I’m interviewing J.L. Lawson today, the author of literary fiction / coming of age / adventure novel “Just a Curtain”. Thank you for letting me ask you some questions, J.L., and welcome to my blog!
What is the hardest part about being an author?
Since I started writing rather late in life, relatively speaking, but not before the advent of the internet, P.O.D. and other such media, getting published has become a simpler matter of formatting one’s materials properly, choosing a reliable and efficient printer and bam, you’ve got a book published.
But that’s not the end of it by any stretch—unless one is content to merely have one’s own shelves populated with one’s own books and have no exposure or audience beyond that.
It’s the marketing of published work that creates the greatest challenges and forces the most attention and creativity an author can muster. There are now an over-abundance of resources and advice out there. I am writing this now, because I am part of Enchanted Book Tours and they have connections I didn’t. I have contracted with Substance Books for other branding and marketing efforts for the long haul; ongoing relationships with International Book Exhibit companies, etc. In the end, a writer has to make informed decisions and never let loose of her/his pursestrings all too easily for un-researched, un-validated, un-verified marketing avenues constantly bombarding email portals with wildly fantastic claims for success.
Can you give us the synopsis of your book?
Young man orphaned at sixteen to continue his family’s ranch in Wyoming. He inherits a small empire which through his own determination and vision, transforms into a multi-national corporation that spins off products for the benefit of all humanity. His endeavors coincide with a viable space colonization program already underway led by others. Through collaboration Mars becomes a viable new Earth for resettlement.
Along the way the reader is introduced to the mental disciplines and spiritual determinism that fuels the main characters’ drive toward social justice and a broader world view for humanity in general.
Is this part of a series or a stand alone?
That’s not quite such an easy question to answer. Yes and no.
As may be read in the blurb for the book, “Just A Curtain is the remarkable, fast-paced gateway to both The Elf series and the grander epic recorded in [my] other works: The Donkey and The Wall trilogy and The Curious Voyages of the Anna Virginia Saga.” That being said, if one wishes to read my titles in the order in which they were written: The Donkey and the Wall trilogy 1 – 3, Curious Voyages… Saga 1 – 7, Just A Curtain, The Elf series: Huntress, Elhehrim, Rehuin, Niederwald etc.
However, as an inclusive chronology: Just A Curtain would rightly be inserted between books three and four of the Curious Voyages…Saga, with The Elf series following the last book of the Saga.
Just A Curtain is the wildcard. I have placed it between Storms and Locks & Gates of the Saga because the events that finally play out in Storms offer solid background for the events that progress and arise in Curtain.
In the same vein, The Elf series’ initial protagonist—Tera Elphinstone—is introduced in Just A Curtain. And her Elphinstone cousins figure prominently in the last two volumes of the Curious Voyages… Saga. Note: her own story doesn’t really begin until the events portrayed in the rest of the Curious Voyages saga have played out. That’s why The Elf series is left to last.
How many hours do you write per day/per week?
Every day from around seven-thirty until around four. I sit down at my laptop, cover the previous evening’s email, find where I left off the day before and relax. The characters then take over for the next eight hours or so and I chuckle, shed a tear, hold my breath and sigh at everything they attempt to do—and sometimes accomplish. Then I get up go down to the smoking porch, open a beer have a smoke, and start “pre-writing” for the next day. I prepare dinner for my wife and myself, check the weather forecast, go to sleep, get and do it all over again.
The only interruptions to my routine over weeks and months at a time are, holidays, grandchildren’s birthdays, urgent household matters and: annual vacation travel. (Wonder when that last is going to resume?)
What is your favorite book?
The first book I read for pleasure, not a school assignment, was The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien. Understand, this was all before the advent of the Internet and worldwide web. I quickly followed that with his LOTR trilogy, once I could find a bookstore that carried them—and read them all a few times before finally getting my hands on The Silmarillion. By then I had also encountered authors of science fiction, Asimov, Vonnegut, Heinlein, Dick, as well as lesser known writers with interesting stories none-the-less. I joined a Book-of-the-month club—didn’t everyone?—and explored a grand variety of titles in many genres. Then came high school and college and exposure to classics, authors whose works have stood the test of time—and I most definitely have my favorites among those, having taught most of them later as a Literature and Composition Educator.
But the book I most loved both as a teenager, then later as a collegiate, and even now as full-grown person is the first book I ever picked up to read for fun—The Hobbit. And I still pick up Heinlein’s stories from time to time. I also have lately enjoyed Debora Geary’s Witches… Tough question.
What are you working on now?
I am in the midst of The Elf series at present, The Elf & Erin’Los is its working title, so there maybe perhaps a dozen, or not, of those before I’m done with them—-each is only a couple hundred pages; the first three I wrote in nearly as many weeks earlier this year… Then life decided I’d had too much time simply writing and brought other urgent activities my way. Let’s see, where was I? Oh. I would like to think that once my readership gets beyond the few hundred it is at these early stages of release, I’d be amenable to responding to specific suggestions or requests for expanding certain characters’ lives adventures, etc. Or even continuing the Saga beyond the seventh generation of Livingsons—that actually does appeal to me to some degree.
More to follow.
About Just a Curtain
Author: J.L. Lawson
Genre: Literary Fiction, Adventure, Coming of Age
“If you had virtually unlimited resources and a pristinely practicable imagination, and a knack for turning air into butter, what do you suppose you’d do next?”
—Tera Elphinstone, Drummond Group Director
Just A Curtain is the remarkable, fast-paced gateway to both The Elf series and the grander epic recorded in J. L. Lawson’s other works: The Donkey and The Wall trilogy and The Curious Voyages of the Anna Virginia Saga.
Just A Curtain chronicles the remarkable life and achievements of Dashiel Drummond and the capable group of people he gathers around him to make a change for the better in the world in which he finds himself. A coming of age story, orphaned at sixteen, he rises through the angst of adolescence to the challenge of fulfilling the promise of his potential—from ranch hand and welder to the pre-eminent global entrepreneur and builder of starships.
I am a father, a grandfather and a “Came-to-Writing-Professionally-Late-in-Life” kinda guy. After rewarding careers as a Land Planner, Standards Engineer, Technical Writer/Graphic Designer, and as an Educator (High School and College Literature/Composition) I settled down at the laptop and began storytelling for a living. My wife and I live in the Cross-timbers country of North Texas and spend as much time seeing this amazing country, its National Parks and Forests, as we can manage.
My own journey has taken me both far afield and deep within. It is a journey, no doubt, similar in nature to many seekers’ travels who have come before me. However, an unconditional commitment to the work is the trait of only a handful of those who set their aim very high indeed, and then to find a guide who knows the way through this rarely known land, is without question what all others have equally sought. Some gave up the search, some became distracted by the lure of other interests, many became satisfied with the knowledge they had already gleaned from their initial searches. There is, in the end, only so much gold.
At Voyager Press: http://bit.ly/VPJust-Curtain
At Amazon: http://bit.ly/Just-Curtain