Friday, November 6, 2009

Interview with Bestselling Author J. Scott Savage

Last spring at a signing for my book, The Forgotten Warrior, a young girl came up to me and asked, "Do you know where the book is that has all the water on it?" I knew immediately what book she was talking about for in many of the stores I'd been in J. Scott Savage's book, Far World Water Keep at been on the shelves staring at me. Okay, so a book can't stare. Let's just say I was very aware of the book. The girl went on to say that a boy in her class had been reading the book and she just had to get it. I had no idea where the book was in this particular store, but I went with her looking for this very popular YA novel. We found it, but before she happily skipped away I gave her the bookmark for my book, so hopefully later on she'd take a look at my novel. This made me very curious about the author.

I met J. Scott Savage at the LDStorymakers Conference the end of April. He's not only a wonderful author, but a great person. I'm very happy to post an interview with him so you can get to know this bestselling author.

Enjoy!

Have you always wanted to be a writer?
It honestly never occurred to me until I was in my mid thirties that anyone would actually be crazy enough to pay me for making up stories. If it had, I probably would have begun my writing career much sooner. But I’ve loved writing and storytelling for as long as I can remember.

Tell us about your new book, Farworld Book Two: Land Keep.

The Farworld series is, for me at least, a story about finding the magic inside of each of us. It has all the wands and wizards, and such. But the important and powerful magic is really what comes from inside. Book one begins with Marcus, a boy in a wheelchair, discovering that the magical world he imagines is, in fact real. There, he meets a girl, who is the only person in her world who is not magical. Together the two of them go in search of the elementals who can help them open a doorway between Earth and Farworld. I’ve always felt the second book in a series can either make or break it. A story that feels tacked on or is slow, can really ruin things for me. But a book that ratchets things up, gets me excited to stick with the whole series. It’s kind of a feeling of things beginning to really get good. So far the response to Land Keep has been everything I’ve expected. The most common question has been, how are you going to top this? That’s a great problem to have.

What sparked your imagination to write the Farworld series?
I’m a character first guy. I almost always start with the characters and then move to plot. So what really got me excited about this series was the idea of a hero and heroine who are both disabled. He with physical disabilities, she with an immunity to magic in a world where magic is everything. It makes the two of them face their weaknesses and learn to rely on each other. At the same time, because they each have something they desire more than anything, temptations become a huge tool for the Dark Circle, which opposes them.

What inspires you and motivates you to write the very most?
Two things. One, I am a voracious reader. I could honestly do nothing but read all day and be completely content. (Okay, maybe eat once or twice.) And since I love books so much, creating my own is just a thrill. The second is thinking up ways to surprise my readers. To make them laugh, or cry and stay up at night with fear. If a writer can tap into a readers emotions without making it feel forced or unreal, they have succeeded in my opinion. I love when readers feel an emotional connection with my characters.

Is there an established writer you admire and emulate in your writing? Do you have a writing mentor?
I admire so many, many writers. I admire Steinbeck’s ability to make a scene so real you’re sure you must have been there. I admire Peter Straub’s use of the English language. Reading his books is like studying a great painting. I admire JK Rowling’s ability to create memorable characters, and Neil Gaiman’s vivid imagination.

Location and life experience can sprinkle their influence in your writing. Tell us about where you grew up and a little about where you live now - city? Suburb? Country? Farm? If you could live anywhere you want to live, where would that be? Well I lived in the suburbs for the most part. Northern California. But we lived right next to a small swampy tract of land on the edge of a big walnut orchard. I spent much of my youth tracking killer alligators or hunting with homemade bows and arrows. Also, my grandparents owned about 150 acres of property in the foothills of the Sierras and some additional property in Oregon. Great places for a boy with more imagination than common sense. I love mountains and I love water. So probably a cabin on a lake or on an island in Washington. But I’d head south for the winter.

Bring us into your home and set the scene for us when you are writing. What does it look like? On the couch, laptop, desk? Music? Lighting, handwriting?
I’m very much a laptop writer. I think it would kill me to write by hand. Mostly because I enjoy moving sentences and paragraphs around like furniture. I tend to write very quickly when I am in the flow and then go back and realize I should have said this here and put that there to build up the scene just right. I’d like to be able to write to music. I find all types of music very inspiring. But I’m one of those people who needs to be able to hear the voices in my head. Of course once I get into a story, you could set off dynamite and I wouldn’t miss a beat.

Do you watch television or movies? If so, what are your favorites? Do they inspire your writing?
More movies than TV, because I like sweeping stories and closure by the end. Sitcoms usually feel forced. Thirty minutes just isn’t enough time to build and resolve a whole story. I do like Criminal Minds. It is so dark, but the cast is great and the stories are usually quite powerful. I’ve also finally given in and started watching Lost from the first season. Maybe because I know next season is the last one and it won’t get dropped halfway through the story. I am quite impressed with the depth of the characters on that show. I don’t like movies quite as much as books. But I do like them a lot. It’s great to walk into a dark theater and get lost in a story that you have no idea where it’s going. I don’t like to guess endings. I like to let the actors pull me in while I sit back and enjoy the ride.

How has being published changed your life?
Well for one thing I have more time and less money. I started writing full time almost a year ago. It’s been a very great experience as far as learning the ins and out of the publishing world. But I do miss the regular paychecks. There is something very comforting though about writing a story that you know will be published.

Do you have any book signings, tours or special events planned to promote your book that readers might be interested in attending? If so, when and where? Also you have an amazing website. Tell about it and your blog.
I have a signing in Kanab November 11th and possibly Alpine later. Yeah, I love the website (www.realfarworld.com). I really wanted something that felt more interactive than here’s something about the author. Here’s the first chapter of the book. Of course you always have to deal with budget or I’d have a ton of cool gizmos and gadgets to play with. I love messing around with websites that are very interactive. The blog has been lots of fun. I’ve met some wonderful people who feel like old friends. I’ve met a lot of them in person and hope to get out and meet the rest soon.
Thanks, Jeff!

4 comments:

  1. Great interview! It's fun to learn what goes on inside this guy's head! He's an inspiration to us all.

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  2. I know what you mean. I love seeing what makes writers tick. Thanks for stopping by.

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  3. Loved the interview. It truly is fun to get to know how another writer thinks and works. I enjoy reading his work

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  4. Thanks, JoAnn. I enjoy Jeff's books as well.

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