Today I have another author on the blog who hides his face, but let’s welcome him none-the-less.
Hi John, thanks for letting me grill you over a slow fire to get some answers to questions that kept bugging me. Such as what does the D. stand for?
🙂 My middle name is John, the D is for Dale. When I was trying to decide on a name, I decided to go with something I thought was more catchy and I just didn’t think my real name was going to do it. As a kid,I’d somehow earned the nickname D.J. So it kind of stuMy mother refuses to talk with me on my author page because that’s not the name she gave me.
Seeing you’ve lived in sunny Florida before you moved back to Massachusetts I cannot help but wonder what you prefer. The Indian Summer and its beautiful colors, or the blue skies and thunderstorms after a hot and humid?
The plain truth is, I hate being cold but I did miss the fall colors, that’s the New Englander in me. But the nice thing about the storms in Florida is that they don’t last long, unlike up here where it might rain for days. I’ve literally walked out of a rainstorm (true story), one moment I was on wet ground and the next, on ground that hadn’t seen water all day. And in January it’s possible to go swimming without having to worry about hypothermia. You’d be surprised by the responses I got when I told my parents I was outside in shorts and sandals on Christmas manning the grill. Or maybe you wouldn’t.
Let’s get physical. What is your choice of sport?
I’m a huge Patriots fan but I love boxing and MMA. I appreciate the skills and discipline that go into those sports because of my own training in the martial arts. Most sports for me lose my attention because of the incessant need for replays. With fighting sports, it’s honest, one man or woman against another. At the end, there’s a clear winner.
And let’s not forget to go mental. 🙂 Words or pictures? (Silly question you might think with you being a writer and all, but humor me.)
Pictures first, that’s where it all begins for me. I’m an artist so I’m a very visual person but then the writer takes over and wants to know the story behind the pictures. The Irindia books started out as a colored sketch of a key dream sequence.
Do you still draw if something you’ve written needs that little extra?
I actually tried to do the initial cover for The Gatherer but I didn’t have all the materials I needed and I was getting impatient. I think that down the road I’d want to do that again just because I think it’s easier for the write to capture the cook in one picture if they have the talent for it. In fact for another book, I have a clear picture in my head of the cover.
Is there any food or beverage that is a constant factor in either your books or life?
Coffee or tea, I drink a lot of that but this is YA Fantasy so wine will do for the older characters. However I do enjoy good ales and scotch so be in more adult books.
What is your favorite dish and can you give me the recipe?
I would live on pasta if I could but my favorite is my own sauce, which took me six months to get out of an ex because it was her grandmother’s from the Old Country. The real secret to this sauce is most of my flavor aside from the garlic, (never have too much of that), and the seasoning in the spicy Italian sausage and letting it cook all day on a very low heat. I usually start mine around 6 in the morning. As for amounts, I’m horrible when it comes to measuring and the ingredients themselves depend on my mood. Needless to say, I’m never in danger of writing a cookbook.
It sounds like a dish I could love too, but since you do not give me the recipe I can’t be sure.
That wasn’t too bad, or was it? But it’s not why you are here. You want to talk shop, right? So, what is the title of the book you would like to talk about, and can you give us a small taster of it?
My hero makes a selfish wish to be anywhere else after an argument with his mother. What he gets is a case of be careful what you wish for, you might just get it. He finds himself in a land filled with magic and faced with only one way home, to gather the fragments of an ancient weapon, the Stone of Irindia. The stone is the only way to defeat a dark wizard and prevent him from bringing his master into the land.
Did you have difficulty coming up with the title?
Not for this one but the third only has a working title so far, The Fall of the Dark Emperor. I’m still not sure about that one, it has too much a Lord of the Rings feel to it. I did have a little trouble with the Irindia part though because when I searched for it to see if it was a real world, Google kept asking “Do you mean Air India?” No, not Air India.
If you would have to change the genre in order to be able to it, what would it be then? i.e. would you conform your work to suit the market?
The nice thing about the Irindia books is they could easily be changed from YA to regular fantasy. Right now, there’s a large market for YA books so about six months ago, I changed it from Epic to YA fantasy. As for conforming to suit the market, we have to write to the market as much as we can if we want to sell books, you can’t sell swimsuits in Maine in January, it’s just not going to happen. It’s a balancing act to some degree because while we have to write for our audience, we also have to stay true to our vision of the story. For my first books, I stayed away from some subjects and avoided strong language but for other books, I won’t have to. But those will be part of a different market.
Can you tell me how you celebrate finally getting that tricky chapter (or para) right?
That really depends on the time of day. I like good ale or scotch so if it’s late enough, I’ll have one but mostly, I’ll close my eyes and listen to a little music, usually some old blues or Grateful Dead.
Is there anything you don’t like about being an author?
I wasn’t prepared for the marketing when I published the fist time. So right now I’m trying to do all the homework I should have done then. Cover reveals? Release parties? ARCs? what were those?
But now that you do know what do you do marketing wise and what do you think generates the most attention to your books?
That’s been a struggle so far and I’ve tried to go through the social media sites like twitter and Facebook and I’ve learned some lessons along the way. Right now, I’m putting together a query for a traditional publisher and planning the release party for my second book in the series so I’ve been going to others so I can see what I have to do. And then I’m doing features like this. I have another in January which is going to have a double cover reveal, the revised cover The Gatherer and the one for my second book, The Stone of India. But what it comes down to is reviews, that’s what readers look at first when making a choice so one other thing I’m doing different, that I didn’t know then, was offering ARCs to anyone who wants to give me a review before I print.
Okay now that we have the mandatory questions out of the way, shoot your mouth off. Tell me whatever you want the blab about. But please no cat’s, dogs, or children. Make me laugh, or cry, or even envious. Tell me something none has ever heard before from you. hehehe, love those little dirty secrets, real or make believe. 🙂
We all have the one project we can’t seem to kill off no matter how many times we have to start over. For this one, I wanted to know what it would really feel like to have fighting skills so I took some classes. Well that eventually led to becoming a part time instructor and more than a few bruises along the way, some I earned myself, like when I stood too close to a tot without protection and yelled punch. The parents just lost it and I learned a valuable lesson, don’t stand too close and wear the right protection.
As I got closer to my first black belt rank, one of my instructors decided I needed more motivation so he called my chief instructor and said I didn’t think I was being worked hard enough. I became the test dummy for every technique after that. The best part was the day after getting that belt and having another instructor give me permission to hit him. I’d waited four years to hear that. And a almost couldn’t do it. Almost.
That was the one job I had I would give anything, or nearly so, to have again. It was as close to stress free as you can get, because no matter how bad the day was before that, I could go in early, beat the crap out of a practice dummy and then get ready for my first class.
Thanks for being here and sharing all of this. Do come back if you have more news. For now I’ll just tell the readers they can find you online at: