This Writer Wednesday, the spotlight shines on author Garrett K. Jones.
Garrett is a teacher, podcast host, film critic, and YouTube host. For the month of August, he is also showcasing other indie authors with his Author Awareness August YouTube series.
A quick note:
During this interview, you might note that many of the questions include the word “we” as if “we” asked them. Well, we did. This detail is meant to include you, my dear reader, and I do hope you enjoy each interview published to this blog!
Additionally, please note that each interview answer is the author's own words and the interviews in The Intuitive Storyteller blog are intended for informational and educational purposes only.
I live in Central California where I am an 8th grade teacher, a podcast host, a film critic, and YouTube Host. I’m a single father and I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from CSU Monterey Bay and an MAR in Biblical Studies from Liberty University Theological Seminary. I have four books published in my ongoing fantasy series The Archives of Icínq-Régn (EE-seenk-Ray-yen), and I’ve shopped the fifth book in the series to Beta Readers. I also have a book of original poetry available on Kindle and Audiobook.
About The Heirs of Menonias, Book One in Garrett's series The Archives of Icínq-Régn
A great enemy, the Arch-Magus Menonias, has been vanquished and his campaign of terror and death has been thwarted. From the ashes of his reign, Icínq-Régn, the Five Kingdoms, have enjoyed an unprecedented era of peace as a unified nation. But a shadow from the darkest recesses of Icínq-Régn's violent past threatens to destroy everything as Menonias' hidden heirs rise up to complete their father's work and rekindle his legacy. But Icínq-Régn is not without protectors; three individuals - a ranger with an ancient connection to the Dragons, a priest in training, and a princess mage - rise up to meet their calling and face the “Heirs of Menonias.”
Garrett’s series The Archives of Icínq-Régn is available now!
And now, the interview:
Garrett, when did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I knew I wanted to be a writer for sure by middle school, but I had enjoyed writing my own stories and adventures from 3rd grade moving forward. I created my own stories and eventually I joined up with a storytelling club, and from there began developing original characters.
Tell us about the person(s) or event(s) that inspired you to write your latest work.
I’m inspired by a number of different things. The first real creative writing project I ever worked on was in 3rd grade; my teacher showed us the original 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live action film, and then had us write a story about what we would do if we ever went to New York and met the turtles. I’ve been inspired to create my own characters based on people I knew, movies and shows I watched, books I read, and other experiences. I once came up with a short story about a water demon trapped inside a fountain while watching a fountain bubble weakly because there was blockage in the lines… it was kind of surreal.
What is your favorite genre to write and why do these types of stories appeal to you?
I mostly write epic medieval fantasy, though I do love writing poetry. I grew up loving adventure stories as a kid, and I remember my dad reading to me at an early age… we read all sorts of stories together, but the ones I remember the best were traditional fairytales and other adventures. I grew up on Robin Hood, King Arthur, and a variety of other similar stories. I loved the wonder and the grandeur and the magic, but I also got really into comic books and superheroes. All of the characters in my books actually started off as comic book heroes and villains that I developed in high school, but I found they fit better in the fantasy genre.
Do you have a furry familiar? Tell us about them!
I do not have a furry familiar. The closest I have is a five-year-old who thinks it’s hilarious when I do a pratfall.
Tell us about your writing schedule and/or a ritual that is necessary for establishing and sustaining your writing mood and endurance.
I actually don’t keep to a writing schedule. For more than a year I’ve been on editing mode, so I haven’t written anything besides podcast and vlog scripts for a while. But I usually have a notebook and pen with me at all times so that I can write when the need compels me… and it compels me often. Usually, I write when I have free time… late at night when I’m in bed, when I’m sitting in church, or if I’m in a conference. Looks like I’m taking notes, and nobody questions what I’m doing.
Why do you write? How does the act of storytelling affect you?
I write because I have a story to tell. I’m compelled to do it, and it makes for a great method for exorcising my hypergraphia. But I also draw from myth; I think it’s great to take old myths and legends and remake them into something new. Humans live for story and despite my creative writing professors telling me I should be focused on social action and social justice and all of that, my biggest focus for writing is to entertain, to spin a yarn, and have readers’ imaginations explode in wonder.
Think about yourself back when you first started writing. If you could travel back in time, what would you say to that version of you (about the writing process, publishing, the world, etc.) that might help prepare them for today?
I would tell past me not to give up because he has something worth writing stored up inside him, and not to change for anything because it’s those foci that will make him awesome at what he will do.
What are your recommendations for fueling your writing energy and promoting inspiration?
Read all the time… Reading is inhaling and writing is exhaling.
Reading is inhaling and writing is exhaling.
How intuitive are you and does your intuition affect your writing?
I’m not sure I understand the question with regards to writing, but there are times where I will be working on a later section in the story and something connects with me and I figure out a way to improve a previous scene, section, or chapter. I also have a tendency of doing people watching to gain insight into how real people behave, talk, and think because the goal is to write characters who are real people.
Tell us about your long-term writing and publishing goals.
My long-term writing and publishing goals are to finish my series. I have some other projects that I want to work on… I’ve considered writing something more contemporary, something in sci-fi, and I’ve toyed with the idea of writing a western.
For what or whom are you most grateful right now and why?
I’m grateful for my family. It’s cheesy, but I love them and they inspire me and encourage me a lot. My son is my biggest reason for doing what I do… I want him to see that no matter what he encounters he can always do whatever he sets his heart to do and to pursue it with everything he is. My son is my “why.”
Besides writing, what activities bring you joy?
I play with my son when I have him… he’s the absolute best. I love to read, and I love to produce videos and podcasts. I like being technical like that. I love talking movies… I’m a total cinephile, so both my podcast and newspaper column are used for reviewing movies. I also love to play video games… I’m a huge gamer! I love music too… I play guitar, bass, and drums.
Which book are you reading right now?
Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
What’s the best book you’ve read in the past year?
The Circle, by Stephen J. Galgon
Fill in the blank: Magic is...
Magic is a useful deus ex machina when it’s done right.
Stay connected with Garrett! Here’s where you can find him:
Next up, I'm writing about American Gothic literature, so if you are a fan of Southern, Midwestern, or Southwestern Gothic stories, you won't want to miss this post.
In her more than thirty years as a storyteller and visual designer, Amanda “Mandy” Hughes has written and designed over a dozen works of upmarket, literary, and women’s fiction under pen names A. Lee Hughes and Mandy Lee.
Mandy is the founder of Haint Blue Creative, a space for readers and storytellers to explore, learn, and create. Although she earned a Bachelor and Master of Science in Psychology, she has yet to figure out her family, much less herself.
When she’s not writing, Mandy loves going to the movies, theater, traveling, nature walks, birdwatching, margarita-making, and binge-watching The Office. She is a tarot enthusiast who uses the cards to promote wellness and enhance creativity. She lives in Georgia with her husband and four boys, two of whom are furrier than the others (but not by much). Visit her website at haintbluecreative.com and follow her on Instagram @haintbluecreative or on Facebook at @haintbluebooks.