Interview with Charles Justus Garard

What do your fans mean to you?
Fans are extremely important to me, as they should be to any writer -- whether the author of best-sellers or writers of any age and notoriety who are struggling with their craft. Any fans that I am fortunate enough to acquire probably love the paranormal or horror and are not satisfied with the usual vampire, zombie, and werewolf lore and look beyond mere gore for their excitement. They are probably imaginative and want to be challenged intellectually. The same fans or even different ones might be more interested in the twists and turns of a time-travel novel. In the case of OF TIME AND THE DREAMER, they might want to find something beyond the usual science-fiction machinations , even if it means looking into themselves. Yes, this novel delves deeply into human psychology and tantalizes readers with a little mystery along the way. Down the road, if they are still enjoying the search, they may like the adventure of a trip back through time to the lost continent of Atlantis. We'll see.
What are you working on next?
I have just finished the time-travel novel and am getting ready to dive back into my manuscript which takes us to the lost continent of Atlantis. This is a work of exploration, but it contains a science-fiction element in that our searchers find their way back to the distant past in an entirely different manner than do the time-travelers in OF TIME AND THE DREAMER. I have enjoyed reading about Atlantis since I was an undergraduate at a small mid-western college in Illinois. My physics instructor Howard Porter saw my interest in going beyond the usual classroom activities and assigned different projects for me as independent studies -- one of them having to do with the legends and mysteries of Atlantis. I never let go of that topic and added any books I could find on the subject to my book shelves. Some of these books still remain there . . . written by those who believe that such a continent existed and those who tried to discredit the myths. Later, I earned my MA in English by writing a thesis on the literature surrounding the myths. Even though I eventually earned my PhD by writing about literature turned into films, I never forgot my first love. Now maybe I can approach it again in a manner utilizing my imagination as well as research. As of now, the novel is titled FROM HERE TO ATLANTIS. I hope that readers find the journey to this lost civilization to be worth their efforts.
Who are your favorite authors?
Favorite authors:

John Fowles (the subject of my dissertation)
Jack Finney
Ray Bradbury
Edgar Allan Poe
H. P. Lovecraft
Peter Straub
D.H. Lawrence
William Shakespeare
Mary Roberts Rhinehart (read as a boy)
Henry James
Shirley Jackson
H. Rider Haggard
H.G. Wells
Harlan Ellison
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Self-loathing for over-sleeping, often caused by medication for depression (I tell myself as an excuse). I do, of course, think of what I need to accomplish in the way of writing -- either at my indoor desk or out on the front patio.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading so many books waiting to be read, watching DVD movies (hardly ever regular television), jogging at the nearby Freedom Park dedicated to the great Jimmy Carter.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I have read a couple as e-books, not all of them fiction. I am worried when I learn that readers are disgruntled by the levels of some of the e-book novels. I have reviewed a couple (by request) and found them to be less-than-satisfactory, both in structure and in grammar skills. I started writing e-books myself after hearing so much about them, and after having unhappy experiences with literary agents -- people who did not even read the works but judged them based on their personal interests. Some of the agents, I discovered, turned out to be fronts for book doctors. It was the sister of a colleague who first suggested that I try the e-book route, and that is exactly what happened.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I remember my attempts at writing when I was a boy. I kept journals and tried to write stories similar to the films I saw on the screens of my father's small-town movie theatres. When I was in the seventh grade of elementary school, I remember writing in a journal that maybe I would be a writer. For a while, I tried my hand at drawing comic books -- creating stories in that manner. I either created westerns or horror comics. All these years later, I am still working on creating stories.
What is your writing process?
When I was in graduate school, I remember composition professors talking and lecturing about writing as a process. They wanted to see our rough drafts and all of the drafts leading up to the final product. When I taught composition as a graduate teaching assistant, I often shamelessly employed some of my own writing efforts to teach how ideas evolved and were constantly being revised. I guess the main point here is the revision process, because it is hard for me to stop revising. Even today, before I finally submitted my novel to Smashword, I was struggling to get beyond making changes -- even slight ones. I read somewhere that professional writers constantly revise while the newbies don't revise enough. Judging by student papers that I read and graded over the years, this must be true. What I am constantly pointing out to writers who tout their efforts on Internet group sites is that they need to revise more. Some of them find me annoying and state their beliefs that they think being accurate with their own language is not necessary. This amazes me. Writing is hard work, not a game to be played by those who think that they can crank out a best-seller overnight and make a pot of money.

So many of my novels have gone through so many versions -- even fragments written here and there. Even today, I still find blank books to be helpful as journals for the testing of ideas and scenes before they become integrated into a whole. That's why I cannot answer someone who asks me how long it takes to complete a particular novel. It is not, at least for me, a linear process -- but a process that takes work and time.

My writing process overall? I would say: Ask me something easy.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I don't remember the first story I ever read, but I do remember reading Mary Roberts Rhinehart because her style was accessible. I would even record some of the stories on tape and create my personal dramas. I came across Edgar Allan Poe and found his style dense and difficult; however, certain descriptive jumped out of the pages and are still in the back of my mind today. I remember greatly enjoying Jack Finney's INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS. I still find Finney to be accessible and detailed. I also spent a lot of time reading short reviews of current movies. I guess the impact of those are obvious since one of the minors for my PhD is in the field of film studies/criticism.
How do you approach cover design?
Carefully. i took the photo for my first novel in the e-book paranormal trilogy and a colleague inserted the lettering. The second and third novel of the trilogy were based on sepia-tone photos taken by my brother. He did the lettering as well. A friend of mine in England (we taught together in China) created one cover for me that has received praise on Internet group sites; she used a site called Befunky. Finally, when I had the time, I pursued Befunky and still use it today.

All of the book covers and promo photos that are in my computer photo library come from my own photos, most of them taken in China. Somehow the images of old buildings and sunsets have been handy for creating, with the help of Befunky, my own promo and cover images. I have been a photographer for years and have experimenting with sandwiching color transparencies to get effects. I have also applied chemicals to some slides to produce unusual images. My brother has these now, and if he is able to transfer these transparency images to the digital format, I may have even more possibilities for cover images. The cover for OF TIME AND THE DREAMER was based on an image I took by pressing a large crystal book weight against the lens of the digital camera. Then I altered the color by using Befunky and added the lettering. Another cover for this same novel -- the one that Smashwords has used -- was created almost by accident at night when the camera moved while the shutter was tripped. I captured an interesting image of streaking car lights and street lights.

The images I do not use for the final covers can be seen on the group sites produced by Facebook. My approach? My approach is using what I can to start with and discovering what I can come up with.
What have you published recently?
In 2015, I did finished the time-travel adventure novel called FROM HERE TO ATLANTIS. In 2016, I finally finished my novel about an extraterrestrial occupation of a small town and its effects on the people and one family in particular; it is called CIRCLES AND REALMS. I hope to get back to working on the novel about my experiences in China if I can keep my mind from wandering off into a sequel of CIRLES AND REALMS, called SHADOWS AND REALMS.
Published 2017-11-04.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Foreigners and Emperors
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 52,510. Language: English. Published: August 24, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Cultural & ethnic themes » Cultural interest, general, Fiction » Cultural & ethnic themes » Asian American
It is the second tour of duty in China for Alex Barteau, professor of writing and literature, and he encounters resistance almost as soon as he arrives at the Chinese university which is connected with the US university in Southern Indiana. Often he is blamed for the missteps of others and begins to believe that his efforts this time around are being sabotaged. Politics and education do not mix.
Forbidden Voices
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 68,600. Language: American English. Published: November 7, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
American Alex Barteau learns that forbidden voices exist throughout his career, not only as a newspaper man and college professor but particularly when he is hired to teach at a technological university in northeast China, He meets ex-patriots from other countries who share some of the same issues when they encounter a system that reveals an appearance-only attitude toward higher education.
Circles and Realms
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 90,440. Language: English. Published: August 24, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Visionary & metaphysical
A crop circle is discovered in the corn field on the farm of Jerry and Helen Allison outside the small Illinois of Lakeville. A reunion at the farm has been planned, but the crop circle disrupts her family and the entire town of Lakeville. Shadowy figures are seen at specific moments, as are duplicates of deceased or absent loved ones. Cell phones cease to work. Are aliens here to invade the town?
Dark Journeys: Book 3 of the Dark Journeys Trilogy
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 112,540. Language: English. Published: November 11, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Supernatural, Fiction » Horror » Occult
Dr. Harper Paget has searched for the deadly shape-shifting entities from another dimension who have been enemies of his ancestors for generations. In Book 1, he fought them in Altanta, GA. In Book 2, he battled with them in a haunted hotel in China. In Book 3. he is called to his hometown In Warrick, IL, where his friends are having to combat them -- and deal with returned dead -- without help.
Dark Corridors
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 83,960. Language: English. Published: September 16, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Supernatural, Fiction » Horror » Occult
Dr. Harper Paget continues his search for the deadly shape-shifting, dimension-traveling creatures who were the enemies of his ancestors and recently caused the death of his wife and close friends. Soon after his arrival to teach at a Chinese university, he is attacked by a female creature in his dorm building. He meets new friends to help him battle his old enemies, endangering them as well.
Dark Neighborhoods
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 75,360. Language: English. Published: August 25, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Occult
Nowhere are you safe. Not in your dreams. Not in your past. Not in the DARK NEIGHBORHOODS where time-traveling, shape-shifting entities from another dimension have taken hold. In ancient Greece, they took the form of the Lamiae. In modern Indonesia, they have taken the form of insidious creatures known as the kuntilanak. Now they are here, so beware of what you search for. They may find you!
From Here To Atlantis
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 56,700. Language: American English. Published: April 13, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
Imagine an ancient and abandoned village that may have been a surviving remnant of the lost civilization of Atlantis, pushed down inside the earth by an extraterrestrial projectile that struck the main continent. When a section of the projectile is discovered in an eerie temple, the explorers learn that the alien object can send them back in time to Atlantis itself just prior to its destruction.
Of Time and the Dreamer
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 84,650. Language: American English. Published: September 20, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Visionary & metaphysical
If you could visit your own past, would you be tempted to make changes? What if this version of your past is actually in another dimension and any changes would only impact the present and future in that dimension? Would re-live your life as you did the first time or try to correct mistakes? Tyler Grant must make this decision when he time-travels through a dream corridor - as well as stay alive.