I'm very to pleased to introduce Jimmy "JD" Gordon as my first featured author with Virtual Book Tour Cafe as a host.
Jimmy is joining me on a pit stop today only to promote his new release Dartboard. But first a little bit about JD before we chat.
Firefighter and paramedic-turned-author Jimmy (J.D.) Gordon was born and raised in Chicago where he developed a taste for the finer things that the Windy City has to offer - pan pizza, live blues and the Cubs.
Jimmy dropped into the world of literature, literally. After falling off a train and breaking his knee Jimmy had to spend quite a bit of time recuperating. While visiting the firehouse his peers asked what he planned to with all that time away. This when Jimmy said the words that he now claims to have changed his life. "I should write a book."
Despite some skepticism from his peers ("You don't even use punctuation on your run reports!"), he completed a novel, Island Bound, and made it a point to use punctuation throughout.
Louise: JD, welcome to my blog! I’m so excited you could join me for a chat. When did you first decide to submit your work to be published? Tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step.
JD: Thanks for having me Louise! I honestly had no clue whatsoever what I was supposed to do once I wrapped up the first book. I had never in my life thought I’d be writing books. I was always the guy at the back of the school bus or the back of the class trying to avoid the teacher’s gaze. I did all of my book reports and term papers during study hall. My first book was really the result of dare or a challenge might be a better word. I like to say I fell into literature, literally. I was working as a professional firefighter when I fell off of a train and broke my knee. I was to be off of work several months healing up. While visiting the station my shift mates asked me what I planned to do with all of my time away, as if physical therapy wasn’t enough right? I had always been an avid reader and for some reason, “I might write a book” popped out. The comment kicked off a round of laughter and jests, something like…”you don’t even use punctuation in your run reports.”
No I didn’t. Heck, I even typed in all capital letters back then. Well, the gauntlet had been cast. I picked it up and started typing. Once finished I turned to the net and did the google thing on how to publish your first book. An outfit called 1stBooks Library popped up, they call themselves Authorhouse now. I knew nothing of agents, nothing of submitting, so, I went with 1stBooks. And that’s another story……..a long story.
Louise: I really think writing just falls into a lot of author's laps. It did for me in my prime years. Please tell us a little about your new release Dartboard without giving too much of a spoiler away.
JD: I’ve recently received a blurb for Dartboard from one of my favorite authors, Paul Kemprecos. Paul is great writer on his own but he also wrote co-wrote several books with Clive Cussler, another favorite. Paul summed it up the best; “Dartboard is a cross between Carl Hiaasen and Treasure Island.” The story locations are mostly made of sea, sand and sunshine, along with a few seedy types of Caribbean towns. It’s an inheritance gone astray with many players trying to get their hands on the same stuff. I love to stick humor into my writing, along with a few gun battles and even a little romance, and then there’s the booze among a few other things, it is the Caribbean after all…..
Louise: Do you plan all your characters out before you start a story or do they develop as you write?
JD: No I don’t, not entirely anyway. I come up with the basic characters, the protagonist and antagonist, then I’ll slip folks in as I need them, sometimes I’ll make cuts as I move along as well. If a supporting character isn’t working out as I had hoped, I’ll send the person back to the bench, after all, there will be other stories; maybe I’ll find a fit somewhere else?
Louise: I made the mistake of telling my mom I'd be killing off a character in a future book. I won't disclose future ideas to her again! LOL I got an ear full. How much research do you do for your books? Have you found any cool tidbits in your research?
JD: Well, in the past I’d say not much. I used to draw from life experiences. However, I notice as I write more stories I need to do more research. I don’t know, I guess my well has been tapped? I mentioned the kid’s paranormal stuff, cool research coming there soon. I’m hooking up with local ‘ghost hunters’ on a gig, should be interesting. As for cool tidbits….sure, lots, but you’ll have to read the books to find out what they are!
Louise: What is your writing process? Do you outline, write by the seat of your pants (Pantser) or a combination of both?
JD: Outlines? I think I’ve heard of those. I pretty much write by the seat of my pants. Coming from the non-writing background as I think of it, I never really knew anything about the in and the outs of creative writing. I just sit down and type and whatever pops out, pops out. I clean it up later. This does cause a problem from time to time, some may call it writer’s block but I just call it my down time. I encounter points in my story where I get stuck. I’m totally lost and have no idea where to head next. These down times can last a day or two or even a week or two and then suddenly it will hit me. Oh hey, that’s a good idea. I better write that down. And I do, many times I’ll be somewhere far from a keyboard when the idea strikes. So, I’ll jot it down on something, napkin, the back cover of a book I might be reading and move along to develop the idea later. Another thing I do, as I am writing the story I leave myself little notes, something like, add this here, to remind me I need to go back and make a reference to it earlier. Or, similar, I’m adding this here, in order to remember it later. Um, does that make any sense at all? Once I run through the first draft I go through and make sure all of those little notes come together. I run through it a couple more times and then, finally, off to the appropriate editor. As far as those lag times go, I have a few other projects going which I tinker with while waiting for the next idea to come along.
Louise: Do you write full time? What did you do before you became a writer or still do?
JD: I am a man of many hats. I do spend many hours writing along with everything else I have going where literature is concerned but I’m not sure if I’d call it fulltime, or even part time, it is what it is and that’s all it is. There are times when I’m working with deadlines when it feels fulltime, otherwise, I do make my own schedule, even if it is crazy. I mentioned above that I used to be a professional firefighter paramedic. During my days in the fire service writing was really not much more than a hobby. If you recall it took that knee injury to get me going. I am no longer in the fire service. Another injury sustained in the line of duty and the surgery which followed ended my career. So nowadays I divide my time between my children, I have two, a daughter, she’s just turned nine, and my son will be seven in a matter of weeks and my writing for the two different companies. I umpire high school and college baseball in the spring, I’m also a board member for the Chicago Writer’s Association, a Panelist for annual Clive Cussler Adventure Writer’s Competition and finally, I am involved in a teen mentor program. I work with a gal named Deana. She was a freshman in high school when she wrote her first novel. I’m proud to say that her first book Taking Chances will be published sometime in 2012. Oh, I’ve recently been dragged into being the Den Leader for my little guy’s Cub Scout Pack too. Its more work than one would think.
Louise: Do you have a ritual when it comes to writing? Example….get coffee, blanket, paper, pen, laptop and a comfy place.
JD: Hmmmm, not really, since I stuff the writing in there between everything else I have going on. I wish I had a better answer.
Louise: This was a good answer! You are one busy man/dad. Describe a typical writing day for you.
JD: A weekday, I drop the kids off at school, head to the fitness center and then use the rest of morning for errands or honey do’s. I settle in around noon and start typing. If my wife is working from home, I walk over to one of the local watering holes. If she’s working from the office, I stay home. I pick up the kids around three. My family crashes for night around nine. Depending on what I have going, I’ll stay up. For example, I’ve been hitting the keys until about 2 or 3 in the morning for a while now. I’m wrapping up the next paranormal story for the kids while editing another adventure story. And it looks like that might continue for a while. I’ll be writing two books at once soon, one for each genre, we’ll see if I live through that or not. The weekends, I try to take those off unless something is pressing.
Louise: Please give us a sneak peek at your future books. What’s on the horizon?
JD: Well, I think I’ll be repubbing (is that even a word?) some of my older stuff for Kindle, possibly on my own, we’ll see. The next kid’s book, Field of Screams will be released on opening day for the 2012 baseball season. I have the title and concept ready for the next kid’s book, Pumpkin Jamboree and the Legend of Stumpy Scout. I’m just about ready to start typing there. I haven’t settled on a story to follow up Dartboard yet. I have a several thoughts but I’m still bouncing that stuff around in me noggin’.
Louise: I like 'repubbing'! *jotting down to use later*. What is your favorite genre to read and who is your favorite author?
JD: I’m a fiction guy with a wide range, I like historical fiction, adventure, humor, whatever strikes me while I’m browsing for new reading material, not that I have much time to read anymore. My favorites? Bernard Cornwell is number one. That man can write! While reading his stuff I can’t believe how many times I’ll think, Damn! I wish could write half as good as this guy! He writes historical fiction. I feel pretty close to the same about Carl Hiaasen, a Florida crime guy, Christopher Moore is a blast and then Clive Cussler, adventure writing at its finest.
Louise: Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers we have not touched on?
JD: Not really, though, I do love receiving emails from readers, bad or good. The bad stuff sucks but it helps to make one a better writer, I feel so anyway. And, I invite everyone to hit my up on Facebook, one can never have too many friends. My email addie, though kind of dorky, is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Louise: Where can the readers learn more about you and find your books on the web?
JD: With the demise of Borders my stuff is mostly on line, unless one is in the Chicago area. In that case, head into your local Barnes and Noble, it may be there. It’s pretty tough though, killing Borders eradicated a bunch of shelf space, so please, spread the virtual word. Here are those links…..
Dartboard on Amazon
Dartboard on B&N
1776: An English payroll ship loses sight of its convoy and wrecks on the shoals of a small, remote Caribbean island during a terrible storm, marooning its crew and a small group of soldiers. After rescuing the gold and burying it on the island, they are overrun by a tribe of cannibals, leaving the treasure hidden... Today: Jimmy Quigley, a small town cop, inherits a boat and a treasure map from his Uncle Jackson, a renowned world explorer. He hooks up with Evelyn Quinn, who also received a small inheritance from his uncle. He heads to the Caribbean with Evelyn and her friend, Kristin, and his friend, Rick, for some fun in the sun and a possible treasure hunt. When the boat is ransacked by thieves not once, but twice, Jimmy wonders if his uncle's warning to watch his back has more to it than he first thought. With his friends' safety and the fate of the Lorraine gold in mind, Jimmy heads off into the biggest adventure of his life...
Andy Biggs new life in the "burbs" is about to take a turn for the worse. An uninvited guest has moved into the stately old Victorian home he shares with his mom, new stepdad and baby sister. This weird little demon in a zoot suit has nothing but mischief on its mind and threatens to destroy Andy's home, school life and even his sanity. And when Andy enlists the aid of a pretty girl with a mysterious past, his whole world turns upside down in a battle of good vs. evil against the dreaded "Kritterkreep."
Jimmy emailed me and states he wants to give away a copy of Caribbean Calling to one lucky commenter. The drawing will take place tomorrow through random draw. So be sure to leave a comment with your email address!