Interview with James Garvin

Who are your favorite authors?
I read a lot of stuff, though, not as much as I used to. However, my favorite authors are Steven Brust, and Robert E. Howard. It's Howard who helped me shape my characters into who they are. I've always been a fan of his style and his focus on characters. My favorite being Solomon Kane. Steven and I used to exchange e-mails a long time ago and I always appreciated his help in trying to understand the complexities of writing fiction. It's probably why so many of my stories are told in first person. Vlad is just a great character and I hope mine can live up to that.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Honestly, I've never thought about it. Not even sure I'd have five books, but I'll try. In no particular order:

1. Skull-Face (Robert E. Howard) - There's something about this book and how the stories work themselves out that has always gripped me. The way Costigan has to deal with his problems and ultimately how the events unfold is engaging and it helped me refine my own vision of what I wanted to do with my stories.

2. Orca (Steven Brust) - The twist in this book took me by surprise. I don't want to give it away, but I didn't see it coming. It gave me a whole new respect for Brust as a writer. I really need to read it again since it's been a few years since the last time I read it.

3. Cowboy Fengs (Steven Brust) - A lot of good things to say about this book. Another one with a big twist, but the story is told in a great way and it allows us to connect with the characters. Probably one of his lesser known books.

4. Eye of the Serpent (Robert N. Charrette) - I've always been a fan of Charrette's work and when I first got this book so many years ago, I couldn't put it down. I read the whole book in one sitting after work. It's a shame that the third book in the series doesn't flow as well as this one. I was really rooting for Yan at the end of the book.

5. MacBeth (William Shakespeare) - Not sure if I can classify this as a "book", but this book always captivated me and as I've gotten older, I've learned to appreciate the story much more. Reading about the fall of MacBeth and his wife helped me look at endings of stories better.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yeah. The first story I ever wrote was about a boy who was having hallucinations about a girl he liked. Heh, it's hard to even believe I even wrote something like that, but it was junior high school, and I was having girl problems at the time. It's amazing to see how far I've come in all these years.
What is your writing process?
Lots and lots of waiting around before anything gets written. I have this habit of coming up with a basic idea and then letting it stew for a long time...maybe a couple of months. Then one day I decide to actually do something about it. This is why I stopped doing long stories for my website. Writing on a deadline is hard as hell for me. After I decide to start writing, I generally buy a notebook of some kind and start scribbling notes in it about characters, places, overall theme, and time period. Then, it's just a matter of laying out each chapter and going from there.

That said, I never set things in stone. I like to let the story flow and have the characters tell me their story. For example, the ending to Blood City Chronicles: To Live in Fear had been planned as something else entirely, but after I started writing the flow of the whole thing made me change the ending. I feel like it's better that way.
What are some difficulties you have when writing?
I could go on all day on this topic. In my opinion, writing is about focus and drive. Wanting to do something and having the will to do it. Trying to focus when there are so many other things to do is difficult at best. Sometimes I sit at my computer, type four or five words, then start surfing the internet. It's sad. Outside of that, crafting the words is hard. What a character is going to say at any given time is also tough, and it has to make sense when considering the overall narrative. Oh, and comedy. It's so hard to make comedy work...at least for me. Which is why I generally try to avoid it.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
My mind is always going. If I'm not working, then I'm either playing a game, working on a game, reading comics, watching anime, or reading books. There's something about the fantastic that I enjoy being a part of. Heh, I feel like we can never get too old for comics, playing AD&D, watching anime, or the like. Lots of great stories to be had by others. Though, to answer the question, generally I'm working on my game.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I'm too stubborn to do anything else. Ultimately, I want to have control over everything that I do. I seriously believe in living and dying by our own work. If someone else has a hand in manipulating my work for their own gains, then I wouldn't feel like I've given readers or game players something that is completely "mine". Fans of my work deserve that. When the opportunity presented itself to self-publish, I jumped at the chance. A way to bring my stories and games to the world without the fear of losing control of my characters was a blessing.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Simply put it's watching my characters come alive. It's one thing to think about them, but to seeing them come to life and tell me their story is what I enjoy most about writing. This is true for making games as well.
What do your fans mean to you?
I'm just starting out, so there aren't many fans, to be honest. That said, I'm always grateful for the opportunity to provide something to someone's life in even a small way. It's the fans that get us to where we are and keeping them entertained is our job. I just hope those who do read and enjoy my work stick around for years to come so we can make this journey together. So far, people have been nice and that's what drives me to keep going.
What are you working on next?
As of now, there are two stories I'm focusing on. The first being the next chapter in the Blood City Chronicles named "Scent of the Spider". It'll be nice returning to Max Freeman's world especially as the story starts to ramp up. At the same time, I'm continuing the Skullforge series with the second chapter of Skullforge: The Destined One. Hope you guys enjoy this one. It's a bit of a departure from my normal stories. After that, I'm not sure. Still a lot on my plate in any case.
Published 2014-03-09.
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Books by This Author

Skullforge: The Destined One (Chapter 1)
By
Series: Skullforge, Book 1. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,580. Language: American English. Published: March 12, 2014. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
The first chapter in the Skullforge series. Follow the life of elven adventurer Desi Cornerstone as she makes her journey though the dangerous world of deceit, violence, and revenge. Chapter 1 opens the door to her early life and the events that shape who she will become. This ten part series is a prequel to the upcoming video game Skullforge: The Hunt.
Blood City Chronicles: The Black Petal
By
Series: Blood City Chronicles, Chronicle 1. Price: Free! Words: 19,690. Language: English. Published: November 25, 2010. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
It's the year 2145, a lone crime fighter stumbles upon a woman's body in an alley and takes it upon himself to find her killer. In this cyberpunk detective adventure, it's a race against time to find the killer before they strike again. What he finds is that everything is not as it seems.