Name James K. Burk, although my convention badge reads THE james k. burk. It’s a long story.
Where are you from From and still in Wichita, Kansas. I think I’m a creature of inertia.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc I went to parochial schools in grade school, attended a Jesuit high school where I received an incredible education, and have 156 college credit hours but no degree from Wichita State University. I was always finding something new I wanted to learn about or needed the hours for a major. I was married, am now divorced, have three wonderful daughters who mean the world to me and three incredible grandchildren who are the moon and stars.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My new novel, TAKING HOPE should be out in a month or two. It’s the sequel to HIGH RAGE, already available. It was a sequel I really hadn’t intended to write.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing in high school and did it because I wanted to put my own spin on some of the stories I’d read
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think I considered myself a writer when I finished my first novel, now long gone, for which I am grateful.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book was actually never finished. I am a Francophile and it was the story of a French soldier of fortune, who got his start in World War I and died in the battle of Dien Bien Phu.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Hard to say. A lot of my work has an ironic tone, and humor crops up in odd places. Someone described one of my novels as hard-boiled fantasy.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
For HIGH RAGE, it was the name of a castle. It seemed a fitting title for the book.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
If I’ve done my work properly, they will grasp it. If not, I hope they enjoy the ride.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Emotions are always realistic. You cannot write an emotion you haven’t experienced.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Answering that question might wind up with me in court trying to deny everything.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Hands down, THE LITTLE PRINCE by Antoine de St-Exupery.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Roger Zelazny, who taught me to play with the language and relax with humor and irony.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Right now, I’m reading the manuscript of a friend. My next read will be a novel by Trent Zelazny.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I don’t know how new you would consider them but Bill Allen, Gary Jonas, and Tracy Morris-Godsey.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m working on my most ambitious novel yet, called THE DEVIL ON TRIAL. Some of the characters include Mark Twain, William Jennings Bryan, Clarence Darrow, Josef Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Ted Bundy, and a buncb more.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Actually, in one sense, many friends, especially Selina Rosen, and in another sense I have supported myself.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I consider it more a vocation. I haven’t made more than beer money on my work. Actually, not even that, because I can drink a lot of beer.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Since I haven’t finished it yet, no. Ask me again when it’s finished.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Yes, I was an early reader. As soon as I learned what those funny marks on white paper I took to it like an elephant takes to peanuts.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I’d be happy to. Not sure how to do it, but would be delighted.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Challenge is what makes writing interesting and fun. When I see a challenge, I have to try it. I was afraid I could only write one sort of character so, in my novel THE TWELVE, I had twelve viewpoint characters and four of them were women, which I thought would be very difficult.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Roger Zelazny is one of them, and he has a most disarming whimsy to his work.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Only in my head and on Google,
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Except for my earlier work and my novella, The Ghoul of Socorro, all my covers are created by Mitchell Bentley, who is a marvelous artist as well as a friend.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Sitting down and doing it. Persistence is a tough thing to learn.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I always learn from my books. Mostly, I learn what I really think about things.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
That would seem awfully arrogant to me. Perhaps to grow a thick skin and learn from constructive criticism. None of us sprang, fully grown, from the brow of Zeus. We all have to get there our own way.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Just that I hope you enjoy my work.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Yes, it was a little book but quite thick about the Lone Ranger and had a villain called The Skeleton.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Laugh, almost everything. Cry, the endings to LORD OF LIGHT by Roger Zelazny and LITTLE, BIG by John Crowley.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
I’d loved to have met Antoine de St-Exupery and I’d like to meet John Crowley, who I have corresponded with and talked with on the phone.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
Il n’ya pas de quoi, which is French translated roughly as “Think nothing of it.”
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Many. I build scale model aircraft, I do beadwork, I am conversant with firearms and do some shooting, and enjoy playing with various weapons.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
For some reason, crime shows like CSI and Criminal Minds, along with news shows and the Simpsons.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Colors is the easy one. My favorites are black, with red as an accent. In foods and music, I enjoy a catholicity of tastes. I enjoy French, Polish, Chinese, Mexican, Mediterranean, Indian, and Italian foods and probably a few I’ve missed. In music, everything from Amerindian chants to almost everything. About the only things I don’t care for are country-western, rap, and the heavy metal stuff that sounds as though someone pushed a band down a flight of stairs.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it? The nearest I come to having a blog is my author’s page on Facebook, James K. Burk, author.