Sunday, January 16, 2011
Interview With James Garcia Jr.
I'd like to welcome to my blog James Garcia Jr., author of Dance on Fire. James is a super guy to take time out to do this interview and I really think all of you will glean something from it.
What do you mostly write, or what genre?
First of all, let me thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to reach a new audience. I really appreciate getting to know both you and your audience.
I cut my teeth reading books like “The Amityville Horror”, “The Exorcist”, “The Entity” and “Headhunter” by Michael Slade, so naturally I began writing horror. Later, after I began going to church, I went through a phase where I thought I should write more for God. Eventually, I realized that, although I was a Christian, I liked reading books and watching movies that kept me on the proverbial edge of my seat. With that in mind, at least with this vampire series that I am writing, I backed off some with the sex, violence and profanity, aiming more for a PG-13 rating. That may not always be the case, however. There are some real tear-jerkers within me that want to come out, but there are some darker things, too. I think with sex, often less is more, perhaps with the violence as well. With the language, one must realize that, were we to be chased by a crazed killer, we wouldn’t exactly be yelling “shoot” and “darn it”. Lol.
How many hours on an average do you write in a week/day?
I’m a terrible example right now for writers, because I am not writing every day the way we should. I have spent the past year doing PR for my debut novel. During the time that I was looking for representation, I managed to write the sequel very quickly. On the other hand, I am writing. I write for my blog; I write twice a month for the Wicked Writers blog and sometimes for others; I write once or twice a month for a local on-line magazine where I live called Kings River Life Magazine. Were it not for my day job, I would be writing every day.
Do you have a blog?
Yes. Like many of us, all that we want to do is write. Unfortunately, we have to help sell what we have created. My publisher was kind enough to build one for me, since I knew nothing about the subject before I began. Then she handed me the keys, as it were. Now I have to keep it going. I try to use it as my platform, not only for my writing, but for my life as well. You won’t find out a lot about my kids and home life, but you will read reviews if I stumble across a superb film or novel or CD. I try to keep it interesting the best that I know how. http://jamesgarciajr.blogspot.com/
What are your writing aspirations for the next year/what do you hope to accomplish in that time?
Well, I am 42 years old and started this entirely too late. Were I 19, I would quit my day job and simply write. With one novel ready and another in the wings, I felt that I should push the PR machine in order to see what might happen. If little did, at least I would have no regrets because I had achieved the dream, which was to simply see a novel finished. Seeing it published has been a dream come true and a wonderful miracle. I will have the second novel in the series, Dance on Fire: Flashpoint, published in early 2011. After that, we’ll see. The series will extend at least one more novel, but there is the beginning of a haunted house story within me that has really begun to bubble to the surface. Yet, if 2011 ends up being a real busy year with little success, then I may have to back off. You will see why that is with the next answer…
What is James Garcia's typical day like?
Well, here’s the reason why I may be so unorthodox. I am a supervisor at Sun-Maid Raisin Growers of California. I am up at 3:00 am and in the office by 4:00 am. I work nearly eleven hours, five days a week. This leaves very little time for everything else. I have about 5 hours each day to spent time with my wife, my two sons, run errands, keep up with the house, keep my blog active and keep up with the blogs of others, write posts for others, write articles for the magazine I work for, etc. It isn’t easy. On the other hand, I really am living the dream. Yet, I cannot keep up this pace for long. In one more year, I will be making some serious decisions as to the value of pushing myself as hard as I have.
How and when did you become interested in writing?
I discovered hard rock music about the same time that I discovered horror novels. When I realized that writing song lyrics (thinking that I might want to pursue music) was too restricting, I moved over to much longer works. I suppose one might say it must have been part of the grand scheme of things.
What is it about writing you like the most?
Being creative has always been easy for me. I have told others that it is simply as if there are movies playing within my head, and all that I have to do is write down what I see. There’s also that part of me that seems to crave being artistic or creative. It’s just what I do. My mind is pretty quick when it comes to making things up.
How did you choose your publisher?
I spent about 18 months combing the Internet for an agent or publisher. The first place that I queried loved the novel and offered me a contract. Hours later I found out that it was fraudulent and I got out. It was very disheartening, as one might expect. It is very important that authors vet out who they query. There’s a lot of lying, cheating and stealing going on out there, so one must be cautious. Next came the months of anguish. Actually, with my novel being a crossover horror/Christian story, I can well imagine that it isn’t an easy sell. Eventually, I found Vamplit Publishing. They were a new house just getting started that loved anything vampire (hence the name). My publisher wasn’t scared off by the religious overtones.
Is this an eBook, or POD publisher?
Vamplit is an e-book publisher, primarily, because that is the future. However, knowing that not everyone has yet to embrace the notion, we are just beginning to produce paperbacks, too. My novel, Dance on Fire, is the first. As e-books continue to take off, we hope to be ahead of that. We have a rapidly growing stable of writers and their novels in our second year of existence, and should find ourselves in a good place very soon.
Do you have any up-coming events?
Hopefully before the summer is here I will be holding signings. In the meantime I am simply casting the net out further. I just created some press kits and am getting in contact with newspapers and magazines in my area. At the same time I am talking to retailers about partnering up. It is very new right now with more details to follow.
What is your Work In Progress? And when do you hope to get it out there?
My third novel in the series is only an outline at the moment. As I said before, I want to see what this year has to offer before I begin clearing what little time I have now in order to schedule time to write. Since this whole writing career is a work in progress, perhaps events will shape what things will come. I really don’t want to quit writing, but something will definitely have to give in order for me to keep up this pace.
What advice would you give beginning/struggling writers?
We have to ask ourselves why we are doing this. Is it merely a hobby and simply for the creative enjoyment for ourselves? Or is it a deep desire that will strangle us if we do not let the stories out? We should be reading and writing daily. Now, If only I had the time to take my own advice…
I saw that you said that it took you 20 years to write this book and get it published. What kept you from writing?
I have fun telling people that Dance on Fire took 20 years to write. I love to see their facial expressions. The truth is I was in school when I began writing this piece. Soon I was married and beginning my Sun-Maid career. Our two sons followed as did home ownership. My wife quit working and went back to school in order to begin a teaching career. We sold our first home and then built another. I went from being a regular worker to becoming an Administrative Supervisor. Perhaps more importantly, there was some maturing that needed to happen as well. After several failed attempts at jump starting the novel, I finally came to a place in time where I realized the magnitude of the regret that I was going to have. It was then that I was able to dust the novel off and see it completed.
Thank you Jimmy for coming to my blog. I think we can all related to many of the things you've said here.
Thank you once again for offering me this platform, Lorelei. If your readers take nothing else from this interview, I hope it is this: have no regrets. Thankfully, my novel has been read by many and they seem to like it. If I end up being only a minor local celebrity, then so be it! I will go to my maker with a few regrets in life, but none will have anything to do with not chasing the one dream that I have had since my youth. I’m an author now and no one can take that away.
I hope that you all see your dreams come true as well.