I never tire of the excitement I get out of interviewing fellow Indie authors. They are always so ready, willing and able to produce such great works as this author and yet have time to site down and chat about their daily lives. It seems once a writer gets paper in hand, you just never know what you are going to end up with. Thanks, RJ for giving us this insight into who you are. Without further adieu, RJ Palmer:
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I can remember wanting to be a nurse until I found out about all of the math involved. Truthfully, I can’t remember wanting to be any one specific thing for any length of time and as a matter of point, I didn’t even know what I wanted to do with my life until I was in my early twenties and really started writing.
My major current project is called Sins of the Father and it is a far more complicated project in the writing than I had originally thought. I relish the challenge though and hope that my skills improve and that this novel shows growth and maturity when compared to Birthright.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I would have to say Dean Koontz because he has dished advice to me. Some of it I scrapped completely, like getting an agent because in my own words it’s “something akin to a fate worse than death” which is a little melodramatic but hey, that’s what it feels like. Some of it I took to heart, like being stubborn. Okay, so the word he used was “persistence” and it sounds a lot better but it doesn’t change the fact that you have to grow a thick skin out here in the world of writing.
What is the hardest part of writing?
I absolutely loathe proof reading. It is such a necessary evil because proof reading means I have to go through my own work after I just finished it, see all the little mistakes and boo boo’s and struggle with saying to myself, “What the hell was I thinking? I can’t sell this crap!” It’s horrible and drives me crazy because to me, that’s the self-doubt stage.
How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
I do my best to translate the story that’s going on in my head onto the paper. Characters develop as you relate to them, they start to show texture and personality and dimension. I do my best to remember that I’m just the storyteller, the characters are the story. As far as plot is concerned, I knew how I wanted Birthright to end before I started writing. Sins of the Father has been far different and I knew how I wanted it to begin from the first moment but the ending has been a little nebulous. I think developing a plot must be subjective according to the work or at least that’s my best guess.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I didn’t realize that I wanted to be a writer until I was in my early twenties and started writing because I was bored out of my mind. Everything just sort of came out then and it was so very liberating and quickly became habitual though I have to say it comes in handy because to be able to write intelligently is quite the asset.
What do you think makes a good story?
Wit and wisdom are the elements that come most quickly to mind as well as an ability to actually tell the story, naturally. I just think that a dash of wit and a sprinkle of wisdom are essential lest the story fall completely flat.
Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, I do because it’s one thing I can do and I do it well. I also happen to love writing and seeing where the creative process takes me. It’s like a roller coaster that you get on and don’t know where you’re going but the story is in the journey, not in arriving at the destination.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
In Sins of the Father, Aaron is a minister struggling with questioning the feeling of emptiness that’s been creeping up on him regarding his faith and Lucian is a severely autistic child who takes a liking to Aaron from the first. Aaron soon begins to discover that there’s more to Lucian than what he’d thought originally and discovers the horrible abuse that Lucian has suffered and determines to help in any way he can. He gets just a little more than he bargained for though and he must learn what happened before he can do something about it which puts both he and Lucian in mortal danger.
How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?
Birthright took some mulling over because I had another title at first and didn’t really like it but the title Birthright kept going through my head and I finally thought about it and decided I liked it. I knew what I wanted to title Sins of the Father before I started writing and I’ve kind of built the story around the title. Does that sound at all bizarre to anyone but me?
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Vengeance always comes at a price and sometimes the cost is not worth the satisfaction. It’s not worth it anymore when you figure out the long term consequences of your actions. I can’t really say much more about it, it would give too much of the story away.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
This might sound kind of sappy but I thank God for the tools and talent to be a writer and the sheer dint of will to keep doing it.
What books have most influenced your life?
I am a huge fan of Dean Koontz and even I can tell the influences his writing style has had on my developing style. I love the works of Madeleine L’Engle, as well. She taught me how to stretch my imagination out and not be afraid to write about what may seem really unusual. Charles Wallace is one of my favorite characters in any series and one of my favorite lines in a book comes from A Wrinkle in Time when Charles Wallace is told, “To whom much is given, much is expected.” This is of course quoted almost verbatim from the Bible but it’s powerful nonetheless.
Interview by Sue Owen
This is part one of a series of interviews for my blog tour through Indie Writers Unite. Look for the Support Indie Authors logo for further submissions. Please support these authors, check out their blogs and purchase their books. They are the best of the best. /Sue Owen.