About J. B. Cantwell:
When she was twelve, J. B. Cantwell flew across the field, bareback on the crazy mare who loved to run. She pushed her faster, faster, not caring if she might fall to the hard ground below. The joy came from the challenge of staying on, the pride of knowing that she had the skill and the heart and the courage to grip hard and ride.
Life is like that crazy mare. You never know if she’ll step right or left, or stay quietly still and give you a moment to breathe.
Everyone has a story to tell.
J. B. has never traveled to the Maylin Fold, but these are the stories of her life.
What inspires you to write?
More than anything, I have a desire to communicate. I think everyone out there, children included, have complicated, sometimes painful, lives. It’s important to acknowledge that it’s okay to feel hurt sometimes, but also that it’s okay to move forward from unpleasant events, too. Life is a fight. I want to encourage others to keep fighting. And to never lose hope in the promise of the future.
Tell us about your writing process.
I start with a general outline, each chapter break with notes about what I’m going to write and why. Unfortunately, my characters seem to have their own ideas sometimes, and the story will then take me in a different direction. This is fine as long as I can come around to the same basic themes in the end. But having an outline at the beginning makes it a lot easier to start a project, when it doesn’t always yet have a life of its own.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I don’t talk to my characters, but I do imagine that I’m sitting right there in the middle of their conversations. I ask myself questions. What would I think? How would I be feeling emotionally? Would my body be relaxed, uncomfortable, tense? I try to listen to the actual voices of the characters to help figure out their eccentricities and bring some life to them.
What advice would you give other writers?
Writing is hard. Don’t quit. Revise. A lot.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I originally pursued a traditional publisher when I completed the first version of Aster Wood. But I hadn’t yet learned how to revise well, and just how intense my revisions in that case needed to be. In the end, as the work improved, I decided to self-publish as I learned how much more control I would have over the final product.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think that there is still a place for the traditional publishing houses. They really are the gatekeepers of quality writing in many ways. But obviously the independent market is growing in leaps and bounds, and there’s a lot of talent there as well. Ultimately, it’s up to the reader to decide which characters speak to them. I think there is a solid place in the market for both traditional and independent publishers.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Middle Grade and Young Adult Fantasy, Action & Adventure
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print