Interview with J. P. Kurzitza

Describe your desk
My desk...ahh, my sweet, sweet desk. To sum it up as succinctly as I can, it's grossly inadequate while at the same time being extremely comfortable and effective. And it's brown. With one of those cool green and brass library lamps on it.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up and still am living in Edmonton, Alberta. That's in Canada, folks. Here's a snapshot of what it's like here: snow six months of the year. 'Nuff said. LOTS of time to write by the fire.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
That I was able to actually complete an entire novel. It's one of those things that you just don't think you'd ever be able to do when you sit back and ponder it. What do they say, something like 75-80% of people always wish they had written a book at some point during their lives? My first book was 98,000 words. I can't help but feel as though I can do anything now. It's great!
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Inspires, or forces? How about four kids and a wife that need to be driven to school and work? Sounds like inspiration enough to me. That, and the thought of bed sores.
Who are your favorite authors?
J.K. Rowling. C.S. Lewis. David Morrell. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Ian Fleming. G.K. Chesterton. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. And me, of course.
What are you working on next?
I primarily write YA fiction. At the moment, interrupting my first book series, I'm currently finishing a stand-alone story with the working title "Splinters" or "The Carpenter's Curse." Can't decide which one I like more. When I'm done with this novel I'll resume with the J.A.S.O.N. D. series. I'll sum up my current story in one sentence: The son of a master carpenter inadvertently stumbles upon a portal into everyone's dreams. Ooo--exciting!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Planning and plotting and organizing ideas for future stories that materialize out of thin air at the most inopportune times. Also, I'm a stay-at-home-dad, so there are PLENTY of things to go 'round when not writing. Usually, writing gets unceremoniously cast into the corner until all are asleep.
What is your writing process?
I love the writing process so much. I know it sounds totally nerdy, but it's really quite fun. I can barely tolerate the actual writing itself, never mind the editing. Ugh...revising. But the beginning of the writing process is my absolute favorite part hands down. The mining and unearthing of a story through detailed analyses and planning and imagining is the part I always yearn for while I'm in the midst of the writing part. I suppose it's that anticipation that gets me through the minutia that is writing. I just can't wait to get all the writing done until I'm able to finally construct a new, entirely different and equally thrilling story line out of thin air.

Okay. Cole's notes version of my writing process:
1.) Find story idea.
2.) Write a thesis sentence that catches the gist of the story, a la "Splinters" story above.
3.) Create and develop the main players in the story.
4.) Do any and all necessary researching and investigating of finer points within the story's details.
5.) Develop and storyboard chapters in preliminary order. Yup--I use the good ol' corkboard and cue cards so I can always see it hanging there.
6.) Turn on the computer and lay everything down into my fancy-schmancy writer's program (free, by the way) that helps me connect and link and keep everything close by.
7.) Launch Word and start hitting those keys until first draft is complete.
8.) Revise story twice before passing on to my editor. Then the back and forth game ensues.
9.) Best Seller!
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I sure do, and I still read it to this very day, although more for my children than for me. It's a story called "The Hole in the Fence." It's an anthology-like storybook, starring a series of vegetable characters. [Published in Canada by authority of the Canadian Minister of National Health and Welfare, it was a project of the Health Promotion Directorate, Health Services and Promotions Branch.*] It's essentially a book to help kids stay away from drugs.

I think I first read it or had it read to me when I was six or seven. I quickly latched on to the character of "Carrot," and little did I know that he would be involved in the pivotal point of the story. Long story short, through a series of related events, Carrot finds himself depending on this "Magic Potion" that "makes him feel better" about his life and at a crossroads at the end of the story: should he leave the garden with mushroom and try to mask all his troubles with the magic potion and run from his problems, or should he stay with his friends in the garden and face things together and work things out?

That's how the story ends, with Carrot agonizing over what he should do. As a kid I always ran the different scenarios over and over in my mind. I almost felt cheated by the writers for leaving things so open-ended, but now I really cherish the strategy. As an author, I can appreciate the old adage: let the story start in the writer's imagination and finish in the reader's. Such a valuable lesson that all of us would-be writers should take heed of.
What do your fans mean to you?
If I had fans, I'd love them, and cherish them, and lavish them with gifts, and invite them on my yacht that they helped me purchase.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The Road, because I'm a father of three boys.

The Magician's Nephew, because imagination and a great story are what make great novels.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, because it is truly amazing how deep and rich and imaginative a story can ultimately become.

Any Sherlock Holmes story, because planning and knowledge make a fiction story believable and plausible.
Published 2013-09-29.
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Books by This Author

The Pardon
By
Price: Free! Words: 4,300. Language: English. Published: December 3, 2013. Category: Fiction » Christian » Short stories
A short story about a young, stubborn priest and a convict on death row, and their strained relationship surrounding the status of the inmate's soul after death. Will he conform to the priest's requirements, or will the young priest simply give up on the doomed man?
August
By
Series: J.A.S.O.N. D., Book 2. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 87,570. Language: English. Published: November 1, 2012. Category: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Adventure
As Jason and Ed seek out the Pythia for her second riddle, they realize that one answer becomes three, and discover that the August mission is not merely a locate and retrieve mission, but an inevitable run-in with one of the most notorious evils in mythological history.
So you want to build a computer...
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,350. Language: English. Published: June 14, 2012. Category: Nonfiction » Computers and Internet » Reference
Apple makes great mobile products as we all know: iPod, iPad, and iPhone, but their PCs are very expensive. So why throw down for a Mac when YOU can build your very own PC for a fraction of the cost, yet will be just as fast, if not faster? This guide gives the would-be PC builder a top-ten list of essential rules to follow in order to successfully build a solid system that will do it all! Enjoy.
So you want to publish an ebook
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 8,270. Language: English. Published: June 6, 2012. Category: Nonfiction » Reference » Handbooks and Manuals
The 2nd installment in the "So you want to" instructional series. In this next module, the author explores all the ins and outs of self-publishing an ebook. Employing the same concise, practical approach used in his first writing manual, Kurzitza divulges several valuable suggestions and tools, both free and at a cost, for publishing a professional ebook. Great for all aspiring indie-authors!
July
By
Series: J.A.S.O.N. D., Book 1. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 99,120. Language: English. Published: October 1, 2011. Category: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
The first book in a six book fantasy series following a young boy into the realms of mystery and mythology. Jason Dee is your typical teenager, well, except for his missing left arm, and that his father died two years ago, and that he's the newest recruit of a secret fraternity sworn to guard the human race against the lurking perils of the Myth Realm. Pretty normal.
So you want to write a novel
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 9,930. Language: English. Published: September 21, 2011. Category: Nonfiction » Reference » Publishing and books
So You Want to Write a Novel... was written for the many who’ve wanted to pursue the lofty endeavor of penning (typing) their very own opus, but for one reason or another got lost in the whole process, or perhaps were even a little intimidated. If you want to harness and channel your story into a cohesive format that makes sense, then give So You Want to Write a Novel... a read, and get started!