Yes, I'm a self professed cheese puff addict, but it's a little early -- even for me -- to partake. Check back in an hour, lol!
My first question is one maybe we’re all wondering, what does J.A. stand for?
Okay, so, J.A. stands for the first two initials of my name. "J" is for Jennifer and "A" is for Amy. When I heard the great news I was getting published, I had a 'closed door' meeting with my Division Chief. For those who don't know, those can either be a really good thing, or uh, a really painful thing. Turned out to be a good thing. He wanted me to know that because of certain clauses in my firefighting employment contract, it was in my best interest to use a pen name. But even without that, I would agree, it's wise to keep the two lives separate. So, the last name of Garland is just that, a pen name...the origins of which might or might not have to do with a great place to trail run...
What do people call you?
Okay Jen it is, I think I caught you on a good day so I’ll save the Jenzilla for another. Tell us Jen, a little about you, who is J.A. Garland? Your likes, pet peeves and such.
I like to exercise. Running is a personal fav, especially Mud Runs. If you haven't done one of those, you haven't lived. Mud, obstacles, beer, they are psycho fun! I've taken a spin at other working out options like kick boxing, P90x and Insanity, but I always seem to come back to running and old school weight lifting. For me, they have the best bang for my buck. Although, I do have a zombie run coming up, so you never know, I might have a new favorite workout!
I grew up with my own horses, dogs, goats, etc. so I feel I can classify myself as a pet lover. Unfortunately, with my busy schedule now-a-days, I can't have near as many animals as I'd like. I'm hoping to get a beagle when things slow down. Whenever that may be!
Pet peeves...well, you can't pick who you work with, and being on shift with at least 7 other firefighters for 72 hours straight per week for so many years, I'd like to think I've developed a tolerance for other peoples idiosyncrasies. That, or I've found really good hiding places at the fire station! See, being small does have its perks!
Reading. That's definitely a big part of who I am. I've been reading since forever. As far as genre, I started all over the spectrum. Louis L'amour's westerns, Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land, Anne McCaffrey's Dragon Riders of Pern series, and L. Ron Hubbard's Battlefield Earth...they all appealed to me for different reasons. It was this love of reading that saved me when I hit middle school. My sister and I spent three hours each day riding school buses and sitting in shelters on the side of the road waiting for the connecting buses that would take us to and from town. During these periods of time, I would disappear into the worlds the authors had built. I remember once when a bus driver, (I shall call her Jaba the Hutt so you get the correct image) took away the current book I was reading. She told my mother Clan of the Cave Bear was smut, and completely inappropriate for someone my age. My mom, always the cool cat, laughed and said if I could read the words, then I was old enough to read the content. Besides, my mother knew if Jaba had bothered to ask, I would've told her I was an accomplished skimmer. Those racy chapters were of no interest to me yet, and as such, I barely glanced at them. But she didn't. So I light-sabered her in my mind until I was old enough to drive myself to school.
I'm also helplessly addicted to 'The Walking Dead', it's like chocolate covered cheese puffs. (Mmm, I might be on to something there).
I myself am a huge Walking Dead fan so we’re both happy today as it started up again last night. Okay back to you. I understand your first book is going to be released in September of this year, can you tell us a little bit (a sneak preview) of this book?
Yes, my first book, an urban fantasy called INSTINCT will be released September 3, 2012.
Lone wolf, Rory Archer, has never failed at a single mission. But then again, he’s never met a Halfling, either. Finding himself the hunted instead of the hunter, Rory unwinds a twisted trail leading back to Amber, a spirited Halfling with undeniable ties to his attackers.
Bound to vows initially forged out of necessity, Rory and Amber's relationship quickly surges into more than either of them had bargained on.
Scrambling to identify the mastermind behind their troubles before joining the casualty list himself, Rory is faced with doing the unthinkable, or watching Amber turn into a slave for his species.
What brings you write about such creatures?
When did you first realize you were destined to be a writer? What inspired you?
One year for Christmas my parents bought my sister and I a state of the art Apple "green screen" computer. It was clunky and slow, but I was in love. I quickly learned how to program in DOS, and as the theme of my favorite books at the time, I made up fantasy games where the gamers' decisions would dictate their story. For example, "You come to a house in the woods. Do you knock on the door, or do you continue down the winding path toward the river?" If the gamer knocked on the door, a whole fantasy world would unfold inside of that house, but if they decided to go down the path, a headless horseman claimed their noggin as a souvenir. Game over.
As a full time firefighter and addicted trail runner when do you find the time to write?
I am very disciplined. Ha ha, seriously, it's a juggling game. I run early in the morning so there are no excuses, and I try to set aside time to write on my off-days. Some weeks it's easier said than done, but if I put it off for too long, I get crankier than normal.
What brought you to Burst Books?
I am one of those uber lucky people who are surrounded by great friends. One of which, is a sports editor. He read my manuscript and told me to go small press. He educated me about the EBook market and said it was the only way to fly. I wasn't totally sold, if you haven't noticed, I'm stubborn. I wanted one of those big NY print houses, right? (Ducking my publishers long reach right now, lol). I decided to appease him by sending my manuscript to two small presses that I'd researched a bit. The other one responded first, but I held out to hear from both. I'm glad I did, because when I heard from Champagne Book Group, which later created BURST Books for their SciFi/fantasy line, I knew they were right for me. They have open communication from top to bottom, great contracts, a wealth of supportive authors, amazing cover artists and caring mentors!
Can you tell us in your own words why we should read your book?
My writing style has been described as T.J. Hooker meets Twilight. I think that means I've got action, intrigue, and a splash of romance. If you're into that, you'll like my work.
Thanks Jen, Anything else you’d like to add?
I love getting and giving free things, as well as getting to know new people. If you
tell me about your favorite workout -- walking on the beach, hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro, snorkeling in the community pool, etc., I'll randomly select a winner who will receive a monogrammed coffee mug, tote bag, zombie soaps from AnaBanana, and a gift certificate for my book, INSTINCT.
Thanks for coming today -- I look forward to hearing from you!
"Where fantasy becomes reality."
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