I am very excited today to be able to share an interview with my dear friend and talented writer, Mr James Garcia Jnr. Many of you will know him on Twitter as @danceauthor and those of you who read his first book, Dance on Fire, will know that he is certainly one to watch out for! I can’t wait to read the sequel – Dance on Fire: Flash Point available today on Amazon UK and Amazon Com.
Without giving too much away, tell us about your new book: My new book is the sequel to my Dance on Fire vampire series which takes place in my real life home town. This one is titled, Dance on Fire: Flash Point. In the story, it is five years since the events of the first book and our heroes are all enjoying life, oblivious to the coming danger. One of the villains has returned and has brought help. Five vampires come to town to enact a twisted revenge.
Where do your ideas come from? I hesitate to question this one because I don’t really know. *laughs* I only work on one new project every year or so; therefore, there is typically plenty of time for inspiration to strike. Since this book is a sequel, it pretty much wrote itself. A new project that I began earlier this year is a ghost story. I had been wanting to do one of those for years, but never really pursued it until I felt I had something. My mind usually gestates these things and then I begin cultivating whenever I really feel as if I’ve got something worth working.
Who is your most fascinating character, and why? There are two choices here. The obvious is my lead vampire Nathaniel. He is quiet and wishes to be left alone, which is not a novel concept, I’ll admit; however, he knows about God and realizes that he is outside of His kingdom. When he is offered a glimmer of hope, he fights it because he doesn’t feel worthy. The tease here is he may not be out of that kingdom after all. This part is a fresh one, and I plan to have fun exploring the idea over the course of however many books it ends up being. The second choice is a set of twins. They are rescued by the vampire Nathaniel in book one. Prior to that they are exactly what you’d expect from babies. Thereafter, they are changed, and the other characters about them marvel at the difference. They were my inspiration in book 2 and I so look forward to exploring them as they grow up.
Which is your favorite chapter/scene, and why? In book one, I wrote a rescue scene. I was unconscious when I wrote that! *laughs* I didn’t know where I was going and then suddenly I did, and my fingers just flew along the keyboard until I was done. How the characters got away was a bit of a twist. That made it all the more special. In book 2, the first scene I wrote was a classroom scene with the twins. They are working on an art project for Halloween. Robbie draws a vampire and his teacher asks him where the vampire’s cape is. Robbie glances up at the teacher and informs her that vampires don’t wear capes as if everybody should know that. At the same moment, Rebekah, his twin sister has gotten up out of her seat – without permission – to spy on his project. She is none too pleased that he has brought this attention to himself. They have a short exchange and then she goes back to her desk. The teacher is struck dumb by the whole thing and says nothing. The twins are going to do special things when they grow older and I can’t wait!
How do you plan to promote your novel? Considering that my series is set in my hometown I have a built in demographic. While I am continuing to work the social networks in order to get the word out, I have been doing book events and local media. I was interviewed for my local newspaper, reviewed in a local on-line magazine as well as two local magazines, did a book signing in the boutique in town that sells my paperback, and have held 4 library events. That was all for book one and I plan to hit all of those again this fall with the release of book 2.
What can readers expect from you next, and when can they expect it? I recently lost my small publisher and my book came down from every outlet, so I have focused my time getting myself back in the game. I have my debut as an e-book on Amazon and am working on getting my paperback there as well. It is a second edition, so I am very keen to have it replace the paperbacks that I currently have in circulation. October will see the release of my sequel in both e-book and paperback. Once things calm down on that front, I will return my attention to that ghost story I mentioned before. It is a ghost story that not only has things that go bump in the night, but also explores the ghosts of our past. It is more paranormal romance than horror, and I think it will do really well.
Describe your current work in progress in less than 15 words? A young widower is plagued by literal and figurative ghosts.
What is your writing routine and how do you balance your writing with your other commitments? Is there anything more fictional in the world than the perceived balance or lack thereof? My wife would tell you that I have no balance. I work 11 hours as an Administrative Supervisor at a job that gets me up at 3 am. I come home and work out on the treadmill for an hour. I turn on my laptop and catch up with whatever I have going on at the moment with promotion and the social networks for the next 3 hours or so. In between that time I have dinner, clean the kitchen, chat with my family, etc.
Because of this schedule, I don’t’ write every day. In fact, I’ve pushed very hard because for nearly 20 years all I did was dream and hope of one day being a writer. It is a dream I only realized in my late 30’s. Since I wasted so much time, I have been trying to see whether anything might come of this “hobby”. If it does and I can make some money and continue to get people excited about reading my stories, then we’ll see what happens and continue. If not, perhaps I’ll back off. To answer your question, I only entertain writing projects about once a year. I just don’t have the time to be able to maintain writing, networking, promotion, etc. on a daily basis.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s Block? If so, how do you overcome it? Since I only write one project every year or so, I have a lot of time to let my brain come up with what it wants to do next and how it sees the story. I call this my gestation period. If we’re talking chickens and eggs, my mind lets me know when it’s time to begin writing – due to the fact that it has already formed characters, plots and twists – I’m never put in a position where I need to begin another project, but don’t yet know what it’ll be.
Name one of your favorite books and how it has influenced your life? As a horror author you’d expect me to cull from a list that would include Stephen King, Clive Barker, Michael Slade, Patricia Cornwell and the like. However, my all-time favorite novel is Beach Music by Pat Conroy. A sister in law coerced me into reading it, giving it perhaps the highest praise I’ve ever heard for a book. Eventually I began reading it, and I have never stopped. I have read it several times now. It is the perfect novel with so many plotlines and characters. Everything is tied in a perfect and wonderful bow by the end. If I could write even half as well as that glorious book, I will go to my grave pleased.
What’s been the most memorable event in your life to date, and why? There will be a special place in hell for me if I don’t answer this question correctly. *laughs* Being published in 2010 and then having that e-book turned into a paperback that I could hold a year later were pretty sweet moments, after spending so many years only day-dreaming about it. However, marrying my wife on our two year dating anniversary in 1990 was life-changing. Then the births of my two sons in 1994 and then 1998 were next on that list. Those are the things that really matter.
Where would you choose as an ideal holiday destination, and why? If you’re asking about vacations, it would depend. Our summers get extremely hot here, so driving a couple of hours to the coast are always great. We live 3 hours away from Los Angeles, so trips to Disneyland in Anaheim are always good, too. If you mean “the holidays”, that’s different. I love the holidays, most especially Christmas. I love the sights and sounds. I know what you’re thinking. Some horror writer I am, huh? The fact of the matter is I’m a big softy. I decorate my house the day after Thanksgiving both in and outside. I have an inflatable snowman that goes in my front yard that a friend sold to me a few years ago. In January, when I have to take everything down is a bummer for me because I’m not tired of it all after 4-5 weeks. During those holidays, I want to be home.
What secret will your readers be surprised to hear about you? I have no secrets. Ask me anything. I write scary characters and situations, but my favorite book is Beach Music and I love to sit in front of films like The Notebook, Notting Hill and An Affair to Remember. You will hear My Chemical Romance, Judas Priest, 30 Seconds to Mars, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Ozzy and a great many other hard-rocking artists blaring from my Treadmill stereo when I’m using it, but you will also find Barry Manilow, Neil Diamond and Bee Gees on my iPod, too.
Quick Fire Questions:
5 star hotel or backpack? 5 Star Hotel, baby! I like creature comforts and don’t like getting dirty.
Espresso or latte? I started drinking coffee late in life. I was in my late 20’s. It was the flavored creamers that got me hooked. Vanilla Latte, please.
Plotter or pantser? Both. With each project I find myself plotting more, but still not too much. I don’t want the pleasure of self-discovery to quit surprising me.
Drummer or lead singer? Lead singer. I own an electric guitar, but never learned to do more than crank the distortion and jam along w/ cd’s. I have a high voice and you will frequently hear me singing 30 Second to Mars, Journey, Sammy Hagar and probably those Bee Gees at any moment.
Theatre or cinema? I do like the theater. When we were in New York City we saw The Phantom of the Opera. Locally, I’ve seen Jesus Christ Superstar and Riverdance. However, I love going to the cinema every chance I can. I’ve got the 42 inch widescreen television and the stereo surround system for my living room to bring that experience home.
Sports car or campervan? Since we bought a used truck several years ago, I find I do not like lying on the road when I drive. No sport cars for me, thank you. I want to be up high.
Safari or Cruise? Cruise!! Are you planning one? I’m ready. I’ve taken two and I love them. My wife seems to be over it, but not me. Let’s go!
Before I go, I would just like to thank my dear friend Jane for allowing me this opportunity to share with her friends and fans. Hugs to you, Miss Jane.
It was an absolute pleasure and honour, to host your interview on release day. I wish you all the best with your new book, my friend.
James Garcia Jr. was born in the Central California town of Hanford. He moved up the road to Kingsburg with his family as a child. After graduating KHS, he attended Reedley College where he met his wife. They, along with their teenage sons, still make their home in Kingsburg which is also the setting of his vampire series. Dance on Fire was first published by a small publisher in 2010. Now writing as an independent, the second book, Dance on Fire: Flash Point is scheduled for a Halloween release. James is an Administrative Supervisor for Sun-Maid Growers of California.