Interview with J. J. Carlson

When did you first start writing?
Kindergarten, just like everyone else. Honestly, I tried my hand at a novel when I was in my pre-teen years. It was awful, a shameful mockery of my favorite books, but the simple act of moving stories from my mind to paper made me happy. I would get lost in the act, and hours would disappear into a void beyond my understanding. Thankfully, the magic is still there, and this time-warping bliss happens when I write and edit today.
Describe your desk
I LOVE my desk. It's cheap and ugly, but it's mine. It's a stand-up desk, and I built it myself. I originally intended to stain, sand, and finish the wood to make it look official, but hundreds of thousands of words later, it's still a splintery, rough lumber concoction. I screwed in a cup holder for the nectar of live (coffee) and mounted a few dry-erase boards on the wall next to it. It's normally cluttered with pens, pencils, and no less than forty-thousand sticky notes.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
For a long time, I was a die-hard paper and ink fan. I loved the smell of books, the sensation of paper between my fingers, and dog-eared corners. My transition to digital readers was gradual. I received a kindle reader several years ago, and immediately downloaded a dozen or so free books. It was alright, but I still didn't think it was better than paperback. As time went on and my cell phones suffered a variety of tragic deaths, I was eventually given a used iPhone. That's when my addiction to reading digitally really began. It was amazing to have a book with me everywhere I went (I even listen to audiobooks in the shower). I still enjoy reading hard copies, but the convenience of e-books on my phone puts that device at the top of my list.
Who are your favorite authors?
This question is impossible without categorization. Even then, it's so hard to say! I'll make an attempt, though I know many well-deserving authors will be left out. And it's going to be a mess, a shotgun blast of names and pseudonyms. Here we go: Charles Dickens, Jules Verne, Emily Dickinson, T. S. Eliot, Robert Frost, St. Paul, John Steinbeck, Dean Koontz, Michael Crichton, Robert Ludlum, Vince Flynn, Brad Thor, Douglas E. Richards, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Frank Peretti, J. K. Rowling, Rick Riordan, Suzanne Collins, Michael A. Stackpole, David Baldacci, Lee Child, and...many, many more.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Creation, plain and simple. My early, unpublished works were strictly plotted with characters that didn't think for themselves. Now, my characters often bring about plot twists where I never expected them. The story develops around the characters, instead of vice-versa. Because of this, I become the story's first reader along with being its writer.
Published 2017-10-05.
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Books by This Author

Wrath: A Prelude to Forging the Nightmare
Price: Free! Words: 10,760. Language: English. Published: October 5, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
A man of peace. Pushed to the edge. Unleashes the wrath within. Jarrod Hawkins witnesses the crimes of a militant terrorist group. He has trained his entire life for this moment, and blood will spill as he embraces the darkness inside.
The Broken Shield
Price: Free! Words: 8,740. Language: English. Published: September 25, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
An elite Law Enforcement Officer squares off with a militant anti-fascist in this gripping short story.