Today I have the fabulous James Garcia Jnr visiting the blog, an author I've admired for his cleverly crafted novels and constant appreciation of my ridiculous blog posts and Facebook statuses. We both share a passion for vampires, treadmills and the written word - so let's see what he has to say about my twenty warped questions ...
|James Garcia Jnr|
Describe your novel in twenty words or less.
Paul Herrera inherits an old house and comes to grips with ghosts that haunt both his past and present. *wipes forehead* Nineteen! That was too close!
What were some of the biggest obstacles that you had to overcome while writing?
Well, I’m a late bloomer. Although I discovered a love for reading and writing back in junior high school, it really wasn’t until middle age that I began to put the proverbial nose to the grindstone. I’m forty-four now, but was when I turned thirty-eight that I really began to feel the regret that I would feel when I was old and gray if I never gave writing the college try. My latest novel will be my third. I have an understanding family. They don’t love the time I spend on my laptop, but they allow me that space. The only obstacle I have is provided my eleven hour day job where I’m an Administrative Supervisor.
Kristy: I hear you, Jimmy! I want to kick those authors who brag about staying home all day to perfect their craft while we're slaving away only getting better at pen-pushing.
Are you also a reader, and if so, what’s your preferred genre?
I prefer horror and suspense. I won’t read just anything, however. I much prefer The Silence of the Lambs over The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I do like to deviate from that now and again. My favorite novel is actually not frightening in the least. It is Beach Music by Pat Conroy.
If you could have dinner with one person dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Hmm? That’s a tough one. We run the risk of discovering that our heroes are creeps sometimes. Lots of names popped into my head when I saw this question. Being a huge music fan, I thought of the late Freddie Mercury of Queen. I have read a few biographies and was struck by one I read on the late Katherine Hepburn. However, I think I’ll go with actor Peter O’Toole. I just love to listen to him speak, and I know he won’t be much longer on the planet. I should like to sit with him for a few hours...sip some wine...and just chat (See, he’s rubbing off on me. I sound like him already).
Kristy: *Shakes Head*
Do you have any weird little habits that get you in the writing mood—downing a bottle of wine, eating an entire bar of chocolate, fornicating on a porch swing?
Sadly, no. Although I can very easily down a bottle of white zin during a networking session, I really don’t have the time to play around. I usually only attempt one writing project every year and a half or so, thanks to my long day job. If I’m writing I have to race home, clean up and squeeze it in.
What sets your book apart from others in the same genre?
Recently, I found myself answering a question like this one by saying I might very well be the Nicholas Sparks of horror. I never meant to say it. It just came out. Perhaps it’s fitting. We’ll see what the readers think.
Okay, so I bet you secretly hate one of the characters in your novel. Who is it and why?
Interestingly I don’t. I guess as being their creator I hate the things some of them do, but use those dirty deeds against them and spin them for good.
You’re on death row and it’s your last meal. What will you choose to eat?
Eat, Hell! Where’s the Crown and Coke?? I guess I’d go with a steak. Maybe a T-bone, cooked medium. I’ll take the mashed potatoes and green beans. Can I get a Margarita with that, please? No? Damn!
Tell us three crazy things about yourself that you wish no one else knew (I promise I won’t post this … but I lie).
*Crickets* Seriously, I’m so square! I’ve got nothing. *lies* Hand over that Crown and Coke and maybe I’ll sing...
Are you a scruncher or a folder? (Yes, this is a toilet paper question)
Folder, and I probably use more than a woman. Ask my wife. She’ll tell ya’.
Kristy: Sorry, folders must be slapped. No one should be that organised in the toilet.
If you had to pick one song to be the soundtrack to your novel, what would it be and why?
“Heaven” by Warrant. I’m an old 80’s headbanger, but when you read the novel you’ll see why.
Do you have any future projects lined up that you want to tell us about?
Sleeping. Taking my kids to the movies – they don’t need me to do it anymore since they’re 15 and 19, but I miss hanging out with them. My treadmill. Sitting with my wife without whipping out my smartphone every ten minutes. *Laughs* Okay, okay. I’ve got a collaborative writing project that 13 authors are working on, but that’s all I am at liberty to say about that until it’s done. I’ve never done anything like this and am a bit nervous. I might start the third novel in my crossover Dance on Fire vampire series, but we’ll see. Stay tuned.
E-book or paperback, what’s your preference?
I would prefer a hardback, so I’ll say paperback. However, I also much prefer old record albums, too. There was nothing like reading the lyrics and staring at the album artwork while the record played; the smell of a brand new album. Yet, there I am every Tuesday, sniffing around iTunes, trolling for new music! You just can’t beat the ease of buying, storing and reading books on an e-reader. A year or so ago, I remembered that Sammy Hagar had an autobiography out that day. I grabbed my Kindle and less than one minute later I was reading that bad-boy!
What books or authors have most influenced your writing style?
For this, I will once again refer to the genius that is Pat Conroy. If I could write half as well as he does, I could die a happy man. In my genre, I will note Author Michael Slade. That is the pen name of the father/daughter team that writes the Special X Royal Canadian Mounted Police thrillers. The first one, Headhunter, might be the greatest horror/crime novel I’ve ever read.
If you were stuck on a deserted Island would you choose:
a) A total hottie to keep you company over the lonely nights ahead.
b) A solar powered Kindle with limitless reading potential.
c) Tom Hanks and Wilson to help get your ass off the Island.
The hottie would be lovely for the first couple of days, but eventually I need someone to really talk to. I know it sounds corny. I can read a lot, but not that much. I guess I’ve got to go with Hanks and Wilson. Wait! Was the hottie gorgeous and intelligent? Nah! Never mind. She’d just get rid of me, so she could end up with Hanks and Wilson...
Where can we find you?
Sun Maid Growers of California for eleven hours, five and sometimes six days a week... What? Oh! ;) I’m in the California Central Valley, near Fresno. Beyond that, you can find me attached to this laptop. Just ask my wife. She’ll tell ya’. I hope you’ll look me up on Facebook, among other places.
Who has been your biggest support on your writing journey, and please, feel free to add my name here …
Kristy Berridge. She’s both super awesome, a hottie and supremely intelligent. Unfortunately, I think she’s secretly planning my demise so she can help Tom Hanks get off the island and forget all about Helen Hunt... Seriously, it’s the wonderfully supportive writing community. They have encouraged me and cheered my meager success, and have offered a shoulder when I have thought about giving it up. They are the greatest, and Kristy Berridge is definitely among their number.
Kristy: *fist pumps the air* See? Coercion works every time.
What is one of your favourite scenes from your novel? Feel free to provide a small excerpt to entice the readers.
In Seeing Ghosts, there are ghosts both inside and outside a large two story house that my main character has just inherited. Paul has befriended one of them, a very young boy who has become lost. He reads to him at night. His name is Paul, too. In this scene, he has misplaced his Kindle...
Gingerly, I turned the knob and pulled. I braced my left knee against the door, in a manner of preparing for someone or something to attempt to rush me and gain access. I peeked through the tiniest of gaps in the door and glanced about. There wasn’t much moon, so I had to wait quite a while before my eyes adjusted to the dark. When they finally did, I opened the door a little more.
The overturned bench still lay where Flora had thrown both it and me much earlier the previous evening, but I could see no further. I stuck my head out into the night air and quickly checked behind me. As I opened the door just a bit more to accommodate this, something fell. I couldn’t stifle a surprised cry and a curse. I looked down.
My missing Kindle. It had been left for me, propped up against the door. Perhaps it was to be a peace offering after all.
I knelt down and retrieved the device. I slid the switch on and a moment later, it came to life. Cool to the touch after having sat outside, it appeared none the worse for wear. As I prepared to rise back to my feet, the wind started again. I looked up just in time to see it and realized—it was no wind at all, but a man. One no longer the man he’d once been. He glowed white and ran past the front of the porch. Beyond him in the yard were more just like him. I dropped the Kindle.
They were all shapes and sizes of ghosts. Men, women and children, even the occasional dog and cat. One of the dogs was barking and it sounded familiar. Thankfully, it didn’t seem to be looking for me this time. They all seemed to ignore me and one another. They just ran. Some waved their arms. A few stomped about like zombies. From the expressions on their faces, none were at rest. This was a horror among horrors.
I sat down there and watched the pain as it unfolded about me, frozen by it. Somehow it felt as if I’d just survived a plane crash that had killed everyone else and my brain was short-circuiting because it was simply too much to fathom.
“They’re so sad,” a voice said beside me on the left. I nodded, but couldn’t pull my eyes from the dead. “This is because of the bad lady,” Paul announced. He stood beside me in the doorway. Mercifully, he didn’t touch me. It might have been the last straw that, once removed, would make the whole construct that was me crumble towards nothingness.
“Yes,” I said, finding my voice.
“We must do something to stop her.”
I turned at this and looked upon the boy standing there before me, who stared past me at the scene in the yard. Interesting to behold—he was very young, but unafraid. Glancing down at me, he nodded as if resigned to some duty.
“We must,” he said. I felt very proud of him at that moment for some crazy reason. I recall shaking my head in astonishment.
If you had to cast your characters, who would you reconcile to play their parts?
Hmm? You know, perhaps it has to do with my limited time, but I have never dreamed of actors for any of my characters. Perhaps I’m boring that way. That’s not to say that I haven’t dreamed of selling film rights or being summoned to Hollywood to assist with the screenplay. I have dreamt of that quite a lot. *laughs* Especially the part where I pen my two week’s notice and walk away from the eleven hour day job. That’s a favourite dream of mine!
Any last words? (feel free to write Kristy Berridge is super awesome right here)
I believe we have covered quite well the fact that Kristy Berridge is super awesome, even discounting the part where she plans my death in order for her to leave the island with Tom Hanks. Whether it was our short time together on the island or this interview, it was fabulous while it lasted!
Seriously, I want to thank you for this opportunity, Kristy. I thank you and your readers for taking the time to give my writing a chance. For the writers out there I urge you to press on. If we push ourselves and give it our all, no one can take it away. What we don’t want is to sit in our rocking chairs in our old age and be saddled with regret for not ever having tried. Happy reading and writing, my friends.
Well, thank you so much, Jimmy! It's been great having you, and an absolute pleasure to support a talented author like yourself. Make sure you all check out James's work and get yourselves a copy of his books ASAP!
|Get your Kindle Copy Here|
|Get your Kindle Copy Here|