Interview with Alan Jarrett

When did you first start writing?
thenAs a third grader the stories began to emerge. Heaven was one topic that seemed to be of particular intrigue. As an avid reader in the second grade, it could be imagined that stories read then sparked the imagination to create my own. Writing letters soon followed and finding ads for pen-pals in the hundreds of comic books sparked images of mystery and intrigue in a foreign land. Soon I was corresponding with a pen-pal in Chile.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I am passionate about the country of Ecuador. In an effort to give readers an idea of what could be expected with a few weeks stay in Ecuador, or something more prolonged, the latest is a journal of the trips to various sites from the foothills of Mt. Cotopaxi, to the Cuyabeno River Basin in the jungle regions of Ecuador's Amazonia.

The journal covers 55 days, that chronicle a pre-trip bout with appendicitis three days before takeoff, to include the days spent writing and dealing with the various challenges along the way. This includes a wife spending nearly two weeks recovering from some undiagnosed bacteria in her stomach plus acute food poisoning.

The idea is to give a first hand account of what might be expected, rather than the travel guides glossing over everything that does not put a positive spin in place. Many get a completely unrealistic idea of what to expect, and end up being disappointed when it's unnecessary.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
After writing for decades, it finally occurred I may have something others may find interesting. However, after reviewing the requirements of publishers, who want carte blanc with the text, it did not take long to realize that was not going to be my cup of tea. It seemed vital to me that my voice be heard in an honest and sincere form. Having had the experience of allowing another to take my travel guide and rewrite it, again the painful truth hit home of losing my voice in favor of something that another felt more marketable.

Knowing that there were hundreds of readers spending time on the pages of my website reaffirmed daily that my writing was neither primitave, poorly written, or lacked interest. Since all the content for my first effort was taken for the website, it seemed reasonable to believe that should have been reflected in the book. It was not.

That experience has taught a valuable lesson. Write with my voice, and only mine.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Relating in simple language what passes through the eye-gate, the mind, heart and all the senses, in a format that nearly anyone could understand. Sharing moments that others may never have the opportunity to see first hand, to bring the moment to life as much as possible and know they get it. That's exciting!
Who are your favorite authors?
I love Westerns, so it goes to say Louis L'Amour, Zane Grey, are the ones that immediately come to mind. There are others, but none as familiar as those two.

In the early years Isaac Asimov and Science Fiction were devoured. Again, there were others read with great frequency.

Then there are the likes of Hemingway, Pearl Buck, Stevenson, Mitchner, Booth Tarkington, and others. John Jakes, Dana Fuller Ross are a few more.

Og Mandino, Zig Ziglar, John Maxwell, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Tim Lahaye, and this would be a short list of my favorites.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The expectation that the day is going to bring about something special. Each day is different if one chooses to see it.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When not writing I am generally involved in doing something to write about. It may be taking a trip to someplace I've never been before. It could be exotic like Machu Pichu in Peru, or a new restaurant. Listening to someone divulge intimate details of their life, or riding 100 miles on a recumbent bike. There is always the desire to tackle the "next thing" I haven't done, or to even repeat one that was especially enjoyable.
What is your writing process?
Start writing down what just happened. Most of the time the details come later, as I recall particular incidents. The writing of the general action usually generates what was unique enough to remember an incident as special. There is always a story waiting to be told. Writers block is rare. If I can't get going on one topic then it's time to switch to another.
What was the first story I remember the most?
The Bears of Blue River, by Uncle Tom Andy Bill. This was about a family that had moved to Indiana when this state was still wilderness. The experiences with frontier life, Indians, wildlife, and especially the Bears in the Blue River area of Indiana were well written to the point I have never forgotten the book to this day.

Another would be the Penrod series by Booth Tarkington. These stories centered around the antics of school age boys around the turn of the century. The descriptive writing of Tarkington was excellent in painting the picture and relating the hysterical incidents young boys of that day could get into. The humor is good enough that I have actually reread these books some five decades later with the same joy!
How do you approach cover design?
Go with the Pros!
What do you read for pleasure?
Westerns. I love the extreme life of the cowboy. The chivalry, long-suffering, loyalty, grit and honor displayed are something that creates an ache today because of it's absence. Some would say none of these things was ever as drastic, heroic, or death-defying as the authors wrote about. Historians would disagree, that many times details were not enough. it's a good feeling to know they existed.
Published 2014-09-02.
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