I’d like to introduce my readers to James w. McAllister.
His first novel, THE BEST LAID PLANS, was selected as a Runner-Up in the MARSocial Author of the Year Competition. This is where and when I met him.
He grew up in Syracuse, New York. and still lives in Central New York State. When not writing, he’s usually busy working in Healthcare Accreditation or with sports, history, computers, photography, gardening, fishing, or scale model building. Sounds like fun! His interest in science fiction began in Junior High School with the Lensmen Series of books by E. E. “Doc” Smith, and was spiked by Star Trek and Star Wars.
Title of Work: RODS
Tagline: What detective John Martin sees in that ally changes everything.
Intended Audience: 13-133
It always happened in a stinking back alley. And in the middle of the night on my watch. Cold. Raining. Or hot and steamy. These things never happened in sunny flower studded meadows…
Publisher’s Website: http://fortiterpublishing.com
And now for some Q&A
Is this your first book? Rods is my fifth book. How many books have you written prior (if any?)Four. List other titles if applicable.
THE BEST LAID PLANS
THE UNIVERSE, FIVE MINUTES AT A TIME
What does your writing process look like? I visualize the story, then each scene. Then I write it down. I try to imagine what the characters are experiencing, and explain that in my writing.
Where do you write? I write in airports, on planes, in hotel rooms, as my ‘real’ job requires constant travel.
Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)? Not really, unless you consider writing in bed in a hotel room strange!
Are you a plotter or a pantster (writing by the seat of your pants)? Definitely a pantster! Once I get a good, solid visualization in my head, the story seems to write itself. Sometimes that means an entirely different direction than I had first planned!
Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy? My biggest difficulty is when I write exciting, action-packed scenes; I get so involved I skip words or letters. Then when I re-read, I know in my head what should be there and sometimes don’t see the errors on the page!
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it? I can’t think of anything. I generally write what I like to read.
How did you come up with the title of your book or series? It’s an important part of the story.
What book do you wish you could have written? LOL The one that sold a billion copies! Seriously, though, I write to tell stories. As long as I have a story in my head, I’ll write it.
What other books/authors are similar to your own? What makes them similar? I don’t know about similar, I know some authors I like to read: Michael R. Hicks, B. V. Larsen, Edgar Rice Burroughs, H. G. Wells, Isaac Asimov, and Robert Louis Stevenson to name a few.
Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork? I’ve designed all my covers. My brother Jack has contributed some photographs for some of them. I put them together on my MacBook Pro. For the Starclan Series, I went through four totally different covers before settling on a layered compilation. With UNIVERSE, it’s a picture from Jack’s telescope and the MacAlister clan tartan. The Page uses a photo shot from my living room window with some added artwork. For RODS, I went with a stylized view of the opening scene with details from my memories of New York City.
Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write? Michael R. Hicks I would say. He brought me from “maybe I could” to “why not!”
Who is your favorite character from your book and why? How about your least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you? Detective John Martin. He’s a lot of fun to write; a good guy with a strong sense of right and wrong, but fatalistic and seemingly at the mercy of events surrounding him. For least favorite? Can’t think of one!
If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters? John Martin would be best played Bruce Willis. Patty O’Rourke by Elisha Cuthbert. Po by Michael Clarke Duncan. Dr. Lisa Martin by Natalie Portman. Director Marlowe by Linda Hunt. Dr. Wattson by William Baldwin. Francis Herbert by Chris Evens. Deputy Inspector Alice MacDonald by Jodi Foster. With that payroll it will never get made! LOL
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend? In the Starclan Series I researched Scottish names. Also, there are a few ‘easter-eggs’ in the Starclan Series-the name of a law firm in THE TURRET for example. In THE PAGE, I used ancient Celtic and Gaelic names along with historical figures. In my short story, THINGS LOOK DIFFERENT BY FIRELIGHT, published in the Nocturnal Press anthology TORCHED, every character’s name is from a comedy film of the 1920s, 30s, or 40s. For RODS I used variations of people I know and characters I enjoyed. For example, SISSI Director Samantha Marlowe is a combo of Humphrey Bogart characters. I like to have some fun while I write!
If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be? Dunno, since I CAN change whatever I want! LOL
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment? I’m very happy with THINGS LOOK DIFFERENT BY FIRELIGHT. RODS also turned out well. AND the Starclan books. My wife’s favorite is THE PAGE.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Shopping for a retirement place on the water.
Have you always enjoyed writing? I’ve enjoyed storytelling. I used to do Bill Cosby routines in Jr. High; Noah and such. When I began traveling so much for work, I started reading eBooks. Then I figured I could write them!
What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors? Write what you like. Treat every review, good or not, as gold. And have fun!
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad? I used to respond, but that goes nowhere. I do read reviews. Feedback from customers is very important to the quality of your product. Without reviews, I never would have thought about proof-reading, editors, and beta-readers.
What (when not writing) do you do to support yourself? I am a Respiratory Therapist working in healthcare accreditation.
Do you have any other talents or hobbies? I like to fish, garden, and build models of WWII aircraft.
What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful? Tell everyone you know about the books you enjoy by writing reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and anyplace else you can!
What is your best marketing tip? When I have one worth sharing, I’ll let you know! LOL
Do you have a favorite conference to attend? What is it? I’ve only been to Scare-A-Con 2014.
What are you working on now? My current project d the third Starclan book, A MATTER OF HONOR.
What is your next project? Either a terrorist-fighting action/adventure series, or a medical/political paranormal suspense book.
What can we expect from you in the future? The two I mentioned above. Maybe a fourth Starclan.
And now for some FUN!
What do you wear (if anything) while writing? Not much!
Do you have a pet or pets? Jordan The Wonder Cat
Do you drink or smoke? Single Malt Scotch and red wine. Not together!
Have you ever gotten into a bar fight? I have a scar on my lip from one.
What literary character is most like you? LOL Charlie Brown!
Characters often find themselves in situations they aren’t sure they can get themselves out of. When was the last time you found yourself in a situation that was hard to get out of and what did you do? I slammed on the brakes. It didn’t work, the van (paid for) was still totaled. But I was unharmed, and was able to pull the driver of the SUV that hit me out of it before it exploded.
What do you want your tombstone to say? “His goal was to live forever. He died trying to fulfill it.”
I asked James to describe something he “deleted” from his work and why. (Because a real writer knows when to hit THE DELETE KEY!)
“I had a scene in RODS of the ‘bad guys’ planning things. It didn’t fit, since the story was told by the main character in the first person.”
James would like to share a small piece of wisdom from Marx; “Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”
Okay, now one from W.C. Fields; “If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Then quit. There’s no sense becoming a fanatic.”
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/FortiterPublishing
Awards: MARSocial Author of the Year Runner
Speaking Engagement:Scare-A-Con 2014