Interview with Alex Laybourne, author of Highway to Hell: Trials and Tribulations

The Author:

Alex LaybourneBorn and raised in the coastal English town Lowestoft, Alex Laybourne says “it should come as no surprise to those that have the misfortune of knowing this place that I became a horror writer.” As a child he lived at least a half-hour drive away from his schools and school friends, and as a result, from an early age he spent most of his free time alone.
Laybourne has been a writer as long as he can remember and has always had a vivid imagination. He finds it all too easy to just drift away into his own mind and explore the world he creates; where the conditions always seem to be just perfect for the cultivation of ideas, plots, scenes, characters and lines of dialogue. He hopes to can create something with his writing that takes the reader away from reality for a short time. 

He is married and has four wonderful children; James, Logan, Ashleigh and Damon. 

The Book:

ImageMarcus, Helen, Becky, Sammy and Graham are no longer strangers, but friends. Pulled from the chambers of hell they thought that they had survived, that they were free to being their eternity far away from the fires and tortures that had greeted them. 

They were wrong!


The group soon find themselves back in Hell, this time venturing even deeper into the netherworld. Searching for the one soul the angels’ claim they were unable to rescue, the five friends march their way to the edge of the pit, Avici. It is here, in the castle that looks into the abyss where they come face to face with both the lost soul that they seek and the King of Hell himself; Lucifer.  
Nothing is as it seems however, and just as it looks as if the coast is clear they learn that the ones they thought they could trust just might be the ones they should fear the most.
 
Trials and Tribulations is the sequel to Alex Laybourne’s debut novel, Highway to Hell – Marcus, Becky, Richard, Helen, Sammy, and Graham. All complete strangers, different ages, backgrounds and even countries, but they all have one major thing in common…they all must DIE.Sentenced to offer their penance in the many chambers of Hell, their lives are nothing but a torturous experience. They are brought face to face with their past, their mistakes and the implications that had for others. Until one by one they are rescued and thrown together. Walking in a dying world, they are introduced to their rescuers who do anything but conform to their angelic stereotype. Together, bonded by an unknown destiny the group is set on their quest; to find one individual buried deep within the many Hell worlds. Not only does the fate of their world rest on their shoulders, but that of existence itself.

Heaven and Hell, Angels and Demons, these things were once considered opposites, but what happens when they become neighbors, allies…friends?

The Interview:

Q. What is it about Lowestoft that you believe turned you into a horror writer?
A. I very rarely take things too seriously. Lowestoft if the town I grew up in. It was a low income town for the most part, and filled with people who were always looking for the free meal ticket. That is not to say everybody was like that, but as you know, the few always manage to spoil it for the many. It was a town I grew up wanting to leave and since doing so, I have not once stopped to think about going back. I guess it is the same for many people who come from a small (ok it’s not that small, but it feels that way) place with few opportunities for life to be full;y experienced beyond a weekly paycheck and drinking binge on a Friday night.
Q. The characters from your book are from disparate backgrounds – how do they first meet?
A. They meet in Hell. They are total strangers and their deaths, while being linked in terms of the larger impact of the story are, for the large part unrelated. They were in the wrong place at the wrong time. They all die early in the book and are dragged into the torture chambers of hell. It is only once they are rescued from their respective pits are they united. Theirs is a special friendship, forged in the face of the worst kind of adversity.
Q. Do the differences in their background create any tensions between the characters, or do they get along right away?Image
A. Not really. As I alluded to above, their friendship is forged in the face of torture, the bonds welded by the fires of hell. They have several disagreements along the way, and a few small personality clashes, but what group of friends doesn’t? For the most part the tension is created by the situation they find themselves in rather than any underlying conflict between them. It was primarily one of the reasons I didn’t make any of them friends, because friends come with baggage, underlying issues that give rise to conflict over time.
Q, Is your book’s Lucifer more of a John Milton sort, or a Dante sort, or something entirely new?
A. I like to think that my take on Lucifer is unique, however, as is the nature of all things, people will look to draw comparisons from things they know already.
Q. Are angels in your story in any way different than the reader might expect?
A. My angels are bad ass, and certainly nowhere near as clean cut as most people would expect. My angels are giants, they are warriors, covered in scars and injuries of battle. They are not the biggest fans of humans, and the idea of having to aid a group of rescued human souls is one of the most humiliating things that an arch angel (Raguel) can think of.
Q. Do you have a favorite character? Who, and why?
A. I always hate this question. I love and hate all of the characters equally. Out of the six main characters, I am probably more drawn towards Sammy. I know from fellow authors that have read my work find a certain sympathy for Sammy, and one, a good friend of mine and a fantastic writer Paul Flewitt (look out for his debut horror release ‘Poor Jeffrey’ this February) held an affinity for Sammy and felt I had treated him very harshly. I would have to agree, I did pull out all of the stops when tormenting him, but all I can say is that in books two and three, things only get worse for the poor guy. However, Sammy has a role to play, how large I will not say, but keep an eye on the kid!
Q. Was writing a sequel more challenging than writing the first in the series?
A. I don’t really see the second been as being a sequel. It is a continuance of the story, so everything carried on rolling. However, there were certain challenges writing it that were not there in the first. Simple things like continuity, ensuring that things that were said or references made in the first book were not crossed or incorrectly quoted. Also, as I wrote it, the true scope of the story continued to build in my mind. When I started writing it, I thought it would be a single novel, maybe 120,000 – 150,000 words. I was wrong. Now, as I stand on the brink of writing the third installment I am faced with so many possibilities that my mind tingles in anticipation.
Q. Is there anything else you want the readers to know?
A. I have a busy year ahead of me, with three releases already planned, and one anthology submission already accepted for a Valentine’s Day release.. I keep my Facebook pages updated and regularly and I run a blog also, which I use to announce all of my releases and plans. Anybody who is interested in learning more about me, or stalking me quietly from the shadows, can find me there. However, if you are going to stalk me, my only request is that when you kidnap me and hold me to ransom, PLEASE cut out the letter individually from a newspaper. Put a little effort into it.

Where to Find Alex Online:

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~ by Sumiko Saulson on January 1, 2014.

5 Responses to “Interview with Alex Laybourne, author of Highway to Hell: Trials and Tribulations”

  1. Reblogged this on Official Site of Alex Laybourne – Author and commented:
    My first interview of the new year is live!

  2. Thank you very much for the interview Sumiko. I had a great time.

  3. Reblogged this on The BiaLog.

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