Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Interview with Author James Wymore (Theocracide)


It's Author Interview time again in my corner of the blogosphere and I am more than thrilled to announce that today's victim willing participant is none other than my amazing mentor for the Haunted Writing Clinic and Contest, James Wymore.

Yes, I am pausing for applause. Why? Because he deserves it! I'm clapping, dangit. And you will be too by the end of this interview. This is actually the first stop on my blog for the Curiosity Quills Sci-Fi Tour, so if sci-fi is your thing, make sure you check back here for more on James as well as his cohorts in this tour, Thea Gregory and Anthony Mathenia. And some giveaways, of course. ;) For more information on Theocracide (and most importantly, where you can purchase it), you can find the blurb following the interview.

Question: Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the questions, let's start with your book Theocracide. What can you tell us about your main character, Jason, and the trouble he is about to be in?

James Wymore: Jason has grown up with a secret.  Everybody considers his father crazy and he spent his youth listening to conspiracy theories and heresy.  The up-side to it all came when Jason went to college and found the doomsday training he hated as a child made him strong and skilled so he excelled at sports enough to get a scholarship and lead a championship team.  The down-side is that police are constantly harassing him and he has to try and keep all of it a secret from his new girlfriend.
Q: What was your inspiration for Theocracide?

JW: The inspiration for this book came spread out over decades.  I thought of the rail cars in high school.  I came up with the idea for an Undying Emperorin the middle of teaching a science class one day.  The idea for computer glasses hit me when I was waiting for somebody at the dentist.  I started drawing and writing in the end pages of a paperback I brought to read.  Eventually all the ideas kind of fused in my mind and I knew I had to write this book.
Q: Your biography mentions that you were a teacher before you decided to start writing on a more serious level (like when you wrote The Forbidden Novels in high school). More often than not, we find that authors have to balance writing with the lives they lead and the jobs they already have. What can you tell us about what your process was when you first ventured back into novel-writing territory? How did you balance your life with your dreams?
JW: Life always came first.  I had time to write in high school, of course.  During college and starting a family I only wrote a few short stories here and there.  Then as I settled into a career and my kids grew, I gradually found more time to write again.  I spent a disproportionate amount of time on brainstorming and world building at first.  It took a long time to work through a novel.  Eventually I started taking it more seriously.  I found I had to cut back on other pursuits (games, video games, television) in order to free up more time for writing.  I still envy authors who don't need a day job.  I know my work would improve much faster if I could dedicate myself to it full time.  I'm hoping to get to there in time.
Q: Writing science fiction can seem like a daunting task for some authors because of the science aspect of the genre. What kind of research did you do for Theocracide?
JW: This book doesn't have as much science in it as most sci-fi.  It's set in the future.  However, the technological advances are really all in the computer glasses.  Everybody wears a pair of wrap around, clear glasses which use a camera to scan the world and then project images right over what they see.  So people literally see whatever they want to.  This over-stimulated, media based culture has led to a decline in many technologies because most people spend their time in the virtual world.  It mentions space travel and time travel, but only in passing.
Q: Are you more of a pantser or a plotter when writing a novel?
JW: I am more of a pantser.  I've written both ways, but as this book progressed I found the characters and situations often surprised me.  In fact when the ending came, it crashed down all at once, leaving me in shock.  It's a real rush.  I recommend it to anybody.
Q: Theocracide has been published with Curiosity Quills Press. What has your experience been like with them?
JW: I have loved working with CQ from the beginning.  Everybody I worked with there has been awesome.  When I submitted my work, I didn't realize what a great business model they have.  It's different from any other publisher I've looked at.  As the publishing industry changes around new communication and distribution systems made possible by the Internet (Amazon, print on demand books, etc) everybody in the business has been looking for the best way utilize the new technology.  Of all the places I've looked at, CQ has the best, most forward thinking structure.  I really believe this company will grow exponentially.
Q: Did you always set out to publish with Curiosity Quills, or did you try querying agents with Theocracide first?
JW: I tried other agents and publishers before CQ without any success.  However, some of the early drafts I sent out needed work.  I'm sure CQ wouldn't have wanted it before I did the later drafts.  Now I am glad it worked out the way it did.  There are a lot of advantages to publishing through them, which will play out better in the long run.
Q: As someone who has served as an amazing mentor for authors looking to get published (no bias here, of course), what sort of advice can you give writers working on their query letters?
JW: (Thanks!)  What I recommend for query letters is planning to write several drafts.  Start by writing a general query you can later tailor to each publisher or agent.  I've found every time I change something to be more clear or include more details, it becomes clinical and loses the most important ingredient-- voice.  The way I found to fix it is to work on one letter until it has all the right details in it.  Then, toss it out and write a new one completely from scratch.  The new one will have the right information, but in a fresh voice.  It took me several tries to finally get the right combination of information and voice in my query letters.
Q: You have your writing soundtrack for Theocracide linked on your website. How do you choose the songs for your soundtrack? Do they have a particular draw or beat or is it more about the inspiration for particular scenes that pulls you to them?
JW: Music has always been important to me.  When I write I often play music to match the mood of what I'm writing.  So when I saw some writers putting soundtracks out for their books, I knew I wanted to.  I have a pretty big collection of music and as I build a book I collect songs matching the themes or ideas into a playlist.  By the end I pare it down into a soundtrack.  I did all the editing rewrites for Theocracide to this soundtrack exclusively.
Q: What is ahead for your writerly future?
JW: I already have a second book under contract with another publisher.  Exacting Essence will be out soon from Wolf on Water Publishing.  I also have a book entered in the Curiosity Quills Press Na-No Virtuosos contest.  It's called Salvation and anybody who sees this, I'd appreciate you going to the website to vote for me!  I have two short stories coming out in themed anthologies inspired by Kurt Vonnegut and H. G. Wells, as well.  Of course the long term goal is to get to where I can be writing full time.

*insert applause here*

News headlines in the future repeat endlessly. Aliens bent on conquering the world close in on a weakened America. Epidemic alien-flu leaves people afraid to go outside their homes. America, led by the Undying Emperor, is drafting people of all ages despite the plummeting world population. Nobody really cares. They live in a fantasy facilitated by computer glasses, which project images right over the parts of the world they don’t like.

With a sports scholarship and an amazing girlfriend, Jason had it all. As captain, he led his college team from one victory to another. His new love, Di, created digital artist in a world where life didn’t exist outside of the virtual. As long as they ignored the constant barrage of terrible news, their lives would turn out to be perfect. Perfect, except for Jason’s secret.

Jason liked to imagine his family was just dysfunctional in the usual ways. He easily concealed his father’s rampant paranoia because the man lived alone in the wilderness like a hermit. In a world where everybody saw whatever they wanted, nobody noticed Jason’s father. But when Jason goes to visit, his father drops a bomb on him. Jason’s very existence is a heresy against the Undying Emperor. People would burn him at the stake if anybody found out. Also, his father secretly dedicated his life to finding and assassinating the theocrat.

Why did his father wait so long to tell him this? Because he didn’t want to worry Jason until the government found out. Why was he telling the secret now? The government just found out. They are coming to get them both.

Theocracide is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Want more of Theocracide? Check back here on January 15th for an interview with Jason before watching his journey unfold and also on February 1st for an excerpt from the book and a chance to win your very own copy! 

1 comment:

  1. The book sounds awesome - conspiracy theories, sci fi, aliens and virtual reality... I'm not sure what that says about me. A great interview.