Interview: Alexander Jalo, Author of Traces

JaloTracesEveryone, please give a warm welcome to author Alexander Jalo, author of the erotic thriller novel, Traces.

Is there a genre or literary niche that you feel hasn’t gotten it’s deserved amount of attention?

Fictional works with science faction elements.

What now-dead author would you like to interview? What are some of the things you would chat about?

H.G. Wells. I would like to ask about his prophetic trilogy: A Trap to Catch the Sun, The Last War in the World, and The World Set Free. I would ask about the moment when he discovered his idea about a nuclear bomb, and discuss his role as a trigger in the development of atomic bombs.

If you could, what book/movie/TV series would you like to experience for the first time all over again and why?

Definitely a Finnish book called ”Karjalan Kotkat”written by Pekka Aalto [1943] (Karelian Eagles). It’s a true story about the youth of two Finnish freedom fighters in eastern Karelia (now part of Russia). There is something magical about this book, something that does not exist anymore. The writer simply tells his story without trying to make it into anything more than it is, but he manages to create a mystical, fairy-tale like feeling. These two young boys live and hunt deep in the forest. They survive a bear attack and meet a real life shaman.

The way this book ended up in my life is special: I only bought it because of its beautiful cover. There was no fancy picture printed on it, just a beautiful shade of red. It mesmerized me, just as the story would come to do. Later I found a book on my bookshelf, written by an author that tells a story about a Finnish spy who makes a secret trip over the border to Russia in the summer of 1939. This spy turned out to be Pekka Aalto, the author of my favorite book. Around the same time I also found a third book in my bookcase that had an inscription to Pekka Aalto. All of these books were purchased in antiquarian book shops, and I had no clue of how they were all linked together.

Reality in my fiction: how important is it? Lengthy travel, cussing, and bathroom breaks happen in real life. How do you address these mundane occurrences in your writings?

I think books are way too long these days, like the value of a book would increase with the number of pages. For me, books are like theater where the audience fills the gaps in the setting, not like in a movie, where reality usually replaces the imagination – although bathroom breaks can only take place in crazy comedies. In my books the story or the information is important, not what is hidden between the lines. But I like to read books with a slow pace and intelligent undertones.

What has been your worst or most difficult job? How does it compare to writing?

Work life has changed so much since I was young, at least where I come from. Most of the jobs wouldn’t be allowed for underage people anymore. As a summer worker, I transported corpses to the morgue at a hospital, and worked as a night watchman alone in the same place. The only weapon I was allowed to have was a baton with instructions not to use it. During the holidays I worked very long hours since there weren’t any other volunteers, and because of the incremental payments. Once I worked for 40 hours nonstop. The best part was that I could use my time to read and write, and be paid for it. I also worked as a car messenger and from time to time had to move large amounts of cash to a bank without any security measures. Perhaps though it was safer back in the days.

When I started my studies at the University of Technology in Helsinki, I got a part time job that was difficult in a different way. As a first year student I started off as the editor at a technologically oriented newspaper and ended up editing articles written by some D.Sc.’s and sometimes even professors of my university. My first full time job was an adult educator at an international computer company where I had to teach our customers specialist things that I had just learned the night before myself. The funny thing was that the less I knew, the better it went. And I think those years have given me the right attitude that has helped me in my writing too.

Later in life when I worked white collar jobs I got really fed up. For example when I was the CEO of a company everybody was against me: the unions (not my own workers), the banks, different kinds of authorities, customers, competitors, and other stakeholders. Business used to be co-operative in the past, with a focus on service and quality, but all of that has changed. Now it’s just about money. The final straw was when I was convicted in a Kafkaesque trial for an occupational accident, where nobody could tell me what I could have done better.

As a writer I am a free man. That’s all there is to say.

More and more we see fiction being multimedia – a book, a TV show, a PC game, a graphic novel. How do you see the publishing industry evolving to handle this trend? Any plans to take your works in the multimedia realm?

If someone wants to create something else based on my storyline or characters, then I’m not against that. Me, personally, I have a few ideas about some computer programs (not games) or products based on the information in my books, but for the moment they are not important to me.

If you could own a famous or historical art work, what would it be? Would you put it on public display or keep it privately?

Pablo Picasso’s The Weeping Woman. The reason behind it is a book called “How to teach children about art”. Because of that book I started to understand art and The Weeping Woman was brilliant in that matter!

Yes I would put it on public display somewhere where it would matter.

What does your Writer’s Den look like? Neat and tidy or creative mess? Can you write anywhere or do you need to be holed up in your author cave?

I write when I’m out of my head, so it doesn’t matter where I am as long as the people around me don’t talk to me. I can write alone or in a cafeteria. However, I prefer a room that is neat and tidy instead of a mess.

What is a recurring or the most memorable geeky argument or debate you have taken part in?

Do we exist?

You have to run an obstacle course. Who do you invite along (living or dead, real or fictional)? Will there be a tasty libation involved?

Lt Col Frank from ”Scent of a Woman”. Since he’s blind I wouldn’t have any problems beating him, but instead I would watch in awe how he would manage it. In the end we would share a bottle of whiskey, but there would be no libation involved. Definitely not with this guy. I have too much respect for him in order to do anything as stupid as that.

Places to Find Alexander Jalo




JaloTracesBook Blurb for Traces

One seemingly insignificant moment sets into motion a whirlwind that would eventually suck the main character, Finnish Daniel Bremer, into its core. Daniel was planning to write a book about truth, but he didn’t expect to experience it himself in the most painful way. There is something behind the truth that eludes him. Sometimes, certain truths turn out to be too dangerous and it’s better to continue concealing that which is concealed. In the end, Daniel finds himself faced with conflicting feelings of love and guilt as a result of his own actions. And just when he decides that the truth will set him free, his life is met with tragedy.

Traces begins with Daniel having a romantic encounter with Marie Allègre in Paris and, as a result, being stalked by her jealous ex-boyfriend, Raymond Durand. As the story progresses, both Daniel and the reader are drawn deeper into Raymond’s dark world, a world that gradually becomes more complex. Daniel’s life raft comes from a surprising source in the form of CIA Agent Bruce Brock.

Traces is an erotic thriller that delves into the world of intelligence. The story is driven by intense and intellectual solutions rather than relying on action and brutality. The objective of the book is to draw readers into a realm where they are confronted with deep and subtly developing mystical elements. Although Traces is full of hints regarding mysteries, it still manages to conceal that which is concealed. Traces might lead you to find your own special path, or you might lose track of the traces revealed if you, as a reader and tracer, are not sufficiently aware. Can you manage to resist the urge to find out?

Traces is the first book of the TML-trilogy, based on U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s warning about three great threats to freedom and democracy: the military-industrial complex, global banking and the scientific-technological elite. Although Daniel and Marie’s brief but passionate relationship takes place in the first book of the trilogy, its significance is not revealed until the final book. Some of the mysteries in Traces might seem unbelievable and, in truth, even the author was unaware of some of the strange synchronicities that eventually, in the third book, would provide a scientific explanation for these mysterious elements.

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