Author Interview: John Lucas

Today we’re getting to know John Lucas, marriage and family therapist and author of Power and Intimacy in Relationships.  John and I first met when we were both students at Biola University. As you can see, he’s been busy ever since!

Where do you live?

Murrieta Ca.  1 hr north of San Diego.

Tell us something about yourself.

I grew up in San Jose and then San Diego.  When I was younger I liked playing golf.  In my 20’s I became interested in Christianity.  Once I became interested in Christianity I also found myself more interested in people and wanting to help others improve their lives.  Those desires lead me to becoming a Marriage and Family Therapist.  As a young married man I started working as a mailman down in San Diego with a goal to going to night school.  I ended up working as a mailman for 17 yrs.  After graduating from San Diego State we moved up to Murrieta and I started working as a counselor.  The idea of writing a book started a few yrs ago.

What inspired you to write this book/article/piece?

Developing some ideas to help the married couples I work with drove me to put them into words.  I was also led to a small local publisher who liked my ideas and wanted to help me.  That publisher gave me the confidence that I could put them into words.  My oldest sister, who goes by the pen name of Linda Conrad, has written several small romance novels and that helped me believe I could write a book as well.

How did you choose the title?

The title was something that took some time to work out.  I wanted the title to reflect my principles and at the same time help the reader understand the concepts of the book.  I shared an earlier title with people and did not get such a positive response.  After talking with my editor, we came up with a revised title.

What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?

After writing a large portion of my book, the local publisher said he wasn’t interested in publishing books.  He said I might do better with self-publishing.  I was down hearted.  Little did I realize it was a blessing.  I found a private editor off the web.  I had to come up with the money for an editor and that was challenging but she allowed me to pay in increments.

In using my own editor I was allowed to see the material chapter by chapter.  That slow process over several months actually worked out well.  I was able to rethink my material and redo my ideas.  My editor knew I was a new writer and she was able to be patient with me as I redid major portions of the material she already edited.  She first started by editing the material conceptually.  Once we had the concepts down she went back over the material and edited it grammatically.  Amazon does a great job with little cost to help writers publish their material.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

I have always been somebody that likes to dream, and create through ideas.  That is part of what I like about my job as a counselor.  I am able to think about ideas and concepts and try to apply them in daily life.  That process is very similar to writing.  While working with my clients I would share my ideas and concepts with my clients.  They in turn would ask me if there was a book out there that I would recommend that covered those ideas.  Since there wasn’t, I decided to make one.

Do you have any writing rituals?

I like to be alone and have long periods of time.  Unfortunately that wasn’t always the case.

Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book?  What?

One, I learned that editing is the most critical part of writing.  I spent 6-8 months writing my book and 8-10 months working with an editor.

If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?

I was lucky and wouldn’t change a thing.

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?

I like self-help books.  I like to grow and it also helps my work.  I like John Maxwell, Chuck Swindoll, Cloud and Townsend.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

This power and intimacy formula can be applied to various areas of our lives.  I am considering the areas of parenting, addictions, work, and church.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

As I mentioned before, editing is crucial.

Who is the perfect reader for your book?

The perfect reader for my book is someone that would like to improve their marriage and would like some simple format that fits both a psychological and Biblical model.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

Visit John on-line at Lighthouse Counseling Services.  To find out more about his book, check out Power and Intimacy.

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Interested in an author interview?  Leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.

Up next: What Makes You a Writer? followed by How to Avoid Sneezing By Email.  See ya soon!

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Author Interview: C.J. Edwards

Today we’re getting to know J.C. Edwards, author of Poems of Living, Loving and Lore. Even if poetry isn’t your thing, give this one a chance. Like a finely aged wine, J.C.’s work is  rich, full-bodied and mature.  Her thoughtful, evocative collection includes reflections on relationships, gratitude, seasons, holidays, love, loss, and much more!
Sensitively written with a commanding grasp of the language, Living, Loving and Lore surprises and delights, artfully drawing in readers with rhythms that are supple and subtle as well as solid and intense.
A resident of British Columbia, J.C. also has a compelling life story.  Let’s get to know her a little better:

Your name:

J C Edwards Profile Pic 2Julie Catherine Vigna, my pen name is J C Edwards.

Where do you live?

I live in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. I was born in Ontario and lived there until 2004; moved out to BC, then to Alberta – both for family reasons – then in October of this year, finally made my way back to BC – the home of my heart and soul. I missed the mountains and water terribly, and felt so welcomed when I returned. They are my muses, the source of my inspiration.

Tell us something about yourself.

Born Julie Edwards, I’m fifth of eight siblings, and I am a survivor of childhood abuse. My brothers and sisters and I were adopted out to various families as young children – in 2007, after more than 45 years we were finally reunited in Alberta just months before our youngest brother passed away from pancreatic cancer.  Although we now live scattered across Canada we are blessed to be together again. My pen name, J C Edwards, is a combination of my birth and adopted names: Julie Catherine. I always knew that when I published, it would be under that name. I’ve been writing, drawing and painting ever since grade three, love antiques and all of nature. Being near water of any kind is inspirational and makes my soul sing.

What inspired you to write this book/article/piece?

While I’ve always written poetry, I didn’t think to put together a collection until I was forced to retire from the workforce for medical reasons at Christmas, 2010. It helped me to deal with a drastic change in lifestyle, and gave a brighter purpose to the long days between medical appointments and dealing with disability applications.

How did you choose the title?

Poetry Book CoverI love the title, “Poems of Living, Loving & Lore”!  I wanted it to be very clear this is a poetry book; something a little ‘old-world’ to match the book cover and the classical feel of the poems, and wanted the three sections of the book to be included in the title.

What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?

I didn’t want to go the traditional publishing route with this book and decided to self-publish because I wanted to publish within months rather than years; however, I only had a tiny budget for printing, and none at all for promotion. I have a friend, Selena Howard who is a poet and artist, and she did the beautiful cover for me – in return I sent her a gift of art supplies and a copy of my book. I’m an editor as well as a writer, so was able to do most of that myself, although I also had a couple other people do a run-through as well. I’ve been promoting my book on social sites, my blog, and as many other avenues as I can find that have little or no cost. I was interviewed by our local television station and did poetry readings at our local library and schools. The rest has been entirely word of mouth.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

I’ve always known I wanted to be a writer, and have always written poetry and short stories. I also have two novels in the works that are at least a year away from being completed. When I knew I would have time to devote to my writing, I consciously made the decision to begin with a poetry book because of the shorter time involved in producing it. I worked on my poems for a year before I had enough for a volume of poetry. I just literally made a decision to do it, researched various print-on-demand publishers, made my choice, and then jumped in the deep end.

Do you have any writing rituals?

I often meditate before writing poetry, especially if I have a particular theme in mind. I also enjoy listening to classical music, both during the meditation and while writing.

Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book?  What?

If you want something badly enough, and want it done well, you have to do the work to make it happen. I learned that the promotional part is indeed more work than the actual writing of the book; and because of my physical disabilities, I have to be innovative in finding ways to promote myself and my book. Book fairs and signings and travelling are not feasible for me because of mobility issues, so most of my promotion has been online and word of mouth. But if you understand and commit to what you’re able to handle and do the work, it is possible to make your dream come true.

 

If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?

I’m pretty satisfied with the way things were handled with the publishing of my debut poetry book, so will likely follow a similar path with my next collection. The only thing I would do differently might be to concentrate on promotion earlier than I did with this book – and hopefully have more of a budget to work with!

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?

I have eclectic tastes and love to read practically anything! I’m currently reading a romantic suspense novel, a Christian novel and a spy novel in paperback form. On my e-reader I’m reading a poetry collection and a historical fiction novel. I have a huge love of all the classical writers such as Shakespeare, since that’s what I grew up with. I also love Tolkien and his Middle Earth worlds – I’m a huge LOTR and Hobbit fan. These are worlds and stories I can positively get lost in, with amazing characters and incredible scene descriptions. Another of my fav authors is Marion Zimmer Bradley – her book, The Mists of Avalon (and that entire fantasy series) is one I will read over and over and never tire of.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

I have a few projects on the go right now, including a new poetry collection tentatively titled, “Essence of Woman”. The poems will cover every aspect of what makes us women, but I don’t want to say too much more about it just yet. I also have two novels in the works: a middle-grade adventure/mystery set in Georgian Bay, Canada, where I spent a few summers; and a contemporary romance novel. It will likely be at least another year before they’re ready, either for self-publication or submission; I haven’t decided which way to go yet. And yes, all my projects are completely different from each other – I don’t think I’ll ever be pinned down to just one genre!

*What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

Once you’ve done the writing, let the book ‘rest’ for awhile before going back to edit. Proof, proof and proof again – if you can’t afford an editor, then at least have a couple of people with excellent spelling, grammar and punctuation skills to proof for you as well. Do not be in a rush to submit your manuscript until you are absolutely positive it’s the best quality you can produce. Don’t settle for mediocre – strive to be the best you can be and take pride in your work. Your readers will appreciate that as well and it will show in your reviews.

Who is the perfect reader for your book? (Please do not say “everyone.” ;o) )

Poetry lovers, especially those interested in classical forms of poetry, mythology, fairies, nature and romance would enjoy reading these poems. Although there are a few poems that deal with harsher realities of life, I have attempted to keep the bulk of the collection upbeat and positive, preferring to focus on the beauty of life, love and nature.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

Poetry Book Page

J C Edwards Page

Amazon  (Paperback & Kindle)

Barnes & Noble (Paperback & Nook)

Xlibris  (Paperback)

Visit Julie On-line:

Julie’s Blog

Twitter

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Next up: What ‘Writing Contest’ is – and Isn’t.  Also an author interview with John Lucas, author of Power and Intimacy in Relationships.

I am now scheduling author interviews for February.  If you’d like to be featured, just leave a comment in the Reply section below.

A New Year’s ‘Un-Party’?

Confetti. Auld Langsyne. Party hats, noise makers and resolutions. That’s how a typical New Year’s celebration looks, right?

Maybe.

An ‘Un-Party’

I’d like to make a suggestion: instead of asking you what your writing goals are for the new year or taking bets on how long that January 1 “resolution” will last, how ’bout a New Year’s un-party instead?

How ’bout celebrating the New Year by cleaning up and un-cluttering junk from the last? Like uncluttering:

  • Your desk. I did that yesterday. All those broken pencils and inkless pens? Gone! Illegible, archaic notes? History! Un-sticky sticky notes? Hello round file! (I did retain a few favorite crayons. You never know.)
  • Your book bag. I found Jimmy Hoffa! He was hiding under the ton of useless, outdated junk I’ve been hauling around in my “book bag” for the past year. Not really. But I did get rid of library due date reminders dating back to the Ice Age. Ditto those plastic utensils for the 4th of July picnic. I even washed that bag. I’d forgotten its original color: red.
  • Your brain. This will work differently for each individual. Try something that works for you. I grabbed a fresh ream of paper, a pen and just started writing. Jotted down several pages of notes, ideas, and dreams. Poured out several writing goals. Crystallized some publishing plans and potential submissions. Wrote out some writing frustrations and disappointments as well as some high points. Just writing it out and capturing ideas on paper helped whip some random thoughts into shape and de-clutter the ‘ole cerebral hard drive.
  • Your hard drive. Speaking of which, when’s the last time you sorted through your In Box and got rid of dead wood, or backed up your hard drive? How ’bout an un-cluttering party for both?

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public domain image.

There’s nothing like launching into a fresh New Year after cleaning up some of last year’s clutter.  I feel better already.

Now, where are those party hats?

Are you throwing a New Year’s ‘Un-Party’? How?

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Join us next time for an author interview with J.C. Edwards, author of Poems of Living, Loving and Lore.