Author Interview: Alex White

Today I am interviewing Alex White, author of the new science-fiction novel, August Kitko and the Mechas from Space!

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DJ: Hi Alex! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Alex White: I’m a science fiction author who loves music and tech. I wrote a big space fantasy trilogy for Orbit called The Salvagers, as well as two critically-acclaimed Alien books and a Star Trek novel. I’m known for engaging, deeply human characters and cinematic action.

DJ: What is August Kitko and the Mechas from Space about?

Alex: Jazz pianist Gus Kitko expected to spend his final moments on Earth playing piano at the greatest goodbye party of all time, and maybe kissing rockstar Ardent Violet, before the last of humanity is wiped out forever by the Vanguards–ultra-powerful robots from the dark heart of space, hell-bent on destroying humanity for reasons none can divine.

But when the Vanguards arrive, the unthinkable happens–the mecha that should be killing Gus instead saves him. Suddenly, Gus’s swan song becomes humanity’s encore, as he is chosen to join a small group of traitorous Vanguards and their pilots dedicated to saving humanity. 

DJ: What were some of your influences for August Kitko and the Mechas from Space

Alex: There’s plenty of anime–Evangelion, Macross Plus and Escaflowne. From America, there’s some Close Encounters of the Third Kind, a pinch of Pacific Rim. There are also quite a few musical influences: John Coltrane, David Bowie, Prince and Hiromi.

DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?

Alex: Gus is a sweet, sad jazz pianist just trying to deal with the evaporation of meaning in his life. He has a dry sense of humor, rarely cynical, and a love or architecture. His love interest, the nonbinary Ardent Violet, is ultra-glam, loud, tempestuous and flamboyant. They enjoy high fashion, parties and arena concerts. The two of them are polar opposites, but you know what they say–opposites attract.

DJ: Aside from the main characters in the story, who is a favorite side character or a character with a smaller role in the story? Why?

Alex: I really like Elzahia Tazi. When some of the Vanguards turn traitor, she’s in charge of managing their pet humans for the United Worlds. The fate of the galaxy rests on her shoulders, but the poor woman has to herd these musicians, not soldiers, around. I love her, but she never seems to get her way.

DJ: What is the world and setting of August Kitko and the Mechas from Space like?

Alex: It’s our galaxy in the 2600’s. Humanity spread across the stars during the halcyon age known as the Infinite Expansion, but it’s all been destroyed by the Vanguards in the past five years. Worse still, the swarms that accompany the mechas come and harvest the minds of all the humans on each planet, using those memories against the survivors. We can’t trust signals from the stars because they might be hacking or spearphishing attempts, so each colony is on its own, shrouded by a paranoia called the Veil.

The tech, however, is quite advanced to the point of looking like magic half the time. I like to call it the Sparklefuture–it’s much more Star Trek than Star Wars.

DJ: What was your favorite part about writing August Kitko and the Mechas from Space

Alex: Despite its fantastical dressings, this is a deeply personal book to me. I wrote it to wrestle with my own despair and pain. Reality is a big place, and the crushing forces we experience can make us feel insignificant. This book opened a dialogue in my heart between the part of me that’s terribly wounded and the part that wants to survive at any cost.

DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?

Alex: Hopefully how much they love Gus and Ardent! I really wanted to write a queer power couple for the ages, someone my readers could use to reflect themselves. I think there are a lot of people out there itching for something like this.

DJ: Did you have a particular goal when you began writing August Kitko and the Mechas from Space? Was there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across when readers finish it? Or is there perhaps a certain theme to the story?

Alex: We must be able to find happiness in a tragic framework. Even if we’ve lost our way, or all hope has vanished, there has to be a way to get something out of life. I guess I just wanted to tell everyone to hang on for whatever they’re worth. It’s not exactly a message of hope, but it’s adjacent.

DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from August Kitko and the Mechas from Space that you can share with us?

Alex: Gus blinks at the waves. The fall is going to kill him either way, but for some reason, he’d rather hit the water than the rocks. It mostly comes down to a choice of who gets to eat him–the seagulls or the marine life.

And seagulls are assholes.

DJ: Now that August Kitko and the Mechas from Space is released, what is next for you?

Alex:  I’ve been consulting on a few things, and I’m working hard on Book 2! I wish I could give you a better title, but I don’t have approval yet. Soon!

DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?  
DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about August Kitko and the Mechas from Space that we haven’t talked about yet?

Alex: It’s about robots, but it’s not really about robots.

DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!

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***August Kitko and the Mechas from Space is published by Orbit Books and is available TODAY!!!***

Buy the Book: 

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop | Goodreads | IndieBound | Libro.fm

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About the Book:

When an army of giant robot AIs threatens to devastate Earth, a virtuoso pianist becomes humanity’s last hope in this bold, lightning-paced, technicolor new space opera series from the author of A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe.

Jazz pianist Gus Kitko expected to spend his final moments on Earth playing piano at the greatest goodbye party of all time, and maybe kissing rockstar Ardent Violet, before the last of humanity is wiped out forever by the Vanguards–ultra-powerful robots from the dark heart of space, hell-bent on destroying humanity for reasons none can divine. 

But when the Vanguards arrive, the unthinkable happens–the mecha that should be killing Gus instead saves him. Suddenly, Gus’s swan song becomes humanity’s encore, as he is chosen to join a small group of traitorous Vanguards and their pilots dedicated to saving humanity. 


About the Author:

Alex White was born and raised in the American South. They take photos, write music, and spend hours on YouTube watching other people blacksmith. They value challenging and subversive writing, but they’ll settle for a good time. Favored pastimes include Legos and racecars. They take their whiskey neat and their espresso black.

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