Thursday 19 December 2013


As little as possible. 

That's how often Corey likes to work. But when real life gets in the way, he tries to earn a little rent money... by volunteering as a medical experiment subject. 

Naturally, the test goes wrong -- and Corey begins to discover abilities he can't explain.

When he spots the first tail, he dismisses it. But then more join in, and suddenly Corey is being chased through Portland, Oregon, by threatening characters in suits. He's not even surprised when he discovers that Anka, the "nurse" who ran the medical experiment, works for the NSA.

And boy, he'd like to ask her out. 

As exciting as it is to explore his newfound powers and dodge the evil empire that ruthlessly pursues him -- while taking breaks for epic hacky-sack battles and tasty tots -- Corey and Anka had better get to the bottom of his condition as quickly as they can.

Because whatever gave Corey his superpowers is also killing him.

This witty, sharply-comic first novel from Portland native James T. Wood is this year's must-read adventure.

What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
I’m James T. (for Thomas, not Tiberius) Wood. I was born in Klamath Falls, Oregon and lived there for all of 11 months before moving to Tacoma, Washington. My wife and I now live in Portland, Oregon.

Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
At first I wanted to be Superman. It turns out the cape does not impart the power of flight. Then I went through phases of wanting to be a history teacher, architect, preacher, computer geek (I guess I’m doing that one), actor, world-famous barista, and finally a writer. I’ve always wanted to be a reader though.

When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"?
Even when I made most of my money off of writing I still didn’t consider myself a “writer.” Even after having a book picked up by a publishing house I still didn’t consider myself a “writer.” Even after self-publishing a book that made 10-times the amount as the book published through a publishing house I still didn’t consider myself a “writer.” It was when I read something I wrote and got chills; that’s when I actually felt like a “writer.”

Did it take a long time to get your first book published? I pitched it in October, submitted it in January and it went to press in July. That was, by far, the fastest process I’ve gone through. But the publisher had a specific format for me to follow so I just filled in the blanks.

Do you work another job as well as your writing work?
Kind of. My other job is writing. But those are the articles that I don’t own that live on the internet and earn ad revenue for someone else. I crank out a few of those to keep the lights on so I can write the stuff I really care about.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
Like Mind. My favorite description of it so far is: Kiefer Sutherland from 24 if he was on Portlandia.

Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
I’ve done both. The most recent book is self-published. Mostly because it’s a pulpy, silly, action-packed good time that I just wanted to share because it made me smile so much.
Do you have a "lucky charm" or "lucky routine" you follow when waiting for your book to be accepted by a publisher?
Is chronic insomnia considered a “lucky routine” by anyone?

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
I can bang out the words on the page in a month or two. But the polishing can take much longer. One book I’ve been working on for three years now (from the initial idea). Like Mind went from concept to reality in about six months.

Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?
Like Mind has probably been the easiest for me. I think that has a lot to do with having two other books under my belt and joining a critique group. The hardest book for me to write is one I’m working on right now that will probably alienate me from friends and family. I don’t want to write it, but I think the topic is too important to leave alone.

What can we expect from you in the future?  ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I’m working on a fantasy novel entitled World Song that will be done later this year. I’m also working on another marriage enrichment book with my wife and the sequel to Like Mind.

Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
I started writing Like Mind as a standalone book, but as soon as I was done the next novel started pouring out of me. So, I guess it’s a series.

What genre would you place your books into?
Like Mind is action/adventure, comedy and a touch of romance. I have a fantasy novel forthcoming. My wife and I wrote a marriage enrichment book and I published a bible study.

What made you decide to write that genre of book?
My characters made me do it. Most of my stories start out as a singular scene that then evolves into the story. For Like Mind I saw the image of Corey sitting on the train trying to get away from bad guys. I started writing it and discovered the science, humor, and spying that were a part of that story. So, blame Corey.

Do you have a favourite out of the books you have written? If so why is it your favourite?
Books are like children, I only have them now so they can take care of me when I’m older. In other words, my favorite is the book that brings me a blanket when I’m 90 years old.

Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite?
Right now I love Antonio “El Tigre” Gutierrez. His choice of  vehicle, gun, ascot, and nickname all give me more joy than I can describe. 

If you had to choose to be one of your characters in your book/books which would you be? and why?
I’m pretty brutal to my characters. I think I’m safer on this side of the keyboard.

How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I started writing full-time in 2010. My inspiration to write may go all the way back to Ms. Benoit in 9th grade English class who read my short story to the class.

Where do you get your book plot ideas from?What/Who is your inspiration?
The news, neuroscience, action movies, theology, philosophy, music, organic farming, traveling. You know, the usual.

Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I write best in the morning, so I try to get up, get my coffee, wait for it to take effect, and then write. That’s usually my best stuff. It’s all downhill from there.

Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them?ie. Your partner, children, friends, reviewers you know?
My wife gets to read the raw draft and let me know what works and what doesn’t. Then I usually let my Facebook friends get a crack at the book before I release it to the public.

Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
In a hot minute.

Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
Word for word. I’ve even been known to comment on them.

What was the toughest/best review you have ever had?
The toughest was a misunderstanding where the reviewer thought my marriage book was supposed to provide therapy, not just coaching. After some good conversation the review was actually removed. The best was for Like Mind when I was able to convince someone that, despite being self-published, the book is actually “pretty good.”

Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
It’s less about a positive/negative thing and more about understanding what I’ve written. If people just don’t like it, that’s up to them. But if they seem to be reviewing a different book, or venting frustration about something else through a review on my book, I’ll open up a dialog to see what’s going on.

How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books?Who designed the Cover of your books?
My first book title and cover came from my brain – with some online work-shopping to see what connects with people. Like Mind’s cover came from a great designer and self-published author, Jason Gurley (he’s doing the covers for all of Hugh Howey’s books now).

Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
I’ve done both, but usually I write the book first and then choose a title.

How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
For Like Mind I just picked places in my hometown (Portland) and the surrounding area. For World Song the fantasy novel I use a lot of linguistic massaging to create names with meaning that don’t sound completely derived from Latin. Hebrew, Greek, Gaelic, and Norwegian are all good source material.

Are character names and place names decided after there creation? or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
I usually create something and then figure out what to name it. Then the name usually describes what I created.

Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
I get to know my characters as I write. It’s more fun that way.

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?
Messy as it is, I just let everything flow and figure it out as I go along. Sometimes that means I have to go back and fix things later. Other times it surprises me and makes for a great twist.

How do you market/promote your books?
I’ve tried just about everything but standing on the freeway off-ramp with a sign. I do a lot through my Facebook page, but I also give a way review copies, send out press releases, wave flags from the top of tall buildings, ride on a horse through town announcing that my next book is coming. You know, the usual.

What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller ?
A book that’s main goal is to tell a great story usually make it.

Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
I have so many different projects going that I usually just switch to a different project. If fiction isn’t flowing then I’ll move to non-fiction. I’ll also try to learn something new – right now I’m learning to play a new instrument, so when the words aren’t flowing I’ll go practice for a while.

What do you do to unwind and relax?Do you have a hobby?
Sometimes I’m jealous of those people who have just one hobby. But I usually get over it when I go do something new. The consistent factor is adventure. I love trying new things, from skydiving to organic farming to woodworking to food-truck taste-testing to camping to velocipede mounted jousting. I’ll try just about anything once. 

Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
Some or all? I think the best writing is what flows out of the author. One description that sticks in my mind is that writing is like time-traveling telepathic communication.  I try to make sure that what I’m communicating is good stuff by life-testing most of it first. Really, it’s a service to my readers.

Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
Oh, absolutely. That’s a part of who I am so it will inevitably come out in my writing. I do my best to be evenhanded and give the reader a chance to make their own decisions, but my bias and moral thought absolutely come through.

Is there a certain Author that influenced you in writing?
Growing up I read a bunch of David Eddings and C.S. Lewis. For my most recent novel I’d have to say it’s a mix between the irreverent style of Robert Kroese and the pulp-action of Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Which format of book do you prefer, ebook,hardback, or paperback?
Paperback is my first love. I have well-worn paperbacks that I re-read every few years just to make sure the sentences haven’t changed. After that I like the ebook format for its ease of use. Hardback books are lame. I like to read in bed and they aren’t comfortable.

What is your favourite book and Why?  Have you read it more than once?
Dune by Frank Herbert is one of the best works ever written. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve read it.

Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst  book to movie transfer?
In general I think movies are better than books, but movies give books a much wider audience. I think that Fight Club would have remained a niche book if it weren’t for the movie with Brad Pitt and Edward Norton.

What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)
Library paperback of Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. She writes with a style that I hope to someday approach, if only on my deathbed.

Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
Not completely, no. I think ebooks will continue to grow to, probably 75% of the market, but some books will always need to be physical (coffee table books, for example).

Do you think children at schools these days are encouraged enough to read? and/or do Imaginative writing?
I don’t think children were encouraged enough to read and write 20 years ago or 50 years ago. Even less so today.

Did you read a lot at school and write lots of stories or is being a writer something newer in your life?
I’ve always been an avid reader. Writing fiction is new to me though. I wrote a few stories when I was younger, but it’s only now beginning to be something I see as a vocation.

Did you have a favourite author as a child?
C.S. Lewis and David Eddings were, far and away, my favorites.
Do you have a treasured book from your childhood? If yes, what is it?
Pawn of Prophecy by Eddings still sits on my shelf and calls to me every few years.

Do you have a favourite genre of book?
Sci-Fi and Fantasy are my bread and butter. But I’ll read almost anything.

Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish?
I tried to read Tailchaser’s Song and it just bored me. Kitty-lit isn’t my bag.

Are there any New Authors you are interested in for us to watch out for? and Why should we watch out for them?
Jason Gurley, the guy who did my cover, is writing some great stories in Hugh Howey’s Wool world. Erik Wecks is another Pacific Northwest author that is adding great character development to fantastic world-building in the Sci-Fi genre.

Is there anything in your book/books you would change now if you could and what would it be?
No regrets. Mistakes are like scars, every time I see them I remember the lesson I learned. I am who I am for what I’ve done. I wouldn’t change any of it.

What do you think about book trailers?
I’m confused by them. I made one. I’m still confused by them.

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
On your first draft ignore the “Backspace” key. Just keep going and get it out of your head. Once it’s out there you can massage it into something good. As long as it’s still in  your head you can’t do anything with it.

Do you or would you ever use a pen name?
No I don’t. I’m trying very hard to be the same person in every sphere of my life, including online and at my grandma’s house. I don’t think it’s okay for me to say things without the accountability of having my name attached to those things.

If you could invite three favourite writers to dinner, who would you invite and enjoy chatting with?
C.S. Lewis, Robin Hobb and George R.R. Martin

Where can readers follow you?

Your Website?
Your Facebook Page?
Your Goodreads Author Page?
Your Twitter details? Jtw78

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