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 James Quinlan Meservy, and I phrasing the question ‘what is your age’ is a very polite way of asking ‘how old are you?’
I have long considered age to be an irrelevant construct beyond one’s twenty-first birthday, and therefore I no longer keep track of my age. So, to answer your question let it suffice for me to say that I was born in the year 1982.
Fiona: Where are you from?
In my immediate case, that question is far more complicated than you may have anticipated. I am from the United States, and consider Mendon, Utah to be my home town, but I was born in Logan, Ut., and spent my childhood and teen years living in Logan, Ut.; Hinesville, Georgia; Mendon, Ut.; Randolph, Ut.; Springville, Ut.; West Jordan, Ut.; and Clearfield, Ut. I presently reside in Idaho Falls, Idaho with my wife and children.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I am a graduate of Utah State University with a BA in Anthropology with an emphasis in Archaeology, and minors in Russian and Geology.
I was lucky enough to meet my wife while working at Island Park Scout Camp, which is operated by the Grand Teton Council of the Boy Scouts of America. We married in 2005, and presently have four children.
My day job is driving a forklift in a warehouse in Idaho Falls, which is ironic considering how much I dislike operating motorized vehicles.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Writing, writing, promoting my writing career, more writing, and providing for and spending time with my family consumes my life. I am a rather boring yet focused individual who strives to stick on task until I have accomplished my goals, so at present my only news is that my book The United, is recently released with my new publisher, Cosby Media Productions.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I honestly do not remember when I started writing, I suppose I started writing creatively in grade school, and have never stopped.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Funny you should ask this, I still do not consider myself to be writer. I consider myself to be a loving husband and father who happens to write books.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
When I was in fifth grade my teacher, Mrs. Card, assigned us to write a Halloween story. And I thought of a story involving a wolf named Dark Fang, whose sole purpose was to capture human souls. I called the story ‘Dark Fang.’ After I turned it in, my teacher told me I had true writing prowess, and offered to work with me to publish ‘Dark Fang’ as a short story. I said no, not wanting to become a writer.
As the years went past, the story stayed with me and grew. In seventh grade I was given another writing assignment and chose to write a Part 2 to the Dark Fang story. Then in tenth grade, I wrote the concluding Part 3 of the Dark Fang short story series for yet another creative writing assignment.
Those original short stories became oral stories I shared around campfires while working at summer camps for the Boy Scouts of America. Then I eventually transformed those stories into the book that is now called The United, Book 1 of the Realm of the Light (Rai Saga).
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
That is a very interesting question, because I went through three or four different titles before finally settling on The United. I am not even sure how it happened. I was looking over my draft of the book, and thinking about how to improve it. While reviewing and editing the text, I came upon the phrase ‘the united’ and I knew it was the title.
As for the rest of the title, The Realm of the Light is the book series that occur on the world referred to in the text as the Realm of the Light, which is located within the Universe of Rai.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
The best thing about writing fantasy is also the most challenging. When taking the reader to new realm of existence as the writer I am free make up my own rules of physics, physical behavior, indigenous flora and fauna, but herein lies my greatest challenge of writing either fantasy or science fiction. I have to find the best way to describe what I am seeing in my mind’s eye so the reader is able to catch the same vision.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The specific events and experiences detailed in The United are to the best of my knowledge fictional. However, I do have real personality quirks built into the characters that are based myself as well as some of my friends.
For example, I am hydrophobic, and I felt it fitting to share that trait with a main character.
Another example is based on one of my good friends from the Russian Federation. She had this amusing habit of talking without breathing, so the longer she spoke her words came out faster and in a higher pitch, and the redder her face became. When she was truly excited she could spit out entire paragraphs in a single breath, making it very difficult to understand her. We affectionately called it her ‘chipmunk mode,’ and I loved it so much that I gave that trait to another one of my main characters.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I have never seen the need to travel for any part of my writing process, but that is because I am in the process of writing a fantasy series, where I let my imagination take control.
I strongly believe that if I ever write a historical fiction or a novel set in a specific city where the setting plays a vital role in the story, or something of that nature, it would be imperative to travel to be on site before writing to recreate the setting as accurately as possible.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The creative team at Cosby Media Productions designed this cover. And I feel they did a great job, I have received multiple compliments on their behalf.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Light is more powerful than darkness.
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 are two new authors that have grasped my interest.
First is N. R. Bergeson. He only has one title out thus far (Magnificent Glass Globe), and I am anxiously awaiting his second, which he tells me is due to release later this year.
Second is James Dragon. Dragon only has one title out at present (Sleighed, The North Pole Chronicles Book 1); but it was a magnificent read, and I look forward to reading more from him.
My favorite writer is Charles Dickens. No doubt about it. The first book of his I read was ‘Great Expectations,’ followed by ‘A Tale of Two Cities,’ and the third was ‘A Christmas Carol.’ And I was hooked. I cannot describe it with words, but when I read his books I feel as if I am in Victorian England, and understand the main characters as though they were my family and dearest friends.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
That is an easy question for me. Cris Pasqueralle.
We first met a few years ago when I was starting out as a self-published author. Cris was the first author to ask me for an author review exchange. Then he was very helpful providing me with constructive ideas when my book was originally published by Tate Publishing. Then after Tate Publishing went out of business in January 2017, it was Cris who recommended my work to Cosby Media Productions.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
No, I do not. I write because I have stories that need come out, the fact that I am a published author makes sharing my stories with the world quite a bit easier.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Actually I would. I originally wrote The United to take place in a realm exactly parallel to our own in virtually every regard. If I could do it all over again, I would make it less of a parallel. I would change names of cities and nations and work in a completely created, albeit closely tied, realm that is familiar yet alien to the reader.
I am content with what I created, but look for the next books in the Realm of the Light series to have a more imaginative setting.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learned how to write a compelling fantasy novel.
One of the reasons it took so long for me to turn the short stories of the ‘Dark Fang’ series into a novel was because my early drafts were not good. In fact the early drafts were so predictable, so mind numbingly bogged down with pointless details and descriptions that I fell asleep as I attempted to write and edit my work.
At that point I realized I needed help learning how to write a compelling fantasy. So I read and really analyzed my favorite fantasy novels, the Harry Potter series, the Lord of the Ring series, the Chronicles Narnia. I also read a few nonfiction books on how to write, the most helpful of which was Stephen King’s ‘On Writing.’ Then I tried again, and again, and again. Every draft was better than the last, and with each draft I was able to see my previous mistakes and improve upon it.
Eventually the novel became so compelling to read that I felt confident enough submit it publishers and literary agents, eventually signing on with Tate Publishing.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I have actually given this a great deal of thought, and I would like the four leading roles to be played by virtually unknown actors and actresses. If it ever turns to a film, I would like think back on it as a positive experience where I provided someone the opportunity to start or at least bolster their acting career.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Just write, when you think you have written everything down you could possibly ever create, write some more.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thank you for your support, and if you have any questions, comments, or constructive feedback, feel free to message me on Facebook or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Just yesterday I finished listening to the audio book, ‘Killing the Rising Son,’ by Bill O’Reilly, and started listening to ‘The Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 1.’ And I am reading ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ by Alexandre Dumas on my e-reader.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
By way of actual books, not children stories mind you but actual chapter books, I believe it was one of three titles. In my fifth grade class, Mrs. Card assigned us to read. I remember three books I read that year, but I forgot which was actually first. As a class we read ‘The Island of the Blue Dolphins’ by Scott O’Dell. For a book report on a book of my choosing I read ‘Julie of the Wolves,’ by Jean Craighead George. Then in a group with five or six other student I read a biographical sketch of Jackie Robinson, unfortunately I cannot remember the title or author.
I clearly recall that ‘Julie of the Wolves’ was my favorite book that I read that year, a decision which was heavily influenced by my obsession with and lifelong love of wolves.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
The older I get the more I find myself crying during emotionally charged films, and occasionally while listening to emotionally powerful and personally relevant songs.
I rarely laugh. My children are known to have asked their mom, ‘Why doesn’t daddy ever smile?’ However, in the event that I am overly tired, I will burst out laughing while quoting or watching ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail.’
Otherwise I have a very sober personality.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
The sad truth is that no one person comes to mind. There are great heroes of the past, and it would be an honor to meet them, but I have nothing in common with them and would be completely lost in their cultural world view. There are a few well known people of today I think it would be awesome to meet, but they have no idea who I am, and we have little to nothing in common.
So our conversation would start by me saying something like, “It is my pleasure to meet you. I love your (music, books, archaeological research, athletic prowess, so on.)” Then the other person would shake my hand and say something like, ‘Thank you.’ After which our conversation would either end or be forced, awkward, and uncomfortable for both parties.
But so as to not leave your question unanswered, I would have to say I would love to meet Cris Pasqueralle in person. I can honestly say that at this time Cris is my best friend whom I have never had the opportunity to meet in person.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
My hobbies are reading, spending time with my family, and writing.
And I will read anything from any author at least once, but my favorite books generally fall into the fantasy, and science fiction genres.
My family loves to watch movies together, play games, go hiking, read stories, and play together.
I generally write fantasy. I love writing fantasy, and any time I try to write a project that is not fantasy, I find myself adding fantastical elements.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I have yet to find a TV drama that I enjoy.
There are a few TV sitcoms I really enjoy, ‘That 70s Show,’ ‘How I Met Your Mother,’ and ‘Everybody Loves Raymond,’ being the most notable titles.
I enjoy watching movies with my children, and our favorites are Disney animated classic features, and Pixar animated features.
Favorite movies includes ‘Batman: The Dark Knight,’ ‘Monty Python and Holy Grail,’ ‘Inception,’ ‘Stardust,’ just to name a few. Generally speaking however, my favorite films to watch are thought provoking films that I can watch and rewatch and rewatch, noticing something new with every view.
My favorite movie series comes from “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far way.” I was first introduced to ‘A New Hope’ by my father as a young child, and my love of the Star Wars has only increased as I grew older. Now I have the joy of sharing my love of the Star Wars franchise with my children.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
My favorite foods are biscuits and gravy, hamburgers, and pizza.
My favorite colors are any shade of dark blue, dark red, and dark green.
My favorite music on the other hand is bit more complicated. I do not really enjoy one particular genre of music over any other. I will listen to any musical artist or group at least once if not twice regardless of their genre. My favorite musical artists and groups include Sarah Brightman, Samantha Barks, the Moody Blues, Carrie Underwood, Fall Out Boy, the Piano Guys, Lindsey Stirling, but my absolute favorite musical artist is Garth Brooks.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
That is easy, I would spend my time reading, playing video games, and doing things with my family.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
I would rather not have a head stone, preferring cremation over burial. But if I must have a head stone, I would like it to say:
James Quinlan Meservy
1982 – (Year of Death)
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Or readers can follow my Author page on Facebook, James Quinlan Meservy – Author.
Here is the Amazon.com link to The United.