As you might have seen I recently finished reading "A Time to Reap" and highly enjoyed it! It's an amazing book and since this is my first ever interview I'm more than excited to welcome the author of it, Jonas Lee, to my blog today!
First of all, thank you so much for agreeing to this interview! To start off, can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
I am a new author venturing out into the world of Indie publishing. I hold a full-time job still, have a degree in History and a Masters in Management. What does that equate to…? Well, a hefty imagination and a pension for school loans. I honestly work for my family and I write for myself and my fans. I’m hoping that one day I can merge and do both.
Your most recent book is “A Time to Reap”, which is book one of “The Legend of Carter Gabel” series, right? Could you briefly tell us what it is about and what your readers can expect?
A Time to Reap is book one of the LoCG series, there should be three altogether. Readers can expect going into ATtR with open eyes. It’s classified as a YA /Sci-fi / Time Travel book, but I think readers will like the snarky, wise-cracking narrator.
Carter’s character puts you in the shoes of a teenage boy, afflicted with a well-known genetic disease of the time. His symptoms include involuntary bursts back in time (and minus clothing) making Carter fairly immune to embarrassment. Likewise, other affected teenagers have telepathic abilities and both are housed at a special school to help them cope with and refine their condition so they can manage it better.
Once Carter makes a link with a female student, he finds that they can share more than just secrets between them and it will embark them on a small adventure that goes to the heart of the school they attend. Prepare for a fast-paced ride full of wit, powers and sandwiches.
What made you write that book? Where did your inspiration come from?
Originally, the story was a brief chapter of fan fiction I started after reading The Time Traveler’s Wife. Loved the story and entertaining the idea of if she was pregnant and had to grow up coping with a time traveling child. From there, my mind sprouted into a different direction after the first thousand words. Ideas of him not being the only one and others finding their way into his life to answer some of the questions he would inevitably face made it hard to keep all of the thoughts organized because of how fast they were growing.
I had completed a different book before this one. It was paranormal and vast and because of that, I had to pump the brakes and try to clear my head with something light-hearted and fun. Carter is more than both of those things and getting to develop him has been a blast.
When does the second book, “A Time to Live”, come out?
I dedicated my second book to my wife (first one had to go out to my mom, love you mom) and I could think of no better gift than releasing it on her birthday, January 22nd. That will be for Kindle copies, the paperback option will shortly follow.
Carter Gabel is the main character in your book(s) – tell us a bit about him. What makes him so special?
Carter is like a lot of teenagers, in most cases, and I think that is why he is so special. He’s not all macho or does no wrong. He’s funny and a smartass. When he thinks he’s right, he immediately acts on it before thinking and gets himself in trouble because of that. He has feelings and isn’t afraid to show them, that goes a lot towards his confidence in himself.
How did you come up with your cover? Who designed it? And do you think covers are important in the buying process?
I worked with Amanda Simpson with Pixel Mischief Design. We played around with ideas of time travel and how to make them immediately recognizable. We ended up finding a few different clock themed ideas and after settling on a color scheme, we finalized a kick-ass cover.
I think covers are one of the most important things. Being an Indie, no one knows me. The title might show up on a search, but if the cover is lame or confusing, no one is going to move on to see what it’s about. The cover is one of our only initial tools to draw people in. After that, we hope they will leave a review and boost that noticeable cover some more.
How important are names to you in your book(s)? Do you choose them based on how they sound, the meaning or something else?
Names for me are big. I didn’t want them too futuristic sounding or too old, something classic and Carter just seemed to fit my characters personality. Mo, was a nickname I ran across and when I originally started this book, it was a weekly release of chapters on my blog. I was toying with chapter titles and started each one off as a bible verse. Well, one had the name Moses in it and I had to get creative. Thus, Mo came to life.
Do you read reviews about your book(s)? Maybe even respond to them? Do you have any advice on how to deal with bad ones?
I read all my reviews, I love responding and interacting with fans or bloggers as much as possible. The bad ones are difficult, no lie. Granted, I think I’ve only had a couple, but once I step back I have to look at it from a reader perspective. Because initially, it’s like someone calling your baby ugly and I want to dropkick them.
People have different tastes for books like they do for food. Some appetites are open to anything and some are closed off to only gourmet meals. I’m not fast food by any means, but I try to appease a little for everyone to enjoy. Each review, bad or good, helps me become better and hopefully each new creation gets better.
Are there any writers that inspire you? Which ones?
Indie writers inspire me greatly. Getting out and doing this crazy song and dance to get rescued in a sea of other equally talented and untalented people is hard. My mentor is actually a romance writer, J.B. Salsbury and even though she and I don’t write in the same genre, she’s guided me through some pretty big moments and about a thousand questions. Jacqueline E. Smith, she is at the step ahead of me that I’d like to see in the coming year. Nina Soden who I think has a wonderfully creative mind and drive. And Peter McQueeny, even though he didn’t necessarily like my story, was one of the first to show me some of my short-comings. He writes some great classic sci-fi and I think has taken his time in delivering something wonderful in his own right.
What do you think is the hardest thing about writing?
About writing, nothing. I friggin love writing and could most likely do it most of the day, every day. The process of writing, editing is a struggle. It’s taking a long look in the mirror and pointing out your own personal, private flaws. Publishing is a demon of its own. Building a fan base is hard when you’re the new kid at school. I can only put hope in myself that I will appeal to the right kind of people who want more out of me and will tell their friends.
What advice would you give someone who wants to write his/her own book(s)?
I’d encourage them. Keep writing, keep reading and never stop trying if it is something you truly love doing. Editors are your friends. Be patient with yourself. God took seven days for his masterpiece; your novel will take extensively longer.
What’s your favorite book and why?
My favorite book… wow, well I loved The Thief of Always as a standalone. Clive Barker painted a simple portrait with an elaborate undertone. It’s one of the few books I’ve read more than once. Although, as an epic, I loved the Left Behind series. It felt like Stephen King’s The Stand on crack, mixed with religion (chew on that).
What are you currently working on? What’s your next project?
I plan on tackling the third installment of the LoCG series, release date on that one is dependent on the success of the next one, so please BUYBUYBUY, lol.
A new series I am starting to dabble into will be another focal point for me. It will go into a place called Haven Hill. It’s a place that has been set up in the hills of the Midwest after the near obliteration of the human race. A kingdom has surfaced and with it, peace. Law and order are constant and the only things challenging them are the Outlanders, or are they the only ones? Since the kingdom has four kings presiding over it, there is bound to be a power struggle somewhere.
More to come…
And lastly, where can people connect and find out more about you?
Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Website/Blog | Amazon
It was a pleasure having you here, Jonas. Thank you so much for your time, I wish you lots of luck for your next books!
Thank you so much for YOUR time! I hope that you will stick with me on the next venture!