Happy Thanksgiving week to all of you in the US. I'm popping in quick today to welcome someone on the blog. I met this bloke a little while ago on the indie loop I belong to, and soon found out he was a riot, engaging, and an absolutely delightful person. His name? J. Lawrence (yes, the initial is very mysterious, innit?)
Here he is, answering some kooky questions!
Tell us a bit about you, and something we don't know/wouldn't expect about you.
First of all, thank you very much for inviting me. I have been looking forward to this for a while!
So, me? Well, I am that guy. I am the grocer, the hardware store manager, the plumber, the dad in the stands. You know me... the regular, no-nonsense, old fashioned, hard-working guy that lives on the other side of the block. I wear a hard hat and drive a Silverado, and not because it’s big and shiny. It’s about not being able to put a piece of plywood in the back seat. Love, commitment, loyalty, sacrifice, honesty, and trustworthiness are not merely greeting card words for me. They are a way of life. I’m still married to my high school sweetheart twenty-seven years later and I love her more every day. I am the proud father of four and grandfather of two. Friends say that I should run for office but I just want to write books. Besides, I’m not pretty enough for politics.
Definitely more satisfaction in writing books... and being the regular Superman. J
What’s your favorite moment of the day, and why?
I am definitely a morning person... Working construction since I was a young man has set the pattern. I naturally wake up every day with a renewed sense of determination. However, if we are talking about favorite moments... I am more in my element on a crisp fall night, watching the wind pushing clouds across the moon’s path.
You're a color – which one are you and why?
Light purple. That’s what you get when you combine red, white, and blue. My family came to the United States when it was still a bunch of rag-tag colonies. We fought the English for our independence and we fought ourselves for the freedom of others in the Civil War. New York Regiment, both times. My country is not always perfect, but I love it just the same, and I am proud to call myself an American.
Why become a writer?
When I was a young boy something happened that wrecked my world. Life was too much. I desperately needed a getaway. Books did that for me. Instead of sitting in a room crying I was suddenly riding some noble steed with a sword bouncing at my hip, or battling monsters on another planet. One day, without anything to read, I just started writing. I was hooked instantly. I will write until they cover my eyes with pennies and shove my ark into the river.
Sorry to note you've been through hardships... but, hey, as they say - what doesn't kill us makes us stronger, and we all are who we are today because of what we've been through...
As writers, we are bombarded with ideas every minute of every day. How do you sort through these ideas, to stick to the 'viable' ones?
Great question for an Epic Fantasy guy! In my office is a huge corkboard with a ridiculous amount of little cards pinned up. My novel is always laid out right in front of me. If I get an idea about what I’m working on, I consult the Great Cork. If it makes the character’s lives harder and still drives the plot forward, I am more likely to consider it further. Since I write Epic Fantasy let me say this though... One of the challenges to writing Epic Fantasy is that everything that happens has to fit into the magical parameters set for the world created. Many novelists have ruined an otherwise great series by breaking their own rules. So, while imagination is great, and it’s tempting to flaunt it, I work hard to rein it in and stay true to my characters and world. Trust me, it’s all pretty messed up anyway.
Very true that everything has to fit within the world an author is creating. And lol, you have your very own pin board up J
How do you develop an idea into a book?
I build a world that I would never want to leave. Then I fill with it people who are even more flawed than I am. Once I gain my character’s trust, I ask each of them what their greatest fear is. Then I unleash their own private hell upon them without mercy.
Hmmm, sadistic... Absolutely the mindset an author needs to have, lol!
If there's one book you wish you had written, which one is it and why that book in particular?
A Princess of Mars, by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Call me sentimental, but it was the first book that truly whisked me away to an entirely different world. I started writing shortly after reading every book of his I could get my hands on.
Which is easier for you – narrative, or dialogue?
Dialogue. Mom’s soap didn’t work and I’m still a bit mouthy. Ask my wife. She’ll tell you all about it.
POV of predilection? Which POV mixes with you like oil and water?
I prefer first person. But I don’t stick to one. One point of view per chapter though. I don’t like all that jumping around in the same scene. I detest omniscience.
Preferred genre to write?
When I write I am expressing things inside that I can’t do in other ways. I can see myself writing other genres easily, but for now there is so much for me to say that I can only imagine it on an Epic Fantasy scale. Entire worlds need to tremble and groan.
Love that last line!
How do you get into your characters' heads and shoes?
Simple answer. I am not in their heads. They are in mine. Often times I have to beat them back with a shoe so I can concentrate on driving. Anybody got a Tylenol?
Drafts, edits, polishing – love or loathe? Can you please explain?
I have to say that the polishing for me is both my greatest love and loathe. It is the hardest of all, so I hate it. I didn’t attend school for this so I don’t have a complicated process. My goal is simple. I want to disappear. In my absence characters and their plight spring to life on the page.
What unique factor do you think you bring to the book/story market?
Every Epic Fantasy is unique in its own right and at the same time there is a general mold that we all work with. Magic, kingdoms, dark plots... it’s all similar and I am not going to say that mine isn’t. It’s all about how well it’s done. I will not brag. Read my reviews. J
Best advice you've received, and that you'd want others to know?
My mother says, “Can’t never did nothin.” I didn’t misspell it. That’s how she says it. So, when you want to do something, stick to it, whatever it is.
Tell us about your latest release
The Code sings.
The Caller has returned.
The Blood of Ontar will rise again.
Thaniel was just trying to save Elycia from the brutal desires of a dangerous soldier. He really didn’t mean to awaken any ancient lurking magic in the process. Who would have guessed that one of the dra, real live flying monsters, would actually answer his call? Now, Lisella Ontar herself has plans for his newly discovered Inborn abilities. As he does his best to extricate himself from both of their clutches, he unwittingly sets off a chain of events that has drastic consequences. Join Thaniel and his friends as he discovers that monsters aren't born, they are Inborn.
In 5 words:
Ancient evil returns to Ontar.
Elycia has to get gone.
Thaniel is running from himself.
Your everyday garden variety guy.
Let's say your book is a movie – which one does it most closely resemble?
Impossible! Braveheart, crossed with Dances with Wolves, in Lord of the Rings style.
What real-life actors are playing the roles?
Ooohh! A fun one!
Thaniel--------Love struck boy, fast thinking, mysterious power----Logan Lerman
Keriim---------Serial killing warrior who wants Elycia----------------Jason Momoa
Lisella Ontar--She’ll stop at nothing to fulfill her destiny---------------Olivia Wilde
Ghile-----------A shapeshifter sent to abduct Thaniel-------------------Johnny Depp
Elycia----------Thaniel and Keriim’s desire, just wants own life--------Elle Fanning
Jorel-----------Thaniel’s wise-cracking and fiercely loyal friend----------Paul Dano
Lars Telazno—Aging magic wielding agent of the Order---------------Liam Neeson
Gabril----------Dangerous warrior riding with Lars Telazno----------Gerard Butler
Tristan---------Captain of Ontar Guard, ex-lover to Lisella-------Chris Hemsworth
Irkhir---------- Leader of the First, tutor to Lisella---------------------Stephen Lang
Dragon---------Peter Jackson’s going to have to cast that one!--------------Hahaha
With a lineup like that, you'd have me in the first row!
Now this movie needs a soundtrack – what songs/tracks best fit your book?
Your characters end up in a world where everyone's a fashionista – how do they dress and what are they wearing?
Deep brown leather, embroidered crimson silk, and wolf fur trimmings. Cut perfectly to show off their tattoos, piercings, scars, and make it easy to get to their weapons if need be, of course. J
Where can we find you and your books?
Been a pleasure to have you over today! Thanks again
From Mauritius with love,