Author Alex Finley characterizes her books as “satire,” and based on her bio, readers get a taste of what to expect when reading her popular Victor series.
Alex Finley is a former officer of the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, where she served in West Africa and Europe. Before becoming a bureaucrat living “large off the system,” she chased “puffy white men” around Washington, DC as a member of the “wild dog pack” better known as the Washington media elite. Her writing has appeared in Politico, Slate, Vox, Reductress, Funny or Die, and other publications. She has spoken to BBC News, Yahoo! Politics, C-Span’s Washington Journal, France 24, and other media outlets.
Victor in the Jungle is Alex’s latest book and her main character’s second appearance. Case officer Victor Caro made his debut a few years ago in Victor in the Rubble. Now, in Victor in the Jungle, we find Victor on assignment in South America, and he’s brought along his wife and young son for the fun. Victor must break up an alliance between one country’s charismatic autocrat and a narco-trafficking revolutionary group in the country next door. As the group’s support for the increasingly dictatorial leader grows, Victor enlists the help of a colorful group of CYA (a satirical version of the CIA) colleagues, along with his own family, to neutralize the threat. As they manage sources in the Amazon and diktats from Washington, Victor and his team witness how populism can drive a wealthy country into an unstoppable downward spiral.
The main character, Victor, is “something of a conglomeration of people, influenced by my own experiences and those of other officers I met along the way, many of whom had their own bureaucratic frustrations to share.” Alex emphasized (with a hint of satire!) that, “Any likeness to real people, living or dead, is strictly coincidental and on a need-to-know basis!”
For Alex, writing the Victor books is somewhat of a catharsis. “Writing Victor in the Rubble was a way for me to work through all the ridiculousness I had experienced and witnessed as I played my very minor role in the war on terror. Writing Victor in the Jungle was much more fun!” Despite the risks of the job, Alex says that a career in the CIA can provide fun and adventure, and she wanted her new book to capture the “thrilling chaos and camaraderie that Agency exploits can bring when you’ve got the right people on your team.” Her books reflect some of the frustrations as well, as her characters jump through their share of bureaucratic hoops.
Exotic locales add to the excitement and sense of adventure. “What fun to be in a place where you can’t see anything, but everything can kill you!” says Alex. While Victor in the Rubble takes place in West Africa, Victor in the Jungle finds our hero in the Amazon. Alex chose the Amazon as the setting for her second book because she liked the symbolism of the jungle for Victor’s work. “It is totally chaotic, sometimes scary, full of risks, but also incredibly fun, much like what Victor and his team experience in the book.”
Both Victor books were published in the years before Covid-19, and Alex was able to get creative with marketing and launch parties. “For both books, I held book launch parties with a spy theme. Guests came in alias and lived their cover throughout the night. Some guests had missions they had to accomplish by the end of the party. Guests who had pre-ordered books picked them up using a parole. Still others ordered books that were signed with a message in code. It was a fun way to get readers involved and generate interest in the books.”
Based on what she had learned from friends who had published books with traditional, big-house publishers, Alex decided to self-publish her books. “Many of them told me they received limited help in marketing and promoting their books, while at the same time, the publishers were taking a cut of their royalties,” Alex explained. “I figured if I was going to be doing the bulk of my marketing anyway, I should get the bulk of the royalties, too!” Alex likes the entrepreneurial aspect of running her own micro-publishing house and enjoys developing creative marketing ideas.
Alex chose 1106 Design for cover design, interior design and copy-editing services. Says Alex about her experience with 1106 Design, “Whenever I had questions on the technical aspects of self-publishing, 1106 Design had great guidance and advice. Furthermore, publishing my own books has paid off! Getting my books out there has led to all kinds of new professional opportunities.”
Alex is happy to report that Victor is making a reappearance; Book 3 is already in the works! Thanks for choosing to work with us, Alex. We look forward to watching your continued success.
Victor in the Jungle, by Alex Finley
Genre: Fiction, Satire
Link to Amazon book page: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0997251026/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_x_RUxQFbEAEVN0R
Author website: https://alexzfinley.com