Behind the Mask
Interview

Friendly Neighborhood Friday!

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Hello! I’m trying something new for a while.
You see, us authors have friends. We have friends who illustrate, friends who promote, friends who edit, friends who are just plain awesome. So, I’m going to use Friday as a way to introduce some friends to other friends. Like this guy right here.

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This is my friend, J.D. Cunegan. Yeah, okay, so us folks who go by initials flock together sometimes. Don’t give us grief, or we’ll initialize your names, okay? No, that’s not okay? Eep! Okay, I won’t do anything to your names, but I will initialize the rest of this post now.

Anyway, One awesome thing about J.D. is, even though he writes some amazing superhero fiction, he also helps other writers edit their work. Keep that in mind when you check out his links and such in the slideshow after the interview. Oh, I said there’d be an interview? Well, I’d better go ahead and post it, then!

D.R.- What’s your favorite song for writing?
J.D.- I have a few playlists at the ready that I go to depending on what I’m writing. My generic writing playlist is full of hard rock and metal, because for some reason, having something hard and heavy to listen to gets my butt in gear. If I’m in the middle of writing an epic fight scene or something like that, I have an instrumental playlist I turn to. I know a lot of writers prefer to write in silence, but I find I need something in my ear… and a lot of times, it’s the same stuff I listen to when I’m not writing.

D.R.- Beach or woods?
J.D.- One might think that I would go with woods, since I live by the beach. But I’ll go with beach, because there’s no telling what lives in the woods, and I’d rather not inadvertently run afoul of a bear. At least on the beach, I’m relatively safe – especially if I stay out of the water.

D.R.- Coffee or tea or something else?
J.D.- In the morning, give me coffee. In the evening or late at night? A mug of hot tea is lovely – and it makes for a great writing partner.

D.R.- What book do you recommend the most?
J.D.- Lately, it’s either been Grave Beginnings or Grave Measures by R.R. Virdi, Untamed by Madeline Dyer, or the Daggers & Steele series from Alex P. Berg.

D.R.- How do you get ideas for stories?
J.D.- The majority of the stories I write center around the premise of “what if such-and-such happened to this character?” or “what if this character decided to do X?” I try to make every story character-centric, because to me, characters are more important than plot. As a reader, if I’m not emotionally invested in the characters, I won’t care what they do or what happens to them. That philosophy has carried over to my writing.

D.R.- Which genres do you write and what’s your favorite one?
J.D.- My current series is a hybrid murder mystery/thriller/science fiction. One wouldn’t think those genres would go together, but they do. The juxtaposition of my main character being a homicide cop and a superhero is, ultimately, what makes that mashup work so well. Among the other books I’m writing, one is a fantasy/supernatural epic, another is a supernatural thriller, and the last is a political thriller. I’m kind of all over the place, it would seem.

D.R.- What do you do if you see your idea has already been done?
J.D.- Either find a twist that would differentiate mine from the other work, or focus my attention on making sure the characters are unique and can stand out on their own merits. I find that if readers are invested in the characters, they’ll overlook or forgive some of the other issues. It helps to know there’s nothing truly original anymore, understanding that everything derives from something.
 
D.R.- What’s your best writer’s block buster?
J.D.- Reading. I find that when I get blocked, it’s because I’ve been swimming around my own words for too long. Stepping back and letting myself get lost in someone else’s words for a while helps break up the cobwebs are recharge the batteries.

D.R.- What’s the best advice you’ve gotten about writing?
J.D.- Don’t worry about being perfect right out of the gate. No one’s writing is publish-ready on the first draft. Even the millionaire bestsellers churn out relative crap when they sit down to write something for the first time. A bad sentence can be fixed; a sentence that’s never been written cannot.

D.R.- Tell me about the biggest surprise your own character, story, or setting has given you.
J.D.- To reveal all of the details would spoil the end of my most recent novel, Behind the Badge (which is the third book in my Jill Andersen series), but suffice to say, that book ends with my protagonist making two major, life-altering decisions that I never saw coming when I first sat down to write the book. She did two things I never expected her to do, but it ultimately worked out so well that I decided to keep it. Because if I’m surprised, then chances are, my readers will be surprised.

You can find J.D. on his website (that’s where the editing magic happens), FacebookTumblrTwitterGoodreads and, of course, Author Central.

Here’s the bundle of all three books in his Bounty series:

D.R. Perry lives in Rhode Island and attends Dragon Con each year. She is also a member of the Association of Rhode Island Authors (ARIA).

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