Interview with Justin Bohardt

When did you first start writing?
I first started taking writing seriously in high school. I would write angsty poems about anything and everything, minimalistic and sweepingly epic. They probably weren't that good, of course, but it was cheaper than therapy. I filled dozens of marble composition books with grievances, observations, and lies that had no meter and no rhyme scheme. On my lunch break at Arby's, I would steal a pen from my boss's office and cover the white paper backs of tray liners with tiny scribblings and musings.

It was probably around 10th or 11th grade where I first started writing a novel. The novel was a series of letters from a man in a semi-post-apocalyptic future who has decided to kill himself, but damn if he doesn't take a long time explaining why. I finished that novel senior year of college, back when I was considering being deep and artistic (or at least attempts therein) more important than being a good storyteller.

"The Suicide Letters" was not the first time I started trying to create a story or even a universe as that was something that I have always been able to do. I spent a lot of time alone as a child and much of my alone time was spent envisioning new worlds, creating characters to populate them, and finding adventures for them to go on. I use to go and stand out in the driveway of our house for hours, appearing to everyone to be shooting baskets, but my mind was far away in Terrateara, the Sol System Union, or any of a dozen other worlds.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The Parliament of the Profane series, and specifically the first book S.O.B., began with a single scene in my head: a man sprinting at superhuman speed behind a panel van, jumping onto it, rescuing the abducted girl from the back of the van, fighting on the roof of the van as it careened down a bridge, and ended with him jumping off the bridge and teleporting away just before hitting the water. The entire series was reverse engineered from that one scene. I knew that my main character Nate had super powers, so I was almost certainly dealing with a novel set in a more graphic novel universe. (If I didn't suck so much as an artist, it may very well have become a comic book.) I had to come up with reasons for my heroine Gwen to be abducted, and then what were the origins, rules and roles of superheroes in my world going to be. Genetic mutation and radiation have been done to death as have magic, aliens, and the rich guy with a bunch of toys tropes, so I wanted to bring in a new possible explanation for the evolution of superheroes. Of course, if I told you what that was, it would ruin the surprise.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Because I couldn't become a professional author?

In all seriousness, who has the time to address hundreds of query letters to literary agents and publishing houses all with their own demanding exactness of detail? Although, I suppose it does keep the postal carrier busy, bringing all those rejection notices to the house. It has been a while since I have tried to be published via the traditional route and maybe literary agents are more accepting of email correspondence now, but it also seems like they are becoming a lot less necessary in the publishing industry. If your book is good, people will find it now. You don't need the approval of an English major who thinks that they are the gatekeeper of the western civilization's history of the written word.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
If I have some success, I'll let you know.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
It's probably that moment right before you go to sleep when an idea strikes you and takes hold of you so fiercely that you have to get up and get it written down so that you won't forget it (and so you can actually get to sleep).

A close second is someone reading something you have written and just saying that they enjoyed it. Nothing makes a neurotic author smile more than validation.
What do your fans mean to you?
As soon as I have some, I will let you know.
What are you working on next?
I am currently working on a sequel to S.O.B. Naturally, it is entitled F.U.
Who are your favorite authors?
As a bibliophile, it's hard to keep that list short, but here we go: Jim Butcher, Michael Crichton, Aldous Huxley, C.S. Lewis, Mary Shelley, early Stephen King, Preston/Child, Frank Herbert, J.K. Rowling, Lloyd Alexander, George R.R. Martin, Elmore Leonard. This list could go on and on... and on.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Beating my alarm clock to pulp.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Thinking about how I should be writing.

Well, I have another job (one that actually pays bills), a wife and son who selfishly demand that I pay attention to them on occasion, a library of books that I enjoy becoming buried in, and every so often I will sleep.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
By price.

In truth, the same way I find any other book. Someone tells me that I have to read this book or I browse around and happen to come across the book that changes the course of my life forever.
What is your writing process?
Sit at the computer and type. If I get stuck, I go to the next scene and come back to it. I know where most of my books are going and if I don't know how they get there, I just write the ending and hope I'll figure it out later. I firmly believe in writing the scenes you want to write before writing the one you have to write. I am currently working on book two of a five part series called Saga Chancelleria. I have already written the last scene of the last book though, because that was the scene I really wanted to see. I'm writing five books just to get to that scene.
Published 2013-11-08.
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