Blogs by L.T. Suzuki
Joshua E. Bigger Interview
9/8/2012 8:30:42 PM
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Fantasy author Joshua E. Bigger discusses his novel, Dark's Daughter: Hope and the writing life!
LTS: There are many indie authors out there, but not all of them are great storytellers with the writing skills to match. Today, Iím proud to introduce you to Joshua E. Bigger, a wonderfully talented writer of fantasy. Iíd like to begin by having you share a little information about yourself with our readers, Joshua. What do you enjoy doing when youíre not writing?
JEB: Hi, Lorna, great to be here. Itís a real treat.
A year ago I began taking my health very seriously. Intensely. Aging will do that. I changed to a vegan diet, rode a bike, then progressed to running on mountain trails. I lost 50 pounds, and have maintained that. Now I just love to run. Being solitary and alone, itís the only physical release I have. And quite frankly, running in the Santa Clara Valley and Santa Cruz area is already a dream come true. Itís so beautiful to me.
I also like painting and animals.
LTS: Has writing stories always been a part of your life and becoming a published author a life long dream?
JEB: I remember always doing skits and impressions in school. The class comedian with good grades. I found school quite boring and preferred making jokes. Some things never change.
Telling stories has always been a part of me. My grandmother was paralyzed, but Iíd lie on her bed when I was little and she would tell tales of ĎJack and the Beanstalkí, ĎThe Brown Bearí, and ĎMrs. Ticklefeatherí. Every time the stories would have different versions. It was fun. It was strongly imprinted in my mind and memory.
LTS: I had a chance to read an excerpt from your novel, Darkís Daughter: Hope and I loved how your writing is so visceral, with powerful imagery that immediately draws the readers into your fantasy world. What was the inspiration behind this story and can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist?
JEB: Itís nearly impossible to answer about the protagonist here, as I have an ensemble cast, like any epic fantasy work. But in many ways, the world of DARKí DAUGHTER, HOPE resembles the film The Matrix. Or rather, the same point is raised, that of human beings serving as batteries, as electrical generators, for elites of whatever nature.
Naturally there are people who resist this hideous feudal system, and they may even succeed, but at what cost?
A young man named Yoni lives on the Blessed Isles, castrated, abandoned to live a life of brutal suffering and excruciating death as his life energy is siphoned through gem stones to the God-kin, masters of the world.
But that world is collapsing
Perhaps like any time, we here are at a crossroads, a line in the sand, a choice to be made about whether we genuinely care about our fellow human beings, or not. At this time in the United States, we have people claiming to follow a certain faith, and yet nearly without exception do the exact opposite of what their God taught. Not just personally, but as a Party Line. These people have no love in their hearts, or consciousness on any level, yet they are dangerous, like any rabid animal is dangerous. But itís coming to a head. I cannot allow these evil people to succeed in raping this planet and murdering its people.
My stories mirror the tension and conflict in the real world; this division between people who care, and those who cannot see past their mirrors.
LTS: Without giving away too much, can you reveal whatís in store for the readers when they crack open Darkís Daughter: Hope?
JEB: Intensity. Sorrow. Regret. Rape. Self-pity. Courage. Hope. Humor. Brutal action, high philosophy and spiritualty in a nondual sense. One of my characters is Divine Consciousness, which is tricky. But we are that Consciousness as well, the proof being the very consciousness reading this.
LTS: The road to publication is difficult at the best of times. What made you decide to self-publish your novels?
JEB: While I desire to work with big houses, at the same time I desire complete control over what Iím writing. Of course, then there is advertising and attracting a following with which to deal; word of mouth advertising because people enjoyed the ride of the whole. A novel is whole, with broad reach and complex twisting of fate.
LTS: What is the best and worst part of self-publishing?
JEB: Getting people to care is the worst. Just to care. To notice. The frustration of being a ghost, a nobody, Bruce Willis in the Sixth Sense, invisible.
The best part, undoubtedly, is finding those people who enjoy my writing. That gets me high, as you can probably relate. You work for months, or years, on your book, a book someone can read in mere hours, and you open yourself to their subjective judgment. Itís tough. But you have to wrestle the bear. And then someone likes it, and lets you know!
That is an amazing feeling I cannot verbalize.
LTS: What is the most important lesson youíve learned on the road to publication?
JEB: Patience, and undoubtedly the value, the importance, of other people, the gift of their support, presence, and attention. Gratitude.
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.
JEB: Itís definitely organic. You know, you start with big ideas which are quick and easy to visualizeÖinside your head. But translating those easy, lightning fast images into static symbols for the entertainment of other brains is tricky. Itís a real challenge, a puzzle. Definitely a pantser most of the time. The larger the work, however, the more need for some structure, or itíll collapse.
After the unconscious works the story out, it sends driblets my way, and I take dictation.
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?
JEB: The story is inside me, so I write wherever, mostly cafes. I do notice that I prefer to be alone while making big story decisions, but around others when Iím actually channeling the words out. I write, then stop, then pick it up at that same place whenever I feel like it. What you see in my writing, the words and sentence structure, is actually pretty much how it comes out of my head. For good, or ill. Though I do believe in letting things simmer, then edit, then simmer, then edit again, to get your soul back, to get out and look at it as objectively as possible. That necessarily takes time, but Iím terribly impatient.
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?
JEB: I know that brutal, stark terror of having absolutely no clue what to say next. The burden of that pressure can be frighteningly intense depending on the other events of the day. It eats at you, gives you cold sweats, and fear. A life of fear. Thatís just the brain scrambling for a way out.
All I can say is patience, and trusting the process. Trust your mind that itís working behind the scenes while you drive, or eat, or sleep, or whatever, and that eventually it will deliver.
You HAVE to trust that.
Then it happens, BOOM, you break into a new gear of ability.
LTS: Who is your favourite author and how has he/she inspired you to write or influenced your writing style or choice of genre?
JEB: Iíll mention Lloyd Alexander, David Eddings, and Terry Brooks from childhood, but Iíll talk about Alexandre Dumas. He was a master of adventure. A master storyteller, and itís impossible to say just how many times Iíve been D'artagnan, sword fighting tree limbs and bushes! Just before my uncle died, I looked at him and thought he was Athos. That melancholy and rage, that tragedy.
But The Count of Monte Cristo, for me, is pure magic and emotional force. Innocent Dantes, most foully imprisoned, unjust, betrayed. His relationship with the Abbe Faria, his escape and revenge. Thatís my favorite novel from childhood, and certainly still in the top now. I am the Count of Monte Cristo, ready to rise in the world after years of untold suffering.
LTS: Yay! Iím a fan of Alexandre Dumas, too, while Terry Brooks was one of my favourite writing teachers! So, what do you foresee in your future over the next five years and do you hope to branch out from fantasy into other genres? Can your fans expect a sequel to Darkís Daughter: Hope in the near future?
JEB: In the epic fantasy genre I intend to write two trilogies, Darkís Daughter and the Wielders, and one series of five novels called The Servants. Iím not going to restrict myself to any genre, really, though obviously Iím wring fantasy now. If something interesting and compelling arises, then I would certainly follow it.
Having grown up with television and movies, my writing is well suited for quick cuts, but there is a lot of spiritual muscle in the books, which would also have to be communicated. But, yeah, I see films in the future. And if you read the books all the way through, youíll see what I mean. Itís terse, but very visual. I try to give a lot in a small amount of space, dense without being too heavy.
Weíll see what happens.
LTS: Thank you so much for sharing in your writing experiences and your novel, Joshua! Catch you on Twitter!
JEB: Thank you, Lorna.
For more information about Joshua and his novels, check out:
Follow Joshua on Twitter: .joshuabigger
Where to buy the book: http://www.amazon.com/Joshua-E.-Bigger/e/B005M8EMPY/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1341001516&sr=1-1
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