Nope, it’s a pseudonym. I have a day job that I love very much, but it’s not compatible with writing queer romance.
Sometimes people have told me they feel strange about addressing me by what is explicitly a penname. But the truth is, we all use multiple names over the course of our lives, and some people—for a whole variety of reasons—may not feel represented by the name they were given at birth at all.
All of which is to say, I’m not sure if the notion of “a real name” is very helpful. Our real name(s) are simply those names that feel like who we are. I’ve been Alexis Hall for nearly a decade now. The name is as much mine as the one I given when I was born.
Because I think it’s funny, honestly, to have a pseudonym with an irrelevant initial.
And because AJH is a more memorable diminutive than AH. Plus, I’ve written at least one character called Alex, so it would very confusing if I started going about calling myself Alex too.
It depends where you’re from. In Eastern Europe and the UK it’s applied liberally to a wide variety of people.
In America, so am I told, it’s a girl name for girls. But I’ve long since got past the developmental stage of believing girls have the lurgy, so I don’t mind.
My pronouns are he/him/his.
But, in general, people refer to me by any and all pronouns so I’ll accept whatever.
I do, however, strongly encourage you to respect other people’s pronouns.
Quicunque vult salvus esse is the opening of the Athanasian Creed, roughly translated as ‘whoever wants to be saved’. The Creed itself is often known by its opening words quicunque vult or “whoever wants to.” Which naturally became early 19th century slang for prostitute. I just think it’s an amazing little piece of linguistic mischief and encompasses rather a lot of my favourite things (blasphemy, language, sex, history). I am not, however, at this juncture interested in exchanging sex for money so it’s probably a somewhat misleading name for my website. But I prefer to see it as a kind of philosophy about living, writing and reading. My books, and this site, are here for whoever wants to.
You can read all about Alexis Crossing here. But, in short, it’s a scheme whereby you can sign up and receive a hand written letter from me at some point in the future. And it is definitely still happening. I usually send out a couple of letters of month so if you sign up there is a high probability you will get yours before one of us dies. Yay!
Because I kind of don’t feel … qualified to? Romance is a complicated and intersectional place, and I’m concerned about doing anything that might look like I was trying to assert authority over the genre.
Because I’m horrendously self-conscious.
Well, I’m kind of small-fry so I don’t get invited to do the really high profile author stuff. And, frankly, given how neurotic I am that’s only a good thing for everyone. On top of which, the bit of the author job I enjoy most is … the writing bit? So I like that’s what I get to spend the bulk of my time doing and it’s probably what I’d choose to do even if I was massive and got invited to all the cool author parties.
All of which said, if there’s something you would like me to do, be it an interview, a podcast, or a virtual event, please do get in touch. I’m generally up for most things, as long as you’re comfortable with me being a hot mess and analysing every question from six different directions before telling you I don’t really know.
Do be aware, though, that I’ve never done a panel because I’m concerned about taking a space from a more marginalised writer, although in practice I tend to get replaced by a cishet white person so I’m re-thinking that position. All of which said, about 95% panel invitations I do receive are solely related to my identity — which I turn down on principle anyway because, for me, in this specific professional context, I am a writer before I am anything else and I would like the same opportunities to talk about writing type things as straight writers get.
Several reasons. Mainly because of my day job (see above), but also because I’m a private person and I’m a writer, not a model? I don’t think my ordinary nerdy face is super relevant to what I do.
In general, I’m not comfortable answering these kinds of personal questions. Firstly, I’m a naturally private person, and far too British to talk about my sex life, but mostly I’m just not very interesting. And I’m not saying that in order to be charmingly self-deprecating: I’m saying that because, well, if I had an interesting life I wouldn’t have all this time to write.
Plus, as I kind of keep saying in this FAQ, I very much believe that an author’s books should speak for themselves.
Don’t you think as LGBTQ+ writer you owe it to your readers and society in general to be more open about who you are?
Short answer: no.
Long answer: different people have different contexts and there’s a whole huge area of discourse around the pressure on LGBTQ+ people in general, and writers in particular, to be “out” in a very specific way that is only really viable or appropriate for some people. This has got sufficiently complex that, for example, the organisation We Need Diverse Books have formally retired their use of the “own voices” label because of the problematic expectations it creates.
From a more literary perspective, I’m personally a strong believer that an author’s work should speak for itself and, while I would never discourage other authors from positioning themselves differently (as long as they don’t use their platform to harm people), I actively don’t want to centre myself in my own work.
First of all, thank you so much for asking! I’m genuinely touched that you would want to spend time with me. The reality is, though, in addition to writing I have a reasonably demanding dayjob and doing both jobs (plus trying to make sure my partner doesn’t leave me!) means I don’t really have much time (and sometimes energy) for anything else. So it doesn’t feel fair to make a commitment to meet up, especially if/when there’s a tight window for doing so. I hope that’s okay.
This is going to sound rude but … um. No. I’m not saying that you’re not a great person, and that I wouldn’t like you, because you probably are and I probably would, but parasocial relationships are a thing, and they’re a thing that can be quite harmful in both directions, so I have a pretty strong policy of just not going there. I do hope you understand.
It’s really important to me that readers feel safe to interact with me and play in my spaces, and given the complicated power dynamics between writers and readers the last thing I would ever want to do is exploit anyone or make them perform emotional labour for me.