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L.T. Suzuki

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Justin Bog Interview
10/13/2012 9:44:39 PM    [ Flag as Inappropriate ]

Interviews, anthologies & the writing life according to author Justin Bog!
LTS: Indie authors are making it in the news on a regular basis now and todayís featured author is no exception! Iíd like to introduce you to the fabulously talented Justin Bog. His anthology, Sandcastle and Other Stories made it onto the Huffington Post recently (click on the link at the bottom of this post to read it)! Itís a huge deal when you know how many titles are out there to choose from. Iíd like to begin by having you share a little information about yourself with our readers, Justin. What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?

JB: Thank you very much, Lorna, for the invitation to come here. I love spending time with my family and taking care of my long coat German shepherds, Zippy & Kipling, and the two cats, Ajax The Gray & Eartha Kittín. Laughing with great friends. Being silly. Cooking too.

LTS: Has writing stories always been a part of your life and becoming a published author a lifelong dream?

JB: The love of reading came first, and then writing took over. I always have a book or a kindle in my hand. When Iím not reading Iím thinking up characters or puzzling out what to do next in a story. Being a published author has always been a lifelong dream. But for too long I would take breaks from the dream, and Iím happy to say I persevered through those down times and came back in the past ten years with a new drive. I canít always say I believed in myself. I liked the stories I wrote, but never spoke about being a writer, even when living in a place during the 90s where many writers passed through, in Sun Valley, Idaho, where Ernest Hemingway lived and is now buried. Now, Green Darner Press will publish the print edition of Sandcastle and Other Stories sometime by the end of November or the beginning of December. All thatís left to do is to design the back cover and spine to match the front cover art.

LTS: Your latest title, Sandcastle and Other Stories received great praise when it was featured on The Huffington Post. How did this book catch John Malikís attention to begin with, to land your book on Huff Post?

JB: I could only guess at how Sandcastle and Other Stories caught John Malikís attention. I followed John Malik long ago on Twitter because his profile said he was a chef, and Iím a lower than low foodie wannabe Ė love watching Top Chef. Itís tough enough for an indie book to catch anyoneís eye out there in the ebook world strongly enough to make that person want to purchase the book. The more people read a book, the more they may recommend it to someone else. Word of mouth. The review came as a happy surprise and a writing pal texted me to go read the review. Loved waking up that way.

LTS: Without giving away too much, can you reveal what is in store for the readers when they crack open Sandcastle and Other Stories?

JB: The ten stories in my first collection are literary and psychological in nature. There is a feeling of unease built into all of them, and in some I reached for real suspense, a natural progression of fear.

LTS: The road to publication is difficult at the best of times. What made you decide to self-publish?

JB: I revised all the tales and published them to my blog, A Writerís Life, throughout 2011 while I waited to hear back from a traditional publisher about my first novel, Wake Me Up, a psychological family drama. I never heard anything and decided to publish the novel myself, but then the idea of collecting the ten stories from my blog and publishing them first as an introduction hit me like a bolt from the sky one day in March 2012. I read and revised and edited each story dozens of times and tried to figure out the right order so that the tales could also be seen as a whole, linked by a theme of darkness, mood, unease.

LTS: What is the best and the worst part of being an indie author?

JB: The best part of being an indie author is meeting so many other indie authors through social media and beyond. Thereís a camaraderie. Great support. The worst part of being an indie would have to be the marketing side of the business, and it becomes a business rather than a life pursuit where writing is fun and something I obsessively just had to do each day.

LTS: Would you recommend this mode of publication to others?

JB: Definitely. Keep going. Put out the best work possible and enjoy the process. The more you write, the better you get. Hire the best people to help you along the way.

LTS: What is the most important lesson youíve learned on the road to publication?

JB: Be organic. People who are fake bother me. I try to be impeccable with my word.

LTS: Still on the subject of writing styles, are you a plotter or pantser? The readers would like to know if you tend to plot out your story line in great detail or if your writing is more organic with the characters and events unfolding as you write.

JB: I am a pantser. The characters come first, or a situation where characters appear in that place I am thinking about and lead me to the end. Thatís the fun part of writing any story. I also donít take notes very much. Itís all in my head. I begin a story and figure out the scene, the chacater, the voices they speak, the jobs, everything important to that narrative, and get it down. With a short story this is easier. With my novels, and I have three in different stages, I keep all the characters in my head, and there are several. Just the way I like to work. A good editor helps keep track of these characters, their names, if I use one name when I meant to use another, and I also like the editing process.

LTS: Some authors meditate, others need to fuel up on coffee or listen to music. Do you have any rituals, ones that can be shared with the readers, that you must do before you hunker down for a writing session?

JB: I didnít drink coffee until I was 35, and then I became an addict. I began to get up before six and drive to the local Starbucks, order my four shots of coffee and write until work started at nine. I did this for years, and it was a quiet time too. Now I just make espresso at home and get to work. I also donít produce a ton of words each day, but something gets down on paper (or screen). I have so many scraps of paper with story ideas itís a wonder I keep everything straight.

LTS: At one time or another, most writers hit the wall and their work stalls because of the dreaded writerís block. What do you do to get around or over this mental wall to resume writing?

JB: Keep writing. I can drop a story, move onto another one, and pick up the old story again months later. Sometimes this helps if the story gets stuck for whatever reason.

LTS: Who is your favourite author and how has he/she inspired you to write or influenced your writing style or choice of genre?

JB: I donít have a favorite. I tend to gravitate to reading suspense and love the writing of Patricia Highsmith, Peter Straub, Ira Levin, Rachel Ingalls, and Shirley Jackson. Stephen King was a huge influence as well.

LTS: What do you foresee in your future over the next five years and do you hope to branch out into other genres? Can your fans expect a sequel to Sandcastle and Other Stories in the near future?

JB: These tales would be PG-13 if they were filmed Ė the title story calls out to be immortalized on film, and would make a great short film, or a longer work with the introduction of the family from the back story. I donít put the stories in Sandcastle into the YA category, but my next novel, Wake Me Up is a mix of YA and Literary Drama, more in line with Ordinary People or the novels of Jodi Picoult. I will be coming out with a grouping of novellas in the next year as well, and the tentative title of that is The Conversationalist. I hope Iíll still be writing and producing quality stories at the end of five years. One future book is branching out into the horror genre, and the next after that is also suspense/horror. I want to write what I love and also create round characters who struggle internally as well as externally with forces beyond their control.

LTS: Thank you so much for taking time to share in your knowledge and experience, Justin! Catch you on Twitter

For more information about Justin and his works, check out:
Website: www.justinbog.com
Follow Justin on Twitter: .JustinBog
Where to buy the book: Right now the book is only available as an ebook at Amazon, but soon the print version will be in bookstores and published by Green Darner Press.

Huffington Post Article:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-malik/sandcastle-and-other-stor_b_1921578.html?utm_hp_ref=tw




Comments (1)

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Peaceful Water by Sherri Smith

Peaceful Water is the third and final book of the Water Trilogy. It is based in Decatur, Illinois. Kathy Sills is dedicated to her job and is self sufficient. She does not need any..  
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