Interview with J.M. Lively

J.M. Lively

So JM, how are things? How’s life in our new reality treating you?

It’s not so bad where we live. I live in rural Minnesota and both my employer and my wife’s employer are on the ball with precautions.

Nice! Glad to know it’s still semi normal for some. One thing I’ve enjoyed is more family time.

I’d agree with that. When things first happened and the state shut down, the timing worked out great. It gave me time to finish building my house before my son was born.

Congrats on that by the way. I remember those days. That’s got to make writing time a challenge.

It does but people make time for what they want to do. Some people spend their down time watching videos, TV, listening to music, etc. I tend to write or read. Or wood work because I really enjoy that too.

Awesome. So tell me when you knew you wanted to be a writer and how it led to the publication of your first book.

I used to run a professional resume writing business. I really enjoyed the writing and editing/formatting aspect of that job. After the business was closed, after the birth of my daughter, I was missing writing.

My buddy invited me to a dnd campaign, I didn’t have time though. However, i used the homework as a writing prompt. We were supposed to submit a background for our character if we were going to participate. A week later, I had about 67 pages of content that I wrote without any outline. 1 year later, I published my first book!

Nice…I can’t tell you how many D&D campaigns I’ve been invited to that I’ve had to turn down due to lack of time. My excuse is always…” You don’t want THIS NOOB in your campaign. I’d be like the last guy picked for volleyball.”

Yeah I can relate to that. I’ve never actually finished a campaign. I had the bad luck of only getting interested in it as an adult.

Yea this is a whole new world to me. I spent my life in the music industry. So tell our readers about The Last Soul. Give them a reason to make it their click of choice!

I’d say that fantasy lovers with an interest in the afterlife will enjoy my book. Almost right away, in The Last Soul, my protagonist dies. The story really starts from there. Lathan is my main character and he develops powers in the afterlife. There, a person’s soul fuses with a physical body and from that, they learn to harness new and unique abilities.

Plus there is a talking cat that likes to swear.

I know all about the foul mouthed animals. That’s enough to sell me.

I can imagine lol

So how much of yourself and the people in your personal life make it into your work?

Lathan and his wife Tara are loosely based on my wife and myself. Loosely. But once he dies, Lathan takes a different path of discovery that is unlike me. Considering I can’t fly and such. Some of my other characters are based on people I’ve met and other family and friends. However, mostly by taking one defining trait, not via total imitation.

One of my main characters, Ches the talking cat, is closely modeled after a friend but he isn’t aware of that lol.

It’s awesome to take our own traits and mannerisms and bring them into a fantastical world where anything is possible. Especially at a time where so many of us feel so hopeless to make changes.

Totally agree. That’s one thing I love about Lathan, he gets to live a life I’ll never know. Even if it’s also filled with sadness and some regret.

Awesome. So what have you enjoyed most about being a self published author, and what would you say have been your biggest challenges?

I love that there is this story that’s always in the back of my head. That at any given time, I’m struck with inspiration or incredibly vivid scenes and scenarios. It’s great for all those creative juices that I never did much with before.

The biggest challenge by far is marketing. That goes for marketing my book and myself. It’s not something that comes naturally to me. I keep studying though!

What are some of your literary influences. These can be novels, films, television, authors, directors etc.

Some of my favorite authors are Brandon Sanderson, Christopher Paolini, and Brian Staveley. I really enjoy manga/anime and my afterlife concept was inspired from Bleach. I really enjoy war movies, suspenseful TV shows, and alien documentaries/conspiracies.

For music, I listen to a lot of rock and roll of all sorts of various styles. When I write, I listen to stuff without vocals. I like meditative, movie scores, and synth rock or industrial.

And staying in a similar questioning, what indie fantasy novels can you recommend from the last couple of years?

Im just getting started on The Dark Archer by Robert Cano. Im not sure if Brian Staveley still counts as indie but I really enjoyed his series. Dakota Krout is getting big but I enjoy his novels as well. Other randoms; Fae Hunter, Cricket Hunters, and also just started Someday I’ll Be Redeemed.

Awesome. I’ve read and loved a couple of those. There’s definitely no shortage of great offerings. What takes up most of your time when you’re not writing ?

Family and work like most people. We have a toddler and a new born and as a 911 dispatcher, I work 12’s on the overnight shift right now.

I hear that. Juggling work, personal and family is always tough. So what’s next for you? When can we expect to see a sequel or another novel. Is there anything in the works?

Absolutely. Im currently working on both the sequels to my debut novel. And a spin off/ sequel that takes place on another world after my first trilogy. That spin off is still rough and im toying with the idea if making it into a podcast.

As for timeline, I think it’ll be another year before I release another book. I found a lot of errors and mistakes in my first book and really want to up the quality in its sequels. I need to nail down my marketing as well.

Well, we’ll be looking forward to it and wishing you the best of luck. I like to end these interviews with this question..What’s one piece of advice can you offer to new and aspiring authors?

To just write. If you’re stuck with an idea or inspiration, write it down. Don’t let grammar, spelling, structure ot anything else stop the flow. You can go back to those things later. First, get the idea out of your head and into paper. The rest can come after.

Awesome! Thanks for your time!

Thank you too, Michael!

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