Do you have a special time to write, or how is your day structured to accommodate your writing?
I wrote my newest book, JQR, mainly on my commute to work on the subway. I have sort of a reverse commute where everyone is heading into Manhattan, but I get to ride mostly by myself out towards the edge of Queens, which affords me some quiet time. Other than that, snagging an hour at lunch or a few minutes before I go to bed go a long way!
What have you written so far?
I have written four novels, one novella, and one short story. The Final Transmissions of a Doomed Astronaut, about a conscripted woman battling the past, present, and future while indebted to a world that would otherwise shun her. Termination Dust, a historical action/adventure novel about a native Alaskan woman and the impending conquest of American interests in the region leading to her passionate rebellion as her loyal pack of mushing dogs fight their way through the forest they had once regarded as peaceful. Below, a horror novel about three siblings battling the demonic choices and aftermath of their father’s mistakes during World War I. JQR, the epic adventure of an android and his dog as they search for his parents in the aftermath of an atomic bomb. Raptures of the Deep, a novella about an undersea diver wrestling with his quest for knowledge and a creature that equally threatens his mind and his legacy. Even A Dog Enlists, a short story concerning a World War I sharpshooter as he contends with a masked, German rival in the trenches of France.
Do you work to an outline or plot sketch, or do you prefer to let a general idea guide your writing?
I usually start with the cover image first! I try really hard to make each print version of my books a unique experience. I select the font, the look, the overall design to invoke old paperbacks, or literary classics. It helps set the mood for the entire work. Then, I usually do a bit of research on certain topics that I know I’m going to write about. Then I’ll do a rough outline in bullet form. I usually know how the story will unfold, how many chapters there will be, even before the actual meat of it comes together. I generally only write exactly what I want to say on the page. I know some people write, and write, and write, but I am more selective. What comes up on the page is usually my intended choice, and I rarely deviate except to make sure the character’s voices are unique or if my language is borrowing one or two many phrases or words that sound redundant.
What are some ways in which you promote your work?
I rely on my mailing list as well as social media to promote my work. I reach out to many services that provide access to willing reviewers who will critique and engage the work to provide an honest review. I find that giveaways and promotions help solidify your foundational reading base, especially if they like a book they have been given for free!
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
I was always inspired by “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote because he found a way to turn a real event into something that read like fiction. I think finding a style or voice first is key when beginning your writing journey. I also read a lot of indie books to research what I did and didn’t like about the genre I was writing in. Trust your voice, because there are so many books out there that read the same exact way!
Can you share with readers a little bit about your latest book?
My new novel is called JQR and it is about an android and his dog searching for his human parents after an atomic bomb destroys his home. It is part science fiction, part coming-of-age, and part post-apocalyptic. The main character, JoJo, guides the reader through an unforgiving world that he has yet to experience fully, using his love of music, television, and film to inspire his journey. It is an ode to dime-store paperbacks and the Atomic Age, with a heavy investment in creating well-rounded characters, realistic dialogue, and a sense of wonder that is lost in our current age of information overload.
Tell us more about your main character. What makes him or her unique?
The lead character is JoJo, an android programmed with the memories of a little boy. He is precocious and adventurous, influenced highly by his father and the music, television, and cinema of the 50s and 60s. His companion is his dog, Pickles, who acts as a burden of responsibility and a vessel to rest his emotions and fears. Because his programming limits him to the mind of a child, he is naïve in the many ways in which the world can be cruel. He trusts implicitly in many adults and uses the wisdom of the movies to guide his decisions. He has not yet learned how to compartmentalize and analyze his surroundings to better survive.
What is your next project?
I am working on a novel about an anti-Castro rebel in 1960s Cuba who operates a pirate radio station and begins to receive strange transmissions and phone calls from beyond.
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Through my website (notyourplatypus.com) you can find more information about all of my books as well as purchasing options. I also design and sell apparel and merchandise with my original designs that can be purchased as well. My wife and I cohost a podcast called Pupcorn and a Movie where we chat about all the movies we’ve seen since the last episode. You can listen to it through my website or any podcast hosting service (Stitcher, Soundcloud, iTunes, etc.). They can always follow me on social media to hear about updates, discounts, promotions, etc. Just search for @JoJoAndPickles and you’ll find me!