Good Morning Everyone and happy Friday once again. I know that it has been a few weeks since we have shared a coffee together but I am back and ready for some fun. This week on Inside A Beautiful Mind I am going to be chatting with the wonderfully talented writer E.C Jarvis.
KADE: Good morning E.C., Thank you for being here today. So now that we have our caffeine ready, let’s get right to it and tell the readers a little bit about your new book?
E.C: I have just released the fourth and final book in my steampunk series, The Destiny. It is the story of a girl who think she’s fallen in love but learns very quickly that things aren’t as rosy as they seem and she goes off on a big adventure to try and fix a growing list of problems. I think (hope) that book four ties the whole series up nicely.
KADE: That is so exciting, I know the first book was awesome so I am very excited to see what you have done with the crew from ‘The Machine’. So tell me, what inspired you to write your first book?
E.C: A short story prompt on writing.com. It was really just a throw away idea. I’d been playing around with stories for years, a couple went into large(ish) word counts, but I wasn’t really committed. With this one, I had enough of my writer friends telling me it was part of something bigger and pushing me to continue (and demanding to read along as I wrote it) that I just kind of kept going.
KADE: I am so glad that you decided to pick it up and run with it. Is there anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
E.C: It’s 100% imagination. I have never flown in a pirate airship, nor blown up a government building… I suppose the cat in the story is quite based on my old boy Charlie. He was a very intelligent cat, just like Imago.
KADE: Ah, then you must love Charlie to pieces because Imago is such an interesting little piece of the story and I suppose if it were from life experiences, we might be having a completely different conversation. I know that you have written a few but what was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
E.C: I wrote the series ending way back when I was part way through book two. I had such a clear idea of where the whole story would end up and that has remained the same up until I got to that part. It was comforting to have a specific moment to work towards. I can’t reveal what happens or who it happens between because spoilers, but it’s a very satisfying conclusion to the series.
KADE: Well then, I look forward to jumping in and finding out. I know everyone has a way of choosing a title for their books but I am wondering how did you come up with yours?
E.C: The title goes along with the theme of the series. The Machine, The Pirate, The War, and The Destiny. I find it helps to have titles that give cohesion to the whole.
KADE: That makes good sense. Through your writing career, what has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
E.C: I recently heard that my writing lacked depth. I wasn’t sure how to take that as there was no real constructive element to that comment that I could take and learn from. The majority of readers have been complimentary. The best compliment I get is when a person goes on to read the next book in the series, which is indication enough that I have done a good job.
KADE: True, I agree. And obviously you are doing a great job keeping the readers happy. When you sit down to write, do you have any unique or quirky habits?
E.C: All my habits seem perfectly normal to me! I do like to listen to some form of instrumental music when I write (music with singing in is distracting). There is no glamorous setting, it’s me curled up on the couch in my pajamas with the laptop on my legs typing away.
KADE: I would say that is a wonderful ‘quirk’ to have, jammies rock for writing. What’s the strangest thing you have ever had to research online for your book?
E.C: The function and construction of nuclear fission reactors. How helicopters work (the physics involved). Parts of the body where a person can be shot and survive for a significant amount of time without medical attention. Sword fighting. Crossbow operation… the list goes on!
KADE: That is a wide range of abnormal web surfing for sure. Can you give us an interesting fun fact about your book?
E.C: I always struggle to name characters. When trying to name a certain character I was sat at work (I work as an accountant) and I had to raise an invoice to a Mr Holt… the name kind of stuck. I smile every month when I have to invoice Mr Holt.
KADE: Oh, now that is fun. But once you hear the right name you must use it. When you write do you work with an outline, or just write?
E.C: I’m not a plotter, but as the series grew I got into a habit of doing a form of outline. I had a list of story points for each chapter that I was aiming towards during the writing of book 4. I always prefer writing without restrictions more, as I love to discover the path as a reader of my own book.
KADE: Sounds like a system that has been working out quite nicely for you. Your writing is wonderful. Would you mind telling us about your experiences in getting your first book published?
E.C: One part horrific, three parts fantastic. I made the mistake of trusting the manuscript to a very new publishing company. They did put the book out and I did learn a lot from them but they have turned out to be an awful company who do nothing other than mess authors about. My contracts were cancelled and I self-published the books myself and I’m much happier for it. I will never submit to a small publisher again.
KADE: Yes, I can completely understand where you are coming from. But at least you have taken away some important knowledge from the experience and that is priceless. Congrats on getting it out there on your own steam, good job! When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
E.C: I started writing seriously in January 2015. The book was finished in May 2015 and published in November 2015. The contract was cancelled in December 2015 and I republished in January 2016. That was quite the whirlwind journey.
KADE: Oh my, yes. That does sound like a lot to juggle in one short year. Impressive though from an outsiders point of view. Now how did you decide the genre you write in?
E.C: I’m a fantasy girl. I get bored when I attempt to write anything based in the real world. I enjoy the world building, the rule bending and the fitting of characters into a new setting. I also can’t deal with putting effort into making my setting geographically accurate. If I say there is a coffee shop at number 16 on Bond Street in London, you can bet your bottom dollar that someone would complain that no such shop exists – and I can’t deal with those sort of people in a reasonable manner.
Fantasy allows freedom for the imagination to run wild and that’s the feeling I need to have when I write. The more my mind feels constricted, the worse my writing is.
KADE: You are a girl after my own heart. I love how you have totally done just that and the best part is, you do it well. Where do you get your ideas?
E.C: Physically? I get a lot of my major plot points figured out during a shower or on my drive to/from work. Metaphysically? Who the hell knows. I’m a daydreamer, my mind is giving about 30% attention to reality and 70% attention to fantasy at any point. People often start speaking to me and I find my mind drifting away to somewhere else. Apologies to my friends, colleagues and husband, they must think I’m awful.
KADE: Haha you are a lucky person to be able to have such a wonderful gift, that ability to daydream will keep your writing well from running dry. We all have people we aspire to be like or look up to. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
E.C: Growing up I was oddly influenced by Spike Milligan. I loved his whimsical poetry as a child. I can still quote from his version of the bible and his books about his time serving in the military are fantastic reading. I love to inject humour into my stories wherever possible, so I’m naturally draw towards writers who write with a degree of wit to their voice. Terry Pratchett is another. Recently my writing is influenced by Lindsay Buroker, she is certainly someone I look up to and aspire to.
KADE: Wonderful choices. As an experienced writer, do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
E.C: Don’t make excuses for not writing. If you don’t feel passionate about it then you won’t succeed. Write all the time, even if you think it’s shit. You have to write the shit in order to find the sparkling gem hidden somewhere in the middle.
KADE: I love that! It is a very visual and effective way of tell us all to keep your pen to the paper. What is your favorite quote or saying?
E.C: I always turn to George Bernard Shaw for great quotes, the very best is:
People who say it cannot be done, should not interrupt those who are doing it.
KADE: Oh I am going to keep that one. I love it. Now for some silly stuff. Tea or coffee?
E.C: I’m a Brit, so tea of course. Absurd that you’d even ask, quite frankly.
KADE: Hahaha Sorry, apologies. I should have known better. J Sweet or salty?
E.C: As much as I like a bit of salt on occasion, I have a sweet tooth.
KADE: Now that we have picked your brain, how about sharing some of your book with us. Maybe a passage that will give us a glimpse into the world you built.
E.C: “Will you agree to return to the brig and spend the time not causing trouble?”
“I will agree to that,” she said. Seeing as he hadn’t defined what he meant by causing trouble, it didn’t worry her too much. Their definition of trouble might vary markedly. She stifled a grin as he exited the room and led her back along the ship.
“I will question the others,” he said.
“Of course. You’ll find they’re a generally nice enough group of men. They won’t fear your torture threats. You could try offering them a nice lunch, they’ll be more amenable to your questioning.”
“Are you suggesting I offer treats to my prisoners?”
“You are an odd woman.”
KADE: I can’t wait to get this book, it sounds just as awesome as the rest. Now let’s give the readers some info on what is the best way to stay in touch with you and where to learn more about your books?
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/E.C.JarvisAuthor
Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14441226.E_C_Jarvis
KADE: All fun thing must come to an end but I would like to say a heart felt thank you to E.C. Jarvis for letting us have a glimpse inside her creative process and for taking the time to hang out with me today. And a big thank you to all of you readers out there for taking a moment to support your Authors.
If you or any of you know of someone who would like a few minutes of limelight on Inside A Beautiful Mind with me, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and place Author Interview in the topic space.
Enjoy your Friday folks, you are awesome and please remember to be kind to your Authors, leave a review. See you next week, Peace!