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!
Today features Jamie Tinker
Tell us about yourself
I’m a US Navy sailor originally from Bangor, Maine, where my family owned a small independent bookstore. I’ve lived in Italy, Iceland, Japan, Bahrain, and Cuba, and seen about 20 other countries along the way. I think my best writing is influenced by the adventure of travel and learning about a new culture and landscape every time.
I currently live on my boat in sunny San Diego.
Share with us some of your interests
Travel, good food and drink, good music, and good friends.
The best experiences in my life are a combination of those few basic things.
What makes you the person you are?
Patience and an absurdly positive attitude!
I’ve found out the hard way that good things happen when you let them. If something needs to be forced, or chased down, or muscled into place, it’ll almost always turn out negative in the end.
I’m not saying that good things don’t take a lot of hard work, because they do, but relax and steadily work towards your goals. The right opportunities, the right choices, and the right people will show up in your life if you let them.
About your writing;
When did you start writing?
I tried to write my first novel in 8th grade, but it didn’t survive.
I got an idea for a short story on New Years Eve, 1997, and I wrote the story the next day. I’ve been writing when I can ever since.
What inspires you to write?
First and foremost, I think it’s my love for reading. I’ve been entertained by books my whole life, and I want to be a part of that. As much as reading has enriched my life, writing has done it even more. To me, reading and writing are natural and healthy, and that’s enough for me.
How has writing change you as a person?
I’m a better person because I started writing. Writing takes a lot of introspection, and some people have no real avenue to do that. Writers do it just about every time the put words on a page, and that’s valuable to the individual, his relationships, and society as a whole.
How do you figure out what you’re going to write about?
It’s really all about the ideas. It takes a lot of individual ideas to come together before I have a clue about what’s going to happen in a story. Even when I know the starting point, I don’t really know the end until enough ideas get me there.
What is your writing style like?
You know, I haven’t really figured that out yet. I wish I could find a successful writer whose style I’m close to. It would make this question so much easier to answer. If anyone out there finds a writer I compare to, please tell me so I can feel a little less like an oddball.
I would say aggressive and subtle.
I want to tell a story quickly, without entire pages of description and so much world-building that it slows down the plot. I know that’s strange for a lot of fantasy. I like the big 500-pagers as much as anyone, but I’m not writing them yet.
I also don’t like talking down to the readers. I don’t need to beat them over the head with what’s happening, especially in fantasy. Genre readers are very smart, more experienced in reading than I am at writing, and they can figure out what’s going on all by themselves. I don’t need to explain myself much, and I don’t mind some things being inferred instead of stated. I think the readers get the choice to see what they’re looking for, not all of what I’m trying to say. That way, they might re-read a book later and find something different, especially after being a few books into the series.
Adding something else;
If you spend the rest of your life in a novel or novel series, what novel would it be and why?
Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series. It’s light, fun, and all about good books.
Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, or his Long Earth would also make a great adventure.
What couldn’t you live without?
I couldn’t live without music to listen to. I’m a huge fan of live music and internet radio stations like Pandora and Iheartradio.
Have you read anything that made you think differently about writing?
Stephen King’s It was a big influence. It was the work written almost entirely in Derry (Bangor), and seing all the same sights in my hometown in a work of great fiction opened my eyes to the possibilities. I think I saw the world and writing a little differently after reading that book.
What kind of books do you like?
I like just about all fiction. I don’t need it to be genre work, just good writing with a good story. If I can laugh a bit, that’s a real plus.
What do you look for in a publishing company as they will end up representing your work? | If you self publish can you tell us how that process works? | If you haven’t done either – can you tell us which you would like to do and why?
I self published this year in June. It took a long time to finally push the button on that decision, but I’m glad I did it.
Putting it in the right format took some work, but I managed it well enough with Calibre.
Everything leading up to publishing is the hard part. I found an editor, went through a number of drafts, line editing, and a few rounds with my readers before and after the line edits.
Once I finally had the book I was ready to go with, I found an illustrator to do the artwork for the cover. I had no idea how much discussion goes on about title font and cover design. It was a real eye opener.
How do you stay confident in yourself especially by putting yourself out there in the internet world?
Putting myself out there was hard, especially since I’m trying to keep the day job and the writing separate. Military leadership and fantasy writing don’t exactly go hand-in-hand.
After my editor, friends, and family all said it was good enough, the real writer’s angst set in. I think the most important thing is reading a lot, both in and out of the fantasy genre. Reading is the best way to see if your work is ready, but not with the intent to lose the joy of reading by becoming overly critical.
For me, I made myself a promise and stuck to it. Now, there’s really no turning back. The angst is still there, believe me, but I just keep pressing forward. Like it or not, confident or not, I’m me, I’m here, and I have something to contribute.
How do you handle rejection? What advice can you offer to moving past it?
The first few rejections, or the first round of all-rejections, is a bit crushing, but there are lessons to learn in all that for every artist, not just writers.
I’m still thinking about the advice to move past it. As a guy who chose to self- publish, I’m not sure I really have an answer. I didn’t go indie because of the rejections, but I can’t tell someone else to keep sending out queries because I didn’t.
There are really only two people you need to please, and the first one is you. When you’re book is ready, and after you’ve listened to your professional editor, taken your lumps, and revised, you’ll know regardless of the publishing route you take.
The second person who needs to be onboard with your writing is the person you share a pillow with at night. Whoever that is, he or she will tell you when you’re ready, will have your best interest in mind, and will understand your angst and fragile ego. Listen to that person.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
I have a lot of advice, mostly in the form of ‘don’t make my mistakes,’ but I’m a firm believer in people learning most of those lessons themselves. I’m toying with putting advice on my website, but I don’t think I have the credibility yet to tell someone else how to write.
The most important advice is to keep writing. I’ve written a lot when the day job allows, in a number of genres and varied lengths. If I were brave enough to look, I’d probably find six or more novels, not all of them finished, and two full collections of short stories. Only two of those books and a handful of the short stuff will ever see daylight, but every attempt brought a different lesson.
Nothing is more important or educational than you writing your own stories from start to finish. Until you have a completed manuscript, the real learning stalls every time you go backwards instead of forward to the end.
Again, I have a lot more to say, but I still doubt I’m the right person to give a lot of advice.
Featuring your work and or upcoming work;
Tell us about your book [s]
The Widow’s Warning is an epic fantasy novel with a mix of traditional and new magic. It will appeal to adult, young adult, and new adult audiences.
A young woman on the run for murder finally reaches the only asylum that might save her from the Interrogator, just to refuse its protection. Faced with magic she never believed existed, she must find the truth while her lifelong friend searches for answers and a way to save himself– from her.
Who is your favorite character and why? [If you can share without spoiling your work]
That’s a great question. I think each one has it’s fun and challenge as a storyteller and writer.
I had a lot of fun writing things from the prophet’s point of view, but I had to edit it all out. It gave away too much instead of letting the main characters figure things out. It was really fun exposition, but didn’t move the story forward the right way.
I really like him because it’s like he and I can speculate on the future, and maybe gossip about what’s to come, but then no one gets to know about it or share in what seems to be our little secret. I think I’ve edited at least 50 pages from his point of view out of the first two books.
With any luck, I’ll find the right balance for him in the future. The third book is the first chance I think anyone will really get to see what’s going on in his head.
What character do you hope readers understand?
The Head Prophet, mostly for the reasons explained in the last answer. In time, if I can write it well enough, I think he’ll be better understood.
There are also a couple characters I’m looking to understand a little better myself.
Do you have a favorite part of your own book (s) ?
I don’t think I have a favorite part. I’m really darn proud of the whole thing. If I had to choose anything, it would be Thoren and his sagas. There’s a lot to enjoy there, both now and later.
What would you like readers to get from your book (s) ?
I just want readers to be entertained, to want to read more, and to feel their time was well spent. Wanting anything else would be dishonest, I think.
In your book (s) what had been the hardest challenge you’ve faced so far?
I didn’t plan it, but I have a female protagonist and a lot of strong female characters in the first two books. As a guy, writing female characters who are realistic to readers is a challenge I didn’t really consider before I started writing. It just kind of happened that way as the story took shape, and that’s probably the one thing I’ll continue to learn through as the story continues.
If you could meet any of your own characters, who would (they / it) be?
I’d meet Ray in the tavern, since he’ll be playing live music and I’d be able to get a drink.
What do you to for marketing?
Since going indie, I’m hoping to try just about everything I can over the next year. Internet publicity is where I’ll focus a lot of my energy.
The one thing I have going for me is that the second book will probably be published in November before I deploy again, so I can use the two books together to hopefully get some momentum through giveaways and a price strategy of some sort.
Promote your books in a sentence or less
The Widow’s Warning is a great book that will change the way you look at fantasy.
The sequel, Wanderer’s Prayer, is the best thing I’ve ever written, and it will hook you for the whole series.
What are you working on now?
I’m cleaning up the last draft of Wanderer’s Prayer before sending it for line edits, and I’ve started the third book in the series, which is not yet titled.
Jamie Tinker’s links;
I can be reached by email at email@example.com
My website is http://jamietinker.com
I can also be reached on facebook, Google+, and goodreads.
Links to all those are on my site.
Links to websites that sell your work