14 February 2020
The Author Spotlight Series shines a light on writers creating heartfelt and original work across genres, giving them an opportunity to talk about their books and why they do what they do.
“Alexis Alexander has always loved stories, and sharing them with children all over the world has been a dream come true. First and foremost, Alexis is a proud dad. He was born and raised in a town called Ajax outside of Toronto where he lives now with his wonderful wife, their two young children and the family fur-babies. His books and music are inspired by life with his two incredible kids and finds great joy in sharing his stories and songs with others”.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Hello, my name is Alexis but you can call me Lexy. Ever since I was little I loved writing stories and using my imagination. When I was in grade five my teacher said, “Lexy you are going to be a storyteller or author one day.” Her sentiment always stayed with me.
Do you remember the first thing you ever wrote?
I’m sure they weren’t the first things I wrote, but in that grade five class I vividly remember writing a rap song about a bumble bee and a choose-your-own-adventure story.
How did you develop your skills?
When I was younger, I tinkered in writing — everything from a sci-fi novel to a few screenplays, but I never really tried to do anything with my work.
And then for a long time as an adult, I didn’t use my imagination or tell any stories. Ten years went by in the blink of an eye working a corporate job and I felt that something was missing.
Then, in 2014, my daughter was born. She reignited a little spark inside of me — my imagination. We would read stories every night and I would make up voices and songs to go with the books. She loved it and for me it was like stepping into an imagination portal; it was my happy place.
In 2017, my son was born and our world profoundly changed. He had a little hole in the roof of his mouth and it wasn’t found for 30 days, making it nearly impossible for him to feed. Eventually we were referred to The Hospital for Sick Children and they gave him a special bottle to help him feed and told us he needed surgery.
I knew I needed to be home to help care for him and my family so I left my job that summer. My son started to get better and, inspired by my kids, that little spark of imagination grew inside me. It grew and grew and grew and erupted into a volcano of imagination and before I knew it, I had written 50 stories for my children.
Encouraged by my wife and kids, I decided to not go back to work at the end of that summer. Instead, I split my time between self-publishing my stories and being a stay-at-home dad — a job I treasure. In the span of one year, I self-published 14 books and started living my dream of being a storyteller.
Who are some of your biggest literary influences? Do you have a favourite book/author?
My biggest literary influences come from hip-hop artists like Atmosphere or prolific fantasy writers like R. Scott Bakker, Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson and Hugh Howey.
How would you describe your work?
I am a childrens’ book author and I found my true calling when I started to rap my stories. So I would describe my work as a collection of educational rap-a-long books that are made for kids by a big kid himself.
What’s your writing process like?
I have a writing cave. My three-year-old son and five-year-old daughter need to be sound asleep before I can write. I like to have a snack and a warm drink. I also sometimes love writing in a forest or around nature.
Tell us about your most recent book.
My most recent book is a story about picky eaters. My daughter is five and doesn’t like trying new foods. So I wrote a fun story for her to help open her mind to new tastes and flavours of food and the culinary arts.
What are you working on now/next?
Watching 200 children having fun dancing to your songs is a really cool thing. And I was humbled when my children’s rap-a-long album reached #1 on iTunes for children’s music a few months ago. So I’m working on more kinetic rap-a-long books and another album to make kids move and have fun, all while they’re learning about the world and how to treat others with kindness.