Tuesday, December 1, 2015

November (December) Author Interviews Featuring Jeremy Lee James

Today I'd like to welcome, Jeremy Lee James! 

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions. 
I'm excited to have you and can't wait to learn more about you.

1. Where do you find inspiration for your books? 

I'm a voracious reader and internet addict. I listen to podcasts, watch documentaries, and take long walks in nature. These activities provide much of the raw material. The inspiration comes from combining two or more ideas that interest me, usually in the form of a "What If?"

For example, in the Urban Fantasy / Thriller series I've been writing, I asked: "What if the Nephilim, of Old Testament lore, were the *true* inspiration for the Vampire mythology?"

Immediately, I got excited, and got to work fleshing out all the other elements that go into a novel-length work of fiction.

Now, what I just said makes it sound like I'm the one who originates the idea—that I'm the architect of the story—but I'm not sure that's how it works. Rather, I think storytellers are simply conduits. Fleshy satellite dishes who tune into a frequency where the story already exists. Of course, writers are also responsible for amplifying and clarifying the story they tune into. For taking the raw material they receive and making it as dramatic and entertaining and meaningful and digestible as possible for their readers.

2. Is there a routine to your writing?

On the productive days, yes, there is a routine. Assuming the initial planning is complete, and I'm writing new words, it looks something like this:
  1. wake up around 6:00 am and drink a cup of coffee with stevia sweetener and coconut oil
  2. walk the dog around the heavily wooded property I live on
  3. maybe exercise a little—kettlebell swings, pushups, chins, log squats, etcetera
  4. if I'm hungry, eat a breakfast of bacon and eggs
  5. sit down at the computer and launch Scrivener and re-reread the last scene, making cuts and small improvements along the way
  6. if it's a new scene, make a few notes as to the context, conflict, and conclusion of the scene, and also note any necessary setups or payoffs that need to happen
  7. write without distraction for about an hour, which amounts to about 250-350 relatively polished words (I don't do a "rough" draft, I edit as I go).
  8. take a short break, waste time on the internet, and maybe crank out some crunches or pushups
  9. write for another hour, and keep repeating the hour-on, ten-minutes-off process until I hit 1,000 words or more for the day
  10. day job: build websites and maintain other internet-based revenue streams
  11. dinner, read, surf the web, work in the yard, watch TV, and indulge in all the typical writerly vices
Of course, it never looks exactly like this. I love routine. I rebel against it.

3. Who are some of your favorite writers? How have they inspired you?

Chuck Palahniuk's mastery of modern minimalism, combined with his ability to seduce readers into empathizing with some very edgy characters, really inspires me.

Stephen King has inspired me with his fearlessness in combining genres and conveying societally relevant themes disguised as "pure entertainment."

Lee Child inspires me with his ability to entertain millions of readers while breaking just about every so-called "rule" of genre fiction. Instead, he drives his Jack Reacher stories with two simple, but effective techniques: 1) Pose a question, and don't answer it for tens or hundreds of pages, and 2) create a protagonist who does what every man wants to do, but is afraid to, and who women could see themselves having an affair with, because they know he'll be gone forever the next day.

And so many others: Michael Connelly for realism and setting, Richard Price for beautiful wordplay and insight into the human condition, Clive Barker for lyrical prose and terrifying situations, and Barry Eisler for realistic spy craft and martial arts bad-assery.

4. What are you working on now?

A series called THE NEPHILIM CHRONICLES. See my website at http://jeremyleejames.com for more information.

5. What advice would you give to unpublished writers?

Don't worry about getting published, self-published or otherwise. Worry about being undeniably good and mastering your craft. The rest will come when you're ready.

Coffee or Tea


Wine or Beer


Movies or Books

Summer or Winter

Beach or Mountains

Pizza or Cheeseburger

Love at First Sight or Friends to Lovers
Friends to Lovers

Halloween or Christmas

Game of Thrones or Outlander

Jeremy Lee James writes top-shelf Thrillers and dark, conspiracy-driven Urban Fantasy. Author Claudia Whitsitt calls his Nephilim Chronicles series "An urban fantasy on thriller steroids that grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go." While author Douglas J. Bornemann exclaims, "Masterful and thought-provoking urban fantasy thriller. More please!"

Longtime webmaster and teacher at the Southern California Writers' Conference, Jeremy will be leading a two-day novel writing intensive with partner in crime, Claudia Whitsitt, in San Diego, late February 2016 (see: http://writersconference.com for more information). Look for Part 3 of his series to hit Amazon.com around the same time.

You can follow Jeremy on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/jeremyleejames, or friend him on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/topshelfwriter. For more about Mr. James or his writing, see: http://jeremyleejames.com.

1 comment:

  1. It was a pleasure, Bethany! Thanks so much for having me.