You’ll never believe this! A scary, ugly sea monster jumped into our lagoon while we were all away having a festive Mermaid party and STOLE our words! Sigh. Well, that happens sometimes. But never fear, I, Kerri-Mermaid, grabbed my cloak of awesomeness and fought the dreaded beast until he gave me this interview with J.T. Bock back. So, without further ado, please welcome (or re-welcome) J.T. Bock to the Mermaid Lagoon.
I am thrilled beyond belief to have recently published author J.T. Bock join us in the lagoon. In fact, I’m so excited that I’m throwing the typical bio out the window. So here goes…
This lady rocks my socks! Not only is her debut novel, A Surefire Way, AMAZING, but she is a fellow Joss Whedon fan, she’s been to Comic-Con, she self-published her book and she is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met! Okay, I won’t make you wait any longer.
In her debut Waterworld Mermaid appearance, please welcome J.T. Bock.
Congratulations on your debut novel, A Surefire Way! Care to tell us a little about it?
During every writing workshop, the instructor will inevitably tell the class, “Write what you love.” So I’ve taken their advice—to the extreme. A Surefire Way is a combination of everything I love in an action/romance story: over-the-top villains, supernatural adventures, sarcastic heroes, kick-butt heroines, cool gadgets, superpowers, and of course, forbidden romance. My heroine, Surefire, is an UltraAgent, a genetically modified human who works for UltraSecurity, a niche security firm that solves crimes committed by other modified humans. On the trail of the transhuman thief, Raven, Surefire lands in a surreal world filled with moody gods, day-glo skulls, dizzying dimensional portals, maniacal half-roach magicians, and a sexy thief who is more than he appears under his snug t-shirt. Is Raven a criminal, or is he working for a higher power? Surefire needs to be certain, because Raven’s ex-partner-in-crime is about to destroy the world, and if she joins Raven on this mission to stop him, she’ll have to surrender everything she believed in to save the world, discover her destiny and find true love.
You decided to self-publish this novel. Can you tell us why you decided to go that route and a little bit about the process of self-publishing?
A series of events made me decide to self-publish: pushy, wine-drinking and fishnet-wielding critique partners, turning 40 this upcoming October, positive contest scores and feedback, being told no one’s buying superhero stories, realizing I’m a control freak, and Joss Whedon (I’ll explain this bit in question #5). Then a friend died tragically last year. He was my age and on the cusp of starting a new career—something he really loved. It hit home the importance of following my dreams now and not putting it off anymore. I didn’t want to wait to get discovered from the slush pile, wait for someone to take a chance on me and wait another year for my book to come out. I wanted control over my stories and my characters. My husband and I had self-published his graphic design book several years ago. We built a business around his book. I looked at publishing A Surefire Way as similar to what I had already accomplished with our current business. Since my husband and I are graphic designers, we created my website and book cover. I hired an editor and also asked friends, who are editors, to review my story. I took a self-publishing class online from MRW. I used Scrivener to format my book for Kindle, which was super easy. I decided to post the ebook on Amazon first and will then expand to other bookstores and offer a printed version next. Not only am I an author, but I’m also an entrepreneur. It’s scary and overwhelming and amazing. I love it!
A Surefire Way is part of the UltraSecurity Series, which can only mean there are going to be more stories. Yay! Do you have an idea of how many books/characters there could be or is this series a work in progress?
So far, I have two other books in mind. In A Surefire Way, I introduce three supporting characters, also UltraAgents like Surefire: Pax, Oracle and TimeTrap. The next story centers on Pax and Oracle, who used to date and still have strong feelings for each other. After their book, I have a basic idea for TimeTrap’s story. Pax is one of the owners of UltraSecurity. He has two other business partners, and I plan to write stories for them as well after they are introduced in Pax’s tale. Then there are many other employees whom I haven’t even met yet. I plan to make it into a series similar to what Kresley Cole did with her Immortals After Dark Series.
Plotter or Pantser?
Pantser … although for the next book I’ll need to switch to Team Plotter. I did a lot of character and story setup in A Surefire Way for the new one, and I don’t want to do a million rewrites like I did for A Surefire Way—the downside of being a Pantser.
This next question is from Carlene-Mermaid, who loves you for many reasons but I’m sure your shared interest in Depeche Mode didn’t hurt. Carlene says you’ve been to Comic-Con and wants to know what’s your favorite thing about that convention and if it inspired anything in your book?
Yay, Carlene, my DM buddy! My favorite thing about Comic-Con is attending the panels. I love hearing the stories behind the comic or television show or movie. It’s great seeing the actors (especially the cute ones), but I love hearing from the writers, directors, producers, and anyone in the background about their creative process. I was lucky to win a raffle three years in a row where I got to meet Joss Whedon, who is one of the sweetest people and just a big fan-geek himself. My first year at the Con, I attended a panel where Whedon and J.J. Abrams spoke about their writing process. I was in heaven listening to these highly creative people, who have written and directed some of my favorite movies and TV series, talk about the way they write. During the Q&A, a fan asked Whedon about rejection—something he has experienced a lot. He replied that a writer needs to have faith in their work to recognize when a comment is constructive criticism or just bad advice. They have to believe in their work or no one will. A writer can’t sell a story to an audience that they don’t believe in. They have to defend their work (characters’ motivations, plot, etc.), and if they can’t do this, then they need to revisit their story. Because I believed in my book—even when I was told these types of stories weren’t being bought or no one would love a hero who had been a thief—I knew indie-publishing was the way for me.
I love Inside the Actor’s Studio, especially the 10 questions James Lipton asks at the end of the show. Without further ado:
- What is your favorite word? Love
- What is your least favorite word? Slang for a female body part, which I refuse to even say
- What turns you on? My husband
- What turns you off? Body odor
- What sound or noise do you love? Waves breaking on the beach
- What sound or noise do you hate? My alarm clock
- What is your favorite curse word? The f-bomb. There’s something cathartic about saying this word when I’m angry, like a verbal punch.
- What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Character or voice actor
- What profession would you not like to do? Politician
- If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? You’re funnier than everyone realized.
Lastly, what are you working on now?
The next UltraSecurity story about Surefire’s boss Pax and her mentor Oracle, and a short story collection.
Thank you so much for joining us today! Congratulations on your debut novel and hurry up writing the next one!!!
To buy, J.T. Bock’s amazing book, click here.