Speed Dating for Readers
From Bouncer to Police Officer to Author
On August 24th I traveled to Nashville, Tennessee to attend Killer Nashville. I expected to encounter some interesting characters, writers and promising opportunities. The conference did not disappoint because I got to meet Jason Fort. His straight forward manner and confidence couldn’t be ignored as he spoke about his day job and as a writer. Writing for the Christian market I know you’re going to be impressed with him too. Hello, Jason!
I am a police officer at one of country’s largest health care systems by day, and a novelist by night. I was born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina, and have been everything from an elementary PE teacher, to ball coach (pick your sport), to personal trainer, to wellness director, to police officer, to bouncer. Leading such an interesting tour through life has given me the source material to write stories about all sorts of people. When I was growing up, I was an artist and drew pictures all the time. I have since channeled that creative energy to write stories. I was also brought up in a southern Christian family, am the oldest and largest of three boys, and I do not hesitate to share my faith in Jesus. While I love to read thrillers; do research on current events, military, and religions; learn about martial arts; lift weights; watch movies and TV, and of course spend time with my family – my main goal in life is to reach the world for Christ, one reader at a time. I just happen to include a lot of action along the way.
What is the title of your latest book you’d like to tell us about?
My latest release is Book 1 of a new series. DEAD MEMORIES: Book 1 of The Brady Chronicles. The link to buy is HERE If you ever wanted to see a great comeback story, especially about a favorite character who is presumed dead… this is the story for YOU! Although my first book tells one story about the main character, Robert Brady, Dead Memories tells the man’s story in a much deeper perspective, as a very tragic man has to learn who he is all over again. And of course, he is only part of the story.
I love hearing about the background of why you wrote this book (or series). Can you tell us about that?
I wrote Dead Memories in response to so many comments and reviews referring to how much readers enjoyed the character or Robert Brady; so much so, the character earned his own series. And I love entering the mind of Robert Brady because he is such a strong reflection of one side of two coins I present in ALL my novels so far: One side of the coin sees radical Islam, and even Islam itself, as an opportunity to reach out to misinformed people, to tell them about the identity of Jesus Christ; the other side of the coin shows Islam itself as a danger to society and sees only one way to stop a threat – with force. I am a police officer, and Brady shows the forceful side of the police officer in me. But I also had to see things from even different eyes with Brady. I had to write a much more broken man than I have ever been, so I tried to imagine how one of my best friends, a Marine, would handle certain situations if he were to suffer the same tragedies suffered by my main character. FYI, the other side of my coin – is portrayed by one of my other favorite characters: John Knox. Please check his books out by starting with my very first book, Misguided: The Jesus Assassin. It is Book 1 of my first trilogy, The Knox Mission.
Is there one person who has influenced you the most.
My father has influenced me more and more as I have grown older. When I look back and reflect now, and think about my dad’s response to certain problems and situations as they arose, both in our family, and in friendships, and in work, I see what a wise and well-rounded man he was as he raised me. I am blessed to have him around a while longer, and hope to stake a claim on leading a successful life – the way my DAD did! I got his looks, I got his temper, I got his physical strength and then some, I got his love for family, and I got his love for God. Unfortunately, I didn’t get his business sense. But overall, it is easy to see how influential my father has been in my life. To quote Aaron Tippin, one of my favorite country music stars growing up: “I got it honest.”
What pearls of wisdom would you like to leave readers and writers?
Here is some wisdom that I think everyone on the planet would find beneficial – IF they take it to heart:
- No matter how dark the circumstances you come across in life may be, Jesus Christ is the one Light that can defeat all darkness; trust that fact, and you can make it through anything.
- Three things in life that matter most in life: God, family, and country – in that order, because mom brought you into this world, and if mom and dad trust God over any government, than government does not supplant family. But there is something to be said for national pride, and we all have to live somewhere. We might as well exist close together and in unity to stand against any foreign neighbors.
- Self-defense is not the equivalent of ignoring what Jesus said about turning the other cheek. Jesus was referring to choosing peaceful solutions to conflict. He was not insisting you become a doormat or instant victim to someone using violence against you in an instant…and to pretend nobody will ever do that to you is complacent and foolish. A wise person once said the greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing mankind he doesn’t exist; complacency at the highest level! For the record, before Jesus and his disciples went to the Garden of Gethsemane, He asked them to bring their swords. Why do you suppose he would suggest such a thing?
- I will suggest one thing that I mean to advise my son as he gets older: Don’t sweat the small stuff. Stress is a killer; don’t embrace it.
- If you really want to know what purpose your life could possibly serve in this world, might I suggest you pick up the Bible, and read it. Use wisdom and knowledge the good Lord has blessed you with somewhere along the way and form your own interpretations of the language, but also surround yourself with other believers if you want to go deeper. We weren’t meant to travel through this great adventure in life alone. God bless.
The Veiled Path to Destiny
Doesn’t the title grab and shake you a bit? Sigh. This special lady makes me giggle every day with her spunky memes on coffee. I can’t wait to connect with her in September at the St. Louis PennedCon. Please not only read about her special work but seek out her stories to escape the ordinary. Let’s let’s meet her!
My name is Jolanthe Aleksander…or you can just call me Joli. I am an office manager for a company that provides services for people with special needs. I am the mother of a son who makes every day brighter with his smile, and I am the proud daughter of a Retired Marine. I write because the characters in my head have demanded I tell their story, and so I shall to the best of my ability.
Tell us about this new story that has been begging to be told.
My newest release is The Veiled Path to Destiny. It is the second book in the Veil Series and picks up right where the first book, Beyond the Veil of Whispered Dreams left off.
The memories of her previous life licking at her every step, Daria fights to hold onto who she had always thought herself to be, along with the doubts of whether or not Iauron wants her for who she is or who she once was. Iauron sees her struggle, but is sure that once she accepts her destiny, everything will fall into place…but will it? With the threat of the enemy still lurking in the shadows, can Daria embrace everything that has been laid at her feet and can Iauron let her go if she cannot? Buy Link: www.amazon.com/dp/B072YT686B
With an added note: In this new story, the relationships that develops between some of the secondary characters brings a wee revelation I hope no one saw coming. 😉
As a writer myself, I love getting advice from people I admire. Care to share some pearls of wisdom?
If there is a story running around in your head, write it down even if you never share it with anyone.
I’m curious to hear if there are any fictional characters on or off screen you admire.
My favorite superhero is Xena….because she kicks butt, and she overcame a LOT to become the person she is.
Do you have a dream vacation in on your bucket list?
If I could get an all-expense paid trip, it would be to the highlands of Scotland, because it has always called to my soul. I am convinced that in another lifetime, I hailed from there.
Destiny Begins With Action Figures
Several years ago, I met Ben Reeder when he talked about independent publishing at Ozark Romance Authors. I thought, “Wow. This guy has his act together.” So, I was surprised when he showed up at one of my workshops, still willing to learn. One thing I believe this interview will show you is that writing really is a continuous journey into the unknown and we need to embrace it. Sitting down with Ben is an educational experience. Come meet him and his delicious characters that have become his life.
I was always destined to be a writer. I learned the power of being a story-teller as a kid in 1978, when I recreated the Clone Wars in my back yard. Using my Obi-Wan Kenobi action figure and toy soldiers, I would work out what would happen during his long-standing battle with the mysterious Sith Lord Darth Vader in a galaxy far, far away, then run inside and write it all down. It was glorious. Then I discovered Dungeons and Dragons, and the power of creating my own kingdoms and worlds, and my world expanded to the front yard as well, with massive tree cities and farm lands and dangers galore coming from the mountains to the south. Seeing the world from the perspective of a six-inch-tall action figure changed the way I saw everything. The entire world became my playground as a story-teller. It wasn’t until high school that I discovered the power of the audience, when a friend picked up something I was writing and started reading it. By the end of the day, ten other people had read it, and I got the original pages back with a new page that was filled with notes, my first reviews. Most of them were a variation of “I want to read more.” From that day on, I worked toward the goal of writing for a living, because I knew I would never be as happy doing anything else in my life. In 2015, I made that dream a reality.
Current WIP: Former warlock Chance Fortunato is finally getting his life back on track after his disastrous semester at the Franklin Academy. But when demonic attacks surge in New Essex, Chance knows he has to join the fight. Soon, he discovers that a powerful Infernal force is looking for the Half-Caste Child, a girl whose sacrifice is crucial to the Rending, a night when any contract or binding can be broken, including one that keeps the most powerful Prince of Hell imprisoned.
As the Rending approaches, Chance discovers that more than one Infernal power is at work, and finds himself faced with an impossible choice: Repay an old favor and protect the Half-Caste Child from one side at all costs or defend his classmates from another faction’s demonic onslaught on the night of his junior prom. No matter what he does, the end result may be Hell on Earth.
Starting with the first in the series: https://www.amazon.com/Demons-Apprentice-Ben-Reeder-ebook/dp/B00R3Y86C0/
What inspired you to write this series? Is this typical?
The Demon’s Apprentice springs from a variety of sources. I’ve always enjoyed coming of age stories centered around young mages, and for years, I had wanted to write the story of an apprentice wizard in modern times. Making him a reforming warlock came from a premise for a role-playing game, which was to create the least likely hero we could imagine. The opening of The Demon’s Apprentice was based on his backstory, and I found that his story didn’t stop there, so I continued it, and it has just grown from there.
How do you make time to write? Do you have a routine?
When I first started writing seriously, I learned that I had to treat it like the career I wanted it to be, which meant approaching my writing time the same way I would a part time job. At the time, my girlfriend worked an overnight shift and I worked in the evenings. I’d come home, we would eat dinner and spend time together, then she would go to work and I would sit down at my desk and write from midnight to three A.M. every weeknight without fail.
One thing I learned during that time was to simplify my writing routine. The more things I required to write well, the longer it took to get ready to write and it was also easier to procrastinate or give myself an excuse not to write. I learned to simply show up, sit down and write. The rest is just decoration. Where this has really helped me was when I found myself traveling to help out family, but I also had a deadline for pre-order on the book I was working on. I ended up finishing the draft in the back seat of a car in the middle of the night. If I can do that, I can write anywhere, and it’s a skill I take pride in.
What advice would you give writers and readers?
For writers, the advice I would give depends on where they are in the process. If you’re just starting I’d tell you to keep going, and be mindful of the taste gap, that early zone where your skill hasn’t caught up to your already good taste in stories. You know what you want, you just haven’t developed your skill to the point where you can deliver it yet. Don’t give up. You’ll get there.
For writers who are further on, I say give yourself permission to write badly during the first draft. It’s called a rough draft for a reason! Just keep going until you reach the end and make THAT your habit. You can edit bad writing, you can’t edit no writing.
Beyond that, I’m making a lot of this up as I go along. But if you’re looking to go pro, I’ll pass along the words of Robert Yehling, a long-time writer: Go all in. Write like you’re training for the Olympics and give it everything you’ve got. Nothing less will do.
Social Media: Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheOneTrueBen
Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Ben-Reeder/e/B005FB6LNY/
Demon’s Apprentice Series:
The Demon’s Apprentice
Page of Swords
In Absentia: An Anthology
Prom Knight* Fall 2017
Zompoc Survivor series:
Zompoc Survivor: Exodus
Zompoc Survivor: Inferno
Zompoc Survivor: Odyssey
The Verge Walker: The Long Walk
The Apocalypse of Enoch: Ash Fall