Monday, October 24, 2016

Author Interview: J.R. Creaden

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Welcome to this month's Blog World Tour Interview! Today, I'm interviewing J.R. Creaden, an up and coming science fiction author and creator of the Contact Files series!

Tabitha: Hi, J.R.! Thanks for joining me. To start, let's talk about the end. How do you feel about endings in stories? Is there a type of ending you strive for?

J.R.: I hate endings, and I fight against them. When I’m reading, I want every book to end by leading into the next book. Standalone books disappoint this need of mine. That said, I crave stories that give me that grand “aha” moment that clinches a major mystery, the kind of reveal that means I’ll have a whole different perspective when I reread the book. I aim to accomplish both goals—for my readers to reach the end and feel torn between rereading or rushing to the next book in series.


T: Do you work with an outline or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?

J: My first book was written entirely by the seat of my pants. I had vague ideas of what might happen in a scene, but there were many surprises. Looking back, I made all the first time novelist mistakes—too many characters, too complex a plot, an unpopular narrative strategy (omniscient), scenes that had waking up/going to sleep/doing boring life stuff, withholding necessary plot information from the reader... Truly, it was a mess before I began revisions. I’ve done more plotting on that story during revisions than I ever did while writing.

Now I plot and outline each scene. I don’t force myself to plan everything, but I make certain I know the scene’s internal and external goals. Somehow, I’m still in the back seat, so to speak, when I write this way, as the characters fight my planning or offer lines that throw me sideways.

I like to think my outline is telling me what should happen, but the characters have a great deal of power over how each scene turns out. Some spout poetry when I expect straight answers. Others reveal secrets I hadn’t intended them to possess. I love being surprised.

T: Very cool. Regarding your current work, tell us about your main character’s weaknesses. How do these affect the first book of your series?

J: In Re: Morse, the main character, human Hugo Morse is plagued by self-doubt. While we don’t go into major detail about Hugo’s background, certain elements haunt him. Despite the utopian version of Earth he remembers, Hugo’s experiences were not so pleasant. His upbringing within the Syndicate, raised on space ships before being deposited at the Rodanbary Academy, was rather lonely. His fear of failure holds him back and puts everyone in danger.

T: Speaking of upbringings, let's move on to some fun questions! Who was your childhood hero?

J: Amelia Bedelia. Don’t laugh; it’s true. I was a quirky, awkward, and clumsy child. Amelia’s optimism, her inventive ways of solving problems—these were inspiring to me. She was nuts, sure, but so delightful and inherently good. How could anyone not love her? I knew I might never be “right” in the expected ways, but she gave me hope that I could still find my own “right” along the way.

T: Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

J: It’s neither; it’s work. It’s fun, exciting, challenging, grueling work.

T: Amen to that, haha! Thank you so much for your time, J.R.!


Readers! You can follow J.R. on twitter, facebook, and at her awesome website!

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JR began her writing career as a child disgruntled with song lyrics. After some early success with poetry and essays, she spent decades distracted by songwriting and academia until her story dreams became too interesting to keep to myself. Her current YA space opera series Contact Files will soon be ready for public consumption or vivisection. Her goal is to share stories that inspire readers to embrace cultural diversity, the promise of science, and the value of humor and imagination to build a future that’s more Star Trek and less 1984. When she’s not writing, JR enjoys exchanging “your mama” jokes with her children, floating in lakes, and slaying virtual dragons.