Welcome back everyone. Today, we’ll be chatting with Jamie Dodge, author of the Outrunning Series. He’s braving the chill to come in from Florida, so while he gets us started with a little about himself and where he is from I’m going to go make sure to turn up the heater a touch. Winter has finally decided to blow some of its cold air down our way.
- I never know how to answer this question. I’m just a guy. I call myself a nerd, because I am one. I am a full-time care giver to my mother. My family is large, we are Italian, it would take forever to talk about them.
Do you remember what started you on your writer’s journey?
- From my love of reading. I wanted to see if I could tell a coherent story. I hope I accomplished that.
- I started writing in junior high school because I had to. I wish I were joking.
- I’ve always been a writer, I just didn’t know it. It dawned on me about six years ago when I was doing the sixth revision on a story I have yet to finish. That story made me write it. It kept me up at nights. It constantly called to me. That’s when I knew.
::Chuckles:: I can well understand that. Mine did, and still do, keep me up if I don’t keep at them often enough. Are you at a point in your work you can share some of your recent news, and maybe a bit of your current work in progress?
- On September 1 I will be releasing Book 2 in the Outrunning Series. Book 1 was released August 1 and was written by my dear friend Stephen Leuchtman. I am also working with a group of fantastic writers and we have called ourselves The Collective Scifi. In our first round of stories we are doing science fiction retellings of fairy or folk tales. My contribution is based on a Croation folk tale called Bas Celik. It is called Head of Steel and I hope to have the rough done on it very soon.
- I’m working on Head of Steel, the story I talked about above. The second book in my Forgotten Series, which is called The Remembered Past. Book 4 of the Outrunning Series.I think that’s it. I’m probably wrong.
- I have a few, but I’ll pick one. Outrunning Perdition tells the story of a group of boys who have been made outcasts by the Citadel. It tells the plan of how they intend to take Perdition, a train, and take over the Citadel.It is set in a world that was meant to be colonized by earth, but the colonists never showed up. I think it’s an awesome story, and I hope my readers will too.
What sparked you to write your very first book, then? Sounds like you have quite a few out, or in the works.
- Aggravation. I was stuck on the story above. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the mind of the main character. I called a friend and asked him to give me an idea for a short story. He did. I figured I’d write a five thousand word short, just to clear my mind. Sixty five thousand words and six weeks later, my first book was written.
Do you have any books that influenced you, or the way you write?
- The Count of Monte Cristo taught me that revenge isn’t the best way to handle things. Our first thought when someone does us wrong is usually; how can I get back at them? That thought, even if fleeting, can be dangerous to our very souls. The book taught me it is better to think first, then to act.The Stand took me to a place that I never knew. Dystopia.The Bible: I am above everything else, a Christian.
Do you feel you have a unique writing style?
- I know it’s kind of frowned upon, but I really enjoy writing in first person. I am a conversationalist, both in my writing and “real life”, whatever that is. First person tends to work better with my writing. I thought for years that I would never like to write dialog, boy was I wrong. To me the interaction between characters is what really drives a good story. I hope that I pull it off well.
I know a couple of longer works that are written in first, and quite enjoyably so. Perhaps one of your favorite books helped point you in that direction. Do you have any authors you look up to as a mentor figure, even if you haven’t met them?
- I honestly don’t know the answer to this question.
How about any favorites that you go back to time and again?
- I don’t have a favorite author. Every writer brings something different to the table. I like that.
Fair enough. How about your titles? Do you have a specific method to select them, or do they develop organically from your work?
- All of my titles have been collaborations. I can write a story, but thinking of titles will put me into an anxiety attack. Thankfully I have good friends who have been willing to throw ideas at me and sometimes they stick.
Interesting method, and I can say it’s led to some interesting titles from the ones you’ve mentioned.
When you’re writing, do you ever weave a message into the story for the readers to find?
- Not really. In my book The Forgotten Edge, I talk a lot about government and religion, but there really isn’t a message that I purposely put out there. I think in science fiction those two things have to be discussed, but I don’t think there always has to be a message.
Makes sense. Do you ever weave any reality into your work, or personal experiences?
- Not at all. I’m a fairly boring person and I don’t want to bore my readers with the nonsense that has happened to me.
- Zero percent. I can’t even say that I draw things from people I know. I let the characters speak for themselves. I have to tell them to shut up at four in the morning sometimes, but I do let them speak.
::Chuckles:: That definitely makes things more interesting on the written side, though doesn’t it? Have you encountered any challenges or lessons from writing this way that you can share?
- In my latest, no. I know I am going to be beat over one of my characters and that’s okay. The story told itself and I wrote what it said. I will, however, be pulling my first book at some point and be doing some revisions to it.
- [One of the biggest challenges is] staying focused. There are so many distractions in life and they easily pull you away from writing.
- Sitting down to write it. My mind comes up with a thousand things I HAVE to do and instead of writing, I spend time doing them. Very few actually need doing.
- [One of the things I learned was to] let the story tell itself. I tried to force scenes and it does not work. So I learned to listen to the voices of my characters who told me what to write. Yes, I do have voices in my head and I am fine with it.
I fully understand that last one. I’ve had to deal with that hurdle myself. Do you have any help from anyone outside the family when you run into difficulties?
- The whole of the Indie author community. I have never seen, what basically comes down to your competitors, working with each other like I do with Indies. I feel very blessed to have become a part of them.
I think it’s because, the smart ones know that no one author can satisfy even one person. We just can’t write the stories (and get them properly polished) fast enough. I know that covers can take a lot more time than most non-writers realize. For your covers, did you do them yourself, or work with someone else?
- I get beat up over the cover of my book The Forgotten Edge, because it doesn’t catch peoples eyes. I’m okay with that, because it was the last painting my father did before he passed.
- The Covers for my Outrunning Series were done by Drew Avera and Evan Carter..
Paying homage in such a way, I agree, is worth it. Especially for someone who obviously meant so much to you.
One of the things I hear time and again for authors is that they need to read a lot, and a wide variety. Are you following that advice and reading anything now?
- I am rereading my good friend Brian Dorsey’s book “Gateway”.
With as full as your schedule sounds, have you had time to discover any new authors?
- Wow. A lot actually. Brian Dorsey. MJ Kelley. Parvati K. Tyler. Saffron Bryant. Mikey Campling. Woelf Dietrich. I could go on for pages.
A slight change in subject, here. Do you see writing as your career?
- Absolutely. Will I make a living at it? I really hope so, but even if I don’t, it’s in my blood now. Writing is a drug that is hard to shake.
And, now to the elephant in the room. What advice would you pass on to others who may not be as far along in their writing journey?
- Read. Read in the genre you want to write in and then read in a genre that is the exact opposite. Read as much as possible. Write. Just write. Get the story down. Don’t worry about the editing, just get it down.
::Blushes:: I honestly didn’t expect to be parroting your own advice back to you with one of the earlier questions.
As we wrap up today’s interview, do you have any last words for your readers?
- Thank you. I truly mean that. You can never imagine how great it makes me feel to get feedback, whether good or bad, from you. I hope my stories bring you at least a little bit of pleasure.
Jamie, it has been wonderful having you over today. Thank you for braving the chill to come visit, and may you break a pen with the success you deserve.
If you enjoyed the interview, and wish to connect with Jamie, you can find him on Amazon, his Blog here on WordPress, Facebook, The Collective – a sci-fi oriented website with multiple authors, and Twitter.
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