What are some day jobs you have held?
I’m glad you asked! I have moved around quite a bit and have had a great many jobs over the years. I’ve been a children’s librarian, a gas station attendant, a clerk at a county jail, typesetter and designer, secretary, drug store clerk, copywriter, office manager, and marketer, and these are not in any particular order, just what I am randomly remembering. I rely on my past jobs and localities for backgrounds in my novels.
How do you feel about indie/alternative vs. conventional publishing?
The worst part about publishing conventionally as a fiction author is that you must have the industry buffer of a literary agent. I wasn’t able to interest any literary agents in my work, so when Amazon offered self-publishing for free, I thought I’d take a gamble. I love the control I have, although the marketing can be extremely taxing.
Can you share with readers a little bit about your latest book?
I’m working on two books concurrently at the moment. One is another novel about father and daughter sound engineers during the rise of rock and roll. The other is a coffee table book of photos. All my life, I’ve gone to classic and antique car shows and museums. I’m collecting some of my best car photography and compiling a book to showcase those photos. I’m completely excited about both projects.
What role does research play in your writing?
Research plays a huge role for me. I love research, and I love the legitimacy that research lends to works of fiction. I’ve written about the states around the Gulf of Mexico during the Great Depression, and I did tons of research for that – and loved it. Another of my books has a theme of amateur metal detection. I researched the processes of metal detecting and actually bought a metal detector to get the first-hand experience. These are examples of how dedicated I am to the process of research!
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Definitely. I can highly recommend Janet Rendall and her novel Route 66 to the Milky Way; Marilyn Berman’s memoir Traveling the Two-Lane; Zander Marks and his novel Death Ain’t But a Word; and for children’s books, Amy and Carl Goleno’s books about the Napa wine country: Maggie and Maddy, and The Colors of Wine Country. There are plenty more great ones out there by current authors, but these are the very tops on my list.
What do you do to get book reviews?
The most direct and effective way that I’ve found to get reviews is simply to ask for them and offer free copies. The hard part there is that you don’t know the caliber of your readership and you can sometimes get burnt.
Who or what inspires your writing?
I don’t get inspired. I get ideas. Only one out of every four or five ideas manages to turn into a book. Different things prevent a story from becoming a novel, such as the plot dead-ending, the characters have no growth or deterioration, etc., so it’s a blessing when an idea manages to go the whole nine yards.
What is one thing you hate about being a writer?
If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?
When I was a kid, my dream job was to be either a stand-up comic or a Supreme Court justice. Much later, I found my true calling as a typesetter and type designer. I document the years that I spent setting type in a short memoir called On Becoming a Dinosaur. Typesetting as a profession was eaten up by desktop publishing, so my ideal-career rug was pulled out from under me.
How can readers discover about Java and her work?
Amazon book links: