Alexander Kosoris is a novelist and book reviewer who was born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario. He attended the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto between 2006 and 2010. After graduating, he moved back to Thunder Bay, where he now lives with his lovely wife – as well as the majority of his relatives – working as a pharmacist. Lucifer is his first book. You can find him online at kosoris.com.
Lucifer is the well-known story of an angel rebelling against God, but it is set in an office building with God as the CEO. What inspired you to write it?
Alexander Kosoris: I honestly can’t pinpoint the exact reason. I remember Lucifer beginning around when a friend committed suicide and I really started giving my beliefs, my outlook on life, thoughtful consideration, at least more actively than up to that point. Perhaps it was therapeutic, my way of coping; I don’t know.
So why the office building?
Biblical concepts seem hard to visualize for me, so I felt it would be interesting to relate such processes to real-world parallels. I chose an office setting for a few reasons. Firstly, Heaven seems to have a clear caste system. At least from the brief glimpses we’re allowed into Heaven from Biblical stories, people and angels don’t seem to be created equal, and everyone seems to know exactly where he or she stands. Breaking such a notion down to an office-building structure encapsulates this fact very cleanly, with angels being unable to act effectively without heading to different levels and managers for approval.
Such a setting structure also relates to God’s mysterious methods. Think of stories in the Bible, such as Eve being created from Adam’s rib, when God seems to have the ability to just create a human from nothingness. Now, extrapolate this concept to the entire creation of Man, the Earth, and the entire universe, as well as the physical laws governing the universe, and God utilizing His office full of angels to make such things. Does He need to use an office of angels for this creation? No. Is it a matter of testing angels to see what they accomplish? Is there actually a point to the process, or is it merely for His amusement? Don’t expect an explicit answer; He works in mysterious ways.
That’s true, He does. Lucifer starts out very light-hearted and then gets more serious as it goes. Was this intentional?
Very much so. I wanted to have fun with the concept, but I always had a plan to try and tackle some heavy ideas as it went on. Whether I succeeded or not, I wanted to do more than just tell a story; I wanted to make something that was meaningful to someone.
You ran an Indiegogo campaign to help Lucifer get published. What did you learn from that experience?
Perhaps, that promotion is hard? I suppose I would have learned that sooner or later, but it was good to get it out of the way before the book even came out. I also learned to pick my battles. There were a lot of decisions that went into that campaign that I disagreed with, but most of them weren’t significant, so they really weren’t worth any argument. I can be a stubborn man, however; I clung to the issues that I felt could make or break my writing career at this early stage, such as halting the campaign for months while my friend fixed the terrible original video that was made, and shall never be seen by human eyes again.
That was definitely worth it; the video that you have now is hilarious! You did a series of Lucifer readings around Thunder Bay during the spring, including one at the Brodie Resource Library. How did they go?
They ranged from horrendous – “no one showing up” horrendous – to wonderful, where I had the privilege of participating in some engrossing discussions after-the-fact.
That’s unfortunate that no one showed up to some of them. But I’m glad to hear that others were much better! Along with the readings, you also conducted a writing workshop back in February at the Waverley Resource Library entitled “Writing With Evocative Prose.” Why did you choose to speak about this topic?
I was noticing trends in the writing I was reading and enjoying around that time: all the stories were able to evoke a strong, emotional response from me. Because I’m interested in writing on a very analytical level, I wanted to delve deeper and find out how these authors were so successful in doing so. Once I discovered applicable strategies for writing, it struck me as a topic that would be very useful to both writers wishing to improve their craft and readers who want to understand literature in an absorbing way.
Are you planning on doing any more readings or writing workshops in the near future?
I’ve been organizing readings whenever and basically wherever I can. (I’ll be reading next on August 17th at the Two Harbors Public Library, followed by CommuniTea and Coffee on August 22nd.) It can be hard to fit these types of events into my work schedule, but I’m lucky to be working with people who have been hugely patient and accommodating. Writing workshops are different beasts entirely; I love doing them, but they take a lot out of me. The last one took a solid month of preparation, so I’m assuming I’d only be able to commit to one a year.
Good luck! What are you working on now?
The working title is Going Home, and it’s about a man who crash-lands his spaceship, crossing paths with a terrible monster as he makes his way home. It’s turning out to be a great deal more grotesque than Lucifer, which makes me a bit worried that people who passed on Lucifer because of the name will be horrified if they decide to give this one a chance.
I guess that will come down to marketing; hopefully Going Home’s eventual blurb will help to avoid that problem. Let’s finish this up with a few questions about books and reading. What book or author inspired you to write?
The biggest influence to me has been Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut; it really changed the way I looked at telling a story. I think I owe a lot to Christopher Hitchens as well; he taught me to utilize language to its fullest potential.
And what are you currently reading?
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick; it’s absolutely fabulous.