Name Jonathan Austen
Where are you from: Scottsdale Arizona
A little about yourself `ie your education Family life etc
I’m currently not married but I am in a serious relationship.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I just released the latest book in my children’s adventure series A Tale of Hope and Adventure. It’s the third book in the series. It’s great for kids age 7 to 12. Each story sends a strong, positive message. Something we all can use nowadays.
I also just did a pre-release for my short story fiction The Wrong Choices. It’s not for you kids. You can find it and my children’s series on my website www.jonathanausten.com. The books are available everywhere.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing seriously in May 2016. A friend encouraged me to write a short story to get the juices flowing. She loved it and encouraged me to turn it into a book. I am now halfway through the second book in the series. It’s for young adults and it’s called The Crystal Kingdom. It should be ready for release at the end of 2017.
I write because I enjoy bringing happiness to others. In the past that was through my job as an IT professional and also as a martial arts instructor. But doing those things wasn’t enough. I had to be more creative and writing allows me to do that.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I struggle with this one because writing is still new to me. I think after I finish the YA series, which is a HUGE undertaking by the way, I’ll think of myself as a writer.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Technically the first book i wrote is still in the works. It’s part of a series. Book one is done. It’s 100k words. I’m almost done with book two and that looks like it’s going to be another 100k words. The first book I officially published was The Dragon Thieves. I wrote that in between the rounds of content editing for the first book in my YA series. But what inspired me? Stories like The Lord of the Rings and Lord Fouls Bane. I love epic stories of fantasy where the only limit is your imagination.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Not sure exactly what you mean but here goes. I prefer to write in third-person. And I do NOT use an outline. I am a pantser. And there always has to be someone sarcastic in my book. That character is always a lot of me in it.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
For my children’s series, the book The Dragon Thieves came up at the very last second. I original wanted to call it A Tale of Hope. But sadly it was too similar to something already out there. My cover artist suggested adding “and Adventure” at the end and voila! Oh and it wasn’t The Dragon Thieves. It was originally called The Hunters. I wanted to go with a theme to have the title be after the villain in each book but Hunters wasn’t scary enough.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Each book in my children’s series has a strong message. For example, The Dragon Thieves is about family, friends, and accepting others for their differences. The second book, The Frost Giant is an anti-bullying theme. The third book, The Ogre King is about not judging others based on their appearances. The fourth book, which will be out later this year, will be called The Fenrir. It’s message is going to be about being able to change who you are and not accepting what life deals you. Pretty big topic for young kids LOL.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
None of the books in my series A Tale of Hope and Adventure are realistic. The characters are a talking dragon, wolf, and fenrir, along with other animals. However, my new short story fiction The Wrong Choices is very much real and is actually based on combined events of my life and my brother’s life. It’s a gut-wrenching story. Fortunately for the reader it’s short so the pain doesn’t last long 😉
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
No mentor. Lord of the Rings, Lord Foul’s Bane, The Jack Reacher series by Lee Childs, and most importantly Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.
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?
I love this new book I picked up called A Tale of Two Reapers by Jack Wallen. The main character is so sarcastic, evil and funny. I laughed through most of it.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
The SCBWI – Society for Children’s Book WRiters International.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
If I can get people to buy my books, then YES. I love writing.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I would have had an alpha reader for the first book. I have one now. It’s great.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I spent a lot of time alone as a kid. I used to scribble in writing pads practicing my cursive. I knew then I wanted to be a writer but life sidetracked me until now.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I’m working on a YA series called The Crystal Kingdom. Book 1 is called The Crystal Kingdom. Book 2 is called The Blood Lands: A Crystal Kingdom novel. Book 3 is called Resurrection: A Crystal Kingdom novel.
It’s about a troubled teenage girl in our world who can do magic, but doesn’t know that what she is doing is magic. She learns she is the last descendent in her bloodline, the only bloodline that possess the ability to magic. She must to travel to another world (arthurian world) to save not only her family, but the kingdom there as well. There are a few twists that will punch the reader in the stomach along the way. I can’t wait to get it out there.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Staying focused on writing and not worrying about marketing/sales. I’m fortunate I guess in that I don’t need to create an outline and each chapter I write tells me where the next one is going. I do have a basic guide in my head where I want the story to go, but nothing concrete. Just major plot points.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The content edit for the first book. There were so many issues with it. The rules for magic changed. Characters were erased. It was like writing the book twice. Rookie mistake.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Know the rules of your world first or you end up doing what I did. Rewriting a lot of it. And don’t worry about making each chapter perfect. If you have a good team of editors, they’ll help you get through it.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead.
The lead in my book is a 16 year old girl. I’d say Chloe Grace Moretz would be perfect.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Keep writing. Every day. Don’t let excuses get you down. You don’t want to leave this world with regrets. And stick to a word count. When you’ve reached it, reward yourself with a break; snack, gaming, TV show. Don’t become too obsessed with writing. But don’t forget to do it, either.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Leave me feedback! LOL. I would love to hear from you. Either write reviews or post on my website. Let me know what you think. And I would love to know who your favorite characters are and why.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Throne of Glass.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The Hardy Boys series.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Laugh-sarcasm. I love it when people are sharp-tongued without making it personal. Cry-the one scene in the Lord of the Rings when Sam is carrying Frodo up the side of Mount Doom on his shoulders. To me, that’s the epitome of true friendship. People think that story is just about orcs and wizards but they’re wrong. It’s about love, friendship, betrayal, and so much more.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
Jimi Hendrix. I used to play his songs on the guitar as a boy. He influenced me a lot in my rock band days.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
He did his best.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Bodybuilding. I’ve competed a few times in natural bodybuilding shows.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Anything that has to do with superheroes and vampires. I’ve watched the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series 6 times! And I’ve watched the Angel spinoff 5 times.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music:
I love everything Italian. Blue. Pink Floyd, Linkin Park, and Sohnne Mannheims.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Played lead guitar in a band.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?