ABOUT THIS AUTHOR:
J. Kowallis grew up in northern Utah, graduated from Weber State University’s creative writing program and lives in Utah with her Mini Schnauzer, Etta. She enjoys dreaming about, flying to, and writing about distant lands (real or unreal). AFTERIMAGE is her first novel.
If you hadn’t become an author, what would you have done instead?
J: I always had a dream of being a singer on Broadway. I actually studied Vocal Pedagogy for a number of years before realizing that I was happier when I was surrounded by the written word . . . not the sung word.
Had you always wanted to be an author?
J: My first writing experience was at the age of 9 when my teacher asked us to do a book report on the book we were reading. I had read E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web (still a favorite) and I wrote a poem about it as my Book Report. My teacher loved it so much she asked if she could keep it. I believe she still has it. But, I didn’t pick up the writing bug until years later when I was a Super Senior in college (year 5). That’s when I changed my major and started writing all the time.
What’s your favorite genre to write about and why?
J: I’m constantly trapped between Dystopian (hence, my new adult series The Enertia Trials), Romantic Comedy, and Historical Fiction. History is another one of my passions and I’m fascinated by events like the Vikings, WWII and the Holocaust, The Salem Witch Trials, and other events. I like examining human’s relationships to each other in dark times because I think it’s those times that help us learn and become better.
Do you like reading as well as writing?
J: My life is a struggle:) I’m always caught in the fight of “Do I want to watch TV or do I want to pick up a new book?” I love stories. Whether I watch them or whether I read them. I think stories give us ways to escape stress, provide exterior ways to relate to our questions and joys, and help us feel like we’re not so alone in the world. So, short answer: Yes. I LOVE reading.
Do you have a wattpad account? If ever, what did wattpad do to change your life?
J: I do have a wattpad. I haven’t used it for some time. I essentially opened it so I could share a short pre-story for The Enertia Trials. It helped to kick start my desire to finally self publish my work–and make sure it looked and sounded as professional as I could.
What inspired you to write your book?
J: The Enertia Trials stemmed from one idea: a woman in a dystopian world with a super power. That’s it. I crafted the idea, molded it, chewed it, savored it, and eventually spit out the first draft (I went through multiple revisions). I wanted a character who was feminine, but I wanted a character who was strong. I wanted a world that was dark, but one that would help my characters become who they needed to be.
What urged you to become an author?
J: I was stressed out in school. I needed an outlet. I had also read a series of books at the time and they were extremely popular. I remember thinking to myself, “I can do better than that.” So I started writing to help myself unwind. When I found I’d written 50,000 in one week, I realized I wasn’t studying the right field anymore. So I switched to Creative Writing and fell in love with school again. At that point, I knew I wanted to write novels.
How do you write?
J: I’ll usually start off with what genre I’m writing. Historical or not? Then, my lead character. I pick a name (name picking is probably my favorite part), and their age. At that point I start to piece together a main conflict and begin writing the first chapter. It’s about three chapters into the project that I start to get a feel for where I want the book to go, so I begin writing a time line, a skeletal structure of the chapters, and character outlines for each main character. It’s a mixture of planning and writing “by the seat of my pants.” In a way, for me, it’s kind of like life. You can plan all you want, but sometimes life (and your story) will take you in a completely unexpected direction.
What advice can you give to those who aspire the same career as you?
J: Don’t cut corners. Go through all the proper processes including completely finishing your book, professional editing, professional design, and stay dedicated. There will be times where you get blocked, so move onto another section or even a new story. But don’t ever give up. If the story isn’t working how you want, don’t be afraid to scrap it and start over–or . . . continue to see where it will lead you.
Do you have future projects or plans regarding bookish stuffs? If ever, can you give me one?
J: I’m finishing up the final book in The Enertia Trials and also trying to hone and write a historical fiction based on my ancestor: Susannah Martin. I’d be happy to share Beta versions of ARC copies of all of them.
Do you do lots of research for your book?
J: There’s a writing meme that’s been going around the internet based on The Avengers. One of the characters asks “When did you become an expert in mononuclear astrophysics?” and Tony Stark replies, “Last night.” That’s about what it’s like to be a writer. Either you do the research, or your readers won’t believe it. Some things you can fake, or even make up (hello, I write about the future, so to write about technology that’s not invented yet makes it a little easier. Because if someone asks, “Wait, how would that work?” my answer is always, “I don’t know. It’s not invented yet.”) 🙂
What’s the hardest thing about writing?
J: Most writers usually have about 50 billion voices and stories in their head at the same time. Trying to organize all of that and vomit it into words on a page so people can understand it can be daunting and overwhelming.
What’s the easiest thing about writing?
J: Very little of it is easy. I’ll be honest. But there are those moments, where you have a specific scene, or a specific conversation in your head and in that moment . . . everything just falls together. You’re typing or writing so fast because you know exactly how it’s all supposed to fit together. Those are the best moments.
What can you say about @abookwithbea’s blog?
J: I think what you’ve got set up is ideal:) not only are you engaging with authors and readers simultaneously, but you promote the author’s work as well and show your own passion for reading!
Do you aim for the same word counts every time you write?
J: Relatively. But it depends on how much of the story needs to be told. Each book is unique.
If you already have published a book, how does it take to get your books published?
J: It’s definitely difficult both in time, money, and in effort. But the good news is that the more you do it, the simpler is seems to come together because you learn the ropes. There are always ways to be frugal in the way you spend your time, effort, and money to publish however. In fact, it’s been said that a smart man learns from his own mistakes. A wise man learns from the mistakes of others. So, you learn to ask questions, you learn to take advise before you stumble through the maze without a guide.
Is your book somewhat related to what you went through in life?
J: Yes. And no. Essentially, each one of my characters seems to represent a part of my personality and who I am. I see my own determination and uncertainty in Reggie. I see my rare low moments in Nate. I see my sense of humor in Roy (book 2!), and my passion in Ransley. I even see some of my flaws in the antagonists. It seems to be that writing is just an extension of yourself. No matter how fictional it may be.
How did writing this book changed you as a person and your life?
J: It’s made me more aware of my feelings and how I handle them. Externally, its helped me to see what I’m capable of doing and has really boosted my confidence in ways. The more you learn, the more you see yourself for who you really are.
Where can we find you? [SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNT – LINKS]
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/J.-Kowallis/