Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Interview of author Jimmy (JD) Gordon

Good Morning all!  Please help me welcome author JD Gordon

AW: Tell us about yourself…

Well, I am forty one year old fella, married with two kids, my daughter just turned nine and my little guy will be seven in February. I'm a disabled firefighter, which is really how I found myself writing. An earlier injury, not the one which ended my gig, sent me down this path when my peers at the firehouse asked what I was going to do with all of my time away, as if healing up and physical therapy wasn't enough right? Though I had never been a writer or even saw myself as being the type to write a book, I had always been an avid reader. So for some reason, "I might write a book popped out". My 'good' friends at the station didn't think I can do it, and with good reason as well. At the time the only writing required of me was the run reports we would fill out after a call. At the time I pretty much wrote those in all capital letters and as for punctuation, a period here and there for good measure was about it. Well, I wrote that first book, made a point to user lower case and upper case letters, punctuation as well and the rest is history. I've just started writing my seventh novel. That was just ten short years ago. Until the injury which ended my time in the fire service writing was really more of a hobby. Once the fire department had to officially send me packing, I decided to give it go and see what happens. Since then I've been pretty active in the writing community. I sit on the Board of Directors for the Chicago Writer's Association, I'm mentor for a teen writers program, which my protege' is having her first book published shortly, congrats to her. I'm also a panelist for the Clive Cussler Adventure Writers Competition and I was one of founding influences for my hometown's annual Book Festival. So I've been a pretty busy guy where literature is concerned.

AW: What genera do you write and why?

I write in two genres now. I write adventure books for adults and spooky or paranormal stories for middle school aged kids, for you non parental types that's like ages 9 to 12. I started off writing adventure books because that's what I read. I have always been a huge fan of Clive Cussler. One of the best adventure writers of our times. I tend to add a tropical twist to all of my adult writing due to one of the other influences of my life, that would be Jimmy Buffett, yes I'm not always proud of it but I am a huge Buffett fan, well now you won't catch me the concert wearing a grass skirt or anything but....

I branched off into the kid lit after writing three of the adventure novels. Honestly, I didn't really consider what I was writing as kid lit. I just wanted to see if I could write something different. I chose to use a high school student as my protagonist and I tied it into something I thought of while typing away one night listening to the child monitor in daughter's room. She was an infant then. It wasn't until I started looking for a publisher that I realized the story would work best for the middle school students. I'm now writing my third middle school novel. The first released last Halloween. The next will hit the shelves so to speak this Spring with the opening of the baseball season. It all ties in, the first, Kritterkreep, opened on Halloween. The next book is titled Field of Screams where much of the action takes place an old baseball stadium. The third, I think, will have a Halloween release just as the first book did. The third in the series is The Pumpkin Jamboree and the Legend of Stumpy Scout. There's a something else about me, I happen to my little guy's Den Leader for Cub Scouts, though in all honesty, the title and story had been planned before I took that job. Oh, um, I umpire high school and college baseball as well. I guess that's where the inspiration for the whole Field of Screams deal comes from. I recall someone saying write what you know.

AW: Tell us about your book….

This current book is titled Dartboard. This is another Caribbean adventure story. I've recently received a wonderful blurb from one of my favorite writers, a fellow named Paul Kemprecos. Paul is a talented and successful writer on his own but he also co wrote many best selling novels with Clive Cussler. Part of Paul's quote says Dartboard is Carl Hiaasen meets Treasure Island. Carl is another one of my favorite writers as Treasure Island is one of my favorite classics so one can imagine how excited I was to read the blurb. Anyway, Dartboard is sort of modern Treasure Island, it tells the story of small town deputy sheriff who finds himself owning by inheritance an antique watercraft named Dartboard. On board Jimmy Quigley, our hero finds an old treasure map. The past owner of the boat had been modern day Indiana Jones working for the Field Museum in Chicago. Well, as it often happens with buried treasure, there are many people trying to get their hands on the booty, in this case its an odd museum assistant, a trio of candy queens from Wisconsin, and old buccaneer named Admiral Gangplank. Its the Caribbean, there has to be pirates.

AW: What was your inspiration for this book?

Same as the others, I like to write adventure stories based in the Caribbean mostly. Unlike Clive, I do like to add quite a bit of humor to my stories. Up until Dartboard my adventure stories had been told around a reluctant hero named Eddie Gilbert, who just happened to be fire fighter. Well, it was time to move away from Eddie, or really, give the guy the rest. I felt there was much of me wrapped up in Eddie. I decided to come up with a new fella and try to make him my opposite this time around.

AW: Do you have a favorite character and why that one?

Well from my writing or the writing of others? One of my favorites is an eco terrorist named Skink. He's an invention of Carl Hiaasen. The word terrorist might place Skink as a bad guy, so to speak, but I really think his anger is just a bit misplaced. As for a favorite from one of my stories? Hmmm, so many to pick from, I think I like Admiral Gangplank from the current tale. He's an eccentric peg legged pirate living on his own black market oasis and hide away stuck down in the deep dark Caribbean. He's technically a bad guy but his main scene was a blast a write and I still enjoy reading his part of the story.

AW: Did you find anything particularly difficult in writing this book?

I have the same problem writing every book, I feel lost until I'm about halfway through. I don't outline. I always have an idea where I want my story to go but I'm never sure how I'm going to get there. It does make for a lot of re writing before sending is off but, well, its kind of fun not knowing where I'm going until I get there.

AW: What project(s) are you currently working on?

I am working with my editor on Field of Screams and I have just started that Pumpkin Jamboree book I mentioned. I'll be starting another adult adventure story soon. I have a few ideas but I haven't settled on anything. I think I'll be leaving the Caribbean behind for this one. I'm keen to write something I might title The Wrigleyville Crime Story. The storyline, even I admit, might be a little far out there. So, its something I need to consider. However, I think it will be a heck of a lot of fun and it will let me put my Chicago roots to use.

AW: Do you have any interesting writing quirks you want to tell us about?

Honestly, no quirks really, sorry folks. I do like to frequent a local watering hole in my hometown. I claim a corner at the bar. And believe it or not when I walk in folks move over to give me the spot, kind of cool actually.

AW: Do you have any advice for writers out there?

First, if a guy like me can do it, anyone can, if they set their mind to it. Some of the best advice I always seemed to receive when I would reach out to seasoned writers, is just keep writing. You'll get there. And once you do get there, so to speak, when folks reach out to you, help them, turn no one away, offer something. I am always flattered when a total newbie reaches out to me and it happens more than I can I believe. I always offer something and do what I can for them. And I'm no pro but still.....
AW: Where can we find you? (facebook, twitter, blog, website, etc)

I'm amazed that one can find me on facebook, please look me up and ht me with a one of those friend requests. One can never have too many right? I was never a social media guy but its actually quite fun and a great way to keep in touch with folks. I do have a home on the web as well...www.jimmygwrites.com. I'm told I should blog. I'll give it a shot eventually.

AW: And of course we have to know, where can we find your book? (your website, publisher, amazon, etc)

Well my website of course and on all of the Internet sites like Amazon. If you're in the Chicago area look at your favorite bookstore, hopefully my stuff will be there. However, with the loss of Borders getting shelf space is getting pretty tough. I am small press guy after all. The publisher of my kid lit is New Leaf Books. The adventure stuff belongs to TLT Publishing out of Chicago.


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