This week, we put the spotlight on one of our authors and go “beyond the cover” to find out more about him, his process, and his goals. Meet debut author J.B. Lawrence, whose fantasy novel “Last Flight Home” will be released this spring.
What inspired you to write this book?
I had the seed of an idea—the first plot point in the story—and from there I just let the rest of the story grow. The exciting part was creating an entirely new world in which, because it’s fantasy fiction, I can pretty much do whatever I want.
Wanting to write a book and actually finishing that book are often very different propositions. How did you stay motivated and focused to finish the novel?
This novel has taken me almost two years to finish, and there was a short time back in the beginning of 2013 when I didn’t touch the manuscript for about five months. I was halfway through the first draft and realized that I didn’t know what to do with it.
But then, on a whim, I decided to send the manuscript to a good friend of mine. He read it and told me how much he liked it, and he wanted more. So his response was the first reignition of my energy to get the book done.
There have been a lot of moments when I haven’t had the energy to write, when I just didn’t feel like doing it. But I try my hardest to write a minimum of two hours a day no matter what. Most days I work much more than two hours, but if nothing else, on the days when I don’t feel like sitting down at all, if I can just force myself to spend the two hours, then I don’t beat myself up as much.
Another thing that motivates me is knowing that when the book is done, I can go out and discuss and read it with others.
What has been the most exciting part of the process between deciding to write the book and getting it published (or nearly published)?
The most exciting thing so far has been how much better the story has gotten since having it professionally edited.
What advice would you give to other aspiring writers?
For the writing part of the journey, figure out a steady and doable routine. Then, each day, try to work a little harder than the minimum of the rules of your routine.
For the editing part of the process, be patient and open to suggestions from your editor.
What’s next for you as an author?
I’m finishing the second book in the fantasy series that “Last Flight Home” is starting. But I also have another “reality-based” story that I am dying to write. And I would very much like to coerce Possibilities Publishing into working with me to edit and republish my first self-published work, a novella called “Bee Man.”
Of course, while all this is going on, I am going to be selling “Last Flight Home.”
What benchmarks will you use to measure success for your book?
I would say the amount of people sitting at a reading or the general buzz about the book. I would be so happy to visit a school and do a reading or Q&A about the book—or someday get an invitation to a big shindig because of the book. I don’t even care about going to the shindig. Just getting the invite would make me smile.
That being said, the amount of sales will definitely play a big part in judging my success.
You’re using Indiegogo to raise funds to finish and launch your book. What has your experience been like so far? Do you think the campaign will have an impact on your book launch beyond just raising money?
My experience with Indiegogo has been great. Just seeing the campaign up and running gives me energy to want to do more.
I do think it will have an impact because just the announcement of the campaign has gotten the attention of a lot of people who are looking forward to the book being released. Those people would not have even known about the novel had we not done the Indiegogo campaign.
What is your favorite perk on Indiegogo?
I love all the perks, but I think my favorite is the $25 pre-ordered signed book. I’m looking forward to honing my autograph skills and love the idea that someone out there is about to read my story.
“Last Flight Home” will be available in paperback and e-book from all major outlets in Spring 2015.
More about J.B. Lawrence’s book: http://www.possibilitiespublishingcompany.com/authors/jb-lawrence/
J.B. Lawrence’s Indiegogo campaign: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/finishing-my-novel-last-flight-home