Name : Jack Strandburg
Where are you from:
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, currently living in Houston, Texas area
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Jack: After years of working more on my writing process than actually writing, I’ve reached a level where I feel comfortable I know enough to start dedicating more time to my projects.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Jack: I started writing on a typewriter (dating myself) during my teen years, not stories, but recaps of . . . are you ready? . . . electric football games I played with my brother and friends. At that age, don’t know why, I suppose to foster a burning desire brewing inside.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Jack: When I self-published my first book.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Jack: A memorable and life-changing event.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Jack: My characters are typically humorous and sarcastic, a reflection of the author. J.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Jack: A combination of the theme and “accidental collaboration” from a friend.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Jack: No specific message, just strive to entertain.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Jack: The book is based on a movie, as the title suggests.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Jack: Anything by Norman Vincent Peale.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Jack: I enjoy anything by Harlan Coben and Joseph Finder. Coben is very entertaining, and Finder is meticulous when it comes to effective plotting.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Jack: God blessed me with a gift and a desire, as he does with everyone.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Jack: I consider it a career, but only as it relates to my daily routine. Whether I make much (or any) money remains to be seen, but I’m hopeful. I will continue writing regardless of financial results.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Jack: I occasionally read passages from my earlier work and find many opportunities to improve, but since I constantly strive to become a better writer, I expect that will always be the case.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Jack: I don’t recall specific events – just a gift and a desire and a dream.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Jack: I have several and feel most comfortable working on multiple projects. I am currently working with an editor on a novella (paranormal mystery), revising my first mystery novel originally written in the mid 1990’s (for hopefully the last round), and outlining a short story. I also have an inspirational book and a second mystery novel in progress after these other projects are finished.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Jack: Describing characters and settings more vividly (show v. tell), although I recently read two writing books which greatly improved my ability.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Jack: So far, no, which is good because I can’t afford the expenses.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Jack: Select-o-Grafix, LLC.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Jack: Since the setting was the Old West, late 1800’s to early 1900’s, it required months of research in etymology, how people talked, acted, and dressed, followed by a lot of revision into how to present realistically. It was a productive exercise since it provided additional characters and scenes which I believed improved the story.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Jack: See previous question – it is important to be aware of changes in all phases of life to present a realistic story. (e.g. no cell phones if referencing 1980.)
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead
Jack: Adam Sandler.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Jack: Stick with it, keep learning, keep experimenting, don’t acknowledge writer’s block, and don’t get hung up on the financial results. If writing is in your blood, it won’t matter.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Jack: Deeply Odd by Dean Koontz (fiction) and Create a Character Clinic by Holly Lisle, an excellent source for understanding characterization in a story. I read fiction more to learn what works and what doesn’t work, so take a lot of notes. I try to read a non-fiction writing help book with a fiction book at the same time. I’ve read more than 20 books on writing, but BY FAR the book I learned the most was Immediate Fiction by Jerry Cleaver. If I had read this book in the beginning, I might not have needed many of the other titles. Sadly, Mr. Cleaver passed away in 2014.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Jack: Probably not, but recall during my teenage years, reading The Hardy Boys by Franklin W. Dixon.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Jack: Laugh – comedy movies like Airplane, and most Mel Brooks productions, stand-up comedian Sebastian Maniscalco. Cry – other than personal loss (doesn’t everybody?), movies like Rudy, Remember the Titans, Brian’s Song (and others)
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
Jack: Pope Francis – it would be inspiring to say the least.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
Jack: One of my upcoming projects is an inspirational book based on my life since 2001, so something along the lines of “An author who made a difference in many people’s lives.”
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Jack: Golf, staying healthy through exercise, walking. I used to play video games, but the volume of my writing projects prohibits that.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Jack: Wild Wild West (from the 1960’s), Criminal Minds, 24, The Blacklist, Sleepy Hollow, Fawlty Towers (John Cleese). Believe it or not, I get a lot of decent ideas from watching Lifetime Movie Channels.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Jack: Food: Chinese, pizza, burgers, steak. Colors: red and blue. Music – varies on my mood at the time – everything from The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Enya, Gordon Lightfoot, to Alice Cooper. I sometimes listen to Nature Music while writing.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Jack: Worked my 30 – 35 years, retired and played golf as much as possible until I ran out of money, then freelance work in IT.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
https://jstrandburg.wordpress.com/ (Author website)
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00CM9P9L2
Links to buy: Hustle Henry and the Cue-Ball Kid:
Link to buy: An Appointment With God: