Interview with James Rada, Jr

Published 2016-12-01.
Who are your favorite authors?
I enjoy reading lots of different authors in different genres. Some of my favorites are Brandon Sanderson, Orson Scott Card, David McCullough, Erik Larson, Harlan Coben, Craig Johnson, James Rollins and Dean Koontz.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
If I don't get out of bed, my son certainly won't get up on his own to go to school. Besides, I've always been a morning person. It's not too difficult for me to get up each morning.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love taking long bike rides and just exploring the back roads of my county. I like to read and go to movies, too. I also work with my son's Boy Scout troop.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Most of my ebooks are from authors whom I regularly read. New authors catch my attention a variety of way. Sometimes a friend will mention an author or I'll see a recommendation on a web site, along the lines of "People who bought this book, also bought these books." Sometimes I will browse through books on Goodreads and see which ones have stories that catch my attention.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
It was a short story called "Mickey's Dream." I dictated it to my kindergarten teacher and she typed it up. Then I illustrated it. I still have it. I use it often when I give talks about writing.
How do you approach cover design?
I have no problem designing my book cover if I have a strong idea for what I want. Otherwise, I have a couple designers that I use. I will talk over any ideas or thoughts that I have for the cover with the designer. She will prepare a couple rough sketches based on my thoughts and her own ideas. From there, we'll find the right one and she'll prepare the cover.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Boy's Life by Robert R. McCammon is an odd coming-of-age story that combines horror, fantasy, mystery and drama. I read it again and again and always enjoy it.

1776 by David McCullough is the history book that showed me that non-fiction history can be just as fascinating as fiction.

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan is the book that got me hooked on epic fantasy. I loved all of the different cultures that Jordan created, each with backstories, traditions, languages and different uses for magic.

These are the top 3. There are numerous ones that I enjoy that I can't pick the other two.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read mystery, thrillers, young adult, and fantasy for pure enjoyment. I read historical fiction and non-fiction history not only for enjoyment but also to learn something new.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Currently, I use a Kindle Fire. The feature that I particularly like is the text-to-speech function. I plug my Kindle into my car stereo or carry it with me when I go bike riding so that I can have my book read to me.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Right now, the most-effective marketing technique for me is to participate in arts and crafts festivals. I'm usually the only or one of the few authors at the festival so I'm offering something unique. I usually do really well at them. Second best would be giving talks and presentations and selling books afterwards.
Describe your desk
Not big enough. It's usually pretty messy. I have files and piles of research on one side. I keep a couple books about marketing on the back end and one of my favorite sculptures (a robot made of pieces of scrap metal by Don Rea).

I also have a treadmill desk next to my traditional desk. I still have trouble using it for everything, but I do use it to give my back side a break from sitting too much.
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Secrets of the Gettysburg Battlefield: Little-Known Stories & Hidden History From the Civil War Battlefield
Price: $7.99 USD. Words: 36,890. Language: English. Published: March 13, 2019. Categories: Nonfiction » History » American, Nonfiction » Travel » National Parks
The Battle of Gettysburg saw the greatest number of casualties during the Civil War. Beyond the fighting, the battlefield is the site of many other true stories of war, legends, reconciliation, and fantasy. Secrets of the Gettysburg Battlefield: Little-Known Stories & Hidden History From the Civil War Battlefield tells stories of dinosaurs, warriors, interesting people, and unusual incidents.
Smoldering Betrayal
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Matt Ansaro returns to his hometown of Eckhart Mines in 1922, and he swore that he would never return. He is a Pinkerton detective who has been sent to spy out union activity in the area, but Matt has his own plans. He walks a tightrope between spying on friends and trying to protect his family from being blacklisted during a turbulent time in coal mining history.
Secrets of the C&O Canal: Little-Known Stories & Hidden History Along the Potomac River
Price: $7.99 USD. Words: 38,110. Language: English. Published: April 3, 2018. Categories: Nonfiction » History » American, Nonfiction » Transportation » Ships & Shipbuilding / History
The C&O Canal runs along the north side of the Potomac River from Cumberland, Md., to Georgetown in the District of Columbia. It is a 184.5-mile-long engineering marvel that has 11 aqueducts, 74 lift locks, 160 culverts, 12 river feeder locks and guard locks, and one tunnel through a mountain. Its history spans the 19th century and is filled with mishaps, crimes, secrets, and drama.
Secrets of Garrett County: Little-Known Stories & Hidden History of Maryland's Westernmost County
Price: $7.99 USD. Words: 37,740. Language: English. Published: March 5, 2018. Categories: Nonfiction » History » North America, Nonfiction » History » North America
Garrett County, MD, is known for its natural beauty, but hidden in the valleys, beneath the ground in coal mines, and in the attics of homes are true stories of crimes, cover-ups, legends, and life in Garrett County. Secrets of Garrett County tells stories of coal mining and railroads, crime and war, interesting people and unusual incidents. These are stories that you won't read in history texts.
Secrets of Catoctin Mountain: Little-Known Stories & Hidden History of Frederick & Loudoun Counties
Price: $7.99 USD. Words: 39,170. Language: English. Published: January 26, 2018. Categories: Nonfiction » History » North America, Nonfiction » History » American
Catoctin Mountain runs from northern Frederick County, Md., to northern Loudoun County, Va., crossing the Potomac River as it does. Its natural history dates back to prehistoric times. Its history during the era of man is more recent and more fascinating filled with crimes, secrets, monsters, and drama. Secrets of Catoctin Mountain tells stories of railroads, canals, war, saints, and sinners.
Looking Back 1&2: 87 True Stories of Mountain Maryland
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 72,480. Language: English. Published: April 21, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » History » North America, Nonfiction » History » North America
Think life in the country is boring? You won’t after you read this collection. From the unsolved to the unusual. From the historical to the hysterical. From the famous to the friendly. This is life in the Maryland mountains. These are the stories of Allegany and Garrett counties in Maryland. It's the stories of people who tamed the mountains.
Saving Shallmar: Christmas Spirit in a Coal Town
Price: $7.99 USD. Words: 62,890. Language: English. Published: January 8, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Social Science » Poverty & Homelessness, Nonfiction » History » North America
In fall turned to winter in 1949, the residents of Shallmar, Maryland, were starving. The town's only business, the Wolf Den Coal Corp. had closed down, unemployment benefits had ended and few coal miners had cars to drive to other jobs. When children started fainting in school, Principal J. Paul Andrick realized the dire situation the town was in and set out to help.
Looking Back: True Stories of Mountain Maryland
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 37,450. Language: English. Published: December 9, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » History » North America, Nonfiction » History » North America
From the unsolved to the unusual. From the historical to the hysterical. From the famous to the friendly. This is life in the Maryland mountains. Here are the stories of people who tamed the mountains, established cities, raised families and lived their lives. This collection of 40 stories spans 220 years of life in Western Maryland.
Looking Back II: More True Stories of Mountain Maryland
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 35,390. Language: English. Published: October 19, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » History » North America, Nonfiction » History » American
Enjoy more true stories of Mountain Maryland in this follow-up to James Rada, Jr.'s popular Looking Back collection. Looking Back II collects 47 history articles gathered from Rada's award-winning Looking Back columns, Allegany Magazine and other publications. Some of them have been updated with new information that Rada uncovered since their initial publication.
Echoes of War Drums: The Civil War in Mountain Maryland
Price: $7.99 USD. Words: 36,210. Language: English. Published: August 23, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » History » War, Nonfiction » History » American
Though the mountains of Western Maryland were not the site of any major battles during the Civil War, the area did have its share of activity and minor skirmishes. Contains more than three dozen attention-getting stories and 50 pictures from spies to generals and battles to healing.
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