Today’s post is an interview with author D. John Watson, whom I met through a page on Facebook caller Master Koda. I’m proud to be a part of the MK community for many reasons, one being that I’ve met so many fantastic authors like this.
1. How long have you been writing?
DJW: Actually it seems like I’ve always been writing but realistically, since high school really. So yeah forever.
2. What kind(s) of writing do you do?
DJW: I like science fiction and fantasy but I find enough elements in history, and current political events to give it a more real world feel. Some of my work could easily happen now despite the time it’s set in.
3. Why did you choose that particular field or genre?
DJW: I like the endless possibilities of both, there is no right or wrong, whether I‘m using political intrigue ala JFK or modeling a society on a blend of ancient Asian cultures.
4. What inspires you?
DJW: In general? People. But it’s more than that, it’s people who defy the limits others impose on them because of stereotyping or some form of physical/mental challenge. I hate the word handicapped, that word should only be used on a golf course. As a former MA Instructor, I worked with all kinds of student, of differing backgrounds and abilities but the ones that inspired me most were the ones who never let their challenges get in the way, who worked harder than the rest and succeeded.
5. Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing, etc. come from?
DJW: I’ve been reading for as long as I can remember. I would go to the library and take out the limit and bring them back a couple weeks later. My writing stemmed from that but it also stepped from my own artistic talent and the need to tell the story behind the picture I’d drawn.
6. How do you find or make time to write?
DJW: It’s not always easy, what with family and work, but I try and stick to a routine when I’m not working, which for me is best in the morning.
7.Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two? Summarize your writing process.
DJW: It’s more a visual thing for me. It really is different from book to book but for my first work, a trilogy called the Chronicles of Irindia, it started as a series of sketches I drew. Eventually, the need to tell the story took over. Other times, I just let the story unfold however it‘s going to but I always have a clear understanding of what the end it going to be like.
8. How did you get to be where you are in your life today?
DJW: I’m not sure how to answer this one, there are so many aspects but overall I would say good old fashioned determination. I don’t like to give up and I might set a goal aside for a bit but I eventually return to it.
9. What projects are you working on at the moment?
DJW: Aside from my YA series, The Chronicles of Irindia, the first of which is in the hands of my publisher, I have several other WIPS that seem to take turns demanding my attention. My two biggest are both sci fi with heavy elements of intrigue and political commentary..
10. What process did you go through to get your work published?
DJW: At first, I tried to go indie but was totally unprepared for what I had to do to become successful. It was a whole new world for me and I really was in over my head. My editing needed work, my cover could have been better and when it came to networking and getting reviews, I had no clue. If there’s an example of how not to self-publish, it’s me. But friend of mine on FB was using a regular publisher and she gave me pointers on how to get accepted. Another friend of mine took my original cover idea and made it look awesome.I started getting more involved in groups and I’ve started getting my name out there through my own blog and as a contributing columnist for All Author’s Magazine. I was eventually accepted by Master Koda Select Publishing so now the work begins again, but this time I hope I’m better prepared.
11. What was the hardest part of writing for you?
DJW: Editing. There’s a reason why there are professional editors and why writers shouldn’t do their own. We fall in love with our words too much to be impartial. Stephen King put it best when he said “kill your little darlings.” That I think is the hardest part for any writer, our words are our children.
12. What do you enjoy most about writing?
DJW: I enjoy the research I sometimes requires. One of my as yet unfinished pieces is making me do a lot of it. I’ve been looking into medieval coastal siege and naval warfare, Asian religious and social customs and actually was what started me on my journey in martial arts.
13. What is the biggest thing people THINK they know about your subject/genre, that isn’t true?
DJW: That it’s all sparkly vampires and dragons. No offense meant in that last sentence. But it’s true. Often there’s a deeper message that goes unnoticed because people don’t look for it because it’s just a fantasy book about wizard traveling the world helping people or something of that nature.
14. What is the most important thing that people DON’T know about your subject/genre, that they should?
DJW: For myself, it’s how much work there is behind the story. Not the actual writing but the knowledge that goes into the writing. I think all writers, once they have that initial “what if?’ moment, they have to do the research. For me it meant ancient mythology, differing languages, combat, and a hundred other things I didn’t know. I don’t think most people realize just how much real information is needed to make the book believable.
15. For those interested in exploring the subject/theme of your writing/book, where should they start?
DJW: My first series is rooted in the legends of places like Ireland and other ancient lands. It’s where I got the foundation for the Irindia series itself. But I was inspired by books like The Hobbit and the Dragon Riders of Pern.
16. What are some ways in which you promote your writing? Do you find that these add or detract from your writing time?
DJW: I try to stay active on social networking and building those relationships plus my blog, Artistic Reflections as well as my columns so that when I do get released, people already know me. In some ways they detract because if I’m hunting through FB posts, I’m not writing but if I find an article about writing or I’m working on something for the magazine, it makes my writing time more productive. It really isn’t about how many words a day or how many chapters a month, it’s the quality of the words and chapters so sometimes less is better than more.
17. Who are some of your favorite authors? What impact have they had on your writing?
DJW: I have a few, but I have to say my two most favorite are Tom Clancy and James Clavell. They were both writers who had a knack for researching their material and it’s that dedication to detail which came through in their writings. Whether it was a cold war era submarine or nineteenth century Hong Kong, the details really bring the story to life, and that’s what I try for.
18. What are you currently reading?
DJW: Right now, I have two books going. I’m reading Shad’rah by Neil Orr and I’m rereading Shogun by James Clavell.
19. What do you think is the future of reading/writing?
DJW: I think the power of the internet has given reading a dimension that never existed when I was a kid and there’s a world of information out there that’s free to any writer who wants it. That tool allows writers to become more knowledgeable without having to haunt libraries and newspaper archives while giving us whole new markets and methods of delivering us to our readers. And for reading, we have so much more that’s available whether it’s a paper in hand book or a file on your ipad. My laptop has maybe thirty books on it, I could never carry that many around.
20. Please give a short description of yourself after the questions.
DJW: I guess I would have to say I’m a curious person. I like learning new things and it might be some random tidbit or it might be something that is important. I’m also becoming a bit of a political junkie, which I guess fits in to my writing. Beyond that, I’m a husband, father, and grandfather, as well as a self-acknowledged beach rat.
You can always find me on Facebook, as well visit my blog, Artistic Reflections, which is always looking for new posts, or read my column Randomness in Writing in All Authors Magazine.
And don’t forget to look for The Chronicles of Irindia: Book One: The Gatherer coming soon from Master Koda Select Publishing!
Thanks, D. John Watson, for taking a few minutes out of your busy schedule to answer a few questions for my readers. Won’t everyone please take a moment to visit his links and say hello?
For next week’s WWW, please answer this question in the comments below, and leave your links for promotion also:
How do you effectively juggle multiple writing projects?
As always, if you have a question you’d like to have answered, wish to be interviewed, or would like to submit your words of wisdom as a guest on the blog, just click on that Contact Me tab on the left sidebar and send it to me with Wednesday Writers Wisdom in the subject line.
Thanks for stopping by!! You need to know there will be no more posts from me this week, however, there will a be a weeklong celebration NEXT week for my 500th post! You could win an autographed copy of my book, Til Death Do Us Part, or in eBook form for your reader! How exciting is that! So, have a wonderful weekend, and I’ll see you here Monday with the first post leading to my 500th. Bye!