| by Winter Lawrence |
With the new year chugging along nicely, I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with some really awesome authors. This week, I had a chance to catch up with J. P. Edgar, author of the recently released Action-Adventure, Fantasy novel entitled “Bloodlines of Atmos – Jace, Book 2.” Here’s what J. P. had to say…
(Q) Tell us about your current project. What was the inspiration behind it and how long did it take you to complete?
I work on up to two projects at a time. Any more and nothing would get done. The first is the third book of the Bloodlines of Atmos (Bloodlines), and the other is a fantasy novel. But I’ll focus on the Bloodlines.
The time it takes for me to write a novel is a tricky question for me. I’ve learned so much about writing these last few years that the time I spend typing away has increased drastically. It used to be about a month for a first draft (one chapter a day). As of this questionnaire, I’d say it takes me about 9-12+ months to go from concept to completion.
I’ll take a concept to the first draft in maybe 5-6 months. This includes an outline and story sheet. It takes so long mostly because I do not have the time I used to (work, life, and such). But after the first draft is done, I put the project down for at least a month. The reason being I want to have a “fresh mind” when I re-read the story. I’ll forget about jokes, plot points, characters, scenes, and more, and I’ll enjoy the read that much more. If I like the general story arc, I’ll start the editing process, which takes another month or so. A total re-write of a story (as was the situation with book 1 and book 2) will add another 2-3 months. This usually happens if I’m unhappy with the story, there is a huge plot hole, or if the overall series arc changes.
“It came to me in a dream!” That’s how I could describe the first steps into what started my writing. The character concepts were from a writing exercise for someone who hit a roadblock in their story. She had difficulty fleshing out a character concept, so I made two characters on the fly, and we made a little role-play between them. This went on and off for maybe two weeks. Sometime later (perhaps a year?), I had a dream about the main character. I don’t remember what the dream was, but it ignited the inspiration where I wanted to get the idea out of my head. So I began to write Bloodlines. And the rest is history.
(Q) How many hours a day do you put into writing and learning about your craft? Do you have any books or movies that you’d recommend to aspiring writers?
My time is booked until January, so currently less than an hour a week.
On a typical day, my time writing could vary. One day I could spend 10 minutes looking at my outline and thinking about the story arc/structure, then calling it a day. Other days, I could write for hours, chopping out a chapter or two in a single sitting.
It’s tough for me to recommend a movie or a book. Inspiration can come from anywhere at any time. But if a story idea comes to mind, I record it somehow (in a journal or on the cellphone) to look at it later. That single droplet of inspiration can bring out something huge later.
However, you mentioned, “learning about your craft.” So I thought I’d make a quick mention of a resource that propelled me to the writing level I am today. I’m a part of a writing group that reads snippets and gives grammatical, editorial, and general reader’s critique of people’s work. Their feedback is nothing short of vital in my “learning about your craft” journey.
I strongly encourage aspiring writers to find a circle of people (they don’t have to be friends) to talk about stories and discuss their work in a neutral yet positive tone. Oh, and learn how to take criticism. That’s huge! Taking a negative review and learning from it is probably the most important skill anyone in any industry can have. Too many people look at a negative response and get defensively aggressive, blowing off that potentially valuable feedback to blindly continue what they’re doing.
(Q) Do you write based on particular themes, or does the story come to you first and then you incorporate important issues as you go?
My stories come from both world ideas and character concepts.
For book 1 of Bloodlines, I had the world and the characters. The story was carved around concepts that unnerved or stuck with me. These things came from different sources. Like, one was from a music video where it depicted kids being put in an arena and were forced to fight one another. The kids tried to run, but the adults chased them down with dogs. That gave me such a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that the imagery stuck in my head.
(Q) When you were growing up, which authors inspired you and what was your favorite book?
I have a hard time reading.
English/Lit (or any other reading-heavy subject) was the most difficult subject for me in school. It wasn’t until college that I developed a learning method that made those challenging classes manageable. Reading doesn’t stick with me. But give me something I could apply, such as math, I’ll rock that subject!
Here is an example of what I mean. I grabbed a book that I thought would interest me. I read the first chapter maybe half a dozen times and still had no idea what was going on. To this day, I still couldn’t tell you what it was about.
I will read a paragraph or a story and forget it by the time I start the next, so I’d have no idea what was going on. Then I’d get frustrated as I tried again, eventually putting the book down and never picking it up again.
Reading isn’t a strength of mine.
However! However, there are audiobooks, which I discovered somewhat recently. Before those, my most read author was Jim Davis (oh, Garfield. I think you’re the reason why I love lasagna so much), and modules for paper/pencil games. But because of audiobooks, I’ve been able to expand my “reading” beyond a paneled cartoon or learning monsters to put in dungeons.
R. A. Salvatore and Jonathan Stroud are the first names that pop into my head.
(Q) Do you have an addiction to reading as well as writing? If so, what are you currently reading?
As stated before, I’m not a strong reader. So, unfortunately, no.
(Q) J. P., thanks for taking time to share your thoughts on life and on your recent release! Audiobooks and lasagna are two of my favorite things too! Is there any additional information you’d like to share with our readers before you go?
I mentioned my fantasy novel earlier. However, I don’t think I’ll go over the details until the rewrite is done. However, I am working on book 3 of Bloodlines. The first draft is done, and I’ll be picking it up for the re-read soon.
Also, as a very important side-note, Bloodlines book 1 is being made into an audiobook! We recently finalized the contract, and production will be underway on November 1st. If all goes well, that’ll be ready to go in early December.
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J. P. Edgar is an American author who was born in Sacramento, California in 1980. He went to college to obtain his Associates Degree in Information Technology, and then got his Bachelor’s Degree in 2010 in Game Design. A man of many faces, J. P. Edgar is a musician, a technical artist, a game designer, and a computer programmer. Now, he is working on the Bloodlines of Atmos series, expanding his web of talents to the art of story writing. Currently, he is writing book 3 of Jace.
Readers, to keep up with J. P.’s adventures, follow him on these social media outlets…
Book 2: https://amzn.to/2WzP5Sg
Book 1: https://amzn.to/2EHB5g5