Interview with Jonathan Crocker

Describe your desk
I have a U-shaped desk. It takes up more space than my old L-shaped desk, but I find the extra surface to be invaluable. It allows me to face one way to type on my computer, and then turn around and have a full-sized platform to use for any pen and paper work - very helpful when editing a story. I also have a whiteboard and a bulletin board (cork board?) on the wall beside my desk - I use them for brainstorming whatever story I happen to be working on.

At the moment, my desk is covered in papers and pens and books and other office supplies. It could probably use a cleaning.
Who are your favorite authors?
I enjoy a great many authors, from Shakespeare to Dickens to J.K. Rowling. It's hard for me to narrow it down, because I enjoy most of the books that I read - it's more unusual for me to finish a book and think it unsatisfying than the opposite.

But I will say that the one author who I credit with awakening my passion for reading and writing is J.R.R. Tolkien. I remember being an avid reader as a child (I used to love mysteries, like the Hardy Boys and Encyclopedia Brown), but it wasn't until I read The Hobbit, around age fourteen, that I really fell in love with books. Naturally, I followed The Hobbit into The Lord of the Rings, and that love for reading has informed many of the decisions that I've made with my life.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I'm not working, or writing, I enjoy a variety of leisure activities.

I read, obviously. I watch a lot of television and movies, too - I have a love for stories, in any of their many forms. I'm not a total couch potato, though. I play a number of sports, softball/baseball being my favourite. I also play on a ball hockey team, and I try to get out golfing as much as possible in the summer.
How do you approach cover design?
I sort of fluked into effective cover design - it's one of the things that people have commented positively on about my books.

I had already written four novels before I ever looked into self-publishing any of them. And as a little gift to myself, each time that I finished one, I commissioned a piece of art. I'd find an artist on Deviantart.com, and outline a scene that they would then produce. The intention was simply to hang the pictures on my wall, as symbols of my accomplishment. But when I decided to start self-publishing, I contacted the artists and obtained their permission to use the art for my book covers, in addition to its original intended use.

I have limited photo editing and graphic design skills, so I let the art itself take up most of the covers. But I think that the results are quite good.
What do you read for pleasure?
I haven't been reading as much recently as I would like, although I read at least one book a month for a book club.

I enjoy most books that I read, but for pleasure, I definitely prefer the fantasy genre. The Harry Potter series is probably my favourite book(s). Tolkien is high on my list. And I've always been a fan of a lesser-known fantasy author named R.A. Salvatore.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
This might sound sacrilegious to say on Smashwords, but I actually have a preference for good, old-fashioned books, over ebooks. There's something about the feel of the book in my hands that I like. When I do read ebooks, though, I read them on my iPad.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I find the act of writing, in and of itself, to be quite enjoyable, so I would probably continue to write even if no one read my stories. But the greatest joy definitely comes from having people tell me that they enjoyed reading my story. It makes me feel like I'm not totally wasting my time, and that maybe I do have just an inkling of talent.
What is your writing process?
I know that some authors like to outline everything before they actually write. They know exactly what's going to happen in every chapter right from the start.

Personally, I don't do a lot of brainstorming or outlining. I usually make notes of ideas, and as those ideas start to come together, I start writing. I have a basic skeleton, with a defined start and finish (I usually envision what the opening and closing scenes of the story will be before I ever write) and a few important beats along the way. Then I just sort of allow the writing to take me from point to point to point and, eventually, to the end.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I don't remember the first story that I ever wrote, but I remember when and where my desire to write first sprouted.

My grade nine English teacher, Mr. Mageau, was the first one to ever point out to me that I had a talent for writing. Creative writing wasn't a large focus in my classes prior to high school, so I had never really given writing for fun much thought. But if Mr. Mageau planted the seed, then my grade eleven (and thirteen) English teacher, Mr. Fromow, helped it to blossom.

Each of Mr. Fromow's english classes began with a 5-10 minute chunk of time where each student was expected to write in their writing portfolio. There were no guidelines or directions given - just write about anything that you wanted. It was a new experience for me, and I think that it was the moment where I discovered that writing stories could be as enjoyable as reading them.
Published 2014-02-18.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

A Deep, Enduring Reverie - Book Three of the Druid Saga
Series: The Druid Saga, Book 3. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 173,890. Language: English. Published: August 29, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
The third, and final, instalment of the Druid Saga finds the Reverie in disarray. Between the undead scourge and the Spider Clan's reckless aggression, the totems are assaulted on all fronts. The biggest threat of all looms in the north. Is Sasha ready to bring the fight to Graumin? Or will the magical world fade out of existence?
A Long and Restless Slumber - Book Two of the Druid Saga
Series: The Druid Saga, Book 2. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 171,300. Language: English. Published: February 6, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
Sasha continues her adventures in the Reverie, in the second instalment of the Druid Saga. The druid clans war with each other as a larger threat looms in the north. Will she be able to stop it? Or will the magical world be irreparably harmed?
The Banks of Newfoundland
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 176,630. Language: English. Published: February 6, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Canada
Daniel and Charlie, a pair of young men from Newfoundland, head off to fight in the Great War. Follow the exploits of the Newfoundland Regiment, and the impact that the war has on the lives of the young men who took up arms.
A Dream of Hope and Sorrow - Book One of the Druid Saga
Series: The Druid Saga, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 190,450. Language: English. Published: February 2, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
(5.00)
Three large stones, old and gray, form a doorway to another world; a primitive world that is home to the ancient druid clans and their powerful magic. Stumbling through this portal, Sasha finds herself immersed in a land both enchanting and deadly. Will she survive the war that threatens to engulf the magical world?