Here’s what Spotlight is about; it’s an interview that promotes you! It will feature questions that are formatted to your needs. Questions will be focused on your work, upcoming work and some personal [but not intrusive] questions for your fans to get to know you more!
Tell us about yourself
Share with us some of your interests
About your writing;
When did you start writing?
I started writing early on. From third grade I had started making stories for school papers and fundraisers that only increased during my life and branched into screen writing as well as poetry and other forms of the muse. However the book series’ I have in various forms of completion have been such for about 20 years or better.
What inspires you to write?
I draw my inspiration from the world around me. I always have music going when I write. I have to. It drives my mind to see the scenes and port that vision through my hands to the page. I also get a lot of inspiration from movies, TV, and other media; but they meld with the people I am around. Usually the similarities of personal situations that play parallel to one in a film or series is what I pull from. Other times it is derived from a sense of “wouldn’t it be cool if . . .”
How has writing change you as a person?
I believe writing has changed my perception of the world around me. I often look at the world differently as it is. Now it’s more in a sense of being able to recount the images I see in the form of words so that someone else may be able to equally recall with vivid telling, what I saw/experienced.
Adding some fun;
If you spend the rest of your life in a novel or novel series, what novel would it be and why?
Oooh, difficult question . . . I would probably want to spend my life in the Dresden series, just because magic still exists to people and possibility is endless, but it is not bound to a medieval style fantasy realm so it plays parallel with modern day. However, to cheat the question I would rather have a realm much like Alice’s room of doors. A grand hall where each door leads to another world, perhaps the worlds all know of each other and whatnot, but only a few are allowed to traverse across the boundaries into each realm.
Share a couple of your favorite things and or things you like?
Generically I like black licorice, spaghetti tacos, and fish fingers with custard. I love the rain but dislike the wind. I like a chilled night but dislike the frigid cold. Likewise I like the warm but hate the hot. I like poker nights with friends and game nights with anyone. I like to listen to music and watch movies. I love costuming and acting. I love sword fighting, stage combat and MMA.
What couldn’t you live without?
Air. He he he. Um, I could not live without my family. Though I could go it alone, I would be absolutely miserable. Secondarily I think I couldn’t live without music. I think our lives are set to a soundtrack that we often tune out; a rhythm that we move to but don’t hear. Sometimes we are fortunate enough that our music aligns with the soundtrack of our lives, but seldom do we realize it.
In the literacy world who do you think is a misunderstood character and why?
I think Gollum is a misunderstood character. Some people get him. Most see him as a paranoid obsessed nuisance and an evil wretch. I see him as a tragic, sad character. His motivation is not done out of ill will so much as obsession. He is no different than the people who do whatever they can to get into the stores on Black Friday. The desire to obtain something so rare and so wonderful is overwhelming. Now Gollum has the added disadvantage that the ring he covets is charged with evil so powerful it warps his mind towards the darker thoughts. But really, he just wants to have something shiny and covets it as a prize possession.
Have you read anything that made you think differently about writing?
Oh, I’ve read lots of “This is how to write” books. I stopped because a great many of them are written out of a cynical protective stance. The thematic sense they give off is, “This is something I did because I can, and it is really hard for you to be like me so if you really must . . . then here’s how NOT to fail . . . even though you might.” I decided that the best way to look at writing is the best way to look at life. The adventure is not at the destination; it’s in the journey. You don’t write, you live the writing. Writing is a process, it is something to be shared even if the only audience is yourself as a memory.
Is there a character that annoys you in the literacy world? Or even one of your own?
Oh, I am annoyed by the overly angst ridden teeny characters. It’s just a personal thing. I don’t like the sparklepire series because of the angst ridden drama. I even hated writing my own hero during his angst years because I just wanted to slap him and go, “the world is bigger than your narrow view, take off the poor me pity glasses and look around!” Luckily I put characters into the story that did that for me. I know it’s an important stage in personal growth but I don’t like to read about it.
What do you look for in a publishing company as they will end up representing your work?
I look for someone who looks at the work for the work, not for what formula it fits into as far as a marketing scenario, or what other books it could be pigeon holed to be like in order to maximize profits. The good publishers will look at the story and see their audience when reading, see the potential in the tale, see the love of the adventure or romance, etc. and then work from that.
How do you stay confident in yourself especially by putting yourself out there in the internet world?
Oh the million dollar question of difficulty. For me it was seeing the beta readers get swept into the story, and when the editors and proofreaders had to double back because they got caught in the reading. Ultimately the story must captivate people. If people get lost in the story then I’ve done my job. That’s what keeps me going. I’m not dumb enough to assume there won’t be naysayers, I know there will be. I’m ready for them too.
How do you handle rejection? What advice can you offer to moving past it?
Rejection is just one person’s opinion. Guess what, you are being rejected by someone who is human. Or a program developed by humans. Some rejection will come harshly. Understand that, but if the story is that important to you, then you will push on. J.K. Rowling was rumored to have been turned down by almost EVERY publisher before someone took a chance on her story of a young wizard. It was important to her that the story get told. If you are ready to give up, and there’s not a nagging inside you that goes “but, but, but . . . the story?” then you need to re-evaluate what is driving you.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Live the Adventure. That’s not just the story you are writing. It’s the stories you read, the stories that happen around you, to you. Don’t be tied down by “this HAS to be this way”. Think in terms of “What IF”. If you come across rules, think of how to write around them while still maintaining the character of your tale. When you write, write for you, but understand also that someone else may not understand what you get right off. The story is already in your head, but it needs to be in theirs as well to share it. Don’t think of criticism as a “You suck” take a look at what is said and then respond with “Challenge Accepted”.
Featuring your work and or upcoming work;
Tell us about your book [s]
My first book is out now. Fireblade. Book 1 of a series entitled The Fireblade Chronicles. Not terribly cryptic I know, but you know what the series is about :D. Book 2: Pacts of Ardens should be out later this year and I hope to have Book 3 out the following fall.
They are an epic fantasy series which chronicles the life of Fireblade and his journeys. His successes and failures, his observations on the world around him and the discovering of himself in the process.
The chronicles begin with the world in a state of genocidal war with elves against humans, but something darker lies in the background . . . waiting.
Who is your favorite character and why? [If you can share without spoiling your work]
My favorite character is difficult to say. I like them all for different reasons, since I have to pick one, I will pick Cullonnwen, Princess of Eldyrmar. I love her character because she is torn with the prim and proper life of a princess and the want for adventure. There’s expectations of her from her role in society but she has tempered that with what her heart wants, it makes it fun to write.
What character do you hope readers understand?
I actually hope that the readers understand each character for different reasons. I want them to identify with parts of each character, or even one specific character that speaks to them the most. That is the point in sharing the adventures. I hope that the things that are done are understood as to why. Not every good decision is chosen and it’s done intentionally because we in life don’t always choose the best decision and we must deal with the consequences.
Do you have a favorite part of your own book (s) ?
Oh, I do have a favorite part of my books, but to talk about it would be spoilers, so once the series is complete perhaps I can share.
Choosing a character or even yourself, can you give us a sample playlist of music that would follow said person?
Oh, for Fireblade, it would involve Delerium, Sarah Brightman, Hans Zimmer, Michael Kamen, Colin O’Malley and some INXS (afterglow). For myself, it starts with R.E.M. and jumps everywhere from the selection above to Rob Zombie and Bing Crosby. Just depends on my mood.
Have you had trouble writing about any of your characters?
Yes, I had trouble writing a couple of the enemy characters because in order to make them as evil as they should be I have to get rid of the moral norms that keep most evil characters human. That is hard to do because you want to, as a writer who is human, go “no, can’t do that,” or “can’t kill that person” but in reality in order for them to be as totally evil as they need to be, there needs to be the total lack of moral hangups.
What would you like readers to get from your book (s) ?
Finding your place in the world is often by blazing your own trail, but it is defined by you. Who you are is who you decide to be. Who you are is largely told by who you surround yourself with, and how much that surrounding echoes the sounds of your own heart . . . but no one can truly tell you who you are but you.
In your book (s) what had been the hardest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Getting published. Taking the steps to publishing was the hardest part honestly. The rest is part of the growing process of being a writer.
How is this world a better place because of your books?
I think it is a better place because the series shows opposition both within and without that the characters have to overcome and I hope it helps other people know they can take up their individual swords and dust themselves off and go back to the conflict and overcome.
If you could meet any of your own characters, who would (they / it) be?
Oh, if I could meet any of my characters it would be Tiohybbet, or Ceilynisse.
If you had to write a scene for a character of your choice that would put them in an awkward situation how would it go?
I would put Alan Grant in Journey to the Center of the Earth to see how he would deal with that adventure.
What do you to for marketing?
Right now my marketing is mainly social media and word of mouth. I haven’t developed a solid fund yet to derive advertising out of yet. Though I am working on a book trailer to be out here soon which will be on YouTube, Facebook etc.
Promote your books in a sentence or less 🙂
Likened to Lord of The Rings crossed with Game of Thrones, The Fireblade Chronicles will take you on a ride through fire and ice, through love and loss, but always through adventure.
(If more than one work, a sentence for EACH work, you’re not limited to one sentence for more than one piece of work.)
What are you working on now?
Working on Pacts of Ardens and a parallel storyline series to Fireblade as well as notes for a sequel series.
J.D. Sims’ links