Booktrovert Reader Podcast

Mob vibes meets fantasy: Alexis L. Menard

January 18, 2024 Charity the Booktrovert Reader Season 3 Episode 45
Booktrovert Reader Podcast
Mob vibes meets fantasy: Alexis L. Menard
Booktrovert Reader Podcast
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Show Notes Transcript

In this conversation, Booktrovert Reader interviews author Alexis L. Menard about her book House of Bane and Blood. They discuss the inspiration behind the story, the development of the characters, and the incorporation of steampunk elements. They also explore the challenges of writing fantasy, including worldbuilding and pacing. Alexis shares her journey as an indie author and offers advice for aspiring writers. The conversation concludes with a teaser for the second book in the series and a discussion on dealing with comparison in the writing industry.  

Takeaways

  • House of Bane and Blood is a fantasy romance novel with elements of steampunk and a unique twist on vampires.
  • The story features an arranged marriage and explores the tension and chemistry between the two main characters.
  • Alexis L. Menard drew inspiration from shows like Peaky Blinders and video games like Dishonored for the setting and character development.
  • The book incorporates a magic system based on the remnants of saints and a science-backed technology to balance the power dynamics in the world.
  • As an indie author, Alexis emphasizes the importance of finding a supportive community of fellow authors and learning from their experiences.

Follow Alexis L. Menard on her Socials:
Instagram: @alexislmenard
TikTok: @alexislmenard
Website: alexislmenard.org

Purchase the Book: House of Bane and Blood

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Booktrovert Reader (00:01.194)
Then I'll try this one fancy thing.

Alright. Hello, readers! What happens to the clash of bloodlines, power, and dark secrets unravel in the Invitus City? It's like... Well, the teleprompter's really slow. Okay. I'm gonna... I am so sorry. This is me testing everything out. Okay. I'm trying this new teleprompter thing just to get my intro right and... And I read for fast. Yeah.

Alexis Menard (00:21.458)
You're good. Go for it.

Alexis Menard (00:30.158)
Mm-hmm. I've never used the telephone before.

Booktrovert Reader (00:34.354)
I read faster than I thought I would. Okay. All right. Let's see here. Hello readers, what happens to the clash of bloodlines, power and dark secrets unravel in the divided city? It's like Peaky Blinders meets Grief Reverse, our rivals deliver marriage, a convenience fantasy romance. I'm Charity Book Travert reader and with an amazing guest, I found a book talk, Alexis L. Menard, where she introduced me to her new book.

Alexis Menard (00:37.038)
I'm gonna go to bed.

Booktrovert Reader (01:00.61)
House of Bane and Blood. I simply adored this book from the very beginning just because I love the chemistry between the two characters. Now, Alexis, introduce yourself and your amazing book.

Alexis Menard (01:13.742)
Hi, well thank you so much for having me on firstly. My name's Alexis L. Menard, and I write adult fantasy romance, and people most know me now as the author of House of Bane and Blood, because that's my most notable book to date so far. So, yeah.

Booktrovert Reader (01:32.402)
I believe you, when I was kind of looking around, you did write another series before this one, right? Okay. And let me see. So what I really liked, you got Milla, Camilla, and she, this is like a science versus magic kind of type of world. And you know, it's kind of like West Side Story almost to me, the way it was reading. And she was, her family's going bankrupt and the marriage of convenience comes in.

Alexis Menard (01:37.684)
Yes.

Alexis Menard (01:45.964)
Mm-hmm.

Alexis Menard (01:54.427)
Yeah, yeah.

Booktrovert Reader (02:02.298)
and she has to marry Nico. So tell me a little bit how you came about with this story and what inspired you.

Alexis Menard (02:02.818)
Hmm.

Alexis Menard (02:11.234)
So I was originally writing a different book, but then I was, I just had a baby. So I was glued to my couch watching Netflix for several weeks and I turned on Peaky Blinders because I was like, I still haven't watched this yet. So I started binging it and I was like, this, this is the vibe. This is what we're going with. Like I loved the...

Booktrovert Reader (02:18.699)
Mm.

Alexis Menard (02:33.154)
the time period and then just like the rival families. But of course I'm a fantasy writer. So I'm like, how can I like put some magic in this world? You know, and I struggle with where to start it. So I wrote several chapters and I was like, this just, it's not the right hook. I was like, I don't, this isn't the right place to start. And then...

Booktrovert Reader (02:51.528)
Right.

Alexis Menard (02:55.506)
I saw the scene where John boy is getting married. They like set him up to this arranged marriage with one of the gypsy girls. And I was like, that's it. We're doing an arranged marriage. Like for sure. For sure. I was like, that's it. That's what we're going to do. So I was like, okay, we're going to do an arranged marriage. And so I had to like, I was trying to figure out what the best way to like introduce him as, but I felt like it would hit harder if she hadn't met him before, like in a mysterious way or something like that.

Booktrovert Reader (03:23.403)
Mm-hmm.

Alexis Menard (03:25.746)
I ended up not writing what is the first chapter until like halfway into the book, but I was like, oh, this like this feels like them because I didn't really understand who they were until, you know, I get further into the book and I'm like, okay, now I get their personalities. Now I feel they're like what they're like. So I went back and I wrote that first chapter and I was like, yes, this is them. This is like the perfect way to start this book. So that's kind of how I started it off.

Booktrovert Reader (03:54.598)
Yeah, because I remember when reading the book, I was thrown off just a little bit because they didn't know each other. She's kind of doing like this one last thing before she had to get married because it was going to be someone totally different. And, you know, they had a thing, a chemistry moment. And I thought that was pretty interesting to start out your story like that. So...

Alexis Menard (04:05.094)
Uh huh.

Right.

Alexis Menard (04:19.282)
Yeah, the goal is always to like increase the tension as much as possible and I feel like if they knew each other and knew they had chemistry before they knew who each other were that would be a really good way to like just kind of add to the angst a little bit, you know, so I hope it works.

Booktrovert Reader (04:25.004)
Mm-hmm.

Booktrovert Reader (04:39.576)
Well, you know, it was just like being pulled by a horse how you were dragging that long on that one. So I just, you know, I love a good angst in a book and you just drew that out and, you know, I appreciate that because sometimes I don't like that instant romance that happens. So they really hated each other.

Alexis Menard (04:43.011)
Yeah.

Alexis Menard (04:58.746)
Mm-hmm. Yeah, I was a little worried about it. I was hoping people weren't gonna think it was like an insta-love situation, because I mean, I feel like it's just very natural to like hit it off with someone that you just met, and it's not necessarily insta-love, you know? But then when she meets him and she figures out who she is, she's like, oh, just kidding, no. Just, and like totally blocks off those feelings for him. So it's not insta-love for anyone listening.

Booktrovert Reader (05:09.235)
Mm-hmm.

Booktrovert Reader (05:24.228)
Hehehehehehe

Alexis Menard (05:24.782)
Just insta-attraction, I guess. I don't know. Which is totally natural.

Booktrovert Reader (05:28.986)
Probably. So I liked how you wrote it in multiple POV and his. Did you have to draw inspiration on his character from people around you or anything like that?

Alexis Menard (05:44.878)
So, me and a lot of people love the banter between them. And me and my husband, like we have very similar banter. Like we have like just very dry humor back and forth. It's kind of me who comes from like the big loud family and him like the more reserved quiet one. So that was just very easy for me to write. It's just like all the dynamics with the family and with them. As far as his like getting in.

Booktrovert Reader (05:48.851)
Mm-hmm.

Booktrovert Reader (06:01.322)
Hehehe

Alexis Menard (06:13.766)
Nico's head. The show Peaky Blinders was really, really helped. Just like the way he talks and like the way he like just everything that he says is just very like just exudes power and just like intimidation and stuff. So yeah, I pulled a lot from Tommy Shelby's character, but I still wanted it to be

him. You know, like I didn't want it to be a copy and paste Tommy Shelby. So Nico's a little more vulnerable and he's just a little bit softer on the inside and kind of, he has a bit of a happier ending than poor Tommy Shelby. So yeah, so it's, he's definitely not copy and paste Tommy Shelby, but there's a lot of, a lot of personality similarities for sure.

Booktrovert Reader (06:37.494)
Mm-hmm.

Booktrovert Reader (06:50.966)
Hahaha

Booktrovert Reader (07:00.702)
Now I feel like I need to watch pesky blinders now. Ha ha

Alexis Menard (07:03.526)
Oh my god. It is so good. I'm not like a mafia person at all, but oh my god, the show is like, it's so good.

Booktrovert Reader (07:14.674)
I mean, I like how you drew in kind of a, like, it's like a historical fantasy kind of a deal because you brought it in kind of with that past, but it's also I think you used a lot of steampunk elements to it, which I'm happy for. So what made you decide to bring those elements as like the steampunk elements and things like that into your story, other than, you know, the drop?

Alexis Menard (07:21.431)
I'm ready.

Alexis Menard (07:40.734)
Yeah, so personally, yeah, so I personally just love that time period so much. I love the industrial era. I love the idea of, you know, just all these like new technologies being introduced into the world and just everyone just trying to compete to get the next best thing. And it's just I just love that time period so much. I feel like it can be very

Booktrovert Reader (07:41.418)
Drama.

Booktrovert Reader (08:01.794)
Mm-hmm.

Alexis Menard (08:03.202)
dark and gritty but also very like romantic at the same time. And it's also just something that we don't really see in fantasy right now. What as far as me when I write my books, I try to write something that I've never read before. I just because being an indie writer I have a very narrow window to get my stories out there and so I have to make sure they're very different and very you know in unique.

Booktrovert Reader (08:11.775)
Yeah.

Booktrovert Reader (08:24.578)
Hehehe

Alexis Menard (08:33.082)
I chose this time period specifically because I'd read a lot of fae romances that I love and I'm a total sucker for fae romance. But I just wanted to... Yeah. Hi. So, and I actually read a book last year called The Prince of Prohibition that I...

Booktrovert Reader (08:38.466)
Mm-hmm.

Booktrovert Reader (08:43.438)
I think 90% of the books are fae.

Alexis Menard (08:52.462)
I love it so much. It's like prohibition era, but it has fey and all that stuff. So I took a little bit of like inspo from that and it was just like, I don't know. I just really loved... I had this world in my head for a very long time, but I just could never find the right story to put in it. And then I found it. So if that makes sense.

Booktrovert Reader (08:56.779)
Mm-hmm.

Booktrovert Reader (09:10.745)
Mm.

Booktrovert Reader (09:15.051)
Right, it's...

Alexis Menard (09:15.294)
And I want to say one thing that I pulled a lot from this world was video games. There's a video game called Dishonored, and it's an older game, but the main character's name is Corvo Atano, so that's where I got the last name for. And it is very like, the world has a little bit of similarities, it's very like, wet and dark and dreary and just, it's perfect. So I definitely had this world in my head for a very long time, but it was finding the story for it.

Booktrovert Reader (09:22.037)
Okay.

Booktrovert Reader (09:45.066)
So you said you pulls out of inspiration. What I, I'm wondering if I don't give too much away, but there is like technically vampires in this book. And I think, but you added such a nice twist to it. They're not the regular blood sucking vampires. They stalk the night, but no, they're like henchmen. They're like their own little mafia. I thoroughly enjoyed that. And just talk about.

Alexis Menard (09:54.47)
Yeah.

Alexis Menard (09:59.615)
Right.

Alexis Menard (10:03.406)
Yeah. Right.

Yeah.

Booktrovert Reader (10:11.162)
more about that and then I would love for you to talk about the science versus the magic that you built in this world building.

Alexis Menard (10:16.254)
Yeah. Right. So I chose, I wanted everyone's magic to have kind of like a purpose. So, um, so based off like the lore and stuff, like

the remnants of these saints, they have these powers because they needed it for like the war that was waged a long, long time ago. And so these powers that stem from them need to be kind of necessary for survival and for fighting and for things like that. So I did the blood remnants like the van, like a vampire kind of

Booktrovert Reader (10:38.524)
Mm-hmm

Booktrovert Reader (10:51.426)
Mm-hmm.

Alexis Menard (10:53.414)
creature just because it's familiar enough that it would connect with people but then I put a little twist on it to make it feel kind of new. So they don't survive off blood but it gives them like that hunter ability to where they're just like fantastic hunters. But it also gives them like a modern day kind of like perk I guess that they can use to their advantage in their world, in their modern world. So I try to give everybody like their own little

Booktrovert Reader (11:15.187)
Yeah.

Alexis Menard (11:23.118)
thing that would make them unique and purposeful in a modern day setting, but also make it sense to the lore, if that makes sense.

Booktrovert Reader (11:27.743)
Mm-hmm.

Booktrovert Reader (11:30.91)
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense because it's like, how do you describe your child? No pressure. Okay. Just read it for yourself. I know. Yeah. Because you created it so to be so unique and I thoroughly enjoyed it because it was refreshing.

Alexis Menard (11:34.02)
We have a problem with you.

It's, it's, it's... That's... Yeah. It's hard to explain. Hehehe.

Booktrovert Reader (11:57.106)
It's not your typical fantasy read that is coming a lot, published a lot. The science and magic, it's like a big dividing line. Milla which is the female main character, has the science backed and Nico is the magic and he has the magic. Explain to me all that as best as you can.

Alexis Menard (12:13.44)
Mm-hmm.

Alexis Menard (12:19.97)
So I kind of always thought like, okay, so in these worlds with people that have magic and people that don't have magic, I feel like the people that don't have magic would have come up with something to kind of like even the scales a little bit. And so I wrote, I kind of was just kind of like free writing the first chapter or whatever of this book. And she says, you know, we have science, we have steam, but soon we have war.

Booktrovert Reader (12:35.221)
Mhm.

Alexis Menard (12:47.978)
It just kind of gives her like that, like, yeah, they have magic, but we have something better, something that we can improve on and study and get better. So that's kind of where the magic for science came from, just because if these people across from them were rivals and they have magic, I needed to give the people that didn't have magic some kind of advantage and something to fight back with. And it really worked with the industrial era of the world. So...

Booktrovert Reader (13:14.434)
Mm.

Alexis Menard (13:17.334)
and it helped me like kind of I love steam trains too. I really wanted to write a story with a steam train in the center. I don't know why. I actually I think it's because I live my like I live in a very small town and we have a train track that goes through the middle and so we have this old like 1800 steam train like just parked there as like a monument so I see it every day and I'm like I want to ride a steam train.

Booktrovert Reader (13:20.854)
Hahaha

Booktrovert Reader (13:30.966)
Mm-hmm.

Booktrovert Reader (13:40.47)
Hehehehe

Alexis Menard (13:42.126)
Yeah, I made her this, I don't know where that came from, to be quite honest with you, but she was, you know, the steam train heiress and stuff, and it just, it just all worked. I don't know, it's hard to like really explain sometimes, but the story just kind of finds itself as I was writing. Um, and sometimes I just write that first chapter to really get like, who this person is, and like what the world is, and what's going on, and all the elements just kind of came together with the...

Booktrovert Reader (13:56.706)
Mm-hmm.

Alexis Menard (14:10.163)
industrial era like this.

Booktrovert Reader (14:12.17)
Right. I'm glad you said that, like the train, because it was a common theme that you wrote throughout your book all the way to the very end. You got to read it to know.

Alexis Menard (14:20.641)
Yes.

I figured, and not to give anything away, but I struggled. I wrote the ending, like I wrote four or five different endings. I have so many endings for this one book in life. But I was like, it starts with a train that needs to end on the train, so that's how we figured out the ending. Why did it have to have the train in there? Like, it's all about the train. Ha ha.

Booktrovert Reader (14:33.375)
Hahaha

Booktrovert Reader (14:42.395)
Here, I had-

Booktrovert Reader (14:48.01)
Yeah. And you know, the ending, you know, ended so with the, with the bang. With, I don't even like, I can't like honestly say if it's like a, like a cliffhanger or you're just like literally just pushed us off, say, Hey, figure it out, you're going to wait.

Alexis Menard (15:03.521)
Yeah. It's just. No, you're not. You're just shoved off. Yeah, well, I think so there's I feel like there's different kinds of cliffhangers. You know, there's like cliffhangers where you feel satisfied because the story like.

did what it was supposed to and you got, you know, it resolved itself. Um, but then something else like has a new formal, a new problem has formed, you know, kind of cliffhanger. And so I wanted it to be a satisfying cliffhanger because I didn't want to take anyone mad at me. I don't know how strong enough readership yet. Okay. So no one hated me afterwards and still wanted to buy the next book. So.

Booktrovert Reader (15:20.514)
Mm-hmm. You're right.

Booktrovert Reader (15:30.038)
Yeah.

Alexis Menard (15:45.726)
I felt like I was like, I feel like this is satisfying. I feel like everybody, like the story told itself, like everything got resolved, but it really sets up the next one really good. I'm like.

Booktrovert Reader (15:59.062)
Yeah, it does. You know, I'm just gonna stay on my little throne and just be upset with you. I'm just like, try not to spam your comments. Like, when are you coming with the second book? When are you coming with the second book? Yeah, so that is, I'm very glad you do have a date for that. City of Myrth in Malice, May 1st of 2024. Not too long, but it's gonna come before you know it.

Alexis Menard (16:03.963)
Yeah, I'm just being very careful, yeah.

Alexis Menard (16:14.731)
I know.

Booktrovert Reader (16:28.566)
Hehehe

Alexis Menard (16:28.632)
Yes. Not too much. Yes. I'm like scrambling right now. It's great. No pressure.

Booktrovert Reader (16:31.618)
I'm just, just waiting. I hope you sweat. So what was unique, and I've had a few of my readers ask about this, was actually the disability rep of the main character, Nico, he has a prosthetic arm. And I always just, what inspired, I keep using inspired, but what got you to put that in there to represent that?

Alexis Menard (16:39.662)
My God.

Alexis Menard (16:50.466)
Okay.

Alexis Menard (17:01.586)
Okay, I honestly... I honestly can't remember why. I just... Okay, so whenever I make my main characters, I want...

I want them to be unique enough to know, like, if you saw them in a drawing, like, on character art, you know exactly who that is. So for example, like, SJM's characters, like, you don't have to read the caption. You know exactly who they are, you know, because they're so identifiable. So I really wanted to make everyone very identifiable. But also, I really enjoy when characters are just...

Booktrovert Reader (17:17.855)
Mm-hmm. Right.

Booktrovert Reader (17:25.865)
Right.

Alexis Menard (17:38.07)
They have weaknesses that are both physical and emotional. Nico, his hand, I'm not, I can't remember exactly why I chose his hand exactly.

Booktrovert Reader (17:41.972)
Mm.

Alexis Menard (17:49.33)
I just remember like scrambling in my notebook. Like I was like, I just, I think I might've saw like a picture on Pinterest of like a prosthetic, like cyborg hand or something. And I was like, oh, that'd be cool. And then I was like, well, how would he move it? Because we don't have, you know, like the science right now in this time period to be moving prosthetic hands. And I was like, oh, he's an airbender. I'll just make the tubes hollow and he can just, you know, so.

Booktrovert Reader (17:56.682)
Mm.

Right.

Alexis Menard (18:15.958)
But yeah, as soon as I thought of that, I was like, that's definitely him. That's, and it is, you know, a great disability wreck as well. Um, because we don't see a lot of like, and because it's fantasy, we don't see a lot of prosthetic arms and stuff because there is that lack of technology and fantasies, so in this world with metal and industrial stuff, it works really well. And so, yeah, I'm really happy that.

Booktrovert Reader (18:30.958)
Mm-hmm.

Booktrovert Reader (18:35.882)
Mm-hmm.

Alexis Menard (18:45.302)
he I don't it's just crazy because they really do like these characters they just kind of pop up and they make themselves and um yeah I just I just love the idea of it

Booktrovert Reader (18:57.746)
Yeah, because I like how you said it. It just works very well in that time period and he uses the magic to back that up. So I thought it was just a great way to get a character like that. And I do love your cover art a lot because he does stand out. And I'm like...

Alexis Menard (19:04.76)
Mm-hmm.

Alexis Menard (19:17.746)
Hello. That art's amazing. Bella, Bella Burgholtz. I think that's how I say her last name. She's, she did it incredible. I was like, Whoa. Yeah. Well, yeah. Well, dress men.

Booktrovert Reader (19:28.183)
I think it's just the suits at the same time. I crushed hard. So let's see here. We dived a lot into your book and I always, because going talking to indie authors is something I constantly do, I like to dive in your kind of your writing journey and everything because...

I've been following along a little bit. I feel like I saw you hiccuped a little bit at one section and I'm like, I don't know what's going on, but you're welcome to share, not share, whatever. So what is, boy, I had the question and it left as fast as I thought it. So it's like, I wanna ask a good one. What would you say is the hardest part of the indie?

Alexis Menard (20:01.143)
Mm-hmm. Yes.

Alexis Menard (20:12.11)
I'm sorry.

Booktrovert Reader (20:24.282)
author journey and then you were querying for a while and everything like that. Tell me your journey on that and where you're at on the querying.

Alexis Menard (20:28.523)
Mm-hmm.

Alexis Menard (20:34.05)
So I think the hardest part was starting. You face a lot of rejection and it is very hard mentally to push through it and to say, and remember like, no, I am good at this. It's just not the right fit for these people. And I queried my, I created a book a very long time ago, well, not very long, like 2020, feels very long ago, but.

Booktrovert Reader (20:37.056)
Mm.

Booktrovert Reader (20:40.575)
Yeah.

Booktrovert Reader (20:52.255)
Mm.

Booktrovert Reader (21:01.538)
Yeah.

Alexis Menard (21:03.302)
It will never see the light of day. It was not ready. It was not No, it's just not it was not good wasn't good But I learned a lot about querying and I learned about I learned a lot about how to write a book how to pace a book and how like elements of a story like I needed to learn a lot and querying really helps me Because I did get feedback from agents. I did give feedback from like small presses and stuff and

Booktrovert Reader (21:17.439)
Mm.

Alexis Menard (21:32.042)
And I applied that to the next book that I wrote. And then eventually I did get a yes from a small press that I'm no longer with. But I learned a little bit more from them about writing and then about marketing and everything. So.

Booktrovert Reader (21:34.498)
Mm-hmm.

Booktrovert Reader (21:43.106)
Mm.

Alexis Menard (21:49.55)
It's, I feel like every book you write, you learn a little more and you get a little further and you just improve your craft. But starting out is just really hard because I think when I first started, everyone was like, look, this is going to take a while. It's going to take a few years. And I'm not that kind of person. I'm like, I'm a very like, nope. I'm, I like my quick gratification. Like I'm going to do this. I'm going to go here and do this. Okay. Like I have all my ducks in a row. Like I don't wait for things.

Booktrovert Reader (22:11.21)
Hahaha

Booktrovert Reader (22:18.046)
Hahahaha, artist, I love it.

Alexis Menard (22:20.07)
And yeah, that did. That was my journey. A lot of waiting. And I wish I could go back and tell 2020 Alexis that she would have an agent, but she wouldn't get an agent until the end of 2023, after her fifth book, okay? But yeah, starting off is going to be the hardest part of the journey to me.

Booktrovert Reader (22:25.43)
Hehehehe

Booktrovert Reader (22:44.842)
Mmm.

Alexis Menard (22:46.378)
You have to find your readers, you have to find your genre, you have to find what you like and what you want to write and make your brand. And it's just, it is so hard and you have to be so patient and just push through all the lack of, you know, attention, I guess, like the comparison to other people in your field and everything. So.

Booktrovert Reader (23:06.603)
Mm. Yeah.

Alexis Menard (23:12.678)
It's still a daily, I mean, it's still a daily battle. I still compare myself all the time and which is ridiculous. It's ridiculous to compare myself, but you know, we all have different lives going on in the background. So, so it's just starting off as the hardest part, but it doesn't get that much easier at the same time.

Booktrovert Reader (23:20.917)
Hehehe

Booktrovert Reader (23:27.126)
Mm-hmm.

Booktrovert Reader (23:36.064)
So what would you say out of all that, you know, all rejections, feedback and things like that, did you apply to actually House of Bain and Blood?

Alexis Menard (23:45.986)
So my last, the last books that I published, Indie, I took a lot of that feedback and I applied to this one. So I had a lot of pacing issues, I think with the last daughter that kept people from liking it so much. I applied a lot of that to House of Bane and people wanted slow burn, so I was like, all right.

Booktrovert Reader (24:01.105)
Mmm.

Alexis Menard (24:07.734)
You gotta slow burn. You're not getting anything for 350 pages. Is that slow enough, please? I was, it killed me to do that, but it definitely paid off and I was like, and so now I know how to pace things better. That's like, that's probably one of my biggest ones, learning how to pace the romance side of things. Learning how to market that.

Booktrovert Reader (24:08.639)
Yeah

Booktrovert Reader (24:13.299)
Yeah.

Booktrovert Reader (24:31.197)
Mm-hmm.

Alexis Menard (24:36.106)
That was helpful too. I learned a lot about marketing with Last Daughter and that helps me with this one. But I did build a really big readership with Last Daughter, which really helped House of Bane take off more, because I already had a group of readers that trusted me and liked my books. So they were much more eager to take a chance on this one. And I think they liked it. But yeah.

Booktrovert Reader (24:51.478)
Mm-hmm.

Booktrovert Reader (25:06.457)
So, I wanted to ask, what do you think is the hardest part about writing fantasy?

Alexis Menard (25:14.99)
I think writing fantasy is really difficult because you have to start from ground zero and you have to build everything yourself. You have to build the world, the magic system, the politics, the religion, the people, the cultures. Like everything has to be like recreated and not to say that fantasy is harder than any genre. But that for me is what makes it so difficult is that I...

Booktrovert Reader (25:20.374)
Mm.

Alexis Menard (25:41.398)
constantly want everything to be fleshed out and sometimes that leads to making things like too complicated for myself and for my readers Sometimes you have to like, you know, let the reader assume there is like a there's a certain level of world-building where you're just like Okay, that's too much. You just need to like calm down Yeah, yeah Right, right. So there is like a level of like

Booktrovert Reader (26:00.735)
Don't spend two pages about the storm cloud.

Alexis Menard (26:08.434)
imagination you have to give back to the reader, but I would definitely say that fantasy is hard for me because I want to know everything as I'm writing it. Sometimes you just, you can't, it's like you can't fit an entire world into your head on page one, you know, so. And so book two is fun because we're really like expanding everything and like really getting into the lore a little bit more.

Booktrovert Reader (26:18.2)
Yeah

Booktrovert Reader (26:25.406)
Yeah.

Booktrovert Reader (26:35.446)
Mm-hmm.

Alexis Menard (26:36.898)
But keeping the whole mafia, mob, rival, gangs thing going on.

Booktrovert Reader (26:43.102)
Which you are you able to provide like a teaser on the second book just for the hungry audience?

Alexis Menard (26:48.587)
Hmm.

I have a quote that Sticky noted right here actually. And it says, order was a two-faced creature, freedom on one side, control on the other. And so that's a little teether. I get a little bit more chaos versus order than what that means in the world, I guess.

Booktrovert Reader (27:04.468)
Okay.

Mm-hmm. Right. Yeah, because I'm looking forward to getting to know more about... There's some nefarious things going on and I just want to know more about what's happening in the background because that's where you left off. And so...

Alexis Menard (27:17.678)
Yeah. Right. So this is supposed to be a four book series, so I'm trying to keep it very simple with books one and two, so I don't like railrode everyone with like...

stuff and just gods and lore and all this stuff so um we're keeping it a little more simple we're just there's like a new magic system i guess um developed in book two alongside with the one that came from book one so i think i think it'll be okay though yeah i think it'll be back across our fingers all i can do now

Booktrovert Reader (27:41.908)
Mm-hmm.

Booktrovert Reader (27:51.774)
You're underplaying yourself. Once you're one book in, you're very deep in already invested. You were talking about how you develop the world a little bit. How do you keep track of...

Alexis Menard (28:01.186)
Too late. It's too late to turn back.

Booktrovert Reader (28:18.494)
every detail that you have. Do you have a spreadsheet? Do you like have a nice little wall? Like everyone does it differently. And I'm kind of curious how you decide to do it.

Alexis Menard (28:24.234)
Yeah. So I have, I've done, I've tried to do the wall. I've tried to do everything. What works best for me is just having a notebook for every book and just writing chaotically in the book. And I know somehow where everything is in the notebook. I know...

where my notes were from like this chapter. I know where I wrote them and I know like I have a page where I have like quotes that I wanna throw in there or like what people look like in there. So I just, I don't know, I'm just a little chaotic and I'm not organized whatsoever. There's a much better way of doing this. No one should take advice from me on this, but.

Booktrovert Reader (29:00.978)
I'm sorry.

I'm sorry.

Alexis Menard (29:04.99)
I just have my little handy dandy notebook and it has everything in it and if it gets lost I'm not gonna be a happy person. Yeah, it doesn't leave my office. It stays right here. The other day I had my toddler like drawing circles in it and I was like, oh no, don't do that. I gave that back. I like covering all the lore that I developed for like two days.

Booktrovert Reader (29:14.883)
hopefully, put a track Apple tracker on it or something.

Booktrovert Reader (29:28.239)
It's child artwork and your life work. Ah!

Alexis Menard (29:35.198)
sure. If you didn't like that, we're just gonna scratch that and start over. There we go. Good.

Booktrovert Reader (29:39.645)
Oh boy. That's impressive because if I don't put sticky tabs in my notebook, there's no chance of me finding it ever again.

Alexis Menard (29:47.23)
I wish I was that person, I'm just not enough, just come to accept it. I'm almost 29, if I haven't gotten an organizer by now, I'm not going to. That's the way it is.

Booktrovert Reader (29:58.552)
Just, just like, just wait till you turn 30.

Alexis Menard (30:01.114)
Yeah, like I'm telling you, yeah.

Booktrovert Reader (30:04.93)
Thanks for watching!

Booktrovert Reader (30:09.829)
One thing I love to ask is, you know, what is your biggest tip that you like to give aspiring indie authors? Not an organization, of course, but so.

Alexis Menard (30:20.99)
Yeah, not that.

Alexis Menard (30:26.616)
us.

Booktrovert Reader (30:27.195)
What's your best tip for them?

Alexis Menard (30:29.814)
So my best advice for indie authors is to find community with other indie authors. And I mean like genuine relationships and friendships with other authors. It's gonna be your best tool ever. Like there's no question that I have that I can't go to my friends and just be like, hey, I don't know how to do this. Or like, can you help me like understand pre-orders for this?

Booktrovert Reader (30:36.5)
Mm.

Booktrovert Reader (30:46.187)
Mm.

Alexis Menard (30:59.33)
book convention we're going to, like I have no idea what I'm doing, where do you go for doing this? Like, they have answers for everything I need. And they're the only people that know what I'm going through. They're the only people that understand what it feels like to put a book out in the world and have people review it publicly. Like they are the only ones that I can vent to or like, you know, just...

Booktrovert Reader (31:02.294)
Mm-hmm.

Alexis Menard (31:23.398)
share my wins with, I guess, and truly understand like the importance of them. And then I, you know, I get to do the same with them. So I would definitely find people that are in your circle, other indie authors that are going to support you and cheer you on. Because honestly, it's like the only way you're going to get through this. It would be really hard to do this alone.

Booktrovert Reader (31:25.346)
Mm-hmm.

Booktrovert Reader (31:47.635)
Mm.

Alexis Menard (31:48.29)
Like writing is not, writing itself is solitary, but publishing is, you just, you need your team, you know, you need your people. So I would definitely, that's like my biggest advice. I feel like I say that all the time. I'm just like, find your people and find your other indie authors to, you know, to hang out with and talk to every day. I talk to my other friends every day. Talk to them more than like my mom, okay. That's a lot. So, I just generally say.

Booktrovert Reader (31:56.715)
Yeah.

Booktrovert Reader (32:11.954)
Yeah.

Alexis Menard (32:18.15)
Yeah, and I can't wait to actually meet them in person this year. I'm so excited. Yeah, yeah, most of them, not all of them, but I'll meet a lot of them at the Romantasy Convention in Orlando.

Booktrovert Reader (32:22.642)
Oh, you're going to meet them at a convention or something?

Mm-hmm.

Booktrovert Reader (32:33.678)
Oh, okay. I will look that up quickly. Yeah, that's, I used to live in Orlando, or not Orlando, but Florida. So it gives me excuse to go back. So I'll look that up. Thank you for saying that. And I know you mentioned comparison, which is I've been hearing kind of some chatter from, you know, other content creators and things like that. And I know it's going to be a never ending beast for people. And it is for me.

Alexis Menard (32:35.154)
One's a big one. I'm excited. I'm excited.

Alexis Menard (32:45.61)
Yeah.

Alexis Menard (32:52.61)
Mm-mm.

Alexis Menard (33:01.93)
Mm-hmm.

Booktrovert Reader (33:03.322)
Do you have a way that you help fight that or at least it's not so bad?

Alexis Menard (33:10.458)
Yeah, I think I just, at this point I am, I mean I'm used to it, you know, I just, I see my other author friends that might have like started around the same time as me and they've got like huge deals, like they're just doing crazy things and I'm like, of course a little bit inside of me is like, ah, come on, like I wish I could have that too, but then I look to see how far I've come and I'm like, I would have never guessed four years ago that I would have.

Booktrovert Reader (33:15.743)
Mm-hmm.

Booktrovert Reader (33:22.779)
Mm-hmm.

Booktrovert Reader (33:29.203)
Yeah.

Booktrovert Reader (33:33.537)
Mm-hmm.

Alexis Menard (33:38.57)
You know, so many books out, I'd be doing podcasts and talking to people and I would get messages every day from readers saying how much they love my book. And like, this stuff is like.

Booktrovert Reader (33:43.019)
Yeah.

Alexis Menard (33:51.158)
Like I never could have imagined this. So when I started this, my goal was just to like make a book, just like to have it covered and have pages inside. You know, I never thought I would sell thousands of copies and I'd be on shelves around the world and like talking to people from all different countries. And like, I just, I think it's good to just remind yourself how much further you were than where you started.

Booktrovert Reader (33:54.242)
Mm-hmm.

Booktrovert Reader (34:01.89)
Mm-hmm.

Booktrovert Reader (34:20.413)
Mm-hmm.

Alexis Menard (34:21.254)
Remember that you know a little bit is still growth even if you're just growing a little bit. It's still growth Sometimes you know like there's seasons in life where you don't have a lot of growth and Or you'll go backwards and then you'll go upwards and that's two steps forward One one step forward two steps back situation But if you just remember, you know where you've where you came from how far you've come and stop

Booktrovert Reader (34:27.234)
Mm-hmm.

Alexis Menard (34:46.526)
Let's put your blinders on and stop looking at everybody and stay in your lane. Stay in your, be focused on you. And I think that helps. But.

Booktrovert Reader (34:51.487)
Yeah.

Booktrovert Reader (34:55.594)
Yeah. Which, you know, I was just like literally going through it today, you know, same situation. Podcasts started at the same time and they're like, and you're, yeah. Yeah.

Alexis Menard (35:04.314)
It's every area of life. You're not going away from it. You'll never get away from comparison. So it's the same thing that you apply to every other area of your life, essentially.

Booktrovert Reader (35:12.45)
Mm-hmm. Yeah, exactly. Good reminder for me and anyone else who's listening that it's a common thing that we go through when we're putting ourselves out there. Even as simple as posting pictures about books, you know, it's like all the way through it. And yeah, great advice. So have you considered writing outside of fantasy or are you just going to stick to that genre?

Alexis Menard (35:22.446)
Mm-hmm.

Alexis Menard (35:41.518)
I've thought for like a few minutes about doing like just like a contemporary romance but I'm like, well, why? Will we just be in this world? Like I don't, what will we do? What will we do? I don't know. I've read contemporary romance before but I'm just like, I don't know if I could like sit down and write it. I don't know. That would be really hard. Um.

Booktrovert Reader (35:55.345)
Get coffee.

Alexis Menard (36:08.798)
I don't think I could write anything else besides this because it's really all I can read. Maybe a sci-fi? That would be fun, but I'd have to read a lot more sci-fi to get the jargon and stuff. That's probably as far away as I'd ever go from fantasy. Hard.

Booktrovert Reader (36:11.699)
Yeah

Booktrovert Reader (36:30.494)
Do you have any other series that you're thinking about starting before completing the House of Bane and Blood series? Thanks for watching!

Alexis Menard (36:37.014)
I have like a very small like vibe for something. I don't know if I'm gonna do another series. I really want to do like a standalone. I think we need some more fantasy standalones. So that'll be my next goal is just giving y'all a standalone to just... so we'll see.

Booktrovert Reader (36:40.971)
Mm-hmm.

Booktrovert Reader (36:46.907)
Ooh, okay.

Booktrovert Reader (36:59.446)
We'll see. So it can change tomorrow.

Alexis Menard (37:04.65)
Yeah, you're very welcome. I could have a five book thing set up tomorrow, you know. Who knows? Yeah. Yeah, who knows. But that's what's great about Indie, you can just kind of hop around.

Booktrovert Reader (37:10.512)
Sorry, it's getting cut off to three bucks.

Booktrovert Reader (37:16.022)
So.

Booktrovert Reader (37:19.214)
Now you said you have an agent, or is that your main goal is to be picked up by a major publisher?

Alexis Menard (37:26.658)
That would be wonderful. I would never ever turn that down. I am a mom of two little kids, so it is definitely... I only have like three or four hours a day to contribute to this while they sleep. Well, so I, you know, kind of cut out some of my sleep so that I can work on this, but I would love maybe some help with the publishing side of it, because that takes a lot of time.

Booktrovert Reader (37:30.176)
Yeah

Booktrovert Reader (37:39.746)
Mm-hmm.

Booktrovert Reader (37:51.05)
Hehehe

Booktrovert Reader (37:55.903)
Right.

Alexis Menard (37:57.086)
I would love that just so I could like, I would be more present on social media and I could get to people more and like talk to people more because I wouldn't be so busy doing all the other stuff. I could actually write the books and stuff like setting up all this, all this stuff. But that would be great. If I didn't get picked up, this Indie is great. The Indie community has been so great to me. So I'm still so grateful for them.

Booktrovert Reader (38:06.946)
Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Booktrovert Reader (38:23.88)
Mm-hmm.

Alexis Menard (38:24.702)
I think the best route is probably going hybrid, where you do a little traditional, a little self-publishing, kind of back and forth. But, you know, like I said, I didn't know I'd be here four years ago. I have no idea where I'll be in a few months. So everything's changed so quickly.

Booktrovert Reader (38:31.197)
Right.

Booktrovert Reader (38:37.04)
Ehhhhh

Booktrovert Reader (38:41.758)
Yeah, because, yeah. And you said you have an agent now. So that can literally change. Hey, tomorrow you got an offer.

Alexis Menard (38:46.474)
Yes. Yeah. And like I said, like, I think so my book came out the end of October. I had no, no plans of looking for an agent at all. And then, literally a couple weeks later, I have like my dream agent that I've been querying for three years. So like she finally, finally hopped on a phone call with me. I was so excited. So this takes a long time sometimes.

Booktrovert Reader (39:08.469)
Yeah.

Booktrovert Reader (39:13.071)
Yeah

Booktrovert Reader (39:16.282)
Right. And I think it, you know, I, the way I found you, and I think contributes a lot of your success as well is how present you are on TikTok. And I am amazed with the videos that you put into it. And I'm like, Oh man, how do you have the energy to stay on top of that and have two kids?

Alexis Menard (39:35.07)
That's funny because I, so my rule with my TikTok is anything I post on social media, like, okay, if it takes longer than 10 minutes, you're not going to post it. Like it has to be quick. It has to be a good seven, eight second video, put some words on there and just be done. Like I can't, I can't keep doing this with, you know, with TikTok and Instagram by taking so long to make a video.

Booktrovert Reader (39:45.779)
Mm-hmm.

Booktrovert Reader (39:50.163)
Move on.

Booktrovert Reader (40:00.898)
Mm-hmm.

Alexis Menard (40:01.71)
So my general rule, and it's been working really well for me, is just spend, you know, film an eight second clip, put it to something trending, and then move on. But yeah, it really is the best way to market. And I hate TikTok, but I love, I love the people on TikTok and I love what TikTok has provided me, but gosh, I hate making videos every day.

Booktrovert Reader (40:15.979)
Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Booktrovert Reader (40:26.175)
Mm-hmm.

laughs

Alexis Menard (40:31.442)
is not, this is not the part of making books that I thought would be required, you know, like making videos every day, but everything requires marketing, so.

Booktrovert Reader (40:39.764)
Right.

Yeah, I mean, I feel you. I'm fi- I- She does like a full-time job just getting one video up sometimes. And then of course the algorithm is probably the most brutal.

Alexis Menard (40:44.945)
Yeah.

Alexis Menard (40:49.17)
It really is. It is. It's full-time job.

Alexis Menard (40:57.326)
Yeah, lovely algorithm. So kind.

Booktrovert Reader (41:00.042)
So, more about you, what are some of your favorite hobbies outside of, you know, writing books if you have them. No, just kidding. Life, food, sleep, that's all I know.

Alexis Menard (41:11.295)
Oh, what are those? Well, so hobbies. I used to run a lot, but after I had my second child, it was like, okay, never mind. I'm just all around again when you're like able to come with me, I guess. Yeah, I have two kids and like all my spare time is really dedicated to working.

Booktrovert Reader (41:20.694)
Mm-hmm.

Booktrovert Reader (41:24.342)
Yeah.

Alexis Menard (41:37.762)
But I do like to get out of the house. I do like to go outside, go to the lake, or go have brunch. I like hanging out with people as much as possible because I'm either writing or spending time with a three-year-old and a one-year-old. And they don't provide really good conversations. So I like to get out and talk to people. And I have a boring life right now, but I really love my life. And I really like that song.

Booktrovert Reader (41:46.411)
Mm-hmm.

Booktrovert Reader (41:53.813)
Yeah.

Booktrovert Reader (41:57.866)
Yeah.

Booktrovert Reader (42:06.71)
with

Alexis Menard (42:08.258)
I like this little life. But it's really true. I'm pretty boring, but I'm just really happy, I guess, with my mundane activities.

Booktrovert Reader (42:22.964)
I it works. I love it. But the only thing I disagree with is going out meeting people. I'm like, oh.

Alexis Menard (42:33.571)
Oh my gosh, well if you're only like talking to Miss Rachel and a toddler it's just like oh my god. I'm gonna go crazy. It's great.

Booktrovert Reader (42:42.47)
Real conversations!

Booktrovert Reader (42:49.845)
Are you raising future readers of fantasy?

Alexis Menard (42:52.542)
I hope so. I have a big library for them. I have books for them. My three-year-old's not really interested in anything. No, he's not. He doesn't have the attention span right now. He likes the stickers, like the ones you press the buttons and it makes the sound. He likes those books, but we'll see. We'll see. A little pressure.

Booktrovert Reader (43:02.342)
Oh no. It's not good.

Booktrovert Reader (43:17.656)
We'll see. No pressure. Just a little. You know, you gotta read your book by age five. No. So, I don't want to assume, but are you full time at home right now and then trying to make writing as your full time job as well?

Alexis Menard (43:22.727)
A little pressure.

Alexis Menard (43:28.208)
Yeah.

Alexis Menard (43:39.702)
Yes, so I used to work part-time as a nurse because I do have my RN, which I stopped working full-time when I had kids because it was impossible. And I just, I love being home with them and nursing takes a lot out of your cup. And it takes a lot of soul and a lot of heart and I just didn't have anything left over at the end of the day. So I went part-time.

Booktrovert Reader (43:42.818)
Mm-hmm.

Booktrovert Reader (43:51.147)
Mm-hmm.

Booktrovert Reader (43:54.997)
Yeah.

Booktrovert Reader (44:01.455)
Mmm.

Alexis Menard (44:04.878)
And I actually just quit that last month because again, like my business is really getting big and it's really getting bigger and I honestly didn't get to work as much with all that's going on. Um, I didn't want it to you know ruin my relationships with my boss because I loved that job and I loved the people that worked there and everything so I Resigned from there so I can do this all the time. So that's really nice. Um, it's for my brain, I guess just to like

Booktrovert Reader (44:12.715)
Mm-hmm.

Booktrovert Reader (44:21.9)
which was...

Booktrovert Reader (44:32.791)
Mm-hmm.

Alexis Menard (44:34.142)
not have to switch back and forth between because being a nurse is completely different than doing this. So I was just like, I can keep switching back and forth from writing and then going to try to give medications and I'm like, I, my brain was exploding. So I'm like, let's just, let's just take some time. I'm doing really, really well with the writing and so, and selling books. So just ride this train as long as I can. I love.

Booktrovert Reader (44:41.347)
Yeah.

Booktrovert Reader (44:53.992)
Right.

Booktrovert Reader (45:02.264)
Yeah.

Alexis Menard (45:03.274)
I love being able to make money and stay at home. Like this is like the absolute dream. I get to be home with my kids all the time. I love that. Cause I love them. They're incredible. Difficult, but incredible. But I still get to like be my boss and I get to like talk to people and like have a business and make money and like bring something to the table at the end of the day.

Booktrovert Reader (45:10.643)
Mm-hmm.

Booktrovert Reader (45:28.75)
I love that because I do talk to some people either they're balancing a job and they're creative writing at the stark of midnight. So it's very hard because you're also like my father-in-law and my mother-in-law is a nurse. So you see that because especially with the event that shall not be named that happened like three or four years ago, it takes a lot, especially what you deal with.

Alexis Menard (45:35.114)
It's hard.

It's very hard.

Alexis Menard (45:51.637)
Mm-hmm.

Thanks for watching!

Booktrovert Reader (45:56.122)
be able to spend that on a creative process is tough. So I'm excited for you now that you're taking more of a full-time approach to it and I can't wait to see what you produce in the second book.

Alexis Menard (46:00.472)
Mm-hmm.

Alexis Menard (46:11.915)
Yes, I believe the quality increases now that I'm not so like split-brained everywhere.

Booktrovert Reader (46:14.88)
Right.

Right, right, right. So when is your plans to release the cover of City of Mercy in Malice?

Alexis Menard (46:27.746)
So it's being done right now. It's being worked on right now. I would probably say, I think she takes about four weeks to do it. So probably end of February, early March, we'll have a cover. And it's awesome. I got the sketch the other day, it's so cool. So cool. I think it's even better. I don't know, I think it's a little better than book one, to be quite honest with you. I really like book one, so.

Booktrovert Reader (46:30.55)
Mmm.

Booktrovert Reader (46:41.138)
Okay.

Booktrovert Reader (46:45.59)
Yeah

Booktrovert Reader (46:51.482)
Oh boy. Oh, you're fighting the Zabara high for me now.

Alexis Menard (46:56.378)
So much. So cool. Love it.

Booktrovert Reader (46:58.646)
So, and just to wrap this up, tell our listeners to where we can find you, where you can buy your book, and all that fun jazz for everyone.

Alexis Menard (47:13.026)
So I do have a website, Alexis Elmenard. You can go to that. I do have a forum. You can contact me on that. My best and most active platform is Instagram. And my handle is Alexis Elmenard. And it's the same handle as TikTok as well. I'm pretty sure I'm pretty much only on those two platforms as well, as far as social media goes. On threads a little bit, but. It's kind of nice.

Booktrovert Reader (47:24.106)
Mm-hmm.

Booktrovert Reader (47:36.734)
It's a dying platform.

Alexis Menard (47:39.23)
We'll see what threads does. Twitter is just TwitterX whatever. No, I'm not on that anymore either. So my website and my two socials are probably the best place you can find me.

Booktrovert Reader (47:45.058)
Congrats.

Booktrovert Reader (47:54.186)
I'll definitely link all those in the show notes below so everyone can find it. Definitely follow Alexis on her books. She has a lot of amazing things coming. I can vouch. Her book was amazing. Definitely to pick it up. It is available on Kindle Unlimited currently at this recording. So definitely give her a try. Any last hurrah before we end the recording.

Alexis Menard (48:19.123)
No, I just want to say thank you so much for having me and for everyone listening to my mundane writings.

Booktrovert Reader (48:27.991)
All right. Well thank you so much for joining us on my podcast. I am excited to share the world with your work and looking forward to seeing what you do. Everyone, thank you for joining us and catch you next time readers. Bye bye.

Alexis Menard (48:48.406)
Thanks, bye.

Booktrovert Reader (48:52.746)
Okay, I think it's done. Thank you, that was amazing. That's always my favorite part of this whole process.


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