Jackson Interview


What made you want to write this book?

My writing process is what some call “organic.” I refer to myself as a pantser—one who writes by the seat of his pants. I usually find out what issue I’m writing about only after I complete the first draft.

Series readers know from the first four books that Seamus McCree has lived by the belief that his word is his bond. In Empty Promises I discovered I was exploring how he reacts after he takes a series of actions that increasingly conflict with his core values. Like most of us, he self-justifies his decisions, but as they accumulate, they begin to wear him down. His personal consequences are wrapped inside a page-turner of a story with all the twists and turns of a suspenseful thriller.

Where do you get your storylines from?

My mother’s not reading this, right? So here’s the secret: I have a perverse mind that wants to look at any financial transaction and figure out how someone might game the system. How would a crooked insurance agency cheat people? What about a life insurance company? What about selling stuff on eBay? How could a cigar shop (up north) or a nail salon (down south) be a front for the mob? Those kinds of questions are natural for me.

Luckily, I had a moral upbringing and know I would not fare well in prison, so I’ve never been tempted to implement any of the schemes I imagined.

But in writing fiction, I get to safely experience the thrill of the con and the agony of discovery. I can make sure the good guys (mostly) win and the bad guys (mostly) get their just desserts.

Was this book easier to write than others? Why?

Empty Promises is the fifth book in the series and returns to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where Cabin Fever (#3) took place. It’s the area where we spend summers, so setting was easy, and I already had a stable
of developed characters from Cabin Fever to populate the world. Over the years, my writing process has become more efficient as I learned to avoid time-consuming early draft issues. Those factors contributed to make the book easier to write.

The nature of this story required me to delve deeper into character emotions. It took considerable time and effort for me to express the darker nature of this story in a way that reflected those emotions but left the reader feeling hopeful at the end of the story. Early reader comments indicate they appreciate the work.

Do you only write one genre?

My novels have all been in the mystery/suspense/thriller genre. I’ve written short stories that run the gamut from fantasy to dystopian to literary. I’m in the early stages of crafting a near-future YA trilogy set in a United States split into two countries with a no-man’s land in the middle.

Do you have a specific place or setting where you write?

I like writing on my computer in a quiet atmosphere without distractions. In my winter home, that’s at a standing desk looking out the first-floor windows at the front of the house. For entertainment and inspiration, I watch the birds eat seed I spread on our lawn and can keep track of my neighbors’ activities. In our place in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, my desk is in a second-floor loft. I face west, looking through a wall of windows past trees onto a small lake. Because that space is so open, I usually write early in the morning before anyone else gets up.

Describe what made you want to be a writer?

I enjoy telling stories. I decided to write a novel about a nice-guy amateur sleuth who preferred to use
brains rather than brawn to solve financial crimes. I’d populate the fictional world with characters readers could care about. Had I realized when I started how difficult that work is, I might not have become a writer. But with optimism spawned by ignorance, I wrote a first draft, joined a critique group, and after many years of learning and practice, produced a novel worthy of publication.

I enjoy the work, but I’ll stop writing if I run out of stories I want to tell or if it’s no longer fun.


DO NOT miss James Jackson's contact information and Giveaway back on Bookaholic's Tour post. Click Here.

No comments:

Post a Comment