Monday, July 9, 2012

Spotlight J A Garland


 

Today’s In the Spotlight interview is with J.A. Garland.




J.A. is a full time firefighter in the state of California, an addicted trail runner, a connoisseur of all things cheese puff, and an author for BURST Books. When she isn't slogging through the obstacles at a mud run, you can find her hunched over her computer unleashing demons, vampires, and werewolves upon the world.

Please join me in welcoming J.A. Good morning J.A. grab a bowl of cheese puff and let us begin.

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?

J.A. or Jennifer, what do people call me? Since I've been in the fire service for about 20 years, I've earned several nicknames. I'll share the PC ones, ha ha. When I'm being bossy, I'm called Captain, when I'm being tough, Jenzilla, because I'm short, J-Lo, and when I'm just 'being', Jen.


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?

I guess I've always wanted to believe there was some 'magic' in this world. So incorporating it into my books and characters just came naturally. Not that normal folks are boring or anything, lol, but you have to admit, super charged creatures are a lot of fun!

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!

J.A. Garland

"Where fantasy becomes reality."

Website * Twitter * Facebook









36 comments:

Angels Cove said...

my favorite excerise is either the excerise bike or wlaking which i do alot of sometimes i think i do to much of walking lol signed micheleann oboyle
angelwolfmystic@yahoo.com

Cathy Coburn said...

Do I get to play? I like walking or swimming. In the summer at 110 I don't get to much walking in, and I miss it. Walking along a beach or in the mountains would be my preference for walking and swimming while diving would be the other.

Chicki said...

My favorite exercise is pushing the next page button on my Kindle! :)

J.A. Garland said...

You can never do too much walking! Are you a power walker? Try as I might, I can't seem to get the arm thing down to do that. Although I've got the game face mastered. :)

J.A. Garland said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J.A. Garland said...

Chicki, that's awesome! I'm pretty accomplished in that arena as well, lol.

J.A. Garland said...

Oops! My fingers locked up. I meant to say, 'Of course you can play, Cathy!' And at 110 degrees, I don't blame you, my motivation would melt too!

easchechter said...

Zumba!!! I love Zumba!

J.A. Garland said...

A friend of mine is addicted to Zumba. It looks like fun, but requires more coordination than I possess!

J.A. Garland said...

Don't forget to leave your email address everyone... Someone is going to win some fun stuff!

desitheblonde said...

my program is messing with the dogs
and then ride the bike around the complex i love swag and then i keep it for my collection and then pass some of it on to some of the 100 friends

J.A. Garland said...

I'm with you, swag is awesome! I'll be using rafflecopter to pick the grand winner. But you never know, I might send a little something to everyone...because we all love swag, right?

Celia Breslin said...

My favorite workout these days is a boot-camp style workout. It's a mix of kickboxing, running/jogging, weights, sit-ups, push-ups and whatever else the trainer decides to throw at us. And the best part: it's outdoors, rain or shine. Kickboxing under a tree in the rain makes me feel so tough, lol :-)

J.A. Garland said...

Celia! Hey! Thanks for stopping in :)
Boot camps...I SO want to do one, but unfortunately, there aren't any near by. Super jealous, especially the outside rain or shine part. I roll the same way.

LKF said...

My favorite exercise is running, or it was until May fifth. I had my mile down to 12 minutes (Not bad for an old woman over 50)then I tripped over my dog and fell off my porch, breaking my leg. I suck at multitasking. Was on the phone, walking outside and didn't turn on the porch light. Well one more week on crutches then back to walking, working my way back up to running. Loved your post.
Thanks for sharing
Lynda
lyndakayefrazier@yahoo.com

Jacki C. said...

I climb a lot of stairs every day; several times a day I use them like a stair-master

J.A. Garland said...

Lynda
Being a workout addict, I always fear getting hurt. Not being able to run for weeks would be THE WORST. You running 12 min miles tells me you were pretty darn into it too. Wishing you a very speedy recovery! On the bright side, I bet being on crutches gave you killer toned arms :)

J.A. Garland said...

Jacki
Ahhhh, a stair climber! When I'm stuck in a hotel, and the workout room is packed, there's nothing like running the stairwell. Great way to get sweating!

Anonymous said...

Stacking firewood, walking the dogs, riding my bike, yoga, step aerobics, baseball...

Anonymous said...

AWESOME interview! LOVED it!! Add jump rope to your routine Jen to help drop your time a bit on your trail runs!! Miss you!

J.A. Garland said...

Hi anonymous 1 and 2! Since I know who is behind the Spidey masks, you're both in the running for the swag bag still :) Both of you are awesome athletes, thanks for popping in.

easchechter said...

On Zumba -- I'm a klutz with two bad knees and a bad back. If *I* can do Zumba, anyone can do Zumba!

January Bain said...

Was told by my doctor to rest my shoulder this summer but I normally like to lift weights to feel stronger! Loved the post. Very human interest and well done!

J.A. Garland said...

You gotta follow those doctors orders, you don't want to over do it and your shoulder to get worse! Thanks for stopping in :)

J.A. Garland said...

The computer says the grand winner of the Big Bag O'Swag is commenter #3... Chicki! I will email you offline to get your snail mail address for the goodies! Congrats :)

Allison said...

Interesting interview. Fascinating to realize all the various careers represented by CBG authors, teachers, artists, military, computer geeks, medical personal and now a real fire fighter. Lots of people who can help with research.

Cathy Coburn said...

Fascinating turn out, love the little secret (anonymous said) stuff in the middle. Like they were writing in code, spy stuff and Jen instantly decoded the secret message. Fun beyond the interview, now that's what I talking about!
Oh yeah thanks everyone for coming. We'll definitely want you back when your book comes out Jen.

Sapphire Phelan said...

Walking, as I get my husband to do it too--he has diabetes and this helps him keep it borderline, while helps me on maintaining my weight. I also like to do exercising with weights too.

J.A. Garland said...

Hi Allison! You are so right, we are lucky to have such a diverse pool of people, and, they are eager to help each other out. Point proven, thanks for commenting and showing your support today :)

J.A. Garland said...

Sapphire, exercising with a partner is smart. You have another person suffering along with you :) Nah, seriously, it's good to keep you motivated, and a nice, healthy way to spend time together.

Dawn Chandler said...

I love running, I have only done mud running a couple of times. I would love to do the Zombie Run but can't this year. Hope they have something like it next year. I have a blood clot in my leg that has swelled one leg up about twice the size of the other. It hurts to walk let alone run. I miss running. I also love swimming, hiking, yoga, rock climbing, spinning and gymnastics. I can't do any of them here lately and can't wait to get back into them.

J.A. Garland said...

Dawn, yay! A fellow mud runner! I will keep you posted on the zombie run, it's coming up soon, and you keep off that leg and get better. I'm sure they will have more zombie runs next year. Maybe we can get an author team together and kick some apocalyptic zombie butt!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

What a fascinating interview, Cathy and Jen - great to read more about you and your busy life, Jen! I've never been a runner of any kind but I've always loved to dance. Have done belly dancing, salsa and tap. Now I'm keeping fit by walking and doing some Tae Bo to a DVD.

Cathy Coburn said...

Thank you Rosemary, Salsa dance huh sounds steamy, love it!! As for the mud run thing . . . do they have a mud walk? So don't run unless a monsters chasing me, even than I'm usually froze in place, wait that was just a dream. Carry on just ignore me.

Richard Hacker said...

Great interview Jen. Totally agree with you about Champagne Books.

Richard Hacker
www.richardhacker.wordpress.com

J.A. Garland said...

Thanks, Richard! Yeah, they're doing great by us :)