Eliana Alexander is a veteran of the entertainment industry for over 30 years. She has shared her talents in both the English and Latin markets in series such as The Bold and The Beautiful and Desire as well as Telemundo hits such as La Ley del Silencio and Sin Verguenza. Recently she starred alongside fellow acting veterans Luis Guzman and Sir Ben Kingsley in an EPIX series titled Perpetual Grace LTD, which critics have called exhilarating and infectious.
Beyond her work as an actress, Eliana maintains a secondary career as an incredible novelist. Her first book, titled The Neighbor, was released in 2012. She recently announced the first installment of an adventure/sci-fi book series called Tilt. The stories are set to follow two teens, Blane and Jake, who inadvertently set off an inter-dimensional time vortex that takes the duo on exciting and dangerous new possibilities and times whilst learning about the worlds within themselves. The first book was newly released on August 8th.
I had a chance to speak with the actress and novelist about her extensive list of talents, Perpetual Grace LTD, and her newly released novel. Check out our Q&A below:
Clichė: As a veteran in the entertainment industry for over 30 years, what is the biggest lesson that you’ve learned?
Eliana: To stay on my game. Stay in shape and skilled and very focus in order to keep working.
What do you find most fulfilling in acting?
Being able to breathe life into a character and to immerse myself in this new way of being as the character. To [be] a part of a story that unfolds right before peoples’ eyes. [And] to collaborate and be a part of a vast puzzle with lots of angles. Being a part of a tapestry that has a lot of threads that will unravel or come together. Once a project is done, being a part of a team that created something together is pure joy!
Prior to your acting character, you started off as a singer as well as teaching dance and musical theater. Your passion seems to be tied to the arts. Why do you think you have such a love for music, acting, dancing, and theater? Where do you think it comes from?
I have always been exposed to music and arts while traveling. Music was always playing in our house. I was raised overseas in South and Central America where I was exposed to a lot of cultures. I think the music and the arts of each country helped weave a beautiful pattern in my life. The unique sounds and rhythms of each country resonated in my heart. When I was young I wanted to be a doctor but the universe had other plans for me. I kept getting pulled into the arts and learning a lot. Even when I began teaching dance and musical theater at Dupree’s dance academy, I continued to evolve as an artist and spiritual human being. Music and arts open our minds to go to another place. Music and arts touch our souls and raise our spirits. Music and stories are something that will always pull people in. Even as [the] audience, it gives us a chance to be a part of someone’s imagination for a little while.
You star alongside an all-star cast in a new series titled Perpetual Grace LTD on EPIX. Your co-star Sir Ben Kingsley has described the series as a “10-hour movie.” What can audiences expect?
I am incredibly fortunate to be on a series with a stellar cast. The writing is magnificent and the cinematography is exquisite. Steven Conrad and Bruce Terris did a great job as they blend the modern noir feel with a western touch. As the story unravels they intertwine the characters beautifully. I love it because it is edgy, gritty and at times it will jolt you, wake you up with the unexpected. I truly feel that people are ready for something like this.
You play Marisol Contreras in the series who is the wife of Hector (Luis Guzman). How does she fit into the story? What was it like working with Luis and the other actors on set?
Marisol Contreras who is the wife of Hector Contreras who is the town sheriff in Hermosillo, Mexico. She is a mom of two very smart teen boys Emile and Mathias and she is very proactive in their lives. My TV sons are played by Alonso Alvarez who plays Emile and Calvin Benuto who plays Mathias and they are magnificent. Marisol truly values a strong family unit. You see her changing when she begins to discover that something is going on with Hector, yet she doesn’t know what. Throughout the series you see her step up for her family. On working with Sir Ben and Luiz, it is great. They are very different. Sir Ben is very focused throughout the day and when working with just the family, the boys and Luis, Luis is funny and keeps the cast and crew laughing. I mean it when I say I am truly blessed to be a part of this amazing project!
What drew you to the character of Marisol Contreras?
What drew me is her strength and how she becomes a warrior and not a victim. She does go through a lot and yet she still values her family and works at keeping them together.
Perpetual Grace was filmed in New Mexico. What was it like filming there? Any memorable stories from the set?
I love Santa Fe, New Mexico! You can feel the energy of the land and everyone is kind and open. The mountains and the sunsets are formidable. Even though Santa Fe is a small town it has everything; culture and arts and lots of history. While there I learned that Santa Fe was established in 1610 and that Santa Fe is the third oldest city in the United States. Only St. Augustine, Florida, founded in 1565, and Jamestown, Virginia are older. It is always great when we can see new states and really learn about them; a huge added gift to my career!
Along with this new series on EPIX, you also have a book releasing on August 8th, titled Tilt. What can you tell our readers about the book series?
I am very excited about this novel. TILT is an action/adventure sci-fi novel series, TILT: Magic Ei8hts follows Blane and Jake, two teens who inadvertently set off an inter-dimensional time vortex that takes them on adventures to exciting and dangerous new worlds and times. Blane and Jake learn a great deal about themselves while learning about the Universe and eras. These teens are super savvy with technology yet when they travel back in time, they have to learn how to exist in a world with bare minimum necessities and no technology. TILT: Magic Ei8hts is the first book in the series. I am already in the midst of writing TILT: The Red Moon and I am looking forward to the readers getting their hands on that as well!
You released your first novel ‘The Neighbor’ in 2012. What has your career as a novelist taught you? Now that you’re a storyteller yourself, do you read scripts differently?
I started writing scripts for TV and film. The beauty of writing a novel is that you can expand and color. While adapting the script to novel form on “The Neighbor,” I got to expand the characters with more description. That vast colors of description allows readers to glide right into your imagination. As a writer/author, I am always learning about everything while I do research. That is what I love, that I continue to learn about many things as I am in the throes of research when writing a book. My mind is always expanding and I absolutely enjoy that.
What is your writing process like? Where do you draw inspiration from and how do you deal with writer’s block?
I love to write in the morning very early, we are talking 5:00 AM! The morning is quiet and the world hasn’t really started. I get an idea and my mind takes off. The idea comes with concept and characters and off I go. I will write for about three hours, take a break and come back to my desk for another two. Many times I want to keep going yet my day begins and my career has to keep going, so the book or scripts wait until the next morning. I wake up excited to bring life to the story and characters. I have so many ideas and concepts that I have a body of work to keep me busy for a very long time. I am blessed that I have an active imagination for it truly keeps me going.
What do you hope your readers get when they pick up a novel of yours?
I am in great hopes that they take a chance and they lose themselves into their imagination through my stories. Also that they go into another place. I would love for them to connect with the characters. Especially on “TILT: Magic Eights” I would love for them to root for Blane and Jake as they travel throughout this journey. Also from the worlds and dimensions the characters visit, to see how our world is affected by how we live. In TILT, the characters learn a lot about the planet and themselves and really evolve. While reading any one of my novels, I am hoping that the readers also experience a sense of evolvement on their own. To me, there are messages in the stories so we can all get something.
Who is your biggest inspiration as a writer?
Too many to choose for I have many writers that I like and I really feel every novelist has at one point inspired me. To list only a few, one of my favorites, of course, being Shakespeare, the classic way of speaking and the stories hit my heart. Another book that to this day blew me away is “Memoirs of a Geisha” written by Arthur Golden about a fictional geisha working in Kyoto, Japan, before and during World War II. The way he wrote and the details in the story pulled me in to where I truly lost myself while I was reading that book. I loved it and I did not want it to end.
Another great book that has crossed my path is “Fast Ball” author Anthony C. Tripari. It’s a fictional novel about the Boston mafia and is intertwined with an Italian family: the Panarellis. The book starts in the nineteen fifties, a time when families were bound together by their heritage. I was recommended to Mr. Tripari by a friend to adapt his novel into a film script. Once I read this magnificent book that pulled me in right away, I shared with Mr. Tripari that it has beautiful treasures throughout the book and that it would play better as a mini-series. He agreed and hence became the beginning of a great relationship. Mr. Tripari has now three books that are great, of course, they are the sequels “Butchie” and “Vendetta.” I can’t say who just yet, but several actors from the famed TV series “The Sopranos” have expressed an interest. Fingers crossed!
When you’re not acting or writing amazing novels, what do you like to do on your downtime?
I always love spending time with my family, my husband John Nikitin and my amazing dog Bosco. We spend time going on hikes and long walks. Being by the beach, it is easy to want to be outside enjoying the day. John and I enjoy home time yet we occasionally have dinner watching the sunset at several of our beach community restaurants. We enjoy working out, one to stay in shape, yet it is fun especially while taking dance classes or even Jazzercise with Dwain and Marie at our Beach City Jazzercise community. We love supporting our local beach community. At home, we read and also dig into some streaming and binge on TV series.
I’ve read that you are an avid animal rights supporter. What organizations do you support and what drew you to the cause of animal rights?
I am a huge animal lover. I believe in caring for these beautiful souls. They need our voice and that is why I appreciate and support Sea Shepherd. Captain Paul Watson and his crew risk their lives supporting the sea life, especially whales and dolphins. We need to care about our oceans and they really help us learn and understand how to do that. I support PETA and appreciate how Ingrid and her team strive to better the lives of all animals. I am a proud vegan. Even in my nutrition, I support animals and in addition, I get to stay very healthy.
I just want to add that I am grateful and honored to be interviewed by Cliché Magazine!
Q&A with Eliana Alexander: Accomplished Actress and Novelist: Featured Image: Courtesy of Melina Kelly / Shandrew PR