Kat's Blog

Kat's Blog

Friday, July 02, 2010

Summer Bash - Day 2!

Welcome to day 2 of my Summer Bash. Today joining the party is none other than James Hartley!

1: When did you first begin writing?

I tried once about 15 years ago, but sort of dropped it when I didn't seem to be going anywhere. It was expensive, all snail-mail submissions, back then. I started again 3 or 4 years ago, and this time I have stuck with it and seem to be doing OK.

2: Where do you get your inspiration for writing from?

I get ideas from all over the place. An odd phrase will trigger an idea for a story. I have several stories that came from song titles. And once in a while I will see the title to a book or movie or something (remember, you can't copyright a title) that suggests a different story. There was an old black and white movie, "This Gun for Hire," but now the working title for my next book is "This Wand for Hire."

3: Do you have any rituals that help you get in the mood to sit down and write?

Not really. I check my e-mail, maybe play a couple of quick games, then jump in.

4: Are you a plotter or a pantser when you write? Why does that work for you?

Oh, I think I am definitely a pantser. This is shown by the way I work. I do a chapter here, a chapter there, often I write the beginning, then the end, then go back and fill in the middle. And often I will play out a short story, or a chapter of a longer work, in my mind several times until it is ready to go on paper.

5: Who are some of your favorite authors to read when you are not writing?

Shall I list the fiction catalog of the local library? Seriously, I jump all over the place. I like older SF like Heinlein and Asimov, fantasy like Tolkien, Rowling, Asprin, mysteries (mostly cozies or similar) like Evanovich, Fluke, Hess. And I'll try anything that looks interesting.

6: Are you currently reading anything right now?

Right now I have an old Asimov open, but tomorrow I go to the library for the new Evanovich Stephanie Plum book. I do have one book I gave up on a couple of days ago, "Twilight." I had heard so much about it, no problem with the vampires, but way too much teen-age angst. Read half, doubt if I'll ever finish it.

7: How do you deal with writer’s block?

Go read or watch TV, whatever I'm working on will be ready to write in a while. Or maybe just work on something else. I don't let it bother me.

8: What do you like to do for fun when you’re not writing?

I read, watch TV or old movies, play computer games. I'm not the world's most active person, but I like to swim when the weather is warm enough, a good part of the year here in Florida.

9: If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go and why?

I can't think of a lot of places I'm that anxious to go. I hate dealing with crowds. I'd love to see the new Harry Potter attraction at Universal (not far away) but it will be months before it's safe to go near it. A lot of other interesting places are the same way, I'd love to go if I could just have the place to myself for a day!

10: What advice do you have for new authors?

"Illegitimi non carborundum", don't let the bastards grind you down. You will get rejections, back in the days when they came in the mail, I had enough to wallpaper my office. And personally, I would advise you to write what you want to write, then worry about selling it. Trying to write something you don't like, because somebody told you it is popular, is a sure way to get frustrated and quit.

11: Is there anything you’d like people to know about you?

I'm just a weird guy with a vivid imagination, that's all. I do have a strange sense of humor, and go for things like horrible puns.

12: Tell us a bit about your book. What’s it about?

My book, "The Ghost of Grover's Ridge," is a fantasy in a contemporary setting. Ken Parker, a professor of Paranormal Studies who has been fired from his job, comes into Groverton. He meets cute, red-headed Jinny and falls in love with her. But when he looks more carefully at what's going on, he finds that Jinny is a witch, and that she and the other witches are about to do battle with a group of warlocks who are trying to take over. Then Ken discovers that he, too is a witch ... Well, I'll let you read the book to see what happens next.

James thank you so much for being here. I really look forward to The Ghost Of Grover's Ridge.


Roseanne Dowell said...

great interview, Jim and your book sounds fascinating.

Kat said...

Doesn't it Roseanne?:-)

Anny Cook said...

Welcome, Jim. Excellent interview!

Lin said...

Paul Parrot is winking at you James and squawking happily. He loves your blog, and likes how you go about choosing the titles. He also loved your Latin phrase. Parrots are wise depite their image of just sitting on the shoulders of pirates demanding crackers.

As for me, Lin...You ae A-1

Lea Schizas - Author/Editor said...

hi Kat, come on over to:


and check out your award. :)