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Friday, October 5, 2012
October Guest Star Interview
Last month, I introduced you to the Master of Magic.
The month of October sees me a very happy lad indeed as I welcome the King of Vampire tales to my blog. Yes, say hello to none other than:
J.R. has kindly taken the time out from
his busy schedule to tell us a little more about himself and his work.
So, tell us a bit about yourself, perhaps something that isn’t already included
on your bio. Who is J.R Rain?
Hi Andrew! Thank you for having me
here. I’m quite honored. The real J.R. Rain is someone who lives a simple life
on a faraway island in the back of beyond. My home has been dubbed The Tree
House. It’s a beautiful structure that pokes out through the evergreens that
surround me and gives me a majestic view of Puget Sound. I’m also someone who gets
up early and works until I’m tired. That could be just a few hours or all day
long. I love hanging out in coffee shops and occasionally bars. I’m a sucker
for football and I read all the books I can on metaphysics. Come to think of
it, those two subjects might just be polar opposites, ha! Well, nothing wrong
with a little duality in one’s life. You know, a little good mixed with a
little dark never hurt anyone, I say. Keeps things interesting, I say.
What or who inspired you to write?
My father initially. I just got
such a thrill knowing that he’d written two children’s novels (both are
available through Kindle--Kurt and Captain Annie and Jimmy).
Sorry, shameless plug. But, hey, it’s for my pops! Anyway, I shortly discovered
that my mother was also a writer and had published two articles and worked as a
newspaper reporter! Holy smokes! Who knew I came from a family of writers? It
was quite a revelation.
You are best known for a number of well known works. The Vampire for Hire
series, the Jim Knighthorse series and the Spinoza series to name just a few!
Tell us, do you have a particular favorite series or one that you really enjoy
working on. If so…why?
I mostly enjoy writing standalone
novels, truth be known. My novels, The Body Departed, Elvis Has Not
Left the Building and Silent Echo (and incidentally, The Body
Departed and Silent Echo just sold to Thomas & Mercer, Amazon’s
publishing division!) are some of my favorites. All are standalones and not
part of any series. For me, a standalone novel present endless opportunity to
explore new storylines, new characters, and new ideas. With that said, my
favorite series character is probably Jim Knighthorse, as I pour most of myself
into him. I always say he’s me, only bigger, badder and better. Samantha Moon
has a gentle sweetness to her that resonates on a whole other level for me. I
care about Samantha deeply and want to look out for her. Almost like a big
You have a new novel that has just come out what are you willing to tell us
Yes! It’s called Temple of the
Jaguar and it’s written with my good friend, Aiden James. We’ve been
meaning to team up on a novel for some time, and decided to pick this project. Temple
of the Jaguar is actually a 20,000 word novella...but boy-oh-boy do we pack
a lot in 20,000. The story is centered around a relic hunter named Nick Caine,
a looter with a conscience. He finds himself knee-deep in trouble after the
alluring Marie Da Vinci hires him to find the legendary Ciudad Blanca, the lost
White City purportedly located in the Honduran jungles. We had a great time
putting this one together.
What made you choose that title? And, where did the idea for
this specific story come from?
The Mayan temple at
Tikal is called Temple of the Great Jaguar, so I’m not afraid to admit
that I swiped the title from the Mayan themselves! As far as the idea for the
story...well, I wanted my adventurers on a quest for something other than El
Dorado, the lost city of gold. So I happened upon stories about Ciudad
Blanca...and was intrigued.
Do you have anything new in the works and can you tell us a bit about it?
Well, there’s always something new
in the works! I will be releasing The Vampire in the Iron Mask in about
a month. It’s the third and final Spinoza story. I’m currently writing the
second book in the Spider series. Spider was first introduced in Bad Blood,
which I co-wrote with Scott Nicholson and HT Night (my brother). HT will not be
involved with the sequel, although he might write the third book on his own.
Also, there will be a brand-new Samantha Moon novel coming out before
Christmas, called Moon Island.
How many books have you written now?
I’ve written and
published 40 books. That includes 24 novels, 5 short story collections, 2
screenplays and 9 children’s books. The children’s book I wrote when I was in
high school, and I’ve since published them under the pen name J.K. Drew.
You are a prolific writer. What do you think it is that makes your books stand out from
others in today’s competitive market?
Ah...the million-dollar question,
eh? I write emotion-driven stories. Meaning, I go for emotion first, action
second. I enjoy plumbing a character’s psyche to see what makes them tick. My
stories are an emotional journey, and I think some readers enjoy the
What advice would you give to an unpublished writer?
Sign on to Amazon,
Nook, Kobo, Smashwords and Lulu and get published! These days it’s a piece of
cake to get published. The real question is...how to find readers? You find
readers by working hard at your craft, honing your skills, and writing the best
books you can. No short cuts. Buy books on writing. Study other authors. Take
it seriously and treat writing as both an art and a business, and you just
might go far.
If you don't mind J.R, I think the readers would like to find out a bit more about you. So...
Are you a reader? Who do you enjoy reading?
I read all the metaphysical,
spiritual, New Agey books I can get my hands on. Fascinating stuff. As far as
fiction goes, I’m a huge Robert B. Parker fan (probably not a surprise to a lot
of readers). Stuart Woods is pure entertainment. I’m a Hemingway enthusiast or
perhaps fanatic! I read everything I can about the man. What a legend! Bukowski
and Bradbury will forever be close to my heart.
Is writing your only talent?
When I was younger, I always wanted
to be an artist. A cartoonist, actually. I think I can sing, but you’ll never
hear me--unless you happen to be in the car next to me!
How do you find time to write?
These days I write full time, but
back when I was married and had a full-time job, I wrote from 9:00 pm until
about 1:00 am. Being married and commuting two hours a day and writing when
you’re exhausted is no easy task. In fact, I call those the bleak years. But
you do what you have to do to make it happen.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?
Well, I find the whole process
challenging. Writing will probably never be easy for me, although I work hard
to make it appear that it’s easy. Truth is, I struggle over sentences and
paragraphs and motivation and plot and just about everything else. There’s a
reason why most writers celebrate like rock stars when they complete a book.
It’s a massive, exhausting journey.
Do you have a writing vice that continually haunts you? If so, what's the cure?
Ha! Well, probably my proclivity to
writing shorter books. I’m a slow reader, so I enjoy short novels. I really
don’t need to know all the detail of a character’s life. Read the list of
authors above. Parker, Woods, Hemingway, Bukowski and Bradbury do not write big
What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Write about your hometown. After
all, you’re already an expert. Samantha Moon, Knighthorse and Spinoza all live
in cities I’ve lived in.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
I don’t see it as writer’s block. I
see it as your subconscious letting you know that you’ve ventured down the
wrong path. It’s up to you to be brave enough to venture back to see where the
What is one novel book that you would recommend?
Easy! Louis L’Amour’s The
Walking Drum. What a glorious piece of writing that is. An epic adventure
novel. Perhaps the greatest adventure novel of all time. Why this hasn’t been
made into a movie, I’ll never know.
What do you think makes a good story?
A story that touches you on a soul
level, that resonates deeply.
Is there a genre that you’d like to write that you haven’t tackled yet?
I’m planning to write a science
fiction novel. A mystery set in the far future. Space opera really, as I’m no
scientist! Ah, the solitude of space, the exotic settings...geez, that holds a
massive appeal to me.
It’s five o’clock somewhere…Let’s have a drink! What can I get you - and why?
Pour me a Guiness Extra Stout,
Andrew! I love that burnt, roasted flavor. I seriously think I was Irish in a
J.R. I've heard you can find out quite a lot about someone by the choices they make. So, lets see what the readers make of your answers in the choices round!
Aniston or Penelope Cruz?Penelope Cruz
or psychic powers?Magic
What would you say are the top 10 list of movies?
1.Raiders of the Lost Ark
3.The Princess Bride
6.Romancing the Stone
9.The Truman Show
10.Pirates of the Caribbean
J.R. Thank you so
much for being with us today. You’re a busy guy – I know – so I really
appreciate the time you’ve spent here. (And I know the readers will too).
As a fan myself who
has read almost all of your books – I can’t wait to get around to reading
Temple of the Jaguar, (already downloaded to my kindle) and I look forward to seeing what else is in store for
Until then readers,
please be aware you can find out more about J.R. Rain and all his work at his