My Books

Buy one of my books... Available above at Amazon. Also available at SmashWords, Barnes & Noble and iTunes

Friday, May 24, 2013

Author Interview: J.D.Hallowell

Today I am pleased to present to you all the 71st in a series of Author Interviews. Recently I sat down with the tongue-firmly in mouth wannabe horse-rider, J.D. Hallowell,  and our conversation went something like this:

Paul:  I like to start my interviews by asking if you have any writing rituals?
J.D.:  I like to get up and walk my dog in the morning, then sit down with her next to me at my desk and drink a cup of coffee and just let the words flow, preferably when I can have some quiet time to myself. I try to wake up before the rest of the household so that I can write in perfect peace.

Paul:  If someone had the power to step into your creative mind what would they see?
J.D.:  Utter chaos. If they dared look in there, they would be staring into a maelstrom. Sometimes I look in there myself and say "Nope. Not me. Not now. Don't really feel like swimming in there today."

Until I catch hold of the thread of a thought and start to unravel it onto the page, it is just ideas swirling and colliding and winding around each other. Once I start writing it down, I can grab the strands that seem to relate to each other and start to fit them together into a cohesive whole.

Paul:  Do you have a favorite character in each of your series, aside from the lead? If so, which one and why?
J.D.:  They're all my favorite characters. Even if they aren't deeply developed in a particular story, they're still important, and I still like them; otherwise I wouldn't let them in.

Paul:  In all the years you've been publishing your work, what is the biggest mistake you made that you could share so others can avoid making it?
J.D.:  Giving up before it pays off. I'm very fortunate that my wife did not give up on my writing even when I had. Otherwise, Dragon Fate and Dragon Blade would still be sitting in a desk drawer. It's easy to forget that last rule of writing, "Never give up."

Paul:  How do you find the time to write?
J.D.:  I don't "find" time to write - I make it. If that means getting up at 4 in the morning some days so I can write when the house is quiet, so be it. I try to write at least 3000 words a day. Sometimes it ends up being in six 500-word sessions, sometimes I get it down all at once. Sometimes I'm a little under, sometimes way over. When the muse strikes, I try to write and not stop until I absolutely have to.

Paul:  What is one thing you hope I do not tell the readers?
J.D.:  Anything you got out of the transcripts of the recordings from that microphone you managed to hide in my bedroom.

The password to the drive where I keep my first drafts.

Aside from that, I hope you don't tell them that I am the next J.R.R. Tolkein - they'd be outraged and disappointed, and what author could ever live up to that? - and I hope you don't tell them that you think I'm not even qualified to write classified ads. How many things can you think of that would kill an author's reputation? I hope you don't tell them any of them.

It should be clear at this point that I can't count. I hope you don't tell them that, either.

Paul:  Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
J.D.:  I don't usually have a written outline that I stick to, but I have an idea where the story is going. Along the way, I'll discover things that work better than what I had initially planned, and I'm not afraid to let the story go where it needs to go instead of where I want it to go. Once I'm writing from inside my characters' heads, I have to let them respond to situations authentically.

Paul:  Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
J.D.:  I do a lot of editing. Of course, there are some bad habits that I've managed to root out as I've gone along that don't come up as frequently now as they used to, but I still do numerous read-throughs and re-writes before I let anyone else see anything I'm working on. Letting someone else see it almost always results in a few more rounds of tweaking.

Paul:  Do you have to do much research for your stories?
J.D.:  It depends on the story. For the War of the Blades books, I had most of what I needed to write them already in my head. I have a couple of stories in the works that aren’t in that setting that are requiring a lot of research: you can't write about taking a culture from medieval-level technology to mid-1800s firearms in one giant step in a way that is believable without doing your homework.

Paul:  What is your most recent book? Tell us a little about it
J.D.:  Dragon Blade, the sequel to Dragon Fate, is my latest release. Dragon Blade is a little faster-paced and has more battles and "action" than Dragon Fate, but the story picks right up almost where Dragon Fate left off, and the same central characters are there. There are some new faces, and characters who may have seemed relatively minor in Dragon Fate end up playing much larger roles in Dragon Blade. There are a few surprises along the way, and, intermingled with the action, you'll get more backstory on many of the characters, not just Delno and Corolan, and you'll learn more of the history of the dragons and the Riders, too.

Paul:  How much marketing do you do for your published works or for your 'brand'?
J.D.:  I do lots of marketing, most of it free, and none that isn't obvious: I send out review copies to book bloggers who read in my genre; I do interviews; I run tightly-targeted Goodreads ads; I have an author page on Amazon and Facebook; I recently started a blog; I put book links wherever they are both welcome and relevant. All of that marketing is essential, but I don't think it is sufficient. Much of the word of mouth about my books hasn't come directly from my marketing efforts: it has come because I've been active and involved in communities, both online and offline, that are filled with interesting people I like talking with who also happen to be interested in the kinds of books I write, and because I've been fortunate enough to be surrounded by family, friends, and associates who have been supportive of my work and willing to share it with others.

Paul:  What do you do when you're not writing? Do you have any hobbies or party tricks?
J.D.:  Party tricks? I can tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue, and I can rip a telephone book in half. I make barbecue disappear whenever I'm in the vicinity. If you don't believe me, I'm happy to prove it - especially the part about the barbecue.

I got my real-life adventuring out of the way early, and as a consequence, I'm pretty sedentary these days, so spending time online, reading, and doing research are my primary amusements lately. There are many things I'd love to be able to pick back up someday; horseback riding absolutely tops the list.

Paul:  Thanks, J.D, That was great. I wish you every success for the future.

About J.D. Hallowell: J.D. Hallowell has led an interesting and active life. His varied background includes time as a soldier, automotive mechanic, photographer, cowboy, paralegal, jewelry artist, EMT, psychiatric tech, massage therapist, diamond courier, dog trainer, and entrepreneur. He studied martial arts for over 30 years. Although he is now disabled by the cumulative result of injuries sustained both in and out of the military (he has been shot, stabbed, blown up, bludgeoned, poisoned, and has even had harsh language directed at him), he still writes, and has had two fantasy novels, Dragon Fate and Dragon Blade, published, and has several other fantasy and science fiction projects underway. His other interests include but are not limited to history, archery, paleontology, cooking, and weaponry of all kinds. He currently lives on the Space Coast of Florida with his wife, his son, and his Great Dane service dog.

J.D.'s Blog: J.D. Hallowell
J.D. on Twitter: unknown
J.D. on Facebook: J.D. Hallowell
J.D.'s latest book: Dragon Fate (Amazon)

Follow Me:      


  1. Thanks for having me on the blog. You had some fun questions. I really enjoyed it.

  2. There is one minor correction: Dragon Fate is listed in the links at the bottom of the interview as being my latest release; it's actually Dragon Blade.

    1. You're correct, J.D. (of course)! However as Dragon Fate was the book you asked to be publicized, that was the book that was listed. Hope that's okay.

    2. It's fine; the books are in series, and Dragon Fate is the book most people would want to read first, so it's the one you should link to. I just didn't want anyone to be confused about the books' order in the series.