Friday, July 29, 2011

Author Interview: J.A. Paul

I've had the privilege of getting to know J.A. Paul, the author of Gladius and the Bartlett Trial.   He's a truly delightful person and a great writer!  He graciously agreed to do an interview for us, so without further ado:

1.  Hi Jason!  Thanks for the interview.  Would you tell us a little about yourself?
I have lived in the great state of Minnesota my whole life. I love the changing seasons and always look forward to the next one while doing my best to enjoy the current season. I started writing in the 1990’s and published my first fantasy adventure novel for young readers this past spring. My family and I enjoy the outdoors and try to partake in it as much as possible. Having three boys makes that a rather easy endeavor.

2.  Did you read as a kid, and if so, what books were your favorites?Yes, my favorite reading as a kid was the Ranger Rick magazine and Zoo Books. Then it progressed to The Hardy Boys to The Hobbit to LOTR series and so on.

3.  Tell us about your efforts towards getting kids, especially teen boys to read.This subject is near and dear to me – any chance I have I try to be an advocate for getting boys (kids) to read more. I have three boys and want them to be readers and grow from it. Many boys start to lose interest in reading at a young age and often don’t return to reading until late in life. If you have boys at home who struggle with reading, don’t force it on them. Instead read to them. Read whatever they want to them. Let them read whatever they want; comics, magazines, easy books, picture books, chapter books… just get them in the habit of making time to read. Calvin and Hobbes works wonders in my house! My 4yo loves to go to the library and pick out his own books. I also try to read in character acting out the voices – it’s the most fun with the children’s books and my kids love it when I do.

4.  What got you started writing?I think it was Loius L’Amour non-western books and sense of adventure that made me first want to write a story like him. So, I wrote some really bad short stories until I decided to get serious about learning the craft of writing. I enrolled in some writing classes, read dozens of books and talked to many writers, but it was my own kids that made me want to write a novel. One night after a long bedtime story I was telling (acting out) to them, they asked why don’t I write my own book. Long story short that is what got me heading down the novel road.

5.  What are your favorite authors/books now?I love to read adventure stories. Some popular mainstream authors would be Clive Cussler and Michael Crichton, Michael Chabon. But I also love real life adventure authors like John Goddard and Krakauer. And of course J. K. Rowling, she’s the best for fiction!

6.  What is your favorite part of Gladius and the Bartlett Trial? For me it’s the scene with VaporRot and the Passage of No Return. It’s the whole “hide and seek” thing.

7.  Are you writing anything now?Yes! Much. I am nearly finished writing book two in the Gladius adventure series tentatively titled, Gladius and the Sea of Lost Souls. Last week I finished a fun 6,000 word short story about Gladius and his pre-Bartlett Trial days. I have also outlined another short story involving characters from Gladius and the Bartlett Trial which I hope to write soon. The short stories will be on my website and other free reading sites like Wattpad and Scrib’d.

8.  What question have you always wanted to be asked, but noone has asked yet?  Tell us the question and answer, please.

Have you ever tried to teach writing to children? Yes! Great question! Aside from helping my own sons develop the proper sense for story telling in their school work I have also worked with one ambitious 10 year old girl who has her mind set on becoming a professional writer one day. She sent me a story and asked if I liked it. I did and I saw something that I wanted to point out but I chose not to at the time for fear that she might take it too negatively. She then replied (via email) and asked me to be more critical because it was the only way for her to learn (her words). So, I replied with a few helpful tips which she seemed happy to learn, but she replied back again and told me to find five more. Now it was getting hard and nit-picky but I did and she was very satisfied with the outcome of the story.

A few weeks later I received another email with another short story from her. This one was much better. The writing, the characters, the dialogue… she proved she wanted to learn and she was learning. It reminds of when I coach youth sports and I see one child’s vast improvement from the beginning of the season to the end of the season. I enjoy helping kids get better and if I can do it with writing then it is all that much more enjoyable.

Thanks so much for the interview.  Can't wait for the next Gladius adventures!  Everyone remember to pick up the first in the series:

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