Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Author Interview: A S Bond: Brooke Kinley Adventures Series

A.S Bond is the pen name of Alexandra Pratt, an internationally acclaimed travel writer, and journalist. As the author of seven books, Alexandra’s own adventures have taken her around the world, from the cloud forests of Central America to D.C.’s corridors of power. Patriot’ is the first title in her series of Brooke Kinley Adventures and will appeal to the fan of Clive Cussler, Tom Clancy or Robert Ludlum.

Alexandra is a freelance journalist and author of six previous books, including Lost Lands, Forgotten Stories and The Day The Island Exploded, which is the story of her father-in-law’s real life  escape from an erupting volcanic island in Antarctica, published by the award-winning children’s publisher, Barrington Stoke. Alexandra has studied at both the George Washington University in Washington D.C. and also at the University of Sussex in the UK, where she gained her honors degree. Since then, Alexandra has traveled the world writing for magazines on topics ranging from wolf watching in northern Spain to interviewing the last surviving Yaghan (canoe nomad) in Patagonia. Now married and based in the west of England, Alexandra works as a freelance journalist and also writes adventure thrillers under the pen name A.S.Bond.

When writing Patriot, Alexandra drew on her experience of leading an award-winning canoe expedition in Labrador, later the subject of ‘Lost Lands, Forgotten Stories; A Woman’s Journey to the Heart of Labrador’ (Eye Books & HarperCollins). 

The awards received for this were:
‘Spirit of Adventure Award’ from the Captain Scott Society, 2000 ‘Wilderness Adventure Award’ from Himalayan Kingdoms, 2000

Welcome, Alexandra!

Your real name and pen name?

I write adventure thrillers as A.S Bond, which feature my feisty heroine Brooke Kinley   I write travel books and journalism as Alexandra Pratt
AS Bond in Scotland, UK

Please share some of the best memories of your childhood

I think I developed my taste for adventure at an early age. As a family, we spent many holidays exploring the wilder parts of the UK, such as Scotland, going for nighttime walks, making a diary of exciting birds and animals we had seen etc. That curiosity stands me in good stead today for all my writing work. I also devoured adventure stories for children, which has definitely helped to shape my literary (and lifestyle!) choices in adulthood.

About your education

I studied at university in both the UK and the USA.

What career did you plan during your education days

I always wanted to be a writer and I got my first book contract 6 months after graduation. In the early years, I did other (paid) employment at the same time – usually as a tour guide – but I’ve worked full time as a writer both of books and for magazines as a freelancer, for almost 20 years now.

What languages you can speak and write?

I studied French and German at school  and I’ve taken Spanish lessons since then. Whenever I go to a Spanish speaking country, it all comes back to me and I improve, then I forget it all again when I return home…

AS Bond in Costa Rica
What is your biggest source of inspiration in life

People, places, stories…

What hurts you most in this world


What is the biggest challenge you have faced? How did you overcome it?

A few years ago, my husband was involved in a serious accident and then a few months later, I was very ill. That was a very difficult time for both of us, but we survived by taking one day at a time and supporting each other through every crisis. I have only been able to write this new novel thanks to my husband’s unstinting support.

If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personality, who would it be and why?

Queen Elizabeth I. So I can learn the truth about all the Palace intrigue in the 16th century, meet Shakespeare and wear those big dresses!

AS Bond on yacht in Beagle Channel, Patagonia
What is your favorite genre and why?

I really love thrillers of all kinds; mystery, adventure etc. I also love travel writing and I find that in writing action thrillers, I am able to combine the two and draw on my own adventurous travels as inspiration.

When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing?

As soon as I could read and write I started to make up little pieces that today would be called 'flash fiction', usually about the natural world around me. The first, more focused, long-form piece of writing I started was when I was around age 7. I'd read just about everything Enid Blyton had written (the Famous Five series being a favorite) and I started to write my own adventure story for kids. It was supposed to be a full-length novel, but I think I got to around chapter 3....I started another novel at age 8, which was, bizarrely, about a canoeing expedition in Canada. This was a topic I later went on to write a book about as an adult, following my own canoe expedition in Canada. The book was a travel memoir published by HarperCollins, called 'Lost Lands, Forgotten Stories'.
What I've come to notice is that so much of who we are as adults is either already there as very young children, or formed at that age. We all tryout lots of different things/ideas/routes as teenagers and then by mid-20's, we seem to end up being the person we started out as....

Which of your work has been published so far? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work?
Discovery Walks in Cornwall and Celtic Way (both Sigma Press, 1998). These are both walking guides to a county in England (I only wrote a section of Celtic Way), which focus on the history and landscape of the place, with photos, maps etc. Really fun projects.
Lost Lands, Forgotten Stories, A Woman’s Journey to the Heart of Labrador  (HarperCollins, 2002 and Eye Books UK, 2005) This is the story of my canoe expedition in Eastern Canada, where I re-traced the footsteps of the first European to cross Labrador, in 1905. The explorer’s name was Mina Hubbard and she completed the journey which had killed her husband, Leonidas a few years earlier. I traveled in a cedar and canvas canoe, with my Innu guide, Jean-Pierre.

The Day The Island Exploded (Barrington Stoke, 2009)This is the true story of my father-in-law’s escape from an erupting volcanic island in Antarctica. It is written for younger readers.

Shipwrecked! (Moriarty Press, 2012) This is the true story of a British sailing ship called the ‘Wager’, which was wrecked on the coast of Patagonia in the 18th century. This disaster leads to murder and mutiny by the crew. Written for younger readers.

Patriot (A Brooke Kinley Adventure) Castle Books, 2014. A pulse-pounding, high octane adventure thriller with an insider’s view of Washington D.C. and a heroine who is as happy running rapids as she is asking difficult questions at the Pentagon. For fans of Clive Cussler, Robert Ludlum or Tom Clancy.

What are your forthcoming writings?

I think Brookes next adventure will take her to Patagonia, which is a place I have visited and loved; not just the scenery (which is amazing), but the people too. Its a place of two extremes; prairie and mountains and I find that juxtaposition really intriguing.

I’m always writing for magazines!

What are your future plans?

Another Brooke Kinley novel, hopefully, this time next year.

The start of my canoe expedition in Canada
What four top most things you take care of while writing a book? How much real life goes into a fiction writing?

Write what you know... I find that if I cannot see the scene in my own head, know how it feels, smells, sounds to be there, I cannot write the scene. Events are fictional of course, but my characters become real to me and the places are also real places I know well (although I may take liberties with exact locations, merge places together, invent certain aspects etc)

Is high level of imagination important to have for an Author?

Essential, I would say.

Your dream destination on Earth?

At the moment, I am desperate to go to New Zealand. After that. I would love to see more of Argentina (especially the Pantanal, for the wildlife).

Your origin of birth and other countries you have visited/ stayed. What best things you liked in these countries around the globe?

I was born in the UK and I have lived in both Washington D.C. and Vancouver, Canada. I have also traveled a great deal throughout the USA and Canada (I love the Saskatchewan prairie). I also worked as a volunteer in the cloud forests of Central America and I have traveled in South America, Australia, Europe and Hong Kong. I am a very keen wildlife watcher (I do write about this for magazines), so the grasslands of north and south America are places I love that are often overlooked. I have experienced few things in my life as thrilling as camping in the Grasslands National Park in SK, Canada and listening to a pack of coyotes build a crescendo of yelping and yowling as they start the hunt at dusk. Magical.

Your favorite book and why?

Impossible to say! Depends on my mood.

Your favorite celebrity and why?

I do not have favorite celebrities

Your favorite food?

Fresh seafood, simply cooked, Preferably over an open fire. Even better if it is accompanied by a bottle of champagne...

Some quickies:
Sun or Moon, Sun 
Laughter or Smile, Laughter 
Morning or Evening, Evening 
Coffee or Tea, Both! 
Mountain or Sea, Both 
Long Drive or Short Drive, Always short! 
Silence or Conversation, Always conversation! 

State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote 

"Alexandra is so entrancing that I could not put her book down. " Ken McGoogan, author of 'Fatal Passage'

The last line of your autobiography would be…

I never stopped dreaming.

Twitter handle: @brookekinleyadv
Facebook page:

Alexandra J Pratt, Author and Freelance Writer
Winner of 'Spirit of Adventure Award', Captain Scott Society
Winner of Himalayan Kingdoms 'Adventure Award'

"Alexandra is so entrancing that I could not put her book down. "
Ken McGoogan, author of 'Fatal Passage'

My new adventure thriller, PATRIOT, written as  AS Bond, is out on 24th April
Available for pre-order on iTunes and Barnes & Noble now. For more information,

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