Interview with James M M Baldwin

What's the story behind your latest book?
"Spencer Murdoch and the Portals of Erzandor" was inspired by the emotional state brought on by a post 9-11 environment, the spirit of a world changed by a single act. This is the story of a family working to retain their happiness and security despite obstacles beyond their control.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
When I'm writing, and the story is flowing, I really become immersed in the characters and their plight. It's almost like I become that character and I'm living through them. I know it sounds a bit psychotic or schizophrenic, but I think that feeling is the experience of any creative person while they're writing, or painting, or composing, or whatever. Being a fantasy writer means that I experience things I could never live through in a million lifetimes. I hope the reader feels the same.
What do your fans mean to you?
Naturally, the fan is what makes the world go 'round for a writer. The reader is the most important aspect of creating. I want them to come away from my stories with a
"Wow. That was different… or original." I'm not sure if I have any fans in the true sense of the word. Not like J K Rowling or something. I'm sure I have some vaguely interested people. I guess they would be my fans. Hey. If you're out there somewhere, drop me a note at
What do you read for pleasure?
I often enjoy reading classics, especially science fiction classics. I also enjoy reading speculative short stories. There's just something exciting to me about entering another world every time you sit down to read.
Who are your favorite authors?
My favorite author is probably Ray Bradbury. Not only do I enjoy his stories but I think he is a good role model for an author. In his work ethic or approach I mean. Another along those same lines is C S Lewis. His space trilogy, specifically "Out of the Silent Planet" is what made me decide I wanted to be a writer. Also, Madeleine L'Engle's "Wrinkle in Time" quadrilogy is one of my all-time favorites. Her imagination is unrivaled. I recently discovered that she wrote a fifth book in that series. I need to get my hands on that and read it. The Jenkins and LaHaye "Left Behind" series is entertaining and inspirational, especially for anyone who has read the bible. My favorite modern writer would have to be Ted Dekker. His circle trilogy is A-plus.
What is your writing process?
Most of the trained writers I workshop with at the Nebraska Writers Workshop will probably scoff at me for saying this, but I'm a seat of the pants writer. Most successful writers have everything planned out before they begin. My planning is all in my head. So it's not like I don't know where I'm going, but there's always room for exploration and new direction. Albeit, a lot of what I write gets cut out later.
Describe your desk.
Uh… messy.
. What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Because I have a day job, I don't have any choice. My writing takes place in the dark of night. I think that fact is reflected in the subject matter and tone in my writing. Of course family also plays an important part in my life. So, if you're getting the drift here; I don't sleep much.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
As I mentioned before, family is an important part in my life. So I like to take them to do free things like hiking or to the beach at a local lake. My son is interested in paranormal investigation, and I'm his sidekick. I'm also a bicycling addict. Whenever I can, I take off and ride somewhere between 10 to fifty miles at a time. I keep trying to push the distance a little further each time. Maybe someday when the kids are grown, I'll ride my bike across the country. Years ago I wrote and recorded several rock albums, but it's been a while since I've forayed in that direction. It would be a joy to have the time to get back into that again. I studied art in college and enjoy pencil drawing. I'm also an avid painter and sculptor. Wanna buy a painting? Hahaha
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I wrote a story about a young man that finds himself alone. The phone rings and he picks it up to find no one there. Then the doorbell rings. He runs to answer it and no one is there. He runs up and down the street searching for someone, anyone. He finds no one. Scared and dejected, he returns home. He passes a mirror and looks in. And… you guessed it… no one is there. I thought it was brilliant at the time.
What are you working on next?
I think, like most authors, there's always a plethora of projects running through my mind. Sometimes that can be a distraction to progress. But, as for projects actually in the writing stage; I have two short stories I need to finish. One's has a working title of Schätzchen Drachen, which is German for baby dragon. It's the story of a young boy in the Black Forrest of Germany that finds a Dragon egg. The other is a darker tale that was actually the result of a bad dream. I'm not exactly sure how far to take that one. The dream was pretty extreme. After I finish those two, I need to get to a new round of editing on the completed second novel in my Spencer Murdoch series. It has a working title of "The Island of Sora Sesha." I'm really excited to get back to that and publishing it sometime in 2014.
Published 2013-08-25.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Beyond the Visual Cortex; Tales From the Inner Reaches of the Mind
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 50,340. Language: English. Published: March 28, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
These are the stories that nightmares are made of. Includes the stories Schätzchen Drachen, Twisted Fate, the exclusive Crazy Baby, Martholomew; Beast Beyond the Grave, Civil Disturbance, Dream Hunters, and The Golden Mask.
The Golden Mask
Price: Free! Words: 3,600. Language: English. Published: March 27, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction
The elderly caretakers of a graveyard struggle with poverty and a curse that could save them from their plight.
Schätzchen Drachen
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,630. Language: English. Published: November 7, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
Twelve-year-old Max just wants to fit in. His tattered clothes and shoeless feet single him out as a misfit at school. The larger boys pick on him mercilessly. When he finds a dragon egg in the Black Forest, he hopes it might help him find acceptance. But it turns out to be more trouble than he thinks and things go from bad to worse.
Spencer Murdoch and the Portals of Erzandor
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 74,500. Language: English. Published: August 6, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary, Fiction » Christian » Fantasy
A devoted husband and father risks his family’s security to prevent a powerful doctor from controlling a mystic portal initiating a global storm threatening humanity. Spencer Murdoch unearths a supernatural portal beneath his home and discovers an ancient being named Erzandor. Spencer must find the person predestined to enter the portal before the mysterious doctor can use it for his own power
Martholamew; Beast Beneath the Grave
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 15,730. Language: English. Published: August 25, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction
Novelette- A high school boy attempts to satisfy the curiosity of a new girl in town by explaining a local legend that he doesn't believe. After a stroll to an old cemetery, the girl tests his resolve by trespassing on forbidden ground. The girl is abducted, and in an attempt to save her, he discovers there is more truth to the legend than he ever thought possible.
Civil Disturbance
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,990. Language: English. Published: November 30, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
Short Story- A Civil War surgeon falls, mortally wounded from the bullet of the enemy, only to awaken in a stark white room occupied by tall, deformed men. If he ever wants to see his family again, he must carry out a covert mission for these unfamiliar conspirators. Beyond his control, the strangers place him in Washington D.C. on April 14, 1865 as President Abraham Lincoln enters Ford's Theatre.
Dream Hunters
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 15,470. Language: English. Published: June 12, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General
Novelette- Drew Maerd can't sleep. His disorder is causing problems at work. A concerned coworker suggests he appear on a show about people with odd dreams. A machine allows researchers to physically enter a subject's dreams. However there's a problem; entering dreams is risky business and the danger is real. Now, they've found more than they've bargained for.
Twisted Fate
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 10,100. Language: English. Published: April 4, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction
Novelette- A phone call entices a fun-loving young man into a world of unadulterated evil. The enchanting voice promises a night of carefree excitement. After a seemingly random discovery of an abandoned barn, his new acquaintance claims a fiendish clan holds monthly rituals at the site. The next day, his friends' curiosity entangles them in a mystery beyond earthly understanding.
Orion's Arm
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 33,930. Language: English. Published: April 4, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
These stories will transport you from Earth to Venus, to Mars, to the Europan ice moon of Jupiter, to another solar system, and to black holes beyond our earthly imaginations. You will travel forward and backward in time. You will also look inward, into the power of the human mind.
The Collider
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,490. Language: English. Published: March 21, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General
Short Story- Physicist Daniel Bradford needs to meet the environmental demands of the Swiss President to continue operations at the Large Hadron Collider beneath the border between Switzerland and France. The president visits the site during a test when a power outage causes a major malfunction. If the problem is not reversed, the entire planet could be ripped apart particle by particle.
Tortoise Shell Glasses
Price: Free! Words: 3,880. Language: English. Published: March 4, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
Short Story: Twelve-year-old Johnny Junior had heard his father's fantastic story hundreds of times. He did not know if it was true or not, but nothing could have prepared him for the day he visited the birthplace of his father's tale. What does Johnny discover? Was his father's account accurate, or is something more sinister beneath it all?
Black Wolf
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,270. Language: English. Published: January 14, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
Short Story- Black Wolf must win approval from the Tu-ja Na-ki, the sacred living buffalo skull, to save his people. In this coming of age story, a young man must battle the forces of nature, mother Earth and father Sky, to win the light of prosperity and return it to his tribe on the great plains. Is he strong enough to accomplish his almost impossible task?
Son of Thunder
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,570. Language: English. Published: January 6, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
Short Story- Pushing the boundaries of speed in space travel, an unexpected anomaly forces Commander Stern Kirklan to make the toughest decision of his career. Could a mysterious phenomenon endanger his crew and their mission. With thoughts of his family millions of miles behind, awaiting his return, he must make the right choice to avert disaster and assure success.
Global Warming
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 7,270. Language: English. Published: December 31, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
Short Story- Noah Adams initiated the countdown to an attempt to end global warming. The sun's expansion relegated Earth unfit for human life. Safe in the confines of his geothermic life-bubble beneath the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, Noah and his associates fire the nuclear propulsion devises designed to increase Earth’s orbit and lower its surface temperature. Are Noah's calculations correct?
Spontaneous Evolution
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,410. Language: English. Published: December 4, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
Short Story- On a Venusian outpost, cut off from their Earthen ancestors, a society loses its humanity in exchange for security. Edwin Lackey watches the surveillance monitors keeping his world safe. If a citizen breaks the strict code of conduct, they'll be hauled in for reconditioning. Has this future colony gone too far to control its inhabitants? What price will they pay?
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,900. Language: English. Published: November 8, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
Short Story-In an alliance between Earth and an alien race for the mining rights on Jupiter’s moon Europa, robots are the only means to obtain material from deep beneath the moon's icy surface. The outpost's ruthless hunch-backed supervisor directs his workers to produce the most advanced substitute human worker unit in the solar system. Has he pushed the evolution of mechanical workers too far?
Kronos Methodios
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,610. Language: English. Published: October 15, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
Short Story- Kronos Methodios works on his lifelong dream to be the first time-traveler. Seven-year-old Cruze looks on with enthusiasm as a symphony of clicks and buzzes accompany the flashing lights and electronic circuits of the machine. Kronos' wife Delpha calls the project a half-baked scheme. Can he prove that conception wrong? What consequences will Kronos face for his experiment with time?