Today I'm happy to have author, Justin Swapp visiting my blog. Hi, Justin and welcome.
Tell us something about yourself and how you became a writer.
I live in the shadows of the Wasatch mountains, and I come from a family that is very creative (we think anyway). This was probably the beginning for me. I remember writing a story for a middle school teacher about a creepy doll in a basement. I really had fun writing that story, and trying to create an atmosphere. I forgot about writing for many years, and then when the Harry Potter series came out, like so many others, I was reminded what it was to have a good storyteller cast a spell on you. Then, I remembered that I had wanted to write all those years ago. So, I did, despite at that very time I had just started an MBA program (which, yes, I did finish).
Tell us about your novel and where readers can purchase a copy.
Currently I have four short stories accepted for publication. Two you can get now from www.thecrimsonpact.com. The other two should be out later this year.
The Crimson Pact is an anthology with some really great writers in it (I’m the “rookiest” of the bunch). There is even NY Times best selling author, Larry Correia, of the Monster Hunters International series included in the anthology.
I am also literally working on the last few chapters of the first draft of my YA Fantasy novel, “The Magic Shop.” I’m very excited to finish. I knew I had something good when one of my alpha readers was late to work because she was reading my novel. I take that as a good sign.
What have you had published to-date?
“The Transition,” and “The Merging” were both selected for publication in the first and second volumes of The Crimson Pact respectively. The series is published by Alliteration Ink. “The Transition” was a piece of flash fiction with a crazy twist at the end. It also launched my opportunity to continue the story in “The Merging” for volume two.
I’ve also had another flash piece entitled, “Final Exam,” accepted for publication by Wicked East Press and a longer short story entitled, “Cigars for Sawyer,” by C.P. Anthologies. Both of these should be out by the end of the year, or beginning of 2012.
Tell us a little about your road to publication. Was it a long one?
Yes, and I think that’s normal. I think I started four or five years ago. I had an idea, and I just started writing.
You know, I think I went through the phases that most people do. I was worried that my writing was horrible. So, I didn’t make progress on anything because I was always judging and editing, not writing. I did a lot of reading about how to approach writing – I mean a lot. It was helpful. I learned that I had to get over that fear, and I finally started showing it to people. I started to get some really good feedback from writing groups, and then eventually compliments from people who were very blunt, and who I knew would tell me if it was junk. I just put my head down, and kept going.
What do you think makes a good story?
I think this means different things to different people. For me, I like great characters, and the fantastic, whether that is magic or sci-fi. I want to hear about things that make me dream, and wonder. The regular world stuff is boring.
For me, too, I think things have to have a certain simplicity to them. Flowery description is just hard too wade through for me. And it’s a real balancing act.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I love basketball, reading, movies, and some good TV. I will occasionally do some graphic editing, and web admin type stuff. I just like being creative in general, and to absorb other people’s creativity.
How long does it take you to write a book?
Way too long. It can take a year or more. I really, really want to get that time down though. You really have to keep a pace and a regimen. I’ve found I can go a lot faster and write better quality stories if I do some planning and development before I ever sit down to write. And that was hard, and took some discipline. Once I have an idea, I just want to go go go. Its better to be methodical about it though.
Where can readers find you?