Justin is an active duty military officer and graduate of the United States Military Academy. He currently lives outside Seattle with his wife Bethany. Two dogs and a cat complete the family.
His first book, Another Day in Paradise, initially began as a fictional narrative about his frustrations during the war in Afghanistan, telling a story of the men and women fighting overseas from the perspective of a regular soldier. As the scope of the project grew, initial feedback from friends and fellow service-members was so positive that he decided to self-publish the book on Amazon.
He’s now working on a fictional trilogy focusing on an insurgency inside the United States set in the near future, titled The American War, coming soon.
What inspires you to write?
I really just wanted to tell a story. At first it was a relaxing process while I was deployed to help me relieve stress, but eventually it became a move in itself. I had never written, and I was nervous for weeks while I sent it out to a few select readers, but they all loved it. There were definitely a few growing pains, but I like to think I’ve grown and developed as an author since I’ve started.
Tell us about your writing process
I spend a lot of time sketching out the plot, just a few sentences summarizing each chapter, but once that’s done it allows me to pick up and write a few pages at a time without worrying about ideas, and that saves hours of painful writer’s block. After that it’s just putting the time in.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Definitely listening. I like to put myself into the part of each character and feel what they would like to do or say in a particular situation. Before I started writing I never really knew what it meant to “see how a character develops”. I always figured that if I was writing it, then I’d know what was going to develop, but it really is a fluid process.
What advice would you give other writers?
Just write. Over and over again. I hate to steal another author’s quote, but Stephen King said it best. Writing takes practice. The more you write the better it gets.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Unfortunately I was told by publishers that my work was good, however since the market was filled by a glut of military “real” stories, that fiction wouldn’t sell. So I decided to go the Amazon route, and it’s been great.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Honestly I still think there’s a place for both self and big house publishing. The advantages of the big houses are market access and audience base. Self publishing allows the market to be flooded, but it also provides and opportunity for an amazing author who otherwise wouldn’t have a shot at the big time to be discovered. Its all about the content.
What genres do you write?
Science Fiction, Military Fiction
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print
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