I suspect everyone is over at WriteOnCon. I certainly am, and I didn't think I would be this nervous about an online conference, but that's exactly how I feel. All those eyes! Not just the professionals, but fellow aspiring writers as well. I'm all a-jitter!
Welcome, Jay. It's great to have you here. Tell us, how long have you been writing?
I have to answer this as if I've had two lives, which from a writing perspective I have. While in college, I took a lot of theater courses and spent quite a bit of time writing a couple of plays which are, in retrospect, incredibly awful despite the good grades. Then I graduated, started working, got married, had kids. Life happened, but over the years I toyed with the idea of writing again. It was about seven years ago I began to write in earnest again.
What is the name and genre of the manuscript you're currently pitching?
"Urban Mythos". Young Adult Urban Fantasy.
What’s your story about?
The deputy mayor demands that Zydeco turn in the leader of their local support group for recovering mythological creatures, or those he loves the most will be exiled as Chimera-Chow. Zydeco despises threats, so he decides to mount a rescue attempt to save his friends rather than betray the support group leader, whose help will be critical to the mission’s success. There’s just one problem—Zydeco hasn’t the slightest clue where the guy is hiding.
What a cool concept! How did the idea of the story come to you?
I decided on the genre first - I write YA, and I wanted to try my hand at an urban fantasy. I went into my "what if" mode and eventually came up with the question, "What if mythological creatures were living in a city among the human folk?" Of course there are about a billion urban fantasies where mythological creatures live in a city among human folk. I set my imagination back to coming up with something a bit unique.
So then I thought, what if these these creatures had become human after being exiled from mythical world. And what if they retained some of their mythological capabilities? For example, Zydeco is a Griffin -- half lion, half eagle. He remains incredibly strong and fearless, and when he sets his mind to it, can retain the elevated senses of those creatures. Finally, it occurred to me that if you had a bunch of former mythological creatures running around a city, they might not be happy and have trouble adjusting to human life. Hence, the support group for recovering mythological creatures.
Sounds great. I'd love to read it. What else are you working on?
LOL, zombie mermaids. Kind of reminds me of the merfolk in the lagoon at Hogwarts. So, do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?
Yes and yes! I subscribe to writing.com and belong to the YA forum there. There are a great bunch of people who write a number of YA genres and we critique chapters as we write -- good, long detailed critiques on everything from plot, voice, character, setting to fairly detailed line-by-line notes. We've got people from all around the world. I consider them my friends, and I don't know what I'd do without them.
But, yes, I do self-edit as well. I've got a whole revision process I documented on my blog.
What’s the hardest part of writing for you?
You mean apart from allocating time? I guess it's writing scenes in which there is very little dialog. I'm a verbal kind of guy. My fingers get twisted up on the keyboard and I over think scenes where nobody talks. It takes me far longer to get those scenes written.
Let’s get to know you on a deeper level. What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?
1. Coffee, preferably a Starbucks Cafe Americano along with a few cookies.
2. Music to suit the mood of the day. The selection is wide ranging and ever changing.
3. My sasquatch notebook with all my notes.
Bobo preferred jury duty to his day job as a circus clown, where he spent countless hours cleaning up after the baby elephants who blanketed the arena floor with baby missiles.
Heehee, very funny. And um, gross.
Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.
Oh, oh, oh. The family first. I'd like to thank Rona, Scott, and Rachel for putting up with me effectively disappearing into my imagination after dinner most nights to write. Big shout-out to my buds from writing.com and to all the other wonderful writers, editors and agents - my tweeple, my blogmates. You've each helped me along my way. And thank YOU, Dorothy for indulging me. :-)
Aw, that's sweet. Thank you. And finally, where can people find you online?
You can check out my blog at - http://jayeckert.blogspot.com
Jay, thank so much for letting us get to know you and your work. I wish you much success on your publishing journey!