Monday, October 22, 2012

Interview with P.L. Jones

Happy Monday everyone! During my last post I discussed my client P.L. Jones’s new book, The Blue, available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I now have the opportunity of presenting readers with an interview I had with the author over the weekend.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I grew up mostly in Ontario but moved to Alberta when I was thirteen—I love Alberta, it has everything. I’m the second oldest of nine siblings. I have been blessed to experience so many things in life, and I was able to draw on those experiences when writing this book.

I have had many jobs but found my passion in nursing. I love working in the emergency department. I have the opportunity to meet so many people, learn new things, and help people during some of their darkest moments. I accidently discovered I have a knack for writing and telling stories. It’s a new passion in life that I cherish and am grateful I found—rather it inadvertently found me. I am surrounded by wonderful people and three hairy mutts. My life is full; I am a bucket of joy . . . I also have a very warped sense of humor that gets me through each day.

What inspired you to write this book?
Well, um it kind of sounds bad, but I was reading a series of books—which I paid more than a hundred dollars for and had committed to reading 1500 pages. I was so dissatisfied by the books that I threw the last one across the room in disgust. Ugh, flat, boring characters, a weak antagonist, and a maze of a plot to follow—I was so mad. How did this writer get published?

I got up to write a scathing letter to the author—which I’ve never done in my life by the way. I opened my laptop, preparing to let lose, when I saw I had Office Starter on my new computer. I opened it up to check it out, thinking I would use it to write my scathing letter. Instead I started writing—the story just flowed out of me. My ninja editor made the book legible.

I almost should write a thank you note to that author; the experience propelled me on this fantastic adventure. Life is strange; I find just going with it helps.

How did you come up with your topic?
The way humanity is going, something has to give, whether it’s Mother Nature or some maniacal terrorist, I think humanity is due. Then there’s the Mayan prophecy looming in December.

I had been intermittently watching Preppers on television as they prepared for various apocalyptic events. I’d also had a few apocalyptic dreams. Sometimes the ideas just came out of me from somewhere else—channeled. Strange I know. Some ideas I have no clue where they came from.

Your book is about a pandemic, and you are a trauma one nurse in the emergency department. How has your medical background played into your story?
All of my character’s backstories—namely their deaths—were lightly based on scenarios I’ve seen come through my doors in the ER.

In addition, ER nurses are frontline workers. If something was set lose, we would be the first to see it. The risk weighs heavily on most ER nurses’ minds. SARS, Hanta virus, and influenza are but a few germs brought through the door now, and new ones are always lurking around the corner.

My main character Sam is a nurse in the story, so that makes the story more legitimate since I have a background in nursing to draw from. Write what you know. Sometimes it was hard; I wanted to write a bit more or use technical terms, but I didn’t want to lose my non-medical readers.

In your book your characters have such distinct personalities. How did you come up with them?
Some are based on friends or work mates, and some through my cumulative experience with certain personality types (i.e. bad guys). Teak and Oakley (two of the book’s prominent characters) are real, as is Bruno, who is based on my Chihuahua—he has a personality of a lion.

Some names just came to me along with their personality. I have this old antique picture from the Garrick Bed and Breakfast; that’s how I came up with Garrick’s name. Sam was my first dog. Griffin came from my love of griffins and phoenixes. Christin came from my sister Christine. Kevin is actually my brother’s name. You get the idea.

Do you follow a writing schedule, or do you write when inspiration strikes?
I write when I’m not working, or right after I get off work. Fortunately, it was never a problem finding inspiration; the problem was stopping once I started. Working eight hours, and then writing for six to eight hours after work is not sustainable, yet I was doing it. I know what 4:00 a.m. looks like. I like the quite of the night.

Your story embarks from the prophesized “end of the world” based on the end of the Mayan calendar, December 21, 2012. Was it a challenge to meet that deadline?
Yes, when I started the book, I had no deadline in mind. As the book progressed, I realized it would be poignant to get the book out by December. Of course my ninja editor worked her fingers to the bone helping me achieve that goal. My publisher did a good job processing the book.

What was the hardest obstacle you had to overcome in your road to publication?
Working with a publisher for the first time—my learning curve was definitely high. Editing my book was a fantastic experience. My editor took time to teach me so much—remember I was a newbie. She was very patient. Being a self-published author is a lot of work. Just getting the book out there is challenging, but my passion is driving me.

What was your favorite part of publishing a book?
Really, truly, editing. Laura and I worked together and made the book better than I hoped. A different view and opinion (and punctuation) made my book what it is today—my editor rocked.

Will we see any sequels? What’s next?
Yes I’m already working on The Yellow, and I’m thirty pages in so far. I also plan on at least a few more after that. It’s hard because I want to write, but I also have to get The Blue into readers’ hands. It’s a fun juggling act.

Do you have any advice for people who would like to write a book but never have?
When I started this adventure, I had no idea where it would go—I just kept writing and stayed in the present. I believe everyone has a story in them, don’t worry about where to start, or if you can write, or what will happen (if it will get published)—just start writing. There are programs available to help you, editors are ninjas, and you can always self-publish until a traditional publisher finds you. Follow your passion and nothing will stand in your way. Remember you get to create anything, anyone, and any place—only your imagination limits you. There’s always Google if you get stuck. Just do it, and the future will take care of the rest.

You can find P.L. Jones and her newly released book at, on Facebook and Twitter.

Laura Carlson, Editor
American Editing Services

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