Interview with J. C. Cauthon

When did you first start writing?
According to my parents, I have been creating stories since I was a wee thing, but I began to fervently write in high school. I always kept a notebook and a pen or pencil on me so that I could write to fill the time between when I finished my classwork and when the class ended.

I wrote mostly short stories and the usual angst-y, teenage poetry *eyeroll*, but I started my first novel in high school, and my love for writing took such a strong root that I majored in English: Creative Writing in college.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Aye, and I still have a copy of it. The story was about a young bunny who lived in the same village as a wise, old bunny, known to us humans as the Easter Bunny. Well, this young bunny stole the Easter Bunny's basket of goodies and tried to deliver them himself, and his plan turned into a completely chaotic fiasco--goodies being delivered to the wrong children, some of the goodies being lost, and so much more.

I am planning on publishing it eventually under a pen-name set aside for my children's and middle grades stories, but I have to find an illustrator. My kindergartner scribbles leave a lot to be desired. LOL
What is your writing process?
First and foremost, I get the first draft down on paper, if I can. I learned a long time ago that if I hold off on writing that first draft out as far as I can go, and instead start planning and getting into the fine details, I lost the fuel that I need to follow-through with the idea. So I always "pants" my first draft.

After that first draft is down on paper, then I set up my Story Bible and glean my already-known facts from the draft. Once I have finished that task, I sit down and I build my world. I record all this information in my Story Bible so that I have all my details organized and in one place. Usually, by the time I have finished filling out my Story Bible, I have become immersed so much in my world that editing becomes a much easier task.

After the first draft and Story Bible are complete, I begin my three rounds of edits. I always do at least three. Going from the original draft to the second is an arduous task because I have to add in all my new details and correct anything that I changed from the first draft to the Story Bible.

On my third draft, I go through and add "the extras" to my work. I pretty up my sentences, paint my descriptions, and check my overall use (and misuse) of the English language.

For the fourth and final draft, I go sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, and page by page, and I check for misspelled words, missing commas, and weak verbs. Once I have gone through it myself, I give copies to three other people so that they can look for typos as well.

While they are doing that, I back away from my novel, and I begin cover-creation and the initial steps of publication. Essentially, I stop being a writer for a week or two while I prepare my completed piece for its release. When the three copies are returned to me, I correct all the errors and format the book according to the publication specifications for the website I am using, and it is ready for release.
Describe your desk
A mess. LOL, but what writer's desk doesn't look like a file cabinet exploded on it? No, my desk is fairly neat. To my left are two three-ring binders. One is my current writing project and the other is where I keep my copies of my daily task lists and word count tallies. On top of them is perched my current writer's journal.

When my laptop is out, it sits in the small space between me and my binders. There is a smaller space beside it for my cup of pencils and my water bottle.

To my right is my desk lamp and four bins of notebooks and packs of loose-leaf paper.

But, honestly, I rarely use my desk to write. I find that there are too many distractions when I sit there, so I usually reserve the desk for typing my drafts and my edits (since I hand-write everything) and for my promotional work. For actual writing, I still take my notebook and my pen or pencil and find somewhere more quiet to work.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
For me, the greatest joy of writing is when I know that someone thoroughly enjoyed something I wrote. Be it from a great review, a reader's comment on my blog, or seeing the looks on my children's faces when I read them an age-appropriate story, knowing that my work was enjoyed is the greatest joy for me.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I tried several times to publish short stories in literary journals after I completed college. I hated the waiting game--even more so when it ended with a form rejection letter. In a way, I am glad that I took time off from writing. One, it gave me time to figure out what I really wanted to do and it gave my mind some time to refresh itself after all the papers I had to write to graduate. Two, it gave the e-book industry time to gain a foothold and take off. Without that extra time, I never would have been able to self-publish.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I, like most indie authors, haven't found a 100% effective marketing technique. My most solid piece of advice would be to keep your name fresh on your readers' minds. Keep writing and keep publishing. It's the best way to stay in the public's eye.
What do your fans mean to you?
I love each and every one of you. Without you, I would still be a stay-at-home mother who dabbles in her notebooks, but you keep me writing, and I am forever grateful.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The Daily Prompt: 2016 is my latest publication. I used to offer random writing prompts on my blog and over various social media feeds. Nothing routine, but they were enjoyed. Many people suggested that I publish a collection of my prompts, but it took me a long time to settle on a format for the book. But I did, eventually, determine a layout, and the first yearly collection of prompts arrived just in time for 2016. The 2017 edition is scheduled for release in November.
What are you working on next?
I actually have four projects that I am working on at the moment. Two of them are novellas--one is young adult literature and the other is women's literature.

My other two projects are both first novels of two separate series. The first is a science fiction series that follows the story of the last band of humans as they escape a dead Earth and journey into space to find a new home.

The second is a fantasy series that is actually part of a MUCH larger saga called Chronicles of Ithmere. This first series will introduce the world, it's lush history, and one long mage who protects the soul of the most powerful dragon in the history of Ithmere. Little does she know that this one dragon soul can save or destroy the world.
Published 2016-04-24.
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