Is Alexander Strange real?
Tell you what, wander over to the marina behind Stan’s Idle Hour in Goodland, Florida. If he’s in port, you won’t be able to miss his converted fishing trawler, the Miss Demeanor. Knock on the door to his cabin and see what happens when you ask him yourself: “Hey, dude, you real?” A reminder: Alexander is six-feet-four, a varsity swimmer, and has been shot at a few times. Good luck.
So about his boat’s name?
Alexander assumed ownership of the Miss Demeanor from his uncle, Phoenix Judge Leonardo D. Strano. Uncle Leo named the boat and thought Miss Demeanor was funny. A play on words, like misdemeanor, the minor crime (in case you didn’t already get it). Alexander has from time to time thought about renaming her. The Miss Spelling is one of his favorite choices. So is the Miss Quotation. Got suggestions? Write him here.
Was the body of Alexander’s mother ever found?
Nope. She washed away in a flash flood in Austin, Texas during a sit-in at a small cave that was home to an endangered species of spider. A real estate developer planned to plow over the cave and Alice Sunshine (nee Alice Strano) joined a group of Earth Firsters to protest it. Her body was never found.
Which left Alexander an orphan, right?
Yes. Alexander’s father was–and still is –unknown. When Alice died, her brother, Leonard Strano, took young Alexander in, adopted him, got him through high school and college, and even helped get him his first job as a columnist at the (now deceased) Phoenix Daily Sun.
But Strano was his last name. Did he change it to Strange?
Strano is Italian for Strange. Alexander’s mom was a stoner, and when Alex was born, she was pretty high and filled out his birth certificate incorrectly, placing her name where his should have been entered. Thus, on his birth certificate, he was born Alice Sunshine. Guess what? He didn’t really dig that. Learned how to fight young. He legally changed his name and adopted the “Strange” translation of his last name. He was a DC Comics fan of Adam Strange, the savior of Planet Rann, and always thought the name Strange sounded very cool.
His name is Strange and he writes about strange things. How do you explain that?
Karma. Or kismet. Something like that.
Florida’s famous for being weird. That why he lives there?
Pretty much. The Gunshine State is, after all, the Candy Land of Crazy. Also, he was essentially homeless and Uncle Leo offered to let him live aboard the Miss Demeanor. Which was — and still is — in Florida, handy for a boat what with all the water.
So, you’re saying Strange is real. His girlfriend, Gwenn Giroux, too? And his pal Lester Rivers, the private eye?
You got this hang-up about reality. You probably doubt the existence of the Skunk Ape, too, don’t you? Tell you what, go ask Gwenn or Lester your stupid reality questions. One will sue your ass off. The other will likely shoot you. I’ll let you guess which one will do which.
Okay, then how about about the Skunk Ape. You saying it’s real?
Nobody who has traversed deep into the Everglades and encountered the Skunk Ape has ever returned to tell about it. So, what do you think?
You know, you never really answered those questions…
I give up.
Is Tropic Press real?
Is Third Eye Investigators real?
Yes. It’s original headquarters was in Boise, Idaho, and now is also registered in Florida.
Does Alexander really have that weird earworm problem, and is he that claustrophobic?
Afraid so. He has this odd compulsion to rewrite in his head the lyrics of music he hears and they usually turn out badly. His fear of closed-in spaces seems to be getting better. Maybe because he’s lives in fairly tight quarters aboard his boat he seems to have become better adjusted.
How many T-shirts does he have in his weird rock band collection and is it T-shirt or tee shirt?
Ha! A style question. Both T-shirt and tee shirt are acceptable. And I don’t actually have a count on his T-shirts and have no plans to root through his things to find out. But it’s a lot.
So what’s his favorite band?
I asked him that once. He’s fond of Diarrhea Planet, Uranium Savages, Ben Dover and the Screamers, and he loves the reaction he gets when he wears his tee celebrating the musical genius of Midget Handjob–especially their Midnight Snack Break at the Poodle Factory album. But his all-time fave is Jesus Chrysler Super Car.
Is it true that Lester Rivers doesn’t trust him with a gun?
No. But Alexander is a terrible shot. He damned near killed his pal Brett Barfield with a speargun.
Who is Mona?
Mona is a rescue mannequin who came aboard the Miss Demeanor as part of Alexander’s crew as recounted in Florida Man. There are a couple of photos of her in this website’s Gallery.
Why does Mona have a bandage on her chest?
Bullet hole. She spooked a sheriff’s deputy–as recounted in Get Strange. It was an accident, but since Alexander can’t afford health insurance for her, she hasn’t undergone the necessary–you will forgive the term–plastic surgery.
What’s with the parrot in Florida Man?
She’s no ordinary parrot. She can talk. But she also holds very dark secrets. What are they? You have to read Florida Man to find out.
What’s the story about Fred, Alexander’s dog?
Fred, when he was just a puppy, got into a little trouble in the Tonto National Forest — he ran away into a forest fire and Alexander had to find him and save him. It’s when Alexander first encountered his guardian angel. Technically, Fred belonged to Sarah, Leo Strano’s new wife, but she was so shaken after being kidnapped (details in The Strange Files) that she gave Fred to Alexander.
Wait! What’s this about a guardian angel?
Yeah, that’s a story to be told. And it will be in the sixth book in The Strange Files series.
That child molester in the first book, The Strange Files, whatever happened to him?
He’s singing soprano in a prison choir after Brett Barfield shot him in the nether regions.
Which is your favorite book in the series
That’s kind of like asking which is your favorite child. I like them all for difference reasons. I think The Strange Files is the funniest. Madam Jazzabelle in Florida Man is my favorite character. Alexander meets Gwenn and Lester in Get Strange and it could tie for funniest. Strange Currents may be the best mystery. At least a lot of readers and judges think so. Mister Manners is the only book in the series written with multiple points of view and the political satire is pointed.
Which book should I read first
The sequence is: The Strange Files, Florida Man, Get Strange, Strange Currents, and Mister Manners. The first book is set in Phoenix, where Alexander is cutting his teeth in the newspaper business. Florida Man recounts his move from Arizona to Florida and is the official start of the Florida series of books. You can jump in with any of them. I’ve written them so that you won’t get lost if you don’t read them in order.
How do I submit a question
How can I become a member of the Army of the Strange?
Send a weird news tip to Alexander at Alex@TheStrangeFiles.com. If he uses it, you’re officially enlisted and will receive an official secret decoder ring in the mail. Be aware, though: The ring is invisible and comes in an invisible package, so it is easily lost. And you’ll be famous because I’ll mention you in my newsletter