11) What’s your writing process – do an outline or jump right into the story and see where it takes you? (Asked by: Sophia DeLuna)
I have done both, but I strongly urge writers to use an outline. When I wrote Antiquity Calais: Standing at Armageddon, I had a clear vision (literally) of how the book would begin, with the tsunami that wipes out life on the east coast of the United States, and I knew how I wanted it to end, but everything in the middle was flying by the seat of my pants.
Last fall, when I wrote the Phantom Madness, I did it as my NaNoWriMo project, I started out creating an outline, but then the contest started before I could finish it. The first 15,000 words were a walk in the park. Then I ran out of my outline, and the remaining 35,000 words were hell to write. I will not make that mistake again.
12) How do you come up with the names for your characters? (Asked by: Sophia DeLuna)
The name Antiquity just came to me out of the blue. Calais is the name of a town in Northern Maine. They pronounce it Callas, but being French Canadian by heritage, I use the French pronunciation with the a sound at the end. Other characters I needed to do some research, particularly Mundoo Asquith. Mundoo is actually the name of an Algonquin Indian god. I do not recall where I dug up the name Asquith. Gillian, I kind of stole her name, because as I envisioned her, I saw Dana Scully from the X Files, played by Gillian Anderson. Usha is a curious last name, because unbeknown to me, it also happened to be the first name of a doctor I used to see, so I attribute that to her. Sherman Yazu just sort of rolled off my fingers without any kind of thought, so I guess that must have been pure inspiration.
13) What is the most difficult part of the writing process for you? (Asked by: Sophia DeLuna)
Deciding when to say enough is enough, and it is time to publish. I am a perfectionist.
14) Jim! How much are you Antiquity Calais? (Asked by: Stuart West)
Well, obviously there is a fair amount of me in Antiquity, but then if you ask my ex, she might say that there is a fair amount of me in Leviathan Avalon, too. I have a strong sarcastic streak which makes writing Avalon’s bantering with Antiquity a lot of fun to me. But folks should not assume that everything about Antiquity is transferrable to me or vice versa.
Do you believe in a personification of Satan as in your novels? I’m no Satanist or anything, but I really liked your portrayal of him. Does that make me evil? I think you’d write a great comedy about Satan in an uncomfortable situation (I dunno, evil in-laws or something).
I believe Satan is real, and that his greatest weapon against people is that so many people believe he is not real. It is much easier for him to spread his errors by stealth.
I have a lot of fun with Satan and Avalon, particularly in Ascending Olympus, and again in the next book Antiquity Calais & the Children of Light. Both of these characters are really despicable, so it is fun watching Avalon take shots at Satan, causing him great pain and anguish, but you know you can’t keep Satan down for long, and when he comes back he is bigger and badder than ever!
15) Where do you see the Antiquity Calais series going? Where will it end? Make it big, please. (Asked by: Stuart West)
Oh, I already know how it ends, and I assure you, it is going to be huge. I have not yet written it, but I have the final scene mapped out in my mind. I mean, we’re talking about Armageddon, and the title of the last book is tentatively Antiquity Calais & the Battle of the End Times. That should give you a clue.
16) With 4 children, how do you find time for everything you do? I’m also a single parent, with only 2 kids, that I homeschool and I find that that there are days I want to hide in my closet or run away and join the circus for a simpler life. How do you do it with 4? (Asked by: Wendy Miller)
Truth be told, I should say that I have 3.5. Three children live with me full-time, and the other child is not mine biologically, but because his mom and I were still married when he was born, my name ended up on the birth certificate. I love kids, and to the extent that the boy deserves to have a father figure in his life, I try to spend time with him, and he can play with my kids too.
How do I do it? My kids are all in school now, so when they are out the door by 7:15 a.m., I have until 3:15 p.m. to get as much done as I can. I try to take a break from working when they get home until bedtime, and then I get back on the computer and work until about midnight, sometimes later. It is a busy life, but I would rather be busy than bored!
17) Aside from giving you the vision that prompted you to write this series, what other benefits has Reiki given you? (Asked by: Wendy Miller)
There are many modalities in energy therapy. Reiki is the one in which I was trained, but I received treatment from a practitioner who was trained in several modalities, and she borrowed from each to treat me. It was highly effective for me.
I also received a treatment called EMDR that is based on eye movements people have during the REM sleep. This was huge for me. My therapist conducted about a half-dozen EMDR sessions focusing on the assault I sustained, and through the magic of EMDR, my brain was rewired so I could remember what happened but I view it like it is something that happened to someone else. That was a huge turning point in my life.
18) Did the accident change how you felt about writing and your life? Was it one of those things that made you realize you should be writing, or were you already doing so (to a point, anyway) and the accident just a bump in the road? (Asked by: Wendy Miller)
The vision I had of Leviathan Avalon conjuring a tsunami using energy from hell was the first good inspiration I had received for about a dozen years or more. All through my twenties into my early thirties, I was so busy writing things other people wanted me to write that it drained all my creative impulses. Once I had that vision, though, it was like the flood gates opened, and I was bombarded with ideas for all the books in this series. The river is still flowing now, so I think I will be writing for a while!
19) Was it one of those things that made you realize you should be writing books instead of the other stuff you’d written, or were you already doing so (to a point anyway) and the accident was just a bump in the road? (Asked by: Wendy Miller)
All through my teenage years, I had been writing one story after another after another. I had dozens of stories, and I wrote them all. But when I went to college and later became a journalist, the muses stopped talking to me, and I felt like a big part of me was gone. He came back to life when I had that vision during the energy session, and my therapist Judy told me, “You have to write about that,” I knew she was right.
20) Jim, have you ever done transcendental meditation? If so, is that why you have Antiquity and the team using it as their means of travel? Also, if you have, is it as an amazing experience as it’s reported to be? (Asked by: Annme Spiby)
Honestly, some friends and I experimented with it in college. One of them claimed to be able to leave his body, go to the academic building and attend class, while his body remained in bed. I didn’t buy it. Eventually I lost interest because I became aware that if it were possible for the soul to leave the body and “astrally project” somewhere, that is a little too close to death for me. Of course, that’s not a problem for Antiquity and friends, because they are all either already dead or were never born, in the traditional sense. So it is a cool way for them to travel the Multiverse at “Life Speed,” as I call it.
Thanks to everyone for asking such fun and challenging questions. I also appreciate the readers who will take time to read my answers, because writers write so readers can read. Read often!
From the Admin:Thank you for sharing your answers with us Jim! To our guest questioners- AWESOME insightful questions!
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