1. When did you first realize you wanted to become a Writer/author?
This is always a tough question for me, because I honestly can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer, especially when it comes to fiction. I think I was pretty much born this way, honestly. I’ve been telling stories since I was a kid, first to my brother and sister in made-up games, then in comics and drawings, and then finally in short stories and novels. I wrote my first stories as soon as I learned how to write, and won a contest for a short story when I was in 2nd grade. I have no idea why I got this weird brain, but it seems to be “story-wired” from birth. That being said, I didn’t realize anyone would PAY me to write this stuff until way late in the game, although I worked as a freelance journalist for a number of years.
2. Where do you get your ideas for your book?
Honestly? No idea. I have way more stories than I’ll ever be able to write before I die, I do know that. I always laugh when people offer to “share their ideas” with me. No thanks! (lol) We’re all booked up here!
3. What kind of things do you enjoy when not writing?
I love to travel. I live in Bangkok right now, and it’s a great home base. There are so many countries close by and it’s super cheap to travel from here (it’s pretty cheap to live here, too, which is a bonus). Apart from that, let’s see. I love swimming, photography, painting, hiking, reading (of course), martial arts, meditation, going out with friends, wandering around street markets, seeing movies, long philosophical conversations with a lot of hand gestures, playing with animals (human and non-human), scuba diving, horseback riding, hanging out in nature, petting elephants, yodeling. Okay, maybe not yodeling, but I can appreciate a good yodel.
4. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
Hmm. Do you mean full-length novels? Or books in general? Novels, I think I’m getting close to the 30 book mark. I’ve also written a bunch of short stories, novellas, novelettes. Favorites are hard. The book I’m working on at the moment always seems to be my favorite. Right now that’s BLACK OF MOOD (Quentin Black Mystery #6). Before that it was book #5, BLACK AND BLUE, lol. I guess I’m fickle with my affections.
5. Do you have any suggestions to help others who have a passion for writing?
Hmm. The usual stuff, I guess. You have to be persistent, and if you’re in this for the long haul, it helps to care about craft more than you do about being famous and/or getting a ton of sales out of the gate. It helps also if you have something to say, something you feel passionately about (doesn’t have to be something uber-serious, but if you don’t care about what you’re writing, what’s the point?). Read a lot. Read anything you can get your hands on. Read a lot of nonfiction too, as it really feeds the fiction and can give it a lot of depth. Also: you can only write as deep as you are. You can’t leapfrog your own personal development. So if you want to write deep, live deep. I know… deep, lol. But it’s true. If you want to write things that impart something meaningful, you have to find that meaning in your own life and mind first. That’s not something you can fake.
6. What do you think makes a great story?
I notice I crave different kinds of stories at different times in my life, so this isn’t wholly static as far as I’m concerned. Lately, I’ve wanted believable, “real” characters who are struggling against moral and ethical dilemmas that feel believable to me. This can be in any genre. I love mysteries that have this, paranormal, fantasy, science fiction, thrillers, literary, whatever. In particular, I’ve been looking for believable adults and adult conflicts in the characters I want to read (and hopefully the ones I write). I don’t want the contrived conflicts or the pouting and tantrums of high school. I’m bored of snarky teenagers, too, frankly. I want adults to fight it out over things that really matter to them, even if they are emotionally damaged basket cases, lol. But that’s just me, I know I might be the minority on that, and it’ll probably change again next week, like I said.
7. Which Writer/Authors inspire you?
Jeez. There are a lot. And again, that changes over time, depending on my mood and what I’m trying to learn how to do better in my own writing. The first book I remember really blowing my mind wasWatership Down, by Richard Adams. I read that when I was maybe nine years old, and I’ve re-read it a number of times since. He created a whole world, a believable religion (including a death mythos and a cosmology), a political society… all based on rabbits. Blew my little brain wide open. Graham Greene inspired me a lot in high school, along with Hunter S. Thompson, and I’ve long been a fan of both the children’s books and the adult novels of Roald Dahl, who is a genius as far as I’m concerned. Stephen King and Peter Straub were also big influences when I was younger (Shadowlands by Peter Straub was another book that blew my mind, as did Koko by him). The Man in the High Castle definitely influenced me, as did the Ender series and Vurt(by Philip K. Dick, Orson Scott Card and Keith Moon, respectively). I also love the graphic novels of Alan Moore. Recently I went on a few months’ love affair with Robert Crais, who writes really excellent mysteries that are deceptively simple but have a lot of emotional punch. I also love Gillian Flynn, and I’ve lately been reading theOutlander series by Diana Gabaldon, which is excellent. So yeah, I’m all over the map, lol. I’ve also read 50 Shades and Twilight, and found them quite entertaining, and I’m a HUGE Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling fan. She’s my hero, honestly.
8. What are you working on at the moment?(optional)
I’m working on book six in my Quentin Black Paranormal Mystery series. It’s called BLACK OF MOOD, and takes place after the hero of the series, Quentin Black, just got out of a traumatic experience in book five, and is driving everyone nuts trying to get revenge on the people who wronged him, lol. He’s a psychic detective and his wife is psychic too, so of course she’s getting the brunt of his crazy, since she also works with him. While all of this is happening, he’s also stepped into celebrity status, supernatural beings are trying to kill him, people are getting murdered around him, and terrorist attacks are happening all over the country that might be connected to him, as well. So yeah… a lot going on in this one. It’s been a tough book to write for that reason, but it’s also been a lot of fun. I’m hoping to have it out by the end of January at the very latest.
9. What genre are your books?
Most are kind of mish-mash science fiction and fantasy thrillers with a fair bit of mystery and romance thrown in the mix. The Quentin Blackbooks are primarily paranormal mystery but have science fiction and apocalyptic elements as well, and a fair bit of sex and romance. TheAllie’s War books (soon to be rebranding as the Bridge and Sword series), are more epic, apocalyptic thrillers with a lot of sex and romance, set in an alternate history where a separate race of beings lives alongside humans on Earth. The Alien Apocalypse series is straight-up post-apocalyptic / dystopian, although there’s a fair bit of romance in that one as well.
10.What drew you to the genre you write?
I have a graduate degree in political history, an unending fascination with the supernatural and itchy feet when it comes to travel. Somehow that all got smooshed together in my brain, ground up with a fair bit of romance and sex with aliens who read minds and have weird body parts, and this is what comes out. I hold my brain responsible really, not myself. It’s always been a bit of a loose cannon, and we’re at odds a fair bit of the time anyway.
11.Which Actor/Actress would you like to see portraying the lead character from your most recent book?(any book you like)
Hmmm. That’s a tough one. For Quentin Black, you could really go in two different directions. He’s a big guy, over 6’6”, so it would be hard to find an actor that could really do him justice physically. But in terms of looks and the dangerous / badassery vibe, Tom Hardy might work, or maybe Charlie Hunnan. He’s also a total smartass, though, so I could also see someone like Chris Pine or Channing Tatum playing him.
12.Do you write full-time or part-time?
13.What is the hardest thing about writing?
Probably balance. I tend to be very “binge-y” with the writing, so finding a good work-life balance can be tough. I have to really watch my discipline when it comes to making sure I don’t hole up too much and just write when I’m obsessing on a project. The uncertainty can be stressful at times, too, of course, since it’s not like having a steady, predictable paycheck.
14.Any tips on how to get through the dreaded Writer’s block?
I don’t really get writer’s block, in all honesty. I do get project-block at times, however, and maybe that’s more what you mean. When that happens, generally the best thing for me to do is to get out of my head for awhile. Meditate, go for a walk, go for a swim, listen to music. Talking to people or watching movies or television usually is less helpful than finding some quiet, non-thinking space. I have a writer friend who takes showers because he swears it works every time. But at a certain point, you just have to get down to it. I can procrastinate with the best of them, but usually it’s because I’m avoiding some emotional thing I have to go through to get into a scene, or else the book is above my skill level and I need to figure out some way to overcome that. Sometimes it can be good to go work on something else for awhile, but this can be a black hole too, if you’re one of those people who struggles to finish things. In terms of “not being able to write,” though, that’s not a problem for me generally.
15.Do you read much, and if so who are your favorite Authors or genres?
I think I mostly answered this question above, lol… generally, I read all over the map. I read a lot of nonfiction, in addition to what I listed above. Recently I’ve been reading a lot on the science of combat and soldiers, and forensic psychology. In terms of genres, I really go through phases. Lately I’ve been reading more mysteries and psychological thrillers. Before that, it was apocalyptic science fiction and before that it was more literary stuff, including what I’ve heard called “domestic thrillers” (Girl on the Train, Gone Girl, etc.). I went through a big Cormac McCarthy phase before that, and before that I think I was reading mostly romance by author friends of mine, and some urban fantasy.
16.Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
I feel like I’ve said a LOT, lol. I like animals. Have I mentioned that? I’m a big fan of our fellow travelers on this place called Earth. I’m going to India in about a week too, and I’m excited about that, although India is never a vacation, it’s an experience, lol.
17.How can Readers discovery more about you and your work?(please provide proper links)
Here are some options for stalking, finding books, etc…
JC’s Website: http://jcandrijeski.com
JC’s Newsletter: http://www.jcandrijeski.com/
JC’s Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1GqSJlq
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/
Facebook Book Group (The Rebel Base): https://www.facebook.com/
JC’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview