Just in case you haven’t heard, tomorrow is the release date for my urban fantasy novel, Kissed by Darkness. Woohoo!
But to keep us entertained (and myself from going insane) this Writer Wednesday, I’ve got something special up my sleeve. Today we’re Getting Jack’d!
That’s right, I’ve got the amazingly talented Jack Wallen here to share a little about his upcoming novels Shero and My Zombie My. Jack’s quite possibly one of the coolest guys I know. He also looks better in my stillettos than I do.
SM: As you know, I loved I Zombie I, so thanks for agreeing to be my second
interview victim. I mean participant. You already know that I love to be nosy ask intelligent and thought provoking questions. So, without further ado:
Just for kicks and giggles (Also because I’m a dork and I know you are, too.), if you were a Star Trek® [or Star Wars® ] character, which one would it be?
JW: Oh man that is a tough one…a really tough one. But I’d have to say I’d really want to be either the Cardassian Garik (because there was so much emotional and character depth to the man) or Kira Kerys (because she had
that dark parallel that wore the sexiest costumes!)
SM: Ohhh, good choices! Two of my fave characters from DS9!
What inspired you to become a writer? Was there a person or an incident which made the “I want to write!” light bulb go off in your brain?
JW: Since I was an actor for so long, I already had my head ripped off by the creative bug. After twenty years of being on the stage I saw the writing on the wall that the economy in the US was about to trample the arts, so Iretired. I also knew that I was going to have to have some way to satisfy that monster inside of me that would absolutely insist I feed it’s creative needs. I had already written some stage plays, so the transition was natural for me.
SM: What authors inspire you?
JW: Clive Barker is the single author I credit for inspiration. He is the one writer of the fantastique and horror that I know of that can insert such beauty into the horrific. His book Imajica is that one book that I hold above all others — it is my litmus test, my secret Nirvana.
SM: What is the last book you read?
JW: I am such a slow reader…but the last book I read was John Locke’s “How I
sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months”. The book really helped me quite a bit,
because it made business understandable by someone (me) who does not have
a business-centric mind.
SM: I haven’t read John Locke’s book yet, but I’ve heard it’s interesting from a marketing/busines point of view. It’s in the queue on my Kindle.
As an indie I know you do a lot of work to make your novels indistinguishable from the “traditionally” published ones. Can you take us through the steps for one of your books getting published?
1. Write a good novel with characters people can connect with. I always
write my first draft with pen and paper.
2. First rewrites. This means typing out the manuscript for the first
time. I feel this really gets me connected to the book, more so than doing
a standard re-reading the MS in digital format. There’s more of an organic
transfer when I’m reading my handwritten words and typing them for the
3. Send manuscript to beta readers.
4. Begin creating cover art.
5. Incorporate beta-reader feedback if it’s applicable or sound in the
6. Send manuscript to my editor.
7. Finish cover art and begin promotion.
8. Go over editor suggestions and make necessary changes.
9. Send back to editor for proof.
10. Editor then sends proofed manuscript to second editor who reads for
clarity and any inconsistencies.
11. Incorporate any necessary suggestions/changes from second editor.
12. Submit manuscript (with cover art) to Smashwords, Amazon, and Barnes &
13. Format manuscript for paperback edition.
14. Create cover art for paperback edition.
15. Submit to Create Space for paperback edition.
16. Go over any changes necessary for approval on CS.
17. Order paperback copies.
18. Promote the hell out of the work.
SM: Why did you decide to go indie?
JW: I realized how much I enjoyed the creative process, which included creating covers and having as much control over my story and my process. On top of that, I don’t the overpowering need to be validated by being
accepted by the publishing “industry”. The only acceptance I need is by my readers.
SM: I’m with you on that. I love having complete creative control and being able to go straight to my readers with my material.
What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
JW: None yet…but they will, and when they do I will walk out of the building of a “day job” for the last time.
SM: Amen to that!
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
JW: I actually don’t. I think all the time I spent being an actor taught me that inspiration can come from everywhere at all times. In fact, I think I might have quite the opposite problem — too much in me and not enough time to get it out.
There have been moments where I’ve written myself into a corner or I’m at a junction where I’m not sure where the story and characters need to go. At that point I just overload on music and listen closely to the lyrics and let the emotion of the music take me over. Almost always out of that something good will come.
SM: What was your inspiration for the I Zombie I trilogy? How about your upcoming novel, Shero?
JW: The inspiration for I Zombie I came out of a simple question I posed to myself one day. That question was: “What would it feel like to become a zombie?” I really wanted to know the answer and so I decided the only way
to successfully answer it was to write a book.
The inspiration for Shero draws on a bit more of an emotional line. I know a lot of transgendered people. They are wonderful men and women who are misunderstood and often hurt by society. Among those people are some real
heros — pioneering and paving the way for those coming behind them. I decided the transgendered community needed a fictional hero to represent them in a way that illustrated to society that they were just people — they could be hurt, but they could also be the one to save your life some day.
SM: That’s incredible, Jack! I think what you’ve done here is amazing. I’m really looking forward to reading Shero.
By the way, when is the second zombie book out (My Zombie My)? And how about Shero?
JW: Shero will hit the shelves, I believe, the second or third week of July. My Zombie My will be available August 4th. But you can start getting a taste of it by visiting Zombie Radio (http://www.zombieradio.org).
SM: Did you have to do a lot of research for Shero?
JW: Just wearing a lot of skirts and heels…although the perfect little black dress did elude me ;-).
SM: Oh, man, me too! LOL!
Any words of wisdom for newbie authors or authors thinking of taking the plunge into self-publishing?
JW: Write. Write again. Write some more. Don’t ever stop. The second you finish that first book, take a breath, do a Snoopy dance for a moment, and then start up with the next book. And don’t let anyone EVER tell you you can’t make that dream come true. Sure it’s hard work, but the payoff is worth the effort.
Thanks so much Jack! It’s been an absolute pleasure chatting to you today.
You can find Jack’s books here:
I Zombie I
Barnes & Noble:
A Blade Away
Barnes & Noble:
Barnes & Noble:
And you can find Jack here: