Interview with J.E. Plemons

Please tell us about your latest book release and provide a brief description & tell us what inspired it?
My debut novel, Last Light Falling - The covenant, is the first of a four book series I have been developing the past five years.
This graphic and raw character driven story focuses on the trials and tribulations of Arena and Gabriel power, twins born into a world of cruel and relentless tragedy where nations have fallen, economies have collapsed, and half the world's population has been wiped from the earth. Arena and Gabe struggle to find any hope in their future after losing their parents when they were nine, but living with a loving foster family has eased some of that pain. It's not until they receive a special letter on their fifteenth birthday, that history will forever change. They will soon discover the secrets behind their destiny from a priest, who has vowed to protect them since birth, and sending them on an improbable journey that will most likely end in death. The prophecy of the end is near and it's up to Gabriel and Arena to help prepare the world's demise by the wrath of God. Souls will rest in the providence of these ordinary twins put in an extraordinary situation, but when fate chooses them, they will have to accept their destiny changing their lives forever.
This story has turned into something bigger than what I had planned. After a brief stint negotiating a deal with a well-respected Marvel comic book artist, I finally decided to shelve the idea of the Last Light Falling comic and focus solely on the novel, which I began in March of 2012. My original inspiration behind this series came from this comic book concept about two unlikely heroes battling the normal mundane trials of teenage experiences in high school. But the true inspiration falls back to my very own kids, Gabriel and Mikaela—my two unlikely heroes in this novel. The characters created are solely based on my children's personalities, and it's scary how close they really are.
Is there a specific genre you focus on?
I'd like to think I don't, but let's face it, we all have something we are drawn to. Fiction is where I wander. My life has been anything but ordinary which has helped me share my love for writing all things interesting. Whether it's YA, dystopian, sci-fi, psychological thriller, horror, fantasy, or mystery, I want to write about it with the intent to make the predictable unpredictable.
What do you like best about developing characters?
Oh, hell, I could write an essay about this, but I won't. I love when my characters teach me something I'm not expecting. The story is always about interesting characters whether they inspire, move, change, or even discourage you. But then surprisingly, there's that smidgen of compassion for the most unlikely character that you never intended to happen. When my story changes, which it often does throughout countless drafts, so do the character's development, but when the characters unexpectedly change, that’s when the plot unfolds into something magnificent, purely by accident.
Do you have a set writing time? Please describe your writing habits.
My life is chaotic enough, trying to create a schedule for my writing time is futile. Believe me, I wish I had the opportunity to do so, but as of now, writing is a part-time career. I simply write when I feel the juices flowing, which can be at any time of the day. I often find myself getting up in the middle of the night to write down fresh ideas before I forget them. Two hours later, I've written 2500 words. I use to make myself write 3000 words a day before I would reward myself, but that's just absolutely ridiculous unless you are a full time writer. Now, I write when I want and where I want. My OCD doesn't allow me to write for the sake of writing like many other authors. I'm cursed with a weakness known as the "perfectionist." I faultlessly write my first draft as if it was the third. Yes, I have a problem, I know, but I'm gradually changing that habit through the support of some awesome authors and professional editors.
What motivated or inspired you to become a writer?
Simply put: reading. Reading is the quintessential ingredient for writing. I wrote short stories and poetry all the time as a young child until I became glued to film during my teen years—that's when I delved into screen-writing. Most of my writing was for me and my little inner world of fantasy, escapism, and just pure entertainment. I never at any time dreamed I would grow up to become a writer. In fact, I was hoping to become a late night talk show host, professional baseball player, or a chef working in a five star restaurant. Who knew?
Who are your favorite authors? Why?
C.S. Lewis and Tolkien without a doubt for their courageous unsolicited effort to go against the pretentious grain of the book publishing world during their time. They both have created timeless characters and stories to which have inspired many to follow in there writing footsteps. Robert Lewis Stevenson and Jack London, two of the greatest authors of our time, for their masterful real-life characters and colorful story telling through prose and poetry.
What is your favorite indie book? Why?
Just recently read Schasm by Shari J. Ryan. This is one of those books that make you want to walk out the door and say "what the hell." From the very first scene, you will be gripped and bounced around into an emotional and suspenseful spiral. An absolutely mind-blowing and disturbing mix of reality and fantasy. After reading this, I have more questions than answers, kind of like after watching Inception. You won't know what is real. I felt my mind drifting with the character's hoping she would wake up at some point, but didn't know for sure if she was dreaming or not. This story explores mental illness like never before. A brilliantly written book on the human mind, and the complexity it can reveal. I had so many "WTF" moments in the novel, I didn't know who I could trust or what I just read was real or not. A must read if you want the unexpected. There's nothing predictable about this book at all. Loved it.
What are you most optimistic about in the current publishing world?
I'm somewhat mixed about this. You have to understand that I worked in the entertainment business for years, specifically music publishing, where the industry has a lot of pull on how people alter it. Just like the music industry is now, independent authors have vast opportunities to promote, market, and publish their works. Unfortunately, that may be two million too many. Just because you like to sing, doesn't make you a singer, a pleasant one that is. That goes for writers alike. Yes, it's great that we as independent authors have more avenues to divulge our work, but you have to compete with millions of others doing the same, and bad ones I might add. But to get back to the heart of the question, I believe that the industry will have no choice but to join, or at least make a viable attempt to support and open up more doors for serious writers. The playing field will level out eventually giving the serious authors a chance to give readers a wider variety of expression. In a nut shell, the best thing about the current publishing world is that I have access to an abundant number of excellent authors' works at my fingertips, but more importantly, so do our readers.
If you change one thing concerning the publishing industry, what would it be?
I'd like to beat the living hell out of it with a stick several times over, but if I could choose only one thing and I had the power to actually change something, then it would have to be the motivation behind it: money. Unfortunately, it's the center of all things evil. I'm not saying make everything free, but taking away the commercial value of books today would open up to a world of great authors that readers never knew existed. Like I said before, working in the entertainment business changed me. Its bitter taste and tainted motives made me rethink how I approach the industry now. The art of writing has been stripped and turned sour all because of the almighty dollar. Business is business, I know, but we, as readers and writers are tired of being fed, or dictated what books are great according to the big publishers . It's like 'payola' in the music industry. Pay the radio station what to play and voila! Instant success of top 40 music that quite frankly sucks. Okay, maybe not all of it, but you get the point.
Who are your heroes? Why?
My grandfather, who has long since passed. Without him, I wouldn't have learned the tough life lessons of sacrifice, grace, compassion, and humility. I think about him every day for the hard work ethic he instilled in me, teaching me to always give to those who need it without expecting anything in return, and making me feel visible when life was less than desirable.
What makes you a unique human being?
I have been fortunate enough to experience many things in my life, some of which were humbling, others fulfilling, and because of that, I've grown to be patient and content. I'm willing to struggle, fail, sacrifice, and fall before I learn to move on from those experiences. I'm not afraid to die, but willing to live as long as I'm able. Even though I'd like to see my kids grow old, I understand that every day is precious, yet uncertain. I live with the best intentions that everything is going to be okay until it isn't, and when that happens, I'm free to just let go.
What makes your books unique?
Since this is my first series, I would say most definitely my personal experiences that are drawn to the characters. Most of what I have written is based on my own personal trials or those through my grandfather's stories. So if you really want to get inside my head, then read Last Light Falling, but I won't tell you what is real or what is embellished, and you probably don't really want to know.
I have a different writing style that probably goes against the grain of the standard cookie-cutter mainstream template. I didn't choose to do it for the sake of being different or obscure. It's just the way I have always expressed myself. My books tend to focus around real problems about real characters that are pushed into a world of fiction. My writing can be sarcastic with just a touch of dry wit. I may even pepper a pop-cultural reference every now and then. I try to steer away from clichés unless it's being tongue-in-cheek. Bottom line: My books are raw, graphic, and don't always have a happy-go-lucky ending. I love Disney, but they wouldn't approve. I keep it real.
If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
Holy crap, seriously? End the human race…just kidding. I truly believe the one thing that makes all creatures unique has been missing from the world since the beginning of time. It's the one thing that binds us all, without guilt, shame, or fault. It gives us hope, and a will to change our hearts. If every single human on the planet would express it more, all of life's troubles would seem inconsequential. We treat it as if it were no more than just a basic need yet we do not practice it enough. You cannot see it touch it, smell it, nor taste it, yet it's an essential part of the human spirit that cannot live or die without it. It's the true meaning behind our very existence, and without it, we are just a pointless speck of dust stripped of purpose. There's only one thing I know that would make this world a better place: love.
Do you have any upcoming release? If so, please describe it.
Last Light Falling - Into The Darkness, Book II will be released in January 2015. This is the second installment of the Last Light Falling series. This sequel continues the grim story of Arena's fate, testing her faith while she and her twin brother search for an answer to their survival in a brooding world filled with chaos. I spent twice as long on this book than the first one, and I assure you won't be disappointed. I'm afraid I can't disclose any more information than that, but your welcome to visit my website to get a sneak peek of the cover. On a side note, I'm delighted to be almost done with book III, Last Light Falling - Kingdoms Of The Ten, but no spoilers here I'm afraid.
Published 2015-01-08.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Last Light Falling - Into The Darkness, Book II
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 110,010. Language: English. Published: January 12, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias, Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
In this gripping second installment of the Last Light Falling series, faith becomes the only escape from a relentless war about to be waged on American soil, and it's up to Arena to keep Russia from becoming the deterrent in an international upheaval for power. One man stands between her and a fight for survival while she risks everything to help lead a new fellowship to a permanent safe haven.
Last Light Falling - The Covenant, Book I
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 116,890. Language: English. Published: January 20, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
For Gabriel and Arena, life has been short of exciting, but when they receive a special letter on their fifteenth birthday, history will forever change. The prophecy of the end is near and lives will perish. Souls will rest in the providence of these ordinary twins put in an extraordinary situation, but when fate chooses them, they will have to accept their destiny changing their lives forever.