About John Cunningham Jr.:
John Cunningham Jr. was born and reared in Mobile, Alabama and taught high school history in New Orleans, Louisiana. He holds a degree in history from the University of Alabama. He also founded a Christian writers group in that area and taught professional writing classes. Before writing books, he wrote articles for numerous secular and Christian publications. Recently, he’s published a Civil War naval saga, a two-part series set in New Orleans and Mobile which follows the lives of four Southern families on the Gulf Coast during David Glasgow Farragut’s naval campaigns.
What inspires you to write?
Most of my ideas come through reading and research. The more knowledgeable I become about a certain historical event or era, the more story ideas I get for my characters. I love throwing them into a historical situation or crisis, then watching their reactions.
Tell us about your writing process.
My peak writing time is in the morning, so that’s when I’m most productive. I am, for the most part, a “No Outline” person, though I do make character sketches and try to get to know all my key characters before I start. In the case of my Southern Sons-Dixie Daughters series, I made a chronology of historical events, and then I color-coded each character to help me know who was doing what, when, during those events. It helped me keep my central plot and all my sub-plots in proper historical order. This was more of a general outline, though, which left lots of room for my characters to “do their own thing,” which is where the “no outline” part of my craft came into play.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I listen to my characters. I enjoy watching them take over my stories and do what they want to do. One time, I tried forcing a character to do something he didn’t want to do. So, after I relented and did what he “suggested,” the story came out much better and more believable.
What advice would you give other writers?
Study the craft, take courses (correspondence courses and/or college classes), read books on writing, study authors you enjoy, and never quit writing. Don’t listen to naysayers who don’t believe in you or your craft. Develop friendships with other writers who will encourage you and give you honest, constructive feedback on your work.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I was planning to go the traditional route, but a writer friend and mentor encouraged me to publish my books as e-books first.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I believe we’ll always have the traditional books. However, e-books will continue their rapid rise in popularity.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?: Christian historical fiction
What formats are your books in?: eBook
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