And it’s a guest! He’s author of the month over at the Smashwords Authors group on Goodreads, and unfortunately his time is almost up, but well… ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Roger Jackson!
I live in a suburb of Nashville, TN. I have a home office where I do my writing, on a pretty white desk with a natural wood top that I bought off Craigslist for $50. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
When did you start writing?
I started writing when I was a teenager. I wrote several Sci-Fi short stories that never got published, although not from trying. I started with a small electric typewriter and mailed out lots of paper to Amazing Stories, Isaac Amimov’s SF Magazine, and all the other great magazines of the time. Then I graduated to a PC with a real word processor. It was amazing.
I got to the point where other aspects of life took over and I gave up writing for several years. I didn’t miss it and I was never upset that I hadn’t made it as a writer. Then one day, an idea came to me. I didn’t think of it as a book idea, it was just a daydream kind of idea. A plot developed and characters gained personalities. I turned it over and over in my mind until I decided that the idea had possibilities. I sat down at my computer and typed out a few lines. I did a few lines for a couple of more weekends.
All of a sudden, the story came flooding out of me and I couldn’t stop writing it. I became obsessed. When I finished, I was amazed at what I had done. Now I have three full novels and I’m working on a fourth.
What genre(s) do you write?
I don’t know that I write within a well defined genre. At first, I classified it as young adult. Some people agreed. Other people, including some agents, said, no, this isn’t young adult. They are more for an older audience. So I decided that maybe I’m good at writing crossovers.
I like writing emotionally charged, character driven stories. I love to develop relationships and interactions. One of my books, A Shade of Mind, (Amazon, B&N, Smashwords) is a dark romance with a hint of the paranormal. My other two books, A Gathering of Lions and Lambs and A Reckoning of Lions and Lambs, (Amazon, B&N, Smashwords) are apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic. All of them have a present day setting and a realistic nature.
I get my inspiration from many different sources: the people around me, news stories, dreams, nature. All these different inputs get mixed up in my brain and sometimes a legible idea pops out.
I don’t intentionally put myself into my stories, but I suspect there are elements of me buried in there somewhere. I use characteristics of people that I know. My wife and daughters have recognized a couple of people in my characters.
Do you have a specific writing routine?
I have no routine. My life won’t allow that. I have a day job, a wife I love to spend time with, one daughter who lives away but we visit sometimes, another daughter who just started college, two dogs, a house and a yard. Unfortunately, I’m not one of these people who can get by on three hours of sleep at night. I like a full eight. I write when I can, and write as much as I can in one sitting.
Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?
I’m definitely an improviser. Sometimes new characters develop as I’m writing. I had one that was going to be in a couple of chapters, but ended up being a major player. The story and characters evolve as I write.
I’m not a prolific writer. I can’t put out three books a year. I’m good if I can get one out a year. But once I get in the groove, I can output a lot of pages in a short time.
Tell us about your latest book (add link if published)
My latest book to get published is called A Reckoning of Lions and Lambs, Book 2 of the Lions and Lambs Saga (Amazon, B&N, Smashwords). I mentioned this in a question above. The story is present day. A plague (a cousin of Ebola) becomes airborne and it is deadly. There is no cure. The main character, Jacob Trimble, witnesses the death of everyone he knows and expects to follow them in death soon afterward. But he recovers from the virus and he lives. The story revolves around his ability to survive after his world comes to an end. He finds leadership qualities within himself that he didn’t know were there, but his decision to lead comes with a heavy price.
Indie publishing. I looked at getting an agent and going traditional publishing, but I knew how difficult it was to do that with little or no previous recognition. I also knew that first time writers do not receive a favorable deal most of the time because of that. That’s not good or bad; that’s just the business.
I liked the idea of being in total control of my work. Self publishing is easy, but the marketing is hard work – but it is rewarding work.
Any other projects in the pipeline?
I am currently working on Book 3 of the Lions and Lambs Saga. It will be entitled A War of Lions and Lambs. I also have an idea for a more realistic version of vampires. My idea involves the homeless man that is living in the main character’s basement is a vampire. In my world, vampires are not undead super-human beings. They are a different species that live on blood. I like the idea so far and it is beginning to flesh out.
What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?
I love writing. It is an artistic expression. My short term goal is to write books that I like, and also ones that other people will enjoy. I believe I’ve done that. My long term goal is to have my work discovered an enjoyed by a large number of people. I’m working on that.
Thank you for this chance to talk about something that is dear to me. I appreciate you doing this for me and all the writers in the world.
Where to find Roger Jackson