Ashley Anne Applebee
    Ashley A

  12. My favorite spice is pepper.

    I follow via email.


  13. Thanks for the great interview, as always, this was fun! My favourite spices are salt and pepper. Can't cook without them.

    I am a follower.

  14. My favorite flavor? There are so many hee hee. One I consider a good all round is really a marinade of olive oil, fresh lime and zest, cilantro, jalapeno, garlic, mint, salt, and pepper - process this in the blender and use for all meats and also great as a dressing on grain/brown rice salads; this blend is totally taste-bud titillating. Shhhhh its my secret, don't tell anyone ;=D What an awesome interview, thank you so much for sharing with us today. I love telepathic crime solvers and it looks like Clean is right up my alley. I am so glad my brain is plastic, otherwise knows where I would be today Of course I am a sheeply follower.

  15. spice? can i just say
    hmmm..pepper I think..

    GfC and email follower

    darkworld_cutie at yahoo dotcom

  16. Contest is closed. The winner is sherry fundin!!! I have sent you an email :)