The Call Me Alexandra Gastone by T.A.Maclagan- Review, Interview & Giveaway

Title: They Call Me Alexandra Gastone
Author: T.A.Maclagan
Publishing Date: May 20th 2015
Part of a Series?- Yes!
I received a copy through: The author via NetGalley
Blurb Description:When your life is a lie, how do you know what’s real?

Alexandra Gastone has a simple plan: graduate high school, get into Princeton, work for the CIA, and serve her great nation.

She was told the plan back when her name was Milena Rokva, back before the real Alexandra and her family were killed in a car crash.

Milena was trained to be a sleeper agent by Perun, a clandestine organization from her true homeland of Olissa. There, Milena learned everything she needed to infiltrate the life of CIA analyst Albert Gastone, Alexandra’s grandfather, and the ranks of America’s top intelligence agency.

For seven years, “Alexandra” has been on standby and life’s been good. Grandpa Albert loves her, and her strategically chosen boyfriend, Grant, is amazing.

But things are about to change. Perun no longer needs her at the CIA in five years’ time. They need her active now.

Between her cover as a high school girl—juggling a homecoming dance, history reports, and an increasingly suspicious boyfriend—and her mission in this high-stakes spy game, the boundaries of her two lives are beginning to blur.

Will she stay true to the country she barely remembers, or has her loyalty shattered along with her identity?

1. The Thing you're most afraid of (your most irrational fear): Probably my most irrational fear is flying, which is a pretty big issue for me because I both love to travel and live in New Zealand while all my family lives in the States. New Zealand is far from everywhere but Australia, so almost any plane ride out of the country is a long one. I’ve always been a bit of an anxious flier but I was mostly okay until I had a child. That flicked a switch for me and now I’m a wreck whenever I get on a plane. So far it hasn’t stopped me from going anywhere, but I definitely start to get nervous about flying several months in advance. It’s pretty ridiculous really, but oh so true!

2. Three of the funniest things about you:
 -I always read magazines from back to front.
-I didn’t learn to eat salad until I was in my thirties. Now I can’t get enough.
-I’m originally from Kansas and really, really dislike The Wizard of Oz. That melting witch FREAKED me out as a child. If someone makes some quip about The Wizard of Oz after hearing I’m from Kansas, I’ll likely shiver or flinch, because my mind immediately goes to the witch. It’s not that I’m scared of her anymore, but …I don’t know…I still have an involuntary negative association that makes me unsettled. Yeah, I’m a total weirdo!

3. This or That:
 --Australia or Europe: Europe because there’s more diversity of culture.
 --Apple or Samsung: Apple.
 --Prom Lover or Prom Hater: Tough one…prom lover…I guess? I had fun at my prom but that was about the only school dance I had fun at.

4. Tell us a little about your masterpiece: They Call Me Alexandra Gastone is about a teen sleeper agent living in the United States who gets activated. I got the idea after watching the movie SALT with Angelina Jolie. In it, she’s a Russian sleeper who was placed in the US as a child. That got me thinking about what her life as a teenager might have been like and from there Alexandra Gastone was born. Writing the novel, I loved exploring what notions of identity, loyalty and family would be like for a sleeper. The teen years are so much about finding your own identity, but what if your identity is dictated to you? What if who you are is a lie? I had a ton of fun exploring these questions while writing Alexandra!

5. What does it feel like, to have They Call Me Alexandra Gastone out there for the world to read?

It feels really surreal. Growing up, I never dreamed of being an author. Writing a book seemed like an insurmountable task to me and I was quite grade oriented and not very open to creative pursuits where grades were more subjective. It was while I was writing my anthropology dissertation that I started to feel this need to be creative. I think it was because I was dealing with statistics and rigid scientific analysis protocols. Anyway, that’s when I got it in my head to try and write a book. If I could write a three hundred page dissertation full of mostly coherent scientific jargon, surely I could write a fiction novel!  I laugh now at my naiveté. Writing Alexandra was way harder than the dissertation but also way more fun! I definitely have the writing bug now!

6. Your opinion on negative reviews:
I think everyone has a right to their opinion. I’m very open to constructive criticism and am more than a little thankful for the criticisms my agent and editors shared with me. They helped make Alexandra a book I’m really, really proud of.  I’ll definitely be reading my reviews and taking notes on things I think I can address in future books. I have a pretty thick skin as far as dealing with negative opinions. That said, I personally can’t understand reviewers that out and out bash authors and their books. I can’t stomach when people are really mean to each other so stuff like that just doesn’t sit well with me

T.A. Maclagan is a Kansas girl by birth but now lives in the bush-clad hills of Wellington, New
Zealand with her Kiwi husband, son and four pampered cats. With a bachelor’s degree in biology and a Ph.D. in anthropology, she’s studied poison dart frogs in the rainforests of Costa Rica, howler monkeys in Panama and the very exotic and always elusive American farmer. It was as she was writing her ‘just the facts’ dissertation that T.A. felt the call to pursue something more imaginative and discovered a passion for creative writing. They Call Me Alexandra Gastone is her first novel.

You can find her online at:



I spy beauty , Eyes spy loss , I spy strength , Eyes spy death , I spy knowledge , Eyes spy danger
I spy potential , Eyes spy distance 

I spy a lie?

And that's what her whole life is. A lie. Everything she does, from her hobbies to the people she talks to, to what kind of person she should be- it's not who she really is. They're lies. A cover up.

Because she's not really Alexandra Gastone, and hasn't been for seven whole years.  She is Milena Rovka an Olissian national- a trained impersonator and killer set to become a spy in the CIA. 

But being a spy is never easy, is it? Especially when the spy in question is finding the lines between who she was and who she's supposed to be blurring until they are almost nonexistent.

I ABSOLUTELY ADORED this book!' It had that right amount of suspense, mystery, romance, love, friendship and family that made you believe it, and at the same time, kept you at the edge of your seat, flipping pages, waiting for what came next. I couldn't BELIEVE that shock ending either. All I could think was WOAH- I need to tell people about this.

T. A. Maclagan writing is simple and yet, so complex- just like her characters. Varos, Milena, Albert, Grant, and there's even a political conspiracy and terrible corporations integrated with patriotism and a seventeen year old girl questioning things she thought had always been cemented. I can't tell you much about it, because then boom goes the suspense but...

...READ IT!:)

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