Jordan Alexander

After losing 140k in a romance scam, Jordan thought f*ck, now what. Canadian born and raised, she left her hometown of Oshawa, Ontario to live in the wild west before heading Down Under to New Zealand twenty-five years ago. Jordan has enjoyed working in operational and strategic roles in North America and Australasia and is currently Managing Director at Pangaea Consulting. She engages in strategic and change projects, facilitates groups and enjoys coaching individuals. Now a best-selling author, the founder of Love Assist and the UBU Practice lives in Wellington with her husband and two daughters. 

What authors did you dislike at first but grew into?
I went in kicking and screaming when my bookclub chose a sci-fi novel. Eckk I thought. Ursula K Le Guin forced me not only to take a second look at the genre (if you can call The Left Hand of Darkness sci-fi), but also led me to wonder of my own views and beliefs about gender and identity. Quelle surprise … Such important social and cultural considerations, as relevant today as in 1969, wrapped up in a sci-fi novel. Loved it!
Do you try more to be original, or to deliver to readers what they want?

There is a famous quote attributed to Henry Ford: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” I think it is important to stay true to your original voice – the one every writer hears from deep inside. Remaining authentic to it, you will always offer a unique perspective. I write non-fiction and feature memoirs as a context, so I think at this stage, it is pretty easy to be original. In my trilogy about Life, Lessons, Love, I often hear from readers both what they like and dislike in books – mine and others. Their comments enter the bloodstream and cannot help but influence some of the writing experience. Balance and perspective remains the domain of the author. In I love you, send money, I received equal portions of ‘loved’ and ‘didn’t need’ the meanderings of food, beverage and historic references. What is superfluous to some is essential to others. It can be tricky trying to second guess or to ‘deliver’ faster horses, when a different solution may work best. In the sequel, Turbulence:
An extreme love story, I took on board reader comments and toned down the ‘meanderings’ (I didn’t of course blank them out completely – distraction is part of my Gemini DNA after all!).

How do you select the names of your characters?
I write my first draft using names of real people that inspire me and infuse the characters in my books. Sometimes I blend together the best traits of two people into one. At the second or third draft I have a ton of fun ‘re-naming’ everyone. Since the characters typically grow and change during the story, it can be challenging to find an appropriate new name (have you ever tried to name a baby … well imagine a dozen at once!) When someone asks me about a particular character. my reaction is first who’s that? I often have to follow the breadcrumbs back to the original person/people that inspired the character to come to life before I can answer effectively.
What was the first book that made you cry?
Who has seen the Wind, by W.O. Mitchell. It affected me deeply at a very young age. Set in the Canadian prairies in the 1930s, the main character struggles with issues of life and death, trying to find meaning. I think often about the moments in our lives where either our heart or mind questions the meaning of life and death, in the bigger context of the circle/cycle of life.
If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?
Hang on to your voice. Don’t question your own views when someone offers a contrary position. This doesn’t mean to stunt your personal growth or to limit experiences of the breadth and depth life has to offer. It is just to become familiar and more conscious of when your own heart thumps about something to say. Oh, and write…write…write every and any chance you get.
Have you Googled yourself? Did you find out anything interesting?
I recently found that my eBook was offered in a ‘free download’ (on a bogus website) where apparently 15,427 copies had been downloaded already (haha imagine the royalties on that !?!). It was for my reality read on the anatomy of a romance scam: I love you, Send money. Imagine the irony – a book on a romance scam being offered on a site hosted by scammers – what are the chances! Now to find someone to ’take it down’ – ahhh. So, I guess I’ll soldier on with my love-hate relationship with technology. It still astounds and petrifies me. The web crawly-thingy-ma-jigs connect so much content in far flung regions of the net. I throw up my hands simply unable to keep up.
Are there any secrets in your books that only a few people will find? Can you tell us one? Or give us any hints?
In my latest book Turbulence: an extreme love story, a few featured canines are named after friend’s pets. Don’t worry, no animals were harmed in the naming. My homies will also get some insights into ‘back in the day’ when reading about past events and people.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? Why
For the romance scam book I considered a pseudonym for safety reasons. I chose to ‘go public’ in the end. I needed to ‘own’ my story, feel the fear, but ultimately take back my power from the perpetrators once and for all.
How did publishing your first book change your writing process?
Publishing my first book was like birthing my first child. I didn’t know what to expect until you’ve been through it. After the publishing experience, you gain more confidence that you can accomplish writing a book. The second comes more naturally and (ahem) you don’t need to push so much 🙂
many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
How long is a piece of string?
the most difficult thing about writing characters of the opposite sex?
I’m not sure writing characters of either sex is all that difficult. There are sufficient stereotypes to draw upon 🙂 and for true inspiration…I’ve found egotistic, narcissistic, compassionate, empathetic, complex, simple and frail on all sides of humanity regardless of gender, identity and sexuality. Maybe it was that damn sci-fi book – bloody Ursula!
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I always enjoy getting reader emails and reviews. I love hearing how my stories affect others and the sharing of common experiences in their reactions. I’ll sift through book reviews online periodically – due less to avoidance than just plain busyness. I have stepped back from reading public comments in media stories where people sometimes misplace their human compassion filter. Someone up there must be looking out for me as I develop a thicker skin and accept with gusto, that what other people think of me is none of my business. Still, I LOVE getting good reviews, seeing in words what people think as they read and enjoy my books. It is not only rewarding to hear, but it makes me glow inside, fuelling the whole writing process, making the craft enjoyable and worthwhile.