What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
Hi, Sandra (Jeanz). Thanks for the opportunity to share. My name is James Garcia Jr., although when one gets to know me I quickly ask them to call me Jimmy. I hated that name as a kid, but now it seems more apropos. I was born in Hanford, California, but my family and I make our home up the road in Kingsburg. For those familiar with the state, we live in the central valley near Fresno.
Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
Oh, yes. It took twenty years! *waits for the shock to wear off* ;) I started writing in school, but career, family and immaturity got in the way in my early twenties. I tried unsuccessfully to jump start my writing again over the years, but to no avail. It wasn’t until I turned thirty-eight that I realized the regret I was going to live with if I didn’t give it one last serious try. I dusted off and then completed the novel, and then was lucky enough to find a small publisher that liked anything vampires. That publisher eventually closed, leaving me as an independent; however, this latest book is now my third. It just takes drive and determination, I think.
Do you work another job as well as your writing work?
Sadly, I do. If you like raisins and are familiar with the lady on the red box of raisins – that’s me. Sun-Maid Growers of California is in my town. I am an administrative supervisor there and have been for 24 years. I work eleven solid hours every day, which often includes some Saturdays. It makes it very hard to juggle a writing career.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
It is called “Seeing Ghosts” In twenty words or less, I would say the following: Paul Herrera finds himself haunted by the ghosts of those he’s never known, as well as ones he has.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
*laughs* I’ve gotten considerably faster at writing books since that first one that took so long. This latest book only took one year from idea to the publish button.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
That’s a very good question. I read horror, but watch romantic comedies and classic tear-jerker films, so I would say something between there. Seriously, I’m not sure. My first two were horror, but I really had a lot of fun writing in the paranormal romance genre. We’ll see what the response is with this one before I decide. Due to my long day job, I can only tackle a writing project every 1.5 years. The rest of the time is networking and promotion. Check back with me around December! ;)
Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
This is a stand alone. I have a crossover vampire series that will have a third book at some point. I’ve lived with those characters a long time now, so it’s been nice to take a vacation from them. I don’t want to get back to them until I feel fresh and excited about doing so.
What genre would you place your books into?
So far they are crossovers. There’s been a bit of church with my vampire series. “Seeing Ghosts” has a touch, I suppose, but only because when you’re dealing with dark subject matter you have to show the “good” on the other side of it.
How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I’ve been writing since I first discovered horror novels back in my junior high school days. I don’t know why exactly. Something just clicked within me - creatively speaking - once I began to immerse myself with dark fiction, thrillers and suspense books.
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
Due to the fact that I only have a couple of hours to devote to everything pertaining to this writing career, I have to just do the work. I don’t have an office. I don’t have a desk. Often I write with my laptop on the dining room table, or sometimes standing at my bedroom dresser. You just have to make it happen, right? J
Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
Absolutely! If someone wants one and doesn’t win it this month on the tour, they can ask me. It’s all about getting my name out at this stage of the game.
Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
Nah! There’s no pleasing everyone. I wrote the best book I could at the time and will just hope for the best. You can make yourself crazy trying to control everything, you know?
How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books? Who designed the Cover of your books?
The muse handles that part! Just kidding! The titles are all me. Author/artist extraordinaire Maria Zannini did the cover for “Seeing Ghosts.” She put new covers on my first two books as well. She’s great!
Do you basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?
I find I’m doing more plotting now than I did in the past. On the other hand I can’t see myself building binders of information on all the characters and plot lines. That would take all the fun out of it for me, I think. Even I want to be surprised by what happens.
What do you do to unwind and relax? Do you have a hobby?
Sadly, there isn’t much of that. I just don’t have the time. I try and sit down for a movie at least once a week.
Which format of book do you prefer, ebook, hardback, or paperback?
I would always prefer a hardback; however, who can afford to buy or store that many? The thing with e-books is you just can’t beat the ease of getting the book and carrying it around with you wherever or whenever you want. I read so many more books now.
What is your favourite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
This question never gets old. Being a horror writer, people are always shocked when I say that “Beach Music” by Pat Conroy is my favorite book of all time. I never wanted to read it because there was nothing paranormal about it, but I had my arm twisted by a sister in law. She was so right! That book is perfect, and I have never stopped reading it.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst book to movie transfer?
Good question!! The thing with a film is they can only spend so much money! The author basically has an unlimited budget and can take his characters anywhere in the world and blow up as much stuff as he or she wants. They redid “The Amityville Horror” and it was better. Prior to that the original film was terrible compared to what was an exceptional book by Jay Anson. Whether it was all a hoax or not is another story…
Do you have a favourite genre of book?
I’m a horror guy, so although I drift away periodically just to change things up, I always come back. I’m talking about smart horror, however. I’m not interested in guys with chainsaws running around or people having to choose what limb to saw off.
What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
I would sit them down and ask them if they really need to write. You have to prepare yourself to get in this game. All of us go through periods where we just want to quit. New writers have to understand this…and prepare for it.