Interview with J.R. Burnett

What's the story behind your latest book?
Trapped by Light and Shadow is my debut novel. It tells the story of a young adult struggling to get by who suddenly gets swept up into a dangerous and magical community. It's a contemporary fantasy, bordering on urban, full of darkness and monsters. The story is told through two main characters, a conflicted youth and his cynical teacher, and follows how the two of them change because of each other.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up on a farm just outside of a sleepy small town in rural Kansas. My background definitely influences my writing, if only because I write very character driven fiction. Not much exciting happened in my home was the day to day struggle and interaction between the people there that gave it character. Beyond that, you'll always see themes from small town America creeping into my stories--dogs, horses, gardening, farmer's markets, county fairs, etc.
When did you first start writing?
I've been putting stories down on paper pretty much as long as I can remember. During high school and college, I dabbled in fanfiction learning how to craft short stories. Only in the past several years have I considered writing novels, let alone novels for public consumption. After a few false starts, things have fallen into place and here we are.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love the process of the characters revealing themselves through the writing. Sure, I have an idea of what they're going to be like when I create them, but as I write so many more layers of their personality start to show through.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I've always known I wasn't going to go the traditional publishing route. My goal has always been the writing. Courting publishers and jumping through their hoops has never appealed to me. I'm happy for those that can do that, but I'm a bit of a control freak. Indie publishing e-books gives me the chance to write and control my own work as well as share it with others. If other people enjoy it great...if they don't, well I'm already on to the next project.
What are you working on next?
I have several projects in the works including a contemporary/urban fantasy prequel to Trapped by Light and Shadow and a paranormal novel that centers around the infamous Bloody Benders.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I was reluctant to jump on board with e-readers when they first came out. There is something about the feel of paper and the smell of a book.... Then I was given a Kindle as a gift. Loaded my first e-book and I was hooked! Now I use my Kindle every single day and don't know what I'd do without it.
Who are your favorite authors?
My reading habits are very eclectic and I have so very many authors I love. Some that have had the biggest influence on me include: Dean Koontz, Neil Gaiman, Jim Butcher, Mercedes Lackey, Gregory Maguire, Michael Crichton, Madeleine L'Engle, Sir Authur Conan Doyle, and Edgar Allan Poe as well as the screenwriters Joss Whedon, Steven Moffat, and Russell T Davies. I also have to give credit to Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams as their book Tunnels and the story behind it was what finally gave me the push I needed to consider writing a novel and, eventually, self-publishing.
Describe your desk
I wish I could say that my desk was a nice, neat orderly space. That's what I would love. Instead, my desk is a beautiful example of entropy at work. Regardless of how many times I put it back in order, in just a few short hours it returns to chaos. Notebooks full of notes for my works in bills for the next horse show...abstracts for scientific articles...pens...empty tea mugs...the random rawhide that I've taken away from the dogs...and somewhere in the mess is my laptop. Never know what you'll find.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I'm not at work or writing, you can usually find me in the barn. I spend almost all of my extra time out with my horses. When the weather is less than ideal, you can find me in the kitchen, experimenting with new recipes.
Published 2013-12-17.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Ashes to Ashes
Series: Furred, Feathered, and Fanged. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 11,030. Language: English. Published: February 18, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories, Fiction » Fantasy » Urban
For Alex Ford, head of Tulsa’s Occult Animal Welfare department, there is no such thing as a dull moment. As a string of suspicious fires plagues the city, Alex uncovers an occult connection that could send the entire community up in smoke. Literally. But that’s not the only threat out there. Can Alex keep his department together and navigate the dark side as well?
Wolf Moon
Series: Furred, Feathered, and Fanged. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 11,630. Language: English. Published: March 16, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
For Alex Ford, head of Tulsa’s Occult Animal Welfare department, there is no such thing as a dull moment. As a snow storm blows into the city, Alex finds the mangled remains of a Shifter. Where there’s one Shifter, there’s always more. But this time, they’re not all what they seem. Can Alex put aside his own prejudice to protect those he has hated? Can his four-legged partner do the same?
Trapped by Light and Shadow
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 50,360. Language: English. Published: January 8, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy, Fiction » Fantasy » Urban
A new city…a new apartment…a cute new running partner…. Despite a less than stellar start to his adult life, things were finally starting to fall into place for Adam. That is, until he met the shadows in the woods. Shadows with teeth. Adam is quickly swept up into a world of magic and danger as he discovers his own hidden talent with the help of a reluctant mentor. One moment can change your life.