Author Interview from J.T. Bock!! If you've ever wanted to ask an author some serious questions, I've done it for you! Enjoy!!
1. What inspires you as a writer?
“What if?” inspires me. I read Discover magazine where they breakdown scientific advances, theories, and discoveries in layman’s terms, which in turn gives me ideas for story scenarios involving time travel, world-destroying possibilities, and superhuman abilities based on real-world science. I love watching and reading stories about paranormal experiences from a family’s haunted house to a town’s UFO sighting. Recently, I got sucked into the History Channel’s Ancient Aliens and found it fascinating how some people are trying to make connections between certain historical, mythological, and biblical events and UFO visitations.What if all those events really happened because of aliens? Talk about a ton of book ideas right there!
2. When did you have that ah ha moment when you knew you were a writer?
I’ve been writing since I was a child. I wrote plays for my friends and I to act out. I also loved writing short stories for school in which I used my fellow students as characters. I always knew that I wanted to be a writer. In college, I studied advertising design and writing. Unfortunately, not many fiction writers make money right out of college, so I worked as a graphic designer doing some copywriting and then started a business with my husband to build a nest egg. I continued to write short stories over this time until a friend spoke about writing a full-length romance, a genre I enjoyed reading. In between building a graphics business, I wrote three novels. The third is A Surefire Way, and I finally found my voice with this story—my “ah ha” moment.
3. What is your writing process?
In the past, I’ve been a “pantser.” I picture a scene—usually inspired by a “what if” scenario from an article I’ve read or a documentary I’ve seen. I have no idea about the characters in the story or even the plot at this point. I just write the scene out and build a story around it, no plotting or planning, just writing by the seat of my pants and letting the scene organically form. However, now that I’ve gotten a world built and a series began, I need to do more planning to make sure I keep the characters and world consistent.
4. Tell us about your favorite character and why you chose to write about them?
My hero Raven in A Surefire Way is one of my favorites. He has Ryan Reynolds’s build and boyish charm with a sarcastic sense of humor. He’s based on the men I find attractive: hot geeks. He’s a snowboarder, loves and quotes pop culture, likes video games, and deep down wants to find that one woman to share his life with. He is smart, successful, and heroic. I never related to romantic heroes who had more money than Bill Gates and who were so mature and alpha and treated the heroine more like a child or someone to be taken care of. Seriously, I wouldn’t have anything in common with them, and they’d probably make fun of me for still watching The Flintstones. When I’ve gone to comic conventions, I’ve met some of the nicest (and attractive) men who were successful scientists, engineers, doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, writers, artists—you name the career—and who would make perfect heroes. Just like my husband. J
5. What are you currently working on?
I’m working on the next book in the series, which centers on Pax and Oracle, characters introduced in A Surefire Way. Pax is Surefire’s boss and Oracle her mentor. Pax and Oracle used to date and in A Surefire Way you can see the sparks are still sizzling between them. In this next story in the UltraSecurity series, Pax finds himself in Mexico to pay back a favor by battling a female drug lord who is using her special powers to deal out a vendetta against men who had harmed her in the past.
6. Who is your favorite author and what is your favorite book?
That is hard to narrow down! I have many favorites across genres, but I’ll go with those that changed me. For favorite author, it’s a toss up between Anne Rice and Margaret Atwood. Rice because her vampire and witch series truly took paranormal stories to the next level and added a human element way before the current trend. Atwood because her language flows so well, and her descriptions are like poetry. My style is completely different than these two authors, but I admire them and their books transformed my outlook on life and writing. My favorite book is The Outsiders. I read this book when I was thirteen, and one of its scenes has resonated with me ever since and impacted the way I try to live my life. In the scene, Ponyboy’s best friend Johnny is dying after being severely burned saving children from a fire. He is struggling to understand Robert Frost’s poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay.” After Johnny dies, Ponyboy finds a note from Johnny where he figured out the poem about not losing the “gold” glow of wonder you have when you’re young and keep that golden perspective throughout life.
7. If you could be anyone you like, who would you be?
I recently saw Pink in concert, and she totally rocked. She’s a fantastic singer with a kick-butt style and such a strong body. During the concert, she did acrobatics, hanging from wires over the audience and stage. To be that free and soar above a crowd and expose your soul to an audience just screaming for you is truly awesome, and it would be amazing to experience that feeling just once in my life.
8. Do you have any advice for new writers and something that a seasoned vet can learn?
A few years ago, I saw Joss Whedon speak at the San Diego Comic-Con. He answered a question from the audience about someone not wanting others to review their work, afraid of getting negative feedback. Whedon replied a writer needs to believe in their work and be able to defend it. If they can’t do either, then they need to reevaluate their story and career choice. With A Surefire Way, I received a lot of positive feedback from my critique partners and writing contests. I knew that I had a good story and could defend my choices for character, motivation, and plot if any came into question—and I’m sure that there will be reviewers who will happily tear apart my story and others who will love it. That’s the chance you take when you expose your work to a larger audience. So that is my advice for all writers: believe in your story and be able to defend it. When you can do this, then you and your work are ready for primetime.
9. Where can your followers find you?
You can find me on the web: website: www.jtbock.com, twitter: jtbockcom, and facebook: J.T. Bock, and email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Currently, A Surefire Way is available in ebook and paperback through Amazon.
10. Any last words?