Today’s featured author is a great example of how easily the internet can bring people with common interests together. I met Jon a year ago via the phenomenal LinkedIn group Bloggers Helping Bloggers. Jon and I also belong to a blogger support group that meets online every other week. A year later we’ve also exchanged writing critiques on occasion, and I’ve proofread both of his books. All in all, I admire Jon’s dedication to putting words on the page.
1. Please provide a brief synopsis of your book.
Dropship Troopers is a science fiction story. I do wonder if big battling robots is a sub genre. Or could we create a genre called Rock ’em Sock ’em Robots?
War, it never changes. As our understanding grows and our technology advances, it comes back to new and inventive ways to kill each other. The one thing that never changes are the soldiers who put their lives on the line in order to protect the freedoms of others. These are the men and women working in the combat zones day after day with little to no contact with their families back home.
What happens when you are born to war? This is all you ever know? What happens when you run out of people to fight?
2. Tell us a little bit about what motivates or inspires your writing.
I have worked through a variety of different fields over the past 20 or so years. Many of us spend a good portion of our lives searching for that thing that we want to do. Sometimes it is just building experience to take into your next project.
Through all that work I have always written. It wasn’t always steady but I amassed quite a bit of story in my time doing other things. Of course, through changing computers and such over the years most of the writing is gone now (it was crap anyway).
I started on this path years ago, but life can get in the way. Maybe I wasn’t ready then. When I compare then to now, there is a major difference in the work I do and how I go about getting it done.
3. It’s hard to pick just one, but what do you consider your favorite novel and why?
I love Fantasy and Science Fiction. But there is another element I found that really gets me going. I have a huge crush on satire. I can read pretty much anything that has good satire involved.
When I was in my mid teens before joining the Marines I read Dave Barry quite a bit. I even read his column when I could find it while in the Marines. His work was right up there with the stuff from Douglas Adams. And then I discovered Terry Pratchett and Discworld. I hadn’t thought of it till now but you could probably find Easter egg like references to any of these three in my writings.
4. What is the name of your blog and what can readers expect to find there?
Most of the time you will find flash fiction or a possible writing prompt on my author blog Misadventures in Strange Places. There are occasions when I throw some thoughts out there as well. But really the biggest thing is the flash fiction.
I am a firm believer in sharing. I like to think of it as writing in the open. This is something similar to what Harlan Ellison used to do. He would take up a spot in a book store and take requests. Then he would write out story after story in the public. He made it a point to tape each page to the window of the store so that people could read along.
Some of the stories I post will find their way into published collections that end up for sale as Ebooks (you can always say you read ’em first on the blog).
5. Are you traditionally published or self-published?
At the time of this writing I am self-published. I do submit stories to anthologies and magazines. But most of my work is published by me.
For book covers whenever possible I create either my own photos or art. But when I can’t think of a good cover shot I turn to other artists.
The covers aren’t always beautiful, but there is some logic there. I would rather you dig through and be pleasantly surprised that the story rocks, than be fooled by an awesome cover and find the work inside to be disappointing at best.
6. Can you offer one or two helpful tips for fellow writers when it comes to marketing and publicity?
Write, write, and write some more. Finish your stories.
If you want your writing to be what pays your bills you need to have writing out there for the world to discover. Basically, if you don’t have anything finished there isn’t a need to market.
7. Describe your writing background.
Many years ago, I was an English major in college. That lasted for about a semester. I met a great teacher at the time who was in the process of getting his first book published. This guy gave me the copy of Dubliners that I have sitting on my bookshelf.
During that same semester I ran across a “poet.” The poet taught my creative writing class. He was a hipster before it was cool.
Though I went a different direction with my life at the time I realized what I did and what I didn’t want to be as a writer. I also realized why I would never get a writing degree.
At that time the only thing you could do with a writing degree was become a journalist or an English teacher. I didn’t want to do either of those. My goal then is the same as it is now. I want to be a writer, a teller of stories. You don’t need a fancy degree for either of those.
But here is a side note: Having a degree in business so you can understand the business side of writing (and it is a business if you want to make money) is a bonus. When I finally finished college I did so with a culinary arts degree and a business management degree. Go figure.
8. What does your drafting and/or editing process entail?
As much as I can, I maintain some discipline. I have self-imposed deadlines and assignments that need to be done on a daily basis. If I don’t find the time to get my butt in a chair they won’t get done. In this aspect writing is my job. I show up to work every day.
But then, you really gotta love a job where you play with your imaginary friends. And, my office is in my brewery. I have tap handles behind me while I am working.
I do work with an editor. There is only so much you can catch on your own. My mind tends to wander, you never know if I end up going the same direction at the end as when I started.
9. What future projects can we look forward to?
I have a few standalone stories that will be coming out within the next few months. I am in the process of editing the next story right now. I can’t give too much away just yet other than to say that there will be some Steampunk on the horizon and some Noir fiction coming up.
Much of the future schedule right now is a bit tentative. I have a few stories standing in queue waiting to be finished with edits and such. My current publishing schedule is set to keep a steady flow coming out without giving you too much at once.
10. Is there anything else you want your potential readers to know?
You never know what you might learn from others. Every now and then I like to talk about a couple teachers I had during my semester of college out of the Marines. One of the teachers was a poet (in every sense of the word), a hipster long before we even knew what they are. The other was a novelist. Ted (novelist) was scruffy, he would be the guy to wear a sport coat with elbow patches, but not in a cool way. The dude was a dork.
Notice I remember Ted’s name. The poet will always be just the poet to me. Ted was in the process of getting a book published. He still took time out to help me with a couple stories I was trying to get published back then (they were really bad).
But I realize something as I sit here and reflect on these two. The poet taught me something and he did it all sneaky like. He told me the difference between a poet and a prose writer. Poets seek the creative side where the prose writers spend their time polishing the same thing over and over again.
Now I realize the two distinctions are crap. But there is an important point to know in that. Learn to trust your creative side. You can polish a story to death if you never learn to let go.
You can connect with Jon Jefferson via his author website.
Dropship Troopers can be purchased via Amazon. While you’re there, download a free copy of Fractured Hearts.