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?
I’m James Jackson and in my 40s.
Fiona: Where are you from?
Pretty much from all over, I was an Army brat so I grew up all over the USA. Now, I live in a very rural and remote area of the Pacific Northwest.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I grew up in a military family and as mentioned above, all over the United States mostly at military installations. Due to all that travel, there were obvious issues, losing friends every so many months to years, enrolling into new schools, that kind of thing. Once my father reached his last duty station, that all settled down. Once that happened, we were able to get our roots established as it were. It also allowed me to spend time with my grandfather who was a former US Marine and an avid gardener. After high school, I enlisted in the Navy and spent quite a few years seeing the world. When I got out of the service, I had an AA in business and a BA in Military History. Those didn’t open too many doors and still don’t. Currently, I work as a consultant for a local emergency management agency.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
The latest news is that my newest book, #6, is being released in August of 2017.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve always scribbled down something. Not really sure when I truly sat down and started focusing on writing. I did start a work back in high school that I have around here somewhere. It was done on a typewriter if that tells you anything.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I didn’t truly consider myself a writer until my second book released. The first book was, to me, just a test to see if my scribbles would actually garner interest outside the select few that had been beta readers. Once the second book released and ‘caught’ on as it were, I knew then that I was developing into a writer.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
There were several inspirations. I have a tendency to read from a technical perspective that slants my concept of whatever I’m reading. That was the primary inspiration towards my first book. It was more of what would it be like if I wrote a book within that genre that had all the things in it that were missing?
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Not really sure. It just kind of jumped into my head and then it all fell into place as the series details the civilized world falling into the heart of darkness in the aftermath of a global event.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
My writing style is one that is detailed. Not to the point where a reader feels they’re reading some dry technical manual but it is detailed to a point where they’re inside the character’s head, understand that character’s actions, and know the immediate surroundings. What’s challenging about that is keeping it simple but still detailed enough to hold the reader’s interest.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I try to keep the events and actions realistic even though the overall event in the series, a global pandemic resulting in massive numbers of psychotic infected roaming the world seeking out the uninfected, remains totally fictional… for now. Some of the characters are based on real-world people but, thankfully, none of the events are from my own life.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I do a lot of research prior to writing. I have notebooks that contain information from locations that are used within the series to make those locations as realistic as possible. I have traveled to certain locations and taken notes and pictures so they can be depicted accurately. This happens before I sit down to start writing. To me, research into what you’re writing is key. Some of the research, very minimal, does take place during the writing process but I prefer to have it all complete before I start so it doesn’t interrupt the flow of creativity. When you’re in the zone, you don’t want disruptions.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I located the graphics myself and then using PowerPoint, created a template and created the covers.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not really sure there’s a message. What comes across to some readers is that those who are basically prepared for adverse events are the ones who are a little better off than those who go through life with a neutral zone around their head and blinders on.
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?
There’re a few new authors that have piqued my interest. Pete Aldin out of Australia has a few books coming out soon and his writing shows incredible promise. Rich Restucci from the US has a series out that is doing quite well based on the reviews. There’re a few others as well but I haven’t finished their books so it wouldn’t be fair to comment until that time. As to a favorite author, I’d have to say Elmore Leonard. His writing style is amazing, the dialogue and verbiage that is used conveys the work in such a way that it places the reader directly into the book.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
The one entity that supported my commitment to become a published author would have to be the members of the website ZombieFiend.com. Without their support and feedback, my work would have remained out of the public eye, possibly forever.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Writing can be a career but, for me, it’s just a hobby at this point in my life.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
If I did the latest book all over again, I don’t believe that I’d change anything.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learned more about the intricacies of plot development and tying up loose ends. And also how Word can be helpful when you start exploring other options within that program.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Good question. Some authors write with a particular actor in mind when forming a character. I don’t do that as I feel it would slant my writing towards that actor and their previous performances in film and then become full of clichés and stereotypes.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Make a plan. Work that plan. Attempt to write 500 words a day, it doesn’t matter what you write, as long as you keep it flowing. Who knows? You might develop something that becomes part of your latest WIP or a new book.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thank you for your support and reviews. Enjoy the series.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I have a tendency to read more than one book at a time; currently I’m rereading an older John Ringo novel, March Upcountry and Christopher Farnsworth’s Flashmob.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Pretty sure it was some kind of Dr. Seuss book, maybe Green Eggs and Ham although Go Dog, Go does seem familiar.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
A lot of things make me laugh. I have a very twisted sense of humor and find a lot of inappropriate things funny. I can’t remember the last time I cried.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I’d love to meet General George S. Patton. He told it like it was and didn’t dress up his speeches with flowery words or power phrases. That, and there were no PowerPoint presentations back then that were so boring they put an insomniac into a coma.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Writing is a hobby at this point in time. Other than that, I dabble a little with creating custom 1/6 figures based on requests. That doesn’t mean I create the actual 1/6 figure, I just locate equipment, gear, etc and then customize that figure. Also I use these same figures to storyboard my books. Weird, I know.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I don’t watch a lot of television, when I do, I try to get the entire series at one time so I don’t have to deal with commercials and I can binge watch. Game of Thrones is one series that I enjoy watching. Films are hit and miss; I research into the film as in reviews, what production company worked on it, etc., and then consider if it’s worthy enough to go into my viewing queue. Found a lot of good films that were direct to video that way and, of course, some truly awful films as well. To tie it down to a genre, I do enjoy apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic films like Mad Max but not any comedic disaster films like San Andreas, 2012, or Day After Tomorrow.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Favorite foods are pretty much anything that Taco Bell has on the menu, lol. Seriously, I try to eat healthy and occasionally splurge with a visit to Taco Bell. Not sure I have a favorite color, never really considered it. If I had to guess, I’d say something earth toned. Music is a little weird; I have an eclectic taste in music that runs the gambit from Weird Al Yankovich to Gregorian chanting.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Not a pleasant future. I’d hope that this was decades in the future and that there was some other way to create books. Maybe some highly advanced form of the Dragon Natural Speaking program where authors dictate and the words appear. If not, then I’d have to find some other means to spend my spare time.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Husband, Father? Never really thought about that, although people that know me well would probably come up with some other words to add to the stone.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
I have an Amazon Author page that is paired with my blogs. Information, updates, events, and special offers can be found there.