Tell me a about yourself. What got you started in writing?
Winning! In middle school, I won a grade-level writing contest, and I was hooked. The story went on to lose at the district level, but I never forgot the thrill of seeing my story and my name up on the bulletin board.
How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or do you prefer writing freehand?
C - I write primarily on a desk top computer with a full-size keyboard, owing to clumsy fingers and sloppy eye-hand coordination. I also write on an Alphasmart, an instant on keyboard with a small LCD screen. Alphy as I call it is especially useful when I wake up with an idea that I have to get down now, or it will be gone, and so I write in the dark with my eyes closed. About the only time I write with pen and paper is in groups and when I am out and about and a thought hits me, then I record it on one of many ever present notebooks I carry. Some people worry about their clothes matching, I worry about which notebook will fit into the pocket of what I’m wearing. You will often see me wearing a vest, it has big pockets.
What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?
My favorite part is having complete control over my stories and my characters…What? Oh... My favorite part is how I have some control over where the story begins, and how the characters seem to come alive and direct the middle and end.
My least favorite part is when my fingers stumble across the keyboard and every other word is misspelled. Then it seems as though half of my time is spent hitting the backspace button and going back to change them, to some close proximity of a real word so at least I can figure out what I meant to write when I come back to edit.
How do you come up with your characters? Why would readers want to get to know them?
Some of the people in my stories are created intentionally from an amalgamation of people I have known. Some are fantasy people I wish I knew, and others are people with traits that I think it would be interesting to know. Then there are those whom I am disgusted at the thought of knowing. Still others float in from somewhere else and pop up in my writing.
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Wallen in my book, Revelation, was a pop-in. He wasn't planned, and he kind of pushed his way in. Since he is a lot bigger than I am, he stayed. I grew to like him despite his intrusion, and he is now a main character.
I hope readers will want to get to know the people in my stories because they are like your neighbors and friends… With a twist. A person you would go have ice cream with, take in a ball game, and have no idea they were only figments of my imagination, and may not be quite human.
What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?
I promote on my personal and author facebook pages, I maintain a writer’s blog, I conduc giveaways on Goodreads, countdowns on Amazon Kindle, speak to groups, and attend book fairs. And thanks to Kathryn Jones, this blog’s author, I have added video trailers to my marketing mix. :)
How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?
I have a timer that counts down or up. I set my writing time based on how much time I have available. And I am constantly working to get better at keeping my posterior planted on the cushion in front of my keyboard.
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What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?
I am currently working on Retaliation, the second book in my YA Almost Human series, on a mystical book about a man who finds out he has a rare, fatal disease, and his exploits to find a way to survive by seeking out the only option for a cure, and on a rather snarky private detective novel.
Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.
Always. I am ruminating over a YA novel about BB the Dinosaur Hunter, and another BB novel recounting his experience when he finds out what the ancient petroglyphs in the desert surrounding his home are all about.
What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?
Talent is overrated. Becoming a good writer involves reading widely, learning how to write well, and writing…a lot, and then writing more, and reading more. Never stop reading, and never stop writing.
Write every day, and don’t give up on a project you think has promise. It may not ever be good enough to show it to anyone else, but you develop tenacity by completing your projects.
If your first and second drafts are so awful you’re embarrassed to show them to anyone, don’t. And know that you’re on the right track.
Edit. Rewrite. Revise. Remember, you don’t have to show anyone your writing until you, and your writing, are ready (Unless you’re in school and the teacher wants your homework. And that is great training for meeting deadlines.).
Thank you, Jon!
Learn more about Jon:
Read the character interview here