This holiday season, I’ve decided to promote some of my writer friends and ask some of the questions that folks ask me. Today’s guest/victim is:
J. E. Lowder
First, a little something about J. E.
Aside from being the author of the War of Whispers fantasy series, he has also played bass for Shania Twain, had a black rhino charge him while on safari, and has been in the Oval Office. In high school, he went backstage to interview groups like Bob Seger, Rush and Kansas, sorta like “Almost Famous” but without Kate Hudson! As an author, he draws from all these experiences (and then some) when crafting his stories. The quote that sums him up the best is by G.K. Chesterton: “Nay, the really sane man knows that he has a touch of the madman.”
He is married, the father of four wonderful children, and a proud grandfather. Jay currently live near Nashville, TN where he writes, bikes and is always on the prowl for adventure and stories.
At what age did you start writing or know that you wanted to write?
The first documented case was when I was in my mom’s womb…I tapped out Morse code to let her know I was okay and planned on staying inside. But mom kept pushing and pushing and pushing…
Do you plot out your stories or just make it up as you go?
I brainstorm over the story while I’m painting, which is mindless anyway, and develop the characters & story until I have a concept that moves me emotionally. Then I write and let the characters breathe life into the tale.
Do you listen to music while you write and if so, what do you listen too?
No. My background is music so when I hear a song, I start analyzing it to death which nullifies any attempt at writing. I did listen to classical music for the War of Whispers series but only as a catalyst for story ideas. For example, Gustav Holst’s “Mars: The Bringer of War” was inspiration for conceptualizing the Ebonite (the bad guys) storyline.
Which of your stories/books/works do you consider the best?
My latest release, When Kings Clash. It’s Book III of the War of Whispers series and I had FUN kicking the story into high gear. And without sounding cocky, my writing style has matured.
How much do you write each day/week?
Since I write part-time, I go in spurts. Right now I’m focused on promoting When Kings Clash. After the Holidays, I’ll get back into writing Book IV. When I do, I probably average 3-4 days a week but in small chunks of time, all of which I do early in the morning.
Can you tell about your experiences working with publishers? Any juicy or painful experiences?
Back when I had an agent, we pitched my murder/thriller novel to some big name publishers. A month later, my agent called with elated news: one of the contacts showed interest and wanted to talk. My agent said this was HUGE because he only takes writers/books with potential. Two weeks later, and still on cloud 9, my agent called with an update: his contact had been fired. And just like that, the dream died.
What is your latest project/release?
Book III, When Kings Clash. It came out last month so I’m in the process of promoting.
Who were your inspirations?
The first story to ignite my writing passion was O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi.” His prose and plot twist made me start paying attention in English class. Next would be Ray Bradbury. Brilliant plots, twists and prose. Oh, and you can add Rod Serling and Hithcock films, too.
Aside from the few I’ve mentioned, I like Anthony Doerr, John Hart, Daniel Woodrell.
What book do you read over and over the most?
The honest answer is the Bible, but that’s not what you were really asking. I LOVE Anthony Doerr’s book, “All the Light We Cannot See.” Brilliant writer! When I’m bored with my style or feel my writing is dull, I skim his book for a good butt kicking.
Do you have a dream project that you want to write in the future?
I’m waiting for Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams to call to ask if I’d like to submit any stories. Naturally, they’ll get into a bidding war which I’ll settle by offering my services to both.
How much of you is in your characters?
Great question. Since the War of Whispers series was written to express my crisis of faith, I poured my pain into the main character, Elabea. But that’s where it ends because she’s nothing like my personality. Linwith, on the other hand, is my Doppleganger: skinny, introvert, snarky, melancholic, insecure. By the way, this was not done intentionally but was something I noticed after the fact.
What genre do you prefer to write? To read?
Well, if you look at who my favorite authors are, you’ll note that none, aside form perhaps Bradbury, are fantasy authors. And yet, I’m writing a fantasy series. Go figure!
What are you working on now?
I’m working on Book IV of the War of Whispers series. The bulk of it was written years ago, but now that my style has changed, along with the storyline, I’m starting from scratch.
What 3 things do you feel every aspiring writer should know?
Writing is a craft that takes time to hone: “write/edit/read” repeat. You’ll need a thick skin to handle rejection as well as friends to encourage you when you feel like quitting. Make sure your passion is for writing, not fame or fortune.
Do you read reviews of your books?
If so, have you ever engaged a reviewer over comments they’ve made? The rule of thumb is that authors are to never contact a reviewer. However, I had one reviewer who gave well-founded critiques and even caught a storyline continuity issue that others, including myself, missed. I reached out to this person to thank them and to ask if they’d be interested in being a beta reader. They agreed and provided wonderful feedback for When Kings Clash.
Thanks. To checkout his website, click below: