Interview with J. L. Forbes

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
My grandmother would read the same books to me over and over. The first one I recall was "Scuffy the Tugboat," which was a Little Golden Book. We have a river island where I spent much of my childhood, so the book was interesting to me because the little tugboat went down a river to a big city. I knew that our river ended up in San Francisco. I was fond of the story because I related to it and the river was always so interesting to me. I knew at age eight that I wanted to write stories because books brought magic into my life.
How do you approach cover design?
You've got to have a vision about the book and what stands out for you in the message of the story. Because I do judge books by their covers, I typically choose covers that would be interesting enough for me to open if I were a consumer.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
'The Power of Now,' by Eckhardt Tolle - This book changed my life.
'Mutant Message Down Under,' by Marlo Morgan - It is a great reminder that we are one with nature and that I can trust in my experience and let go of the reigns of my life. Everything works for our well-being.
'The Alchemist,' by Paulo Coelho - Beautifully written, good storytelling and there is a very important message for humanity. I love books like this. It moved me.
'The Secret Garden,' by Frances Hodgson Burnett - This was my all time favorite childhood novel. I loved it's mystery and the description of the land. It is a magical book and it took me out of my subterranean thoughts and brought me into another world. This is what novels should do.
'Hardcore Zen: Punk Rock, Monster Movies and the Truth About Reality,' by Brad Warner - Just read it and you'll understand. I laughed out loud while I was being pulled from the inside out.
What do you read for pleasure?
For pleasure I read classic novels. I'm reading John Steinback's 'East of Eden' now.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I use my Samsung phone, but I love the touch and feel of real books, so I rarely download Ebooks.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Word of mouth. Posting on Facebook and just plugging away. People eventually catch on. I also blog and sometimes post links to my books.
Describe your desk
My lap on my bed! If I'm feeling spunky, I'll go outside and sit on the deck while enjoying the surrounding nature.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the Central Valley of California, which was incredibly dull. Because books took me out of my monotonous world, I was inspired to take other people out of their boring lives too!
When did you first start writing?
When I was eight.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book is still being written. It's a novel that takes place about thirty years in the future, when everything is bleak. The story behind it is that I believe this universe is naturally balanced, and that we are all blessed with gifts and talents that contribute to the overall balance of the planet. My book reflects what life looks like when we don't use our gifts and talents at all, and how dynamic it becomes when we do use our gifts and talents to the greatest of our ability.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The fact that I do not know one single Literary Agent or publisher and it gives me a lot more freedom.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I am new to Smashwords (7-2014), so I am looking forward to finding out!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The way I feel when I write. I feel so incredibly alive when words pour out of me. It's just what I am supposed to be doing, and I feel good while I'm doing it.
What do your fans mean to you?
You have no idea how much it means to me when I hear how my books have moved other people. It overwhelms me with excitement and it makes me want to keep writing and inspiring.
What are you working on next?
A few projects are on the horizon. I have Part II of a series called, 'Majestic Wonderbread,' a novel that takes place in the future called, 'BLEAK,' and a non-fiction book about the corruption of Christianity.
Who are your favorite authors?
I am a big fan of Mark Twain, John Steinback and Stephen King, but the list goes on. I'm impressed by anyone who writes a book and becomes famous over it.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I wake up at 5:00 a.m. each day and I'm just excited period. I love life. I love my life. I love experiencing everything there is and I love knowing that I create my own experiences. Life is beautiful and I'm inspired each and every day.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I spend time hiking, running, hanging out with my two children, working part time in a real estate office and figuring out what is going to be for dinner.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I do not read a lot of ebooks, but usually I browse different genres to see what's out there.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I wrote a story called 'The Adventures of Butter Bear' when I was in fourth grade and won second place in a county wide Young Authors contest. It was a story about a stuffed bear that came alive when it went in the forest with it's owner.
What is your writing process?
Sit down and do it. If I don't feel inspired, I take a break. I don't force myself to do anything. Words flow when I'm not putting pressure on myself.
Published 2014-07-08.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.