Interview with Jeffrey Cook

What is your writing process?
I follow something of an intersection between 'plan everything meticulously' and 'fly by the seat of your pants.' I do a lot of research, and I make an outline of the entire story. And then, when something different happens as I'm writing, I scrap that outline and write another, again and again. Another major aspect of the process, for the vast majority of my books, is collaboration. I often work best with a partner or a group, bouncing off ideas.
Who are your favorite authors?
Mary Shelley, Louis L'Amour, and I'll always have a soft spot for C.S. Lewis as the author of the first novels I read as a child (Sir Reepicheep was my first fandom).
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading, watching sports, playing RPGs, trying to play some of the boundless energy out of three giant dogs--or at least convince them they aren't lapdogs. Being somewhat disabled, I don't leave my chair much, but I'm online a good portion of the day.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
When I was four, Thor comics helped fuel a lifelong passion for mythology.
Describe your desk
My 'desk' is a laptop computer, as I spend most of my day in a large chair in the corner of my house. Various supplies are kept in the drawers next to the chair. A large dog may or may not be scrambling onto the 'desk' at any moment. There's a reason I get most of my writing done after the rest of the house, puppies included, has gone to bed.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born in Boulder, Colorado, but I practically grew up on the road. Between near-constant moves and business trips, I spent a lot of time, especially when I was very small, in the car with my dad. When I was about six, he and I started passing the time with storytelling, collaborating between the two of us. That's when I apparently started proclaiming that I wanted to be an author.
The various places I've lived throughout the U.S. and Canada have definitely influenced my writing in other ways, including the Western edge in my Steampunk stories, but Washington state is home now, and Seattle is the setting for more than one of my books.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I wrote my first drafts of my first three novels during my first National Novel Writing Month, not long after having been laid off from the desk job at which I'd spent most of a decade. There was a sudden outrush of creative energy. Getting them out of rough drafts took a few more years, due to circumstances, and while I tried the traditional routes, alt-history/emergent Steampunk epistolary novels just weren't proving very easy to pitch via those routes, and as I wished I could seize on some sort of momentum, I definitely discovered that self-publishing had come a long way. I went for it.

Since then, I have one book with a publisher, but it's a small press. The indie route is working out pretty well so far.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Frankenstein, for its depth and richness and for how thought-provoking and ahead of its time it was.
Voyage of the Dawn Treader, because you never forget your first, even if you were four and even if you should have started two books earlier.
Shogun, for its fascinating cultural information (and culture clash) and all the layers to the characters.
Lonesome Gods, for its mythology and background, even if I don't as much like how L'Amour handles endings.
Stone Butch Blues, solely for an incredibly valuable lesson. "What's the most important thing you can be? Someone you can live with."
What do you read for pleasure?
I grew up on fantasy, sci-fi, and Westerns. I try to branch out a lot, but it's still fantasy and 'soft' sci-fi that I tend to return to. It doesn't hurt that the speculative-fiction genres are primarily what I write, either.
What are you working on next?
The Fair Folk Chronicles, a Young Adult Urban Fantasy quartet featuring a Faerie Princess who has not only family issues and a world to save, but trouble with getting the right dose on her ADHD medication.
Published 2015-09-10.
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Books by This Author

Dawn of Steam: Gods of the Sun
Series: Dawn of Steam. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 103,800. Language: English. Published: February 27, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Steampunk & retropunk
Dawn of Steam: Gods of the Sun is an alternate-history, emergent Steampunk epistolary novel, the second in the series begun by Dawn of Steam: First Light, which continues the adventures of the crew of the airship Dame Fortuna on four different continents. As the Year Without a Summer continues, much of what they knew about their mission and, in some cases, their worldview, is thrown into doubt.
Dawn of Steam: First Light
Series: Dawn of Steam. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 94,590. Language: English. Published: November 24, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Steampunk & retropunk
In this alternate-history/ emergent Steampunk epistolary novel, the airship Dame Fortuna and its crew of gentlemen, ladies, and less respectable folk, led by a literal knight in steam-powered armor, has been commissioned to prove the impossible. On their post-Napoleonic-War expedition for vast uncharted wonders, they weren't expecting natural disasters, outright sabotage, or another war.