Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
My name is Jeff LaFerney, and I’m too old to be telling my age. J
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m from Michigan. I’ve lived in suburbs of Flint my whole life, and I’ve been safe from the water.
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I have a master’s degree and was an English teacher for 30 years. I’ve been married almost 31 years to my beautiful wife, and we have a son who’s 27 and a daughter who’s 25, who are both amazing.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Well, I’ve finally started work toward completion of the sequel to Jumper, a very successful time-travel adventure, but my work is going slowly because we’ve sold our house and we’re planning to move to Florida. There is so much to do.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I thought about writing most of my adult life, but I finally did it after some circumstances finally aligned and I had a “brilliant” idea. It was mostly a challenge for me—something I wanted to do and believed I could do.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
After my first novel, Loving the Rain, I was invited to be a career speaker at my old middle school. They gave me a tag to wear that said “Jeff LaFerney, author.” I laughed. It felt as strange as my first year of teaching when kids called me “Mr. LaFerney.” I don’t think I felt like an author until my third or fourth book.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Honestly, as a junior high English teacher, I’d read a lot of award-winning books that I didn’t think were all that good. I thought I could do better. I was passed up for a varsity coaching job, my summer was mostly void of responsibilities, and an idea in my head wouldn’t go away. I decided I’d finally do what I’d been thinking about for many, many years.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The wife in my novel loved the rain. The main protagonist had always hated it. It wasn’t until I finally came up with an unexpected conclusion (one I hadn’t planned for) that I realized I could change my protagonist’s feelings about the rain. I came up with it while writing the last chapter of the book.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I usually write short scenes. I try to move the pace of the story along rapidly. I like twists and surprises. My writing process is difficult for me at times because when I write, I know the beginning and the general ending, but I don’t know how I’m going to get there. I end up researching and revising all along the way. The plot, clues, twists, etc. usually come to me while I write, so I have to revise a lot along the way.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I have five novels. All of them are fiction and all of it is made up. I’ve never written in a character like someone I know, but there are interests of my own spotted here and there throughout all of my books.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I’ve visited towns and buildings that I use in my settings, but most of my traveling is on the internet. J
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My first three books have all had three covers. My last two have only had one. CreateSpace did one. A designer friend did one. A publisher I had did four. A talented designer named NajlaQamber impressively redid the Clay and Tanner series. A design company did Jumper, and an incredible author friend, Ashley Fontainne, did Lost and Found.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
All of my books deal to one degree or another with moral issues and faith, but mostly they’re just fun mysteries and adventures.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
My favorite author is Harlan Coben with Robert B. Parker a close second. They’re both crazy good suspense writers with great characters. I love fantasy too, though, and George R.R. Martin and Robert Jordan have kept me busily reading for the past couple of years.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Ashley Fontainne is my most trusted author friend. She’s always supportive and her talents are amazing. I can’t say how much she’s helped me. Lia Fairchild also has always sacrificed her time for me. Her advice and help have always been appreciated more than she knows, I think.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Now that I’m retired from teaching, I’m looking for another career. J I edit more than I write now, but I think I’ll always be a writer, but probably not a full-time one.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I’m proud of all of my finished projects. I think I’d like to edit them all again, just because I’ve improved each time, and I’d like to shape up style issues from my past, but I don’t think I’ll ever do it.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Lost and Found is my most recent book. The setting is a Bavarian-German town in Michigan called Frankenmuth. The more I looked into the town and developed ideas for the story, the more I found ways to tie it into Germany and World War II. It’s not a historical fiction book, but I used facts from history, revised them with made-up characters, and tied the past into my modern mystery. I learned a lot about history while writing the book.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
I don’t think anyone writes the same. Do what works for you, but don’t quit. Take advice from other people, so have thick skin. Revision is the most important part, but eventually, you have to be done and move on to another project.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
My books are fun fiction. There is humor, action, quick pacing, witty dialogue, and unexpected twists. I think they’re enjoyable, and I wish you would give one a try.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m reading The Art of Racing in the Rain because I promised a friend I would read it. I’m reading Robert’s Rules of Writing and the fourth book in the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan called The Shadow Rising. I’m also reading an indie author book a former friend wrote. (Writers should always be reading).
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I don’t, but I remember the first book that impacted me. It was Robinson Crusoe. My dad made me read it, and I was fascinated that someone who had little survival skills learned to do so many things to survive on an uninhabited island for more than 20 years. I’m not the handiest person, and I never have been interested in handy-man type things, but I think I’m like Robinson Crusoe. I think I’d survive.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My wife and I crack up using Snap Chat. I love a funny movie. Books and movies both make me cry, and I struggle at funerals and even weddings sometimes. Yeah, I can be a baby.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
My favorite athlete of all time is Roberto Clemente. I’d love to meet him.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I’ve always loved sports (played three varsity sports in high school and continued well into my forties playing them competitively), but now my knees and shoulders have broken down, and I just work out regularly to keep in shape. Obviously, I read and write as well.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I like action-suspense and fantasy best. Netflix gives me plenty to watch while I’m on the treadmill.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I listen to Christian music most. It makes me feel better. I love seafood and salty snacks. I love University of Michigan blue and University of North Carolina blue. J
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I would still read. I would edit and teach writing.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
He was a great dad and son who loved the Lord and his wife.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?