Today I’m catching up with Paper Angel Press author J Dark. J Dark is a latecomer to the writing profession, but enjoying every moment that life will allow. “The best thing to me is writing a story that someone enjoys. If I’ve made something fun and entertaining for people, it’s a win-win.”
J Dark lives with a house full of dreams, three cats, and various friends who occasionally drop by and stay for a while. The author lives in Kansas, where the winds blow all the time, and, if you blink your eyes, the weather changes.
Today, J Dark is promoting the series called The Glass Bottles. The name is a reference to the object that kicked off the series and figures in most of the books. It will eventually be a 5-book series. Right now 3 of the books are finished and the 4th will be out sometime this winter if things go according to plan.
Book 1, Best Intentions, is approximately 56,000 words and was published in July, 2016.
Book 2, Broken Bridge, is approximately 76,000 words and came out in September, 2017.
Book 3, Beguiling Voices, is approximately 66,000 words and was released in November, 2018.
Why did you decide to write this series?
This series came about from three things actually. The first was I’d had fun writing on forums in City of Heroes and got the idea I liked writing. The second was we were having a really bad year financially, and there seemed to be no way to have any celebrations for the upcoming holidays. We were borrowing money to make ends meet. The third was National Novel Writing Month. It gave me the idea I could write a story, and give that to my daughter for Christmas. Once I got started, the story took off on its own and I felt like I was just a listener as the story was told to me.
What genre is your series?
The genre is urban fantasy with post-apocalyptic life thrown in.
Do you consider your books character-driven or plot-driven?
Oh wow. I’d hope that the books are both! I know the way I write seems to be plot-driven, but I love to see how the characters evolve in the plot, so I’d like to check off both.
What makes your series unique?
That’s a good question. I think that its uniqueness comes from the setting, which is in Canada, and the idea that magic actually did exist before and was dormant for some reason.
Do you plot ahead of time, or let the plot emerge as you write?
I have tried plotting out a story, and the written plot lasts about two pages at most, and then it veers off someplace unexpected. The stories seem to have their own direction and agenda. I just listen and record.
How do you develop the names for your characters?
I really don’t plot them out. I do my best to listen to the character, and what sounds right when I say it out loud.
How do you decide on the setting?
The setting is where I do take time. The world needs to be written out so I can see what kind of environment and influences the character has. Once the world’s in place, then I can start figuring where the characters live, and what beings, places, and things they interact with.
Do you have a writing mentor?
I think the closest thing I have to a mentor are the editors at Paper Angel Press. They’re willing to explain their reasons for the edits, and that is valuable feedback to me. But as for a formal mentor, I just don’t have one.
What’s your writing schedule? Do you have a favorite place to write?
I have a small alcove in the house that is both quiet and isolated, and has a window. I like writing and do so mostly in the early morning from about 4:30 a.m. until I get a call for substituting. Otherwise, I’ll write just before bed. I think early morning is best, oddly enough because I’m still waking up. I think that the grogginess makes it easier to hear the story as the character is explaining what’s happened.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I really enjoy the challenge of writing professionally. It’s a dream come true. I may never sell big, or get a lot of financial compensation (lord knows it’d be awesome if I did some day!), but the real point is I get to write, and share those stories with people. I have a need to entertain people, I have a need to tell stories. This is the way I can do that. Stories are a way of making sense of some things, speculating about others, letting the imagination run free, and, getting a catharsis when life gets too real on occasion. it’s a place I can go to and pull myself back together, look at questions in my life objectively, and maybe write a story about it to help myself understand some things in a different way. I suppose it’s a way to keep myself sane in a crazy world.
Where can readers find you?
Lots of places!
My website, The Pandemonium