Interview with Randall Jarmon

What motivated you to become an indie author?
Mainly, I wanted control over the words for which readers will hold me accountable. For better or worse, I did not want some publisher's editor making those decisions for me.
How do you approach cover design?
I usually start off by trying to do my own cover. I might as well. It's cheaper and I have to come up with the jacket information, anyway.

If I don't like my result, I'll contract the cover out to a graphic artist.

The main thing is having a great story behind the cover. Readers in a hurry might pick a book based on its cover, but ultimately they'll judge that book based on its story.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
For the most part, I don't care. If the story is really good, one easily ignores the device. My exception is the reading I do on a treadmill or an elliptical machine. Bigger screens matter then, so I resort to my iPad.
Describe your desk
I work from a laptop. It might be various places, each of which will be surrounded by clutter.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I suppose there are two joys of equal value.

Firstly, I love seeing remarkably good prose appear on my computer screen as I type. It does not always happen (I do my full share of re-writing!) but, when such prose appears, it's wonderful. I sometimes sit back and marvel that I was the mere mortal who pushed the laptop keys. Surely I am not that good, I might tell myself.

The other joy is watching a reader react to a book holding such passages.
Who are your favorite authors?
Nobody should mistake me for someone with a doctorate in English or a career in editing. I only know what I stumble upon that somehow works for me.

The best thriller I am aware of was Tom Clancy's THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER. The Robert Ludlum novels actually written entirely by Robert Ludlum strike me as excellent. Alistair McLean at his best handles plots admirably well, I think. Ian Fleming's earliest Bond novels---especially ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE---seem to endure the test of time. I think Eric Ambler's work holds up well, too. Anything by Ernest Hemingway will impress me as exceptionally well-written, but the plots almost surely will be too slow-moving for me. Finally, for outstanding use of description, I'd pick Thomas Hardy and William Least-Heat Moon, neither of which I have read often or recently. I just remember that I was impressed by them long ago.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I have a golden retriever. Have you ever tried to sleep late when your dog needs to be let outside, fed, and walked? Golden retrievers can stare you into feeling guilty. They're uncanny that way.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book, FROM US, unfolds against the sort of turmoil generated after Donald Trump was elected president, but then quickly goes its own unique way.

FROM US is a complex story even though told in a simple way. One of the initial reviewers, someone who very much liked the novel, had trouble putting it into a category. I can understand why. It's simultaneously an espionage thriller, a techno thriller, a political thriller, and a romantic suspense. Some of it is edgy. Some of it's funny. All of it together defies a label.

Rather than try to describe it here, I prefer to call FROM US a three-plane-travel-day story. In other words, if one spent all day struggling against modern airline travel, this book would seem a soothing sanctuary to which one could escape at will.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
My very smart wife is a committed ebook reader who might easily read ten times as many ebooks as I do. I get some good recommendations from her.

Also, in this age of web-crawling robots and automated Twitter posts, I imagine there might be fake book reviews just as there now might be fake news. I'm a little cautious about book reviews. I, personally, think the Readers' Favorite book reviews are the ones I can rely on. I say that as an author who has repeatedly used Readers' Favorite for quality control purposes, and, of course, I speak only for myself.
What is your writing process?
I start with a basic premise. For example, for THE RAINSTORM REVOLT that premise was good guys would steal nuclear weapons. Next I try to build a scenario such that the premise would be plausible. In my RAINSTORM example, I had to create a dystopian world at least five years into the future.

Then the fun starts. I try to have a clear idea of who the characters are (They will, however, evolve as I work.) and how the story will end. Once that much is in place, I write the story a little at a time. As I mention soon in this interview, it gets to be like sitting on a stage as the characters put on a play around me. I'm never quite sure what they'll do or how they'll go about it, but I know when a piece of story works well. I write that piece down and go to the next scene.

Ideally, I might get to a 110,000-word novel in about three months this way, to include a good line edit. Realistically, it always seems to take me twice that long. Writer's block so far has not been a problem, but life's varied, unavoidable interruptions are. Pipe breaks in cold weather come to mind.
What are you working on next?
For me, writing fiction is, at its best, like sitting on a stage while one's characters put on a play around you. One can't really be sure what they'll do next. Meanwhile, one takes notes.

I'm still sitting on my next novel's stage trying to figure out the story. I think I know how the novel's start will go. The middle looks pretty good. The ending should be outstanding. I just don't know yet what the characters will do along the way.

So, all that said, expect a techno thriller that gets well into espionage. I imagine it will be set in Juneau, Alaska, but don't count on that yet. I've got to understand Juneau weather reports first.
Published 2018-02-05.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Mudfoot and Tori
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 141,620. Language: English. Published: April 12, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Spies & espionage
Tough-guy adventurer David Mudfoot finds gold for the legendary Dawson and Alicia Wicks. He has survived bears and Alaskan storms. Professional killers are after him yet again. He would rather sit at a computer than go on a date. He is rich, but unable to say so. He dotes on his ugly monster dog named "Thug." And now God has sent this overly complicated man to small-town girl Victoria Winston.
Winning Numbers: An Introduction to the Riley Family
Price: Free! Words: 97,830. Language: English. Published: April 5, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
He is a scientist, secretly winning the world’s major lotteries. The Russian mob wants him dead. She is a single parent on the run from a drug lord. Nobody in law enforcement believes her story. He and she find each other as predators from around the globe unite against them. Soon a lottery’s one-in-ten-million odds look better than the chances of staying alive---unless, of course, you’re a Riley.
Rebel's Trap
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 151,770. Language: English. Published: April 4, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Spies & espionage, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
John Travis' career has hit rock-bottom. He now works as bait for killers, and has done well just to stay alive. It now will get harder for him. The Cold War's most successful spymaster wants Travis to protect the man's daughter while Travis struggles to protect himself---and the daughter loathes Travis.
Spitzer Zahn
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 151,230. Language: English. Published: April 3, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Spies & espionage, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
Two former missionaries attempt to operate a radio station on a tiny Atlantic island just outside U.S. waters. They confront ocean storms, fierce apostasy, and resolute terrorists. One shy, devout man shares the island with the missionaries. Decades ago, he was one of America's most effective spies, single-handedly stealing secrets deep within the USSR. He's even more formidable now.
Sheila and Recluse
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 92,700. Language: English. Published: March 25, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Spies & espionage, Fiction » Religious
For much of his career, Adam North was a hunted man. He carefully moved around the USSR for decades, spying on the Soviets from deep within their vast empire. He was never caught, but his social skills languished. At age 56, with too few good friends and too many bad memories, North turns to Christianity. Suddenly, he must catch a terrorist who has been trained to think exactly like North did.
Battle Springs
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 114,550. Language: English. Published: March 22, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Christian » Suspense, Fiction » Religious
Ruth McKenzie stormed into James South's life: fire in her eyes, pain in her heart, gun in her hand. Four hours later they were partners in a business deal that could last twenty-five years. The killers after her then went after him, and a deadly game ensued. South was willing to play, though. Long ago he had been good at games like that --- very, very good.
Done by Christmas: A Story of Revenge and Faith
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 109,380. Language: English. Published: March 13, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Christian » Suspense
Only Marcus West, whom nobody would mistake for a commando-type tough guy, can stop a master criminal named Victor Taggert. Taggert makes a spectacular escape from prison, seeking revenge. He wants to kill Marcus' wife. The police cannot help and Taggert anticipates an easy murder. After all, he's the one who knows all about assassination. As for Marcus, he's he one who knows about prayer.
Flat Light
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 127,330. Language: English. Published: February 21, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Spies & espionage, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
In 1987, two East Germans realize their socialist state is doomed. They embezzle funds, defect to the West, and begin taking revenge on America. Their plan relies on exotic skills, lavish funding, and a twenty-five-year head start. Also in 1987, a young man far away is plucked from obscurity and trained to be a world-class assassin. In 2012, his deadly skills will confront their invincible plan.
The Dalhart Pursuit
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 101,240. Language: English. Published: February 3, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Spies & espionage
Greg Dalhart created software that can find any fugitive in the U.S. Now it is tracking him down as he runs for his life. Suddenly, Greg Dalhart is worth many millions of dollars dead. Soon the killers after him, and the woman with him, will learn the same thing: Greg Dalhart and his software are not at all what they had seemed—and one of the two might be evil.
From Us
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 118,810. Language: English. Published: January 31, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Spies & espionage
America’s in trouble as riots light up evening skies. A rich financier plans two murders to tip the balance of power his way. What’s to stop him? Mostly three white-collar criminals: a disgraced spy, a blonde with a drinking problem, and a cop forced to retire. They’re thieves, who dare not contact the authorities. But these misfits have friends and exotic skills. They might even have a chance.
The Rainstorm Revolt
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 102,920. Language: English. Published: January 11, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Spies & espionage
Not so many years into the future, the U.S. federal government has become far too big. America's ruling party has become autocratic, and federal taxation has become thinly disguised theft. Three mysterious persons, and a very lethal woman in her seventies, quietly plot to restore the freedom Americans once knew. The woman's task is easily the hardest. She first has to steal nuclear weapons.