Question 1: Who are you and what have you written (Most recent book, no synopsis).
I’m James, a fellow mystery writer who lives in The States, specifically Kansas. And my most recent novel is The Diamond Head Deception.
Question 2: If you had to paint a portrait of any author who would it be?
I’d probably do a self portrait. (lol) Not out of narcissism or solipsism, but because I was an assistant public librarian for over a decade, and as such had to constantly promote and protect hundreds of other authors’ writings. So, now it’s my turn to earn “15 minutes”, to borrow from Mr. Warhol.
Wuestion 3: Why did you start writing?
I started writing because that’s one of my talents. I began at about 7 years old, writing mostly action and adventure stories on notebook paper and illustrating them with colored pens or pencils. Then, I would staple the pages together and voila, I’d published a book! I wrote easily 100 such “paperbacks” into my early teens.
From 16 until my early 20’s, I wrote for and section edited my high school and college newspapers–and they were still paper back then, no online edition. I win local and national awards for journalism, but went into library work for nearly 12 years. I only picked up the pen again about 7 years ago and wrote a string of multicultural mystery novels.
Kwestion 4: Where do you write? Do you have a shed like Roald Dahl, or a special room away from the other people in your house. Maybe you write at work when you should be working like that Terry Pratchett did. You should be careful, if your boss catches you you’re done for. Personally I write in my pajamas.
I can write business reports on the job, not fiction. When fiction writing, I do it on off work and from an IPad, smartphone, laptop, or desktop. I even revert back to jotting down ideas on primitive paper with dead tree utensils called pencils. (lol)
Question 5: Today a dog untied my shoe laces.
That would’ve been a leading headline back in the day. Now, it would only lead if your dog laced them together so you would trip and fall and sue him in a court case that would get nationwide news coverage.
Question 6: Do you think question 5 needs to be rephrased?
SPECIAL BULLETIN: DOG UNTIES SHOES. OWNER SUES.
Question 7: Forget the last two questions.
What questions? (lol)
Question 5 (again): What is the most interesting thing you have learned recently? (I just heard about an animal called the Tree Kangaroo that lives in trees regardless of it being utterly inept for that way of life and so often falls out of trees. And they are f**ing adorable).
Redux: I’m currently writing a sci-fi novel. And in the course of preliminary research, I’ve discovered a creature whose survival skills and hideousness makes Ridley Scott’s “Alien” look like Jones the Cat. It’s called a “water bear” (technically, a tardigrade). This creature is found in extremes of heat, cold, and even radiation. The Swedes launched 2 species of these critters into an ESA rocket and launched them into orbit. After 10 days of exposure to the hazards of space, 3 specimens of the M. Tardigradum “microorganauts” survived and even hatched healthy eggs! Perfect food for sci-fi thought, wouldn’t you say?
Question 6: Have you experienced what psychologists call “The ultimate experience” ? Which is the frame of mind when you are writing and everything is flowing perfectly and the creative buzz is so great you lose track of time.
That intoxicating sense of writer’s bliss has consumed me many times. When I’m in “the zone”, to borrow the sports phrase, I don’t want to be anybody else. And yes, I’ve written hours on end that have lasted from sunrise to sunset..on weekends usually. (lol)
Last question: Are you happy as a writer?
And that leads perfectly into your last question: My happiness as a writer. I’m a peachy-keen writer because I don’t do it professionally. I’m not under pressure to keep up with what’s trendy and create characters and plots that are mimicry or outright rip offs. I can create a brainy American Indian heroine and pair her with a jewelry CEO who’s a Hawaiian hunk and not worry about alienating the WASP buying demographic (who has an embarrassment of representation riches anyway). I can go against tropes like HEA (happily ever after) that a traditional publisher would likely demand be included out of “tradition”.
Fiction writing may not pay the bills, Andrew, but it still gives me thrills. And that’s what it’s really all about…until Tinsel Town makes me an offer for one of my books that I can’t refuse. (lol)
James Blakley’s, The Diamond Head Deception is available now on Amazon