Thursday, 14 March 2013

Author Interview - Jon Thomason



Author Jon Thomason

Jon Thomason lives with his family in San Diego, after many years living in the beautiful Seattle area. He has a successful career in high tech where he's been fortunate enough to participate in many big-name industry releases.

Storytelling permeates everything he does. In the moments when Jon is not helping build the story of the tech world, he can almost always be found working on a project: writing, photography, videography, graphics design, or 3D art.

And he's always careful to conceal his jinni magic abilities, though perhaps might slip one day and be discovered...


What genre are you most comfortable writing? I like writing all kinds of different genres, but what ties them together for me is action. I can't abide writing where nothing happens. I love to write about people doing things, seeing things, experiencing things. I'm still in awe of the world, and love to write about characters who see and experience and do things that amazes them. Portraying this sense of wonder is what I love to write.

What inspired you to write your first book? I am a vivid daydreamer. I have loved to read from quite a young age and always imagined what it would be like to be able to do magic--really do the magic. What would it feel like to make something across the room move? Or what would it be like to play a trick on an unsuspecting classmate? While I love creatively constructed worlds, I'm generally more interested in things happening just next door. The idea of intrigue and conspiracy and hidden things fascinate me. Might there be a shadowy group pulling the strings somewhere? Powerful people behind the scenes? And then one of our children had a form of leukemia as a child, and the powerlessness of this gave way to the idea of good from evil, and of being transformed. I'm also well acquainted with anger management issues of the teen female, and contrite, bland dialogue, just doesn't work. Throw in some cynical sarcasm from our villain, and the story just poured out.

What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general? The most challenging thing about writing for me is finding time to do it! My busy live provides only slivers of time to write in. I have to take careful advantage of these!

Do you intend to make writing a career? Absolutely! But first it has to pay the bills, so for now, it fits in the gaps between things.

Can you tell us about your main character? You'll learn much more in the book, but Max (short for Maxine, which she hates) Xylander is your average thirteen-year-old. She has a temper, has parents that don't understand her, doesn't get along with her sister, and has some really close friends. There's just the fact that she had cancer. And has somehow acquired the ability to make things happen. Like magic. Max loves to have fun. Is very competitive, and is dying to learn more about her new talent.

How did you develop your plot and characters? I have several daughters. Writing about high-maintenance teenagers with anger management issues comes very naturally :). And Philip, another of my main characters, while not looking much like me, has more in common with me than I care to admit most days!

Who designed the cover?
I designed the cover. I do a lot of photography and graphics design work, so doing the cover was something I really enjoyed. I also did the 3D model for the city on the lower part of it. I'm always interested to hear from readers about what kind of impact the cover made on them and how it influenced their decision to read the book.

How much of the book is realistic? I'd like to think my entire book is realistic! Of course, it's about the jinn (genies), about unusual animals, and magical powers, so how could it be realistic? The book is set in our current, modern world and my goal is to make things feel and seem completely realistic. I strive to put you in Max's shoes and feel what she would feel experiencing these things for the first time.

How important do you think villains are in a story? Oh my, terribly important. So important, that I tell half the story from Max's voice and half from Philip's voice. Is Philip actually a villain? You'll have to read and find out.

Can we expect any more books from you in the future? Oh definitely. I have two more books to write in the Max trilogy. I have ideas for other series in Max's world, plus a concept for adults that's maturing in my head that I'm dying to write!

What are some of the best tools available today for writers, especially those just starting out? First, an 11" MacBook Air. Tiny and light, but a full-sized keyboard. You can bring it along anywhere and write in any spare moment. Scrivener is the best writing software out there: take notes, plot your book on its index cards, write a scene at a time and rearrange to your liking, and finally use its automated compile feature to assemble the final book and create a manuscript, or an e-book, or both! A complete lifesaver. I keep my notes in Evernote which has apps for pretty much any device or platform out there. This way anytime I have an idea, I can jot it on my phone, and when I grab my computer, it's synced up over the Internet and my note is waiting for me.

What contributes to making a writer successful? If you go the self-published route, you should count on spending as least as much time as you spend writing on promotion. And even then, there's no guarantee you'll be successful. It's a wonderful fantasy that you push "publish" on Amazon and people flock to your book. Unfortunately, it's just fantasy. If you are the publisher, you have to act like it and actively promote your work, nearly every day. And then you'll have a chance at being successful.

Do you have any advice for writers? I see two common failings in writers. First, we get wedded to a scene or some particular dialog, but ultimately it's extraneous to the book, slows down the pacing, and generally adds bloat. A really good writer knows how to cut, cut, cut. It's painful, but it has to be done. I cut 100 pages from my first draft of Max. It was hard, but it felt so much better after! Second, we all get bored with the final stages of the process, the editing and proofreading. It takes many (many!) times through the book to perfect it. This final polish: rooting out bad writing and awkward phrasing is sometimes what separates a mediocre book from an excellent one. Before you send out, go through it one more time. Or maybe two. Even ten, if that's what it takes.


Links

Max Xylander and the Island of Zumuruud

Max has anger management issues. But she has a secret, too. She can make things happen. Like magic. She almost killed a loser skate punk and nearly used it on her stuck up older sister. The question is, can she do anything other than blow things up? Can she learn to control it? And is it really possible that an obscure teenage girl is the key to keeping all of humanity safe?

Philip just got his ring back. He got it taken away for messing with his teacher’s mind so he can cheat on a test. Now that he has his ring, he thinks he should be able to use his power to make his life better. A lot better. The problem is that people want him to be responsible. But if you could do magic, wouldn’t you use it to escape work in any way possible?

Aaron wants to be a soldier. He knows there are lots of people who would try to take over, and he’s determined to stop them. The problem is that there’s this new girl. And she might be not be on the right side of things. She’s really talented and pretty, but she might be able to destroy everything he believes in. Whatever the case, he knows he needs to learn to be world class with the magic sword while he figures out what to do.

Brynn never gets out. Her grandfather won’t permit it. Her only access to the outside world are high fashion magazines, so she has an unusual idea what she should wear. She’s dying to get out and travel. And adopt animals. Any kind of animal. Is she a lonely future granny with cats or are her ridiculous clothes actually the next fashion craze? What possible role could she play in the destiny of the world?

Max Xylander and the Island of Zumuruud is a fast-paced fantasy adventure for all ages (10 and up) and is the first of a planned trilogy. Fans of magic, swordplay, secret agents, and conspiracies set in a modern everyday world will not be able to put the book down. Jon Thomason is a debut author and paints a vivid world of magic right under our noses and delivers rapid-fire action that keeps the pages turning.

Purchase

Praise

"Impressively inventive and enjoyable...vivid storytelling and exceptional characterization...Max's personality is layered and complex...conveyed flawlessly...keeping readers intrigued and engaged...writing style is smooth, and a subtle sense of humor comes through...narrative tension builds at a good pace and easily flows toward a satisfying and exciting conclusion...parents are likely to both approve of the story and enjoy reading it themselves...talented writer...sure to find an appreciative audience that will eagerly anticipate the next book in the series." -- ForeWord Clarion Review

"Thomason shines in his heroine's characterization...magical" --blueink Review

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Books Sold - 6 Nov 2011 to 31 May 2012

Some of you have asked me for my total number of books sold to evaluate KDP Select so here it is. Bear in mind, that results will vary based on genre and author. Good luck and remember, Keep Moving Forward.

Total - 120,836

1. Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out
Amazon Kindle - 42,559
Paperback -
Smashwords -

2. Frequent Traveller
Amazon Kindle - 35277
Paperback -
Smashwords -

3. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 1
Amazon Kindle - 462
Smashwords -

4. Mirror Me Martha (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 281
Smashwords -

5. Drive On Hope (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 190
Smashwords -

6. Blog-A-Licious Directory 2012
Amazon Kindle - 1
Smashwords -

7. Pandora's Reading Room 1
Amazon Kindle -
Paperback - N/A

8. The Cat That Barked (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle -

9. Dora's Essentials - Examining Anxiety
Amazon Kindle -

10. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 2
Amazon Kindle -

11. Elevenses from Around the World
Amazon Kindle -

12. Genetically Modified Foods vs. Sustainability
Amazon Kindle -

Blog-A-Licius - Sherbet Blossom

SherbetBlossom

Blog-A-Licious

Dealightfully Frugal

Blog-A-Licious - The Few, The Proud, The Wife

Blog-A-Licious

My Soul Slippers

Blog-A-Licous - Textbook Mommy

Blog-A-Licious - Blue Frogs Legs

Blog-A-Licious - Pretty All True

Pretty All True

Blog-A-Licious - tbaoo

tbaoo

Blog-A-Licious

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Blog-A-Licious - The Invisible Art

Blog-A-Licious - Rediscovering Domesticity

Rediscovering Domesticity

Blog-A-Licious - Quiver Full

Blog-A-Licious - Cori's Big Mouth

Blog-A-Licious - Great Fun

Greatfun4kids

Blog-A-Licious - Busy Wife

Blog-A-Licious - Steps To Happiness

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Blog-A-Licious - Toby & Max


Blog-A-Licious - Amelie

Raising Amelie

Blog-A-Licious - Peas In A Pod

Blog-A-Licious - Riley

Blognostics - Poetry

BlogNostics

My Awards - September 2010

My Awards - September 2010
Awarded By Jo Frances

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded By Alejandro Guzman

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded by Kriti Mukherjee

My Awards - April 2011

My Awards - April 2011
Awarded By Roy Durham

My Awards - June 2011

My Awards - June 2011
Awarded By Sulekha Rawat

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