Today I am so pleased to welcome Colin Alexander to Joyfully Jay. Colin has come to talk to us about his latest release, Princess of Shadows. Please join me in giving him a big welcome!

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Colin wrote some questions and answers to share with us today!

Do you write in one particular genre or more than one? How would you describe the genre of this book?

I write in several genres: mystery, science fiction, and fantasy. Within science fiction and fantasy, I also make use of different sub-genres. I think this is because I enjoy reading stories in all of these genres, and I wind up writing what I enjoy. Princess of Shadows is special, however. This book is a blend of genres. What do I mean by that?

Start with the gorgeous cover by Alejandro Colucci. We have our princess, on horseback, in armor and wielding two swords, in front of an armored troop and castle. This signals fantasy, and epic fantasy at that. The story goes along with that. We have an epic struggle for control of a world that will lead to salvation or destruction for its people. Multiple characters with their own schemes and objectives play their roles against this backdrop. The conflict plays out in the clash of armies armed with swords and bow and arrow. All of this is set in a strange world, one that is obviously not ours.

Take a look at that strange world, though. When the characters look up at the sky, they see a red sun that does not move across the heavens. The position of the sun is different depending where in the world the characters are, but it does not move. If you look at it from a science fiction perspective, these kinds of worlds can exist. Think about a tidal-locked world around a red dwarf. I happen to love tidal-locked planets. Okay, this sounds weird, but there is a substantial body of scientific literature describing everything from the weather to the biology that could be in a place like that. (Call it speculative science maybe?) I worked from that in creating this world, a mixture of the strange and the familiar. What you find in this world varies from where it is light or dark all the time. How do you tell time in a society without technology when there is no shift from day to night? This is a good world for a fantasy. Having built this world, I then had the question of how people got there. I think you can see this in the backstory that is threaded throughout the book. We have the Ancients, who left ruins across the world, and who came from beyond the sky. We also have the name of this world: Gimlé, which comes from Norse mythology. Gimlé is the hall where survivors congregate after Ragnorak.

Of course, you can ignore the science fiction side of the setting and simply read the story for the epic fantasy. Gimlé, though, can be an interesting playground for more adventure in the future and I hope you will be interested enough in all sides of the story to come along with me as I write them.

You said you write in more than one genre. How do you balance them?

I don’t really try to balance them. For example, I have not written a mystery in quite a number of years. While a mystery is a fundamental component of some of my science fiction stories, for example Murder Under Another Sun and Complicated) the books are first and foremost science fiction. It is true that I have written more science fiction than fantasy books, but that is because the Leif the Lucky series has extended now to four books. I am perfectly happy to write the story that is in my head because I think I will do the best job for my readers if I go with what energizes me the most. That said, I do think the writer has to work extra hard when changing genres because the readers may well be different. I want to make my readers happy to read my stories, regardless of genre.

What are you working on now and when can we expect it?

Most immediately, I am deep into a hard science fiction book. This will be the fifth story in the Leif the Lucky series and I expect it to come out in mid-2024. The events in that story will come immediately after the conclusion of A Planet of Wrath and Tears, which was released in December 2023. After that, I am most likely to come back to Gimlé for a different adventure.


princess of shadows coverA princess doesn’t lead an army. Or does she?

It is a hard life on a strange world under a red sun that never moves in the heavens, its landscape dotted with the ruins of the Ancients who came from beyond the sky. The Kingdom of the Light, Shadows, and Dark brought stability to this world for generations, but peace is dying as the kingdom crumbles. Rebellion and warfare are rife in the realm, and death in all its brutal forms stalks the land.

Aeryn, the Princess of Shadows, is second in line to the throne. As a young child, she loves stories of the Ancients and wants to see what is beyond the sky. The fighting, however, brings an abrupt end to her childhood and shatters not only the Light, Shadows, and Dark, but her family as well. She grows up amid war and loss, a smart, stubborn, and quick-tempered girl who promises her mother she would always do her best and vows to be true to her word. Childhood dreams must wait; her priorities become revenge and the throne of a restored kingdom.

Achieving any of her goals seems unlikely as obstacles are piled, one after another, in front of her. Armies fail, castles fall, and erstwhile allies betray. She makes plenty of mistakes and must learn from her errors fast enough to survive. She finds friends and allies in strange places, but there are many who see her as nothing more than a pawn in their own plays for power. The odds are not in her favor. If she fails, humanity will face a bleak future on an unforgiving world.

What is the future of a young princess beset by powerful lords and captains? What is the fate of those men when the princess decides to get even?

Warnings: Combat scenes both one-on-one and armies, named characters die


colin alexander bio photoColin Alexander is a writer of science fiction and fantasy. Actually, Colin Alexander is the pseudonym for Alton Kremer, maybe his alter ego, or who he would have been if he hadn’t been a physician and biochemist and had a career as a medical researcher. His most recent book, A Planet of Wrath and Tears, is his tenth and the fourth of the Leif the Lucky novels. Colin is an active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association, Mystery Writers of America, and the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Away from writing fiction, his idea of relaxation is martial arts (taekwondo and minna jiu jitsu). He lives in Maine with his wife.