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Embracing the Unconventional: An Interview with Alexandra Haden-Douglas, author of The Four

Haden Douglas 1

Alexandra and her husband have always said they live on the Island of Misfit Toys, and if you don’t have a place of your own come on over and misfit right in. Over the years that has included dogs, horses, children, and young adults—often not their own, and a collection of amazing characters. When she isn’t writing Alexandra is chasing after Klaus von Beagle, their beloved but stubborn and quite opinionated Envigo beagle. She lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia where she spends her days between Staunton and Charlottesville. Prior to launching her writing career, she designed exhibits for museums, spending her days amongst some of the most beautiful works in the world. This experience along with a lifetime filled with travel convinced her to start her own world of art through storytelling.

A lifetime lover of horses, she enjoys Graded races, Triple Crown events, or just horses running in a field. She loves fashion, which she considers architecture in a different medium, and spending time in New Orleans, Savannah, and Key West. Alexandra would love for you to let her know which of The Four you related to the most. Drop her a note at

You can buy The Four here.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

It was the first thing that came to mind. The book came about in an unusual way. I had received a rejection from an agent and their ending remark of “cheering me on from the sidelines” didn’t sit right. So I decided to send a query for a book that didn’t exist to their junior division for YA & middle-grade books. The next morning I received a request for the first twenty-five pages. Slight problem as I only had the two paragraphs I wrote the night before. I spent 4th of July weekend writing the first forty pages of what became The Four!

How did it feel when you first saw your book cover? Or when you first held your book in your hands?

It was surreal. The cover turned out so well. I had sent Ronaldo some photos I had taken and he turned them into the cover that everyone remarks on.

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

I spend my working life designing museum exhibits for some of the most amazing works of art in the world and when the pandemic struck I decided to use that experience along with a lifetime of travel to create my own “works of art” through storytelling.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

I have worked in the architectural and engineering worlds and have raised thoroughbred racehorses. I was also—one of my favorite stories—tossed out of kindergarten on the first day.

What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?

The sense of true accomplishment. I took an idea and turned it into a story that became a book.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

The book takes place in New Orleans so I can hear poppy jazz, anything by the twilight singers, and for sheer fun I can see my girls walking into their showdown to Shit List by L7.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

That it is okay to different. This is a story about first friendships, acceptance, and that it is okay to embrace what makes you unique no matter how unusual it may seem.

What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?

My current work in progress is walking a fine line between Neil Gaiman, L. Frank Baum, and the legend of King Arthur. My original manuscript that started The Four is in query at the moment.

How was working with Atmosphere Press? What would you tell other writers who want to publish?

It was lovely. I came to Atmosphere Press at the recommendation of another Atmosphere author. From Erin, my editor, to Alex, who was so understanding when I kept changing my mind about the back-of-book description all in a ten-minute span of time, to Ronaldo and the wonderful cover we created.

You can buy The Four here.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

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