Guest Feature

William Alexander–What Was on His . . .

William Alexander

William Alexander

Our next guest is the brilliant author and master storyteller William Alexander!

You, of course, know Will as the winner of the National Book Award in 2012 for his debut novel, Goblin Secrets. He also won the Earphones Award for his audio rendition of the book, which is probably no surprise to those of you who know Will immersed himself in theatre and folklore at Oberlin College, before going on to study English at the University of Vermont, and creative writing at the Clarion Workshop.

Will followed up Goblin Secrets with the comic and creepy Ghoulish Song (also an audiobook). And later this year, he will release Ambassador—a sci-fi I’m just dying to read—and which already has a ★ review from Kirkus! Ambassador tells the story of Gabe Fuentes, an 11-year-old Minnesotan, who becomes Earth’s ambassador to the Galaxy, just as his undocumented parents are threatened with deportation from the US. Gabe is suddenly faced with solving two ‘alien’ problems, all while running for his life. In other words, hang on for a fast-flying adventure.

Will—like Gabe—lives in Minneapolis and is a second-generation Latino immigrant. Since he isn’t anticipating the call to ambassadorship any time soon, Will devotes his days to writing, teaching, and spending time with his family. As for the insider’s view, read on, because here’s Will with What Was on William Alexander’s . . .

Repertoire of Songs Sung Around the House: The only way I can convince my daughter to nap is by singing Iz Kamakawiwo’ole’s cover of “Over the Rainbow / Wonderful World.” Over and over again. Loudly. I don’t understand how she can possibly fall asleep while I’m belting out the song so close to her ear, but she does.

Living Room Sofa: The sofa is no longer a sofa. First it was a fort. Then the fort became a fortress. Now my two small kids dwell within, whisper secrets, and plot the destruction of their enemies.


Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke

To Be or Not to Be by Ryan North (Choose your own Hamlet!)

In the Language of Kings: An Anthology of Mesoamerican Literature

Long Hidden: Speculative Fictions from the Margins of History

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

The Lost Conspiracy by Frances Hardinge (Gullstruck Island in the UK)

I rarely read one book at a time. My scattered attention bounces between several.

To-Do List: I’ll be teaching a few courses and workshops this summer, so unwritten lectures and lesson plans take up lots of my to-do list—most of them about the overlap between theater and fiction writing, and how to steal from one kind of storytelling to serve another kind.

The rest of the list is Ambassador-related. Gotta plan the September book launch, and plan out the tour, and dive into revisions for the sequel…

Will Alexander MaskWall: Masks! Lots of masks. I have a collection of several from all over the world. My favorites are an unfinished Noh mask by Bidou Yamaguchi and a leather fox mask by Jeff Semmerling (see them, one on top of the other, at the right). Both have cameos in the most swashbuckling scene in Goblin Secrets.

Computer Screen Post-Its:

“The sound of language is where it all begins and what it all comes back to.” – Ursula K. Le Guin

“Things can be really different.” – Joanna Russ

“There’s this idea that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. But what I’ve always thought isn’t that monsters don’t have reflections, it’s that if you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves.” – Junot Díaz

Agenda: To make more mirrors. We need diverse books.

Mind: Caffeine. Revision plans. “Over the Rainbow / Wonderful World” on an endless loop.

William Alexander William Alexander William Alexander William Alexander William Alexander

You can keep up to date with William Alexander, by visiting him online at and Find him on Twitter at @williealex. And if you would like to pre-order Ambassador, simply click below:


And be sure to stop by again on July 20 for the breathtakingly creative, artist and illustrator LeUyen Pham!

Sandra Nickel Sandra Nickel Sandra Nickel Sandra Nickel Sandra Nickel Sandra Nickel Sandra Nickel Sandra Nickel

3 thoughts on “William Alexander–What Was on His . . .

  1. Pingback: March Dive | ‘Ambassador’ with a visit from author William Alexander | Deep Blue Readers

Leave a Reply