SC: I want to welcome you all to another edition of Watch Out. This week I’m pleased to bring you author J.A. Garland. Welcome to Watch Out, it is so great to have you here.
SC: For the readers out there who might not know about you or your work, can you please tell them a little about yourself.
J.A.: I am a full time firefighter in the state of California, an addicted trail runner, a connoisseur of all things cheese puff, and an author for BURST Books. When I’m not slogging through the obstacles at a mud run, you can find me hunched over my computer unleashing demons, vampires, and werewolves upon the world.
SC: Can you tell us a little about your current release?
J.A.: Instinct is book one in a series where Shadow creatures–paranormal beings who refuse to fly under the humans radar, come out to play. The National Otherkind Administration (NOA) is responsible for overseeing human/Otherkind interactions. Utilizing Analysts, they collect information on the Shadows. If they believe an infraction of the Otherkind Agreements exists, they send in the Trackers. Unless it’s a highly skilled and dangerous Shadow group, then they send in a Ghost Team. At the top of the food chain is the Otherkind Council. They act as judge and jury, and have become celebrities of sorts in the eyes of the Otherkind. My series follows several key players on both sides of the table.
Here is Instinct’s back cover blurb:
Lone wolf, Rory Archer, never failed a single mission. Now the hunted instead of the hunter, Rory unwinds a twisted trail leading back to Amber Arlington, a spirited Halfling tied to a world of Shadows. Bound to vows initially forged out of necessity, Rory and Amber’s relationship surges into more than either of them bargained for, tangling them in a web of passion. Scrambling to identify their attacker before joining the casualty list, Rory is faced with doing the unthinkable, or watching Amber turned into a slave for his species.
SC: Which do you prefer eBooks or paperback?
J.A.: I read mostly ebook. I fought it, tooth and nail, but must admit that being able to instantly download a book is pretty darn cool. I’m converting my friends over one by one. Although, I must agree, for trade manuals and the real epic series you want to read over and over, it’s probably best to have it in print. Other than that, I can’t see the paperback advantage. Besides, we all need a little more room in our closets for the skeletons, right?
SC: One thing readers might be surprised to know about you?
J.A.: I’m kind of a techno-junkie. In my other life as a firefighter, I am specially trained to make maps for emergency incidents…remote sensing, drones…keeping up with the latest mapping technology is a fulltime job–but lots of fun!
SC: What are you currently reading?
J.A.: On the online writing groups where I belong, there are so many great authors, that I decided to read at least one book offered by each. First, I started reading just the ones in my preferred genres, but then I realized I was limiting myself, so I branched out. I recently finished a book by Linda LaRoque, ‘A Way Back,’ and although there weren’t any ‘Otherkind’ creatures in it, I still loved it! The woman can not only tell a story, but she can connect the dots with a precision and skill that is amazing.
SC: Describe your books in 3 words.
J.A.: T.J. Hooker meets Twilight!
SC: How important do you think is a brand to an author and their career?
J.A.: I think branding is crucial. People expect a certain thing when they hear the name J.A. Garland, I want to make sure that I deliver. I spent a lot of time and mullah on making sure my branding was exactly where I wanted it to be. Which is a tough thing when you’re just starting out. You don’t want to pigeon hole yourself into an image that isn’t going to be you for long. I really love urban fantasy though, so I can’t imagine myself writing anything else. Here is my branding logo, created by the very talented graphic artist, Brook Lee.
SC: Every author deals with rejection in their career. What is your advice when it comes to rejections?
J.A.: Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again. Take a look at where you sent your manuscripts and make sure they want submissions from your genre. Also, join a critique group. Hearing your parents and your friends say your writing is rainbows and sunshine is great…but it’s not going to get you anywhere fast. You need to hear the unbiased, you need to know where and how to improve–and trust me, everyone has room to improve.
SC: How important is a book cover when it comes to your work?
J.A.: Very important! They say you can’t chose a book by its cover, but we know otherwise…don’t we? It’s the first thing people see, it is what draws them in to pick up your book and read the back cover blurb. If the cover doesn’t ‘catch’ them, you’ve already lost a potential fan.
SC: As a reader how much do reviews impact your view about a book you want to read?
J.A.: Not too terribly much. Reviews are great and all, but I’d rather read an excerpt and decide for myself if I like the authors writing style.
SC: What do you think sets your stories apart from other authors?
J.A.: Being a firefighter, we see people in their worst possible moments. We see what life has thrown at them, and their real life reactions. I think that has helped me take a fictional character, plunk them into a horrible situation, and enable them to respond in a way that is believable. Also, working in a career that is predominantly male, I have a good handle on how men talk and act when they don’t think anyone is watching…of the female persuasion, lol. Which adds substance to my male characters and their viewpoints.
SC: Is there anything you’re currently working on that you can give us a taste of?
J.A.: Here are the first few ‘working’ paragraphs of book II of the Halfling Chronicles.
It takes one part opportunity, two parts discipline, and three parts disposition to effect a solid assassination operation. Having two out of the three this chilly Seattle evening, Slade considered himself in an unusual abundance of good fortune.
Parking in front of a solitary office building, in the zone clearly marked ‘No Parking’, he took a moment to clear his mind of distraction. The little here and there that could creep in and throw him off, just a hair, but enough to jeopardize his mission. Popping open the trunk of the rental, he stood on the curb and re-tucked a stylish black golf shirt monogrammed with “Constantine Vineyards,” into a pair of crisp, steel gray slacks. Image might not be everything, but in this particular scenario, it was crucial.
SC: Where can readers find out more about you and your work?
J.A.: Social media, got to love it! You can find me at:
I’d love to offer one lucky commenter on your blog a monogrammed tote bag or a coffee mug, and a coupon for INSTINCT. Thanks so much for the opportunity to introduce myself to new people, Savannah. I can’t wait to hear back from your followers!