Please welcome J.T. Sawyer (@AuthorJTSawyer) to the blog today!
I have the pleasure of not only spotlighting his recent release, and reviewing First Wave, but also interviewing the author himself!
Blog Interview for My Book Fairy
What name(s) do you write under? If you write under a pseudonym, what helped you choose that name?
My non-fiction titles on survival are under my real name, Tony Nester, and my fiction books are under the pen name JT Sawyer. I chose the latter based upon the snarky character of “Sawyer” in the TV show LOST. The “T” is connected with my first name and my wife suggested the “J” to round things out.
What is the name of your most recent or upcoming release?
I just completed the first book in a new post-apocalyptic series. It’s called Until Morning Comes.
Can you give us an idea of what the story is about?
The story revolved around a female Secret Service Agent who has to race against the clock to save her protectee as a deadly virus unfolds. The first part is set in my home state of Arizona but the rest takes place in various locales around the U.S.
Where can we find it?
It will be back from the editor shortly and out on Kindle in December.
When did you start writing, and when did it turn professional?
I started writing stories in elementary school but didn’t start writing for publication (non-fiction) until 1993. I’ve been a freelance writer for Outside, Backpacker, and many other outdoor-based magazines for many years. The leap into fiction happened in 2013 with the release of my First Wave Series. I’ve also penned nine non-fiction titles on survival and make my living as a fulltime survival instructor when not writing.
Did you hire or use an editor prior to publishing?
For my first book in the First Wave Series, I hired the talented Emily Nemchick to provide feedback on the story arc and characters. This was immensely helpful. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of trying to tackle the proof-reading myself and suffered the consequences of several bad reviews early on. People said they liked the story but replied with, “what was the deal with all the commas?” Yikes- it was a huge learning curve for me and I sent the manuscript back to Emily for proofing to correct that problem. I realized the importance of not trying to cover every aspect of publishing in putting together a book.
Did you use a graphic artist to create your cover art? If so, what helped you decide on the cover(s) of your books?
Book designer Melody Simmons did the wonderful covers on my books and we were striving for the redrock-earthy tones of our Southwestern deserts as that is where much of the story takes place.
What have you learned on your journey from writing to publishing that you think should be passed along to those interested?
I think it was Teddy Roosevelt who said the persistence, in the end, is what leads to success. In looking at other writers, I would have to agree. You can have talent, a great education, and attend conferences but it’s navigating through the keyboard wilderness every day, in a disciplined regime, that makes things happen. I would say find what you would love to write about, focus on knocking out a thousand words a day, every day, and constantly read as much as possible. Then gulp down a big can of “Toughen Up” and push through the barriers to get your book written.
Do you have any projects you’re working on now?
I am finishing up two non-fiction narrative books about life on the trail using traditional skills. These are taken from the past twenty-five years of teaching fieldcourses as well as personal treks. Then back to work on the second installment in the Hell Week Series of post-apocalyptic books. My season for teaching just ended so I have much of the winter to focus on my writing and will be hitting the keyboard pretty hard in the coming months. I also have several monthly magazine columns that I pen so that will keep me busy as the snow settles over the land in the coming months.
How do you juggle time between all your responsibilities?
It can be chaotic at times between taking care of my kids during the week, teaching courses on weekends, doing rescue animal rescue work, and managing the rest of my writing projects. A daily schedule is critical to not over-extending myself.
How do you feel about publishing in a digital age?
I’ll admit that until the summer of 2013, I was hesitant to embrace the digital format. Friends had raved about the Kindle but I have always liked having a solid book in my hands. Many of my students were asking if my print books were available on Kindle so I picked one up to see what the fuss was all about. I’ve been hooked ever since though I still relish spending time in an old bookstore. Nothing can replace that. I don’t see print books ever going away and think things will balance eventually between the two formats though I don’t think the large booksellers will survive in their current format.
How can we connect with you?
Readers can learn more about my books along with articles on survival tips at my website: http://www.jtsawyer.com or through my main site of http://www.apathways.com
Thanks for having me on!
Thank you SO much for joining us today! Check out First Wave, we've spotlighted it today as well as my review!
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