And then I go and look him up and he wrote those books when he was 28. I think I had held onto this idea, at least in my subconscious, that authors were old. I don’t know why I thought that, but his books gave me the kick in the butt I deserved to finally sit down and get the story out.
J.D. Palmer – 3 June, 2017
The Back Flap
The world didn’t end with a religious war, or a race war, or an economic collapse. It didn’t end with everyone blowing each other up with nuclear warheads and it didn’t end with a natural disaster. It didn’t end because someone got offended in one of the million petty squabbles that were real, or fake, or imagined.
It ended quietly.
Harlan is visiting his friend in Los Angeles when people start dying. His friend, the neighbors, the entire city falls victim to an unknown disease. Except for Harlan.
Or so he thinks.
And he learns quickly that just because there are other survivors, not all are to be trusted. Finding himself in a world filled with broken spirits and hidden motives, he must navigate through a darkening landscape fraught with violence and despair as he desperately tries to get home to the love of his life, Jessica, and the child she is carrying. Morality becomes blurred as Harlan is forced to commit questionable acts to protect himself and those around him.
About the book
What is the book about?
A post-apocalyptic story about a man trying to get home.
When did you start writing the book?
I have been playing with the idea for a couple years. But January of 2016 was when I started writing it in earnest.
How long did it take you to write it?
The bulk of it was written in four or five months. Then the editing began… The whole process was well over a year.
Where did you get the idea from?
I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of a post-apocalyptic landscape. I enjoy people watching, and I remember there being a day in which I asked myself “how would these people behave if suddenly there was no more power? No lights, no phones, no devices. What would I do?” The story began there.
Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?
Keeping it honest. The farther the story went along the more attached to characters you become. Sometimes you want to make them do something more mature, or responsible, or kind. But if that’s not in their nature then you have to go back and change it to fit their psychology.
What came easily?
Easily? I don’t know if anything did. But I will say I enjoyed writing the action scenes the most. When your characters are running for their lives the urgency takes over and the scene gets broken down into its most basic elements.
Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?
Physical characteristics and mannerisms are things I can’t help but incorporate into my writing. Some characters are based on people I know, but invariably as the story changes so do the characters. They rarely resemble the people who inspired them at the end.
We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?
So many authors… There are two I’d like to mention. Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles is my most treasured series. Her writing showcased someone truly plumbing the depths of a
person’s soul. I can only aspire to go that deep. And then a couple years ago I read a fantastic book series called Red Rising by Pierce Brown. I was blown away by his storytelling. And then I go and look him up and he wrote those books when he was 28. I think I had held onto this idea, at least in my subconscious, that authors were old. I don’t know why I thought that, but his books gave me the kick in the butt I deserved to finally sit down and get the story out.
Do you have a target reader?
Someone who likes something very, very, grim and gritty.
Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?
I’m all over the place. Usually an hour of research before staring at a blank page for two hours followed by fifteen minutes of frantic typing. Then repeat.
Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?
I outline in the most open-ended way. I like to break the book down into three
parts and fill them with placeholder chapters.
Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?
It’s really hard not to edit as you go. Especially on days when you can’t seem to produce any writing, it’s easy to go back and edit what you’ve done so far. But an author friend of mine gave me a very good piece of advice: get it all out of your system while it’s fresh. Don’t get bogged down by making sure each sentence is perfect. That’s for later.
Did you hire a professional editor?
I did not. I am fortunate enough to know enough readers and writers who, somehow, agreed to look over my manuscript multiple times. I owe a lot of people beers.
Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?
Once I find a song that exemplifies a character, or setting, or scene, I listen to it non-stop. Usually one or two songs on repeat until I get that section done.
Did you submit your work to Agents?
I did not. I think, from day one, I knew I’d self-publish.
What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?
I talked to a few publishers and they advised, since this is my first book, to self-publish as it would be hard to get someone to represent me at this juncture. But to be honest, I always planned on going this route. I’ve talked to multiple authors who, although represented, are unhappy with the way their book is handled, either by content manipulation or by marketing. I guess I’ve always loved the idea of having autonomy over my book. Art is subjective and I want to put forth the story that makes me happy.
Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?
My mother is an amazing artist and my wife is a professional graphic designer. So I really, really, lucked out.
Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?
I did have a marketing plan… I realized very quickly that it was rubbish. So now I’m winging it.
Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?
Getting a good writing program helped me out a lot. Especially when it comes to organizing and compiling. I use Scrivener. I’d also advise patience. What you think is your final draft is most likely not. Find a group of readers that you trust and don’t get frustrated with critiques.
Where did you grow up?
Where do you live now?
Los Angeles, California
What would you like readers to know about you?
I play chess and read every day. I like vodka and country music and camping.
What are you working on now?
Book 2 of the Unbound Trilogy.
End of Interview: