Interview with J.J. Westendarp

Spiral X (The Eternal War)J.J. Westendarp is the author of Sprial X, which now touring at Book Lovin’ Bitches, and Split. He lives in Dallas, TX with his family. I haven’t read Spiral X yet, but it sounds pretty cool. It has really good ratings on Goodreads. Check out reviews, interviews, and giveaways over at Book Lovin’ Bitches. You can learn more at his blog, http://jjwestendarp.blogspot.com/.

>When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve always been writing but I began writing seriously about eight years ago with a break in between to start my family.

Tell us a little bit about Spiral X.
Spiral X was born out of a love of action-oriented vampire tales like Buffy and Blade. Originally it was a fan fiction piece that included those two characters, but when I came back to my writing shortly after my daughter was born, I decided to make it my own. Out of this story I created The Eternal War, the neverending battle between Heaven and Hell. For this first story, I didn’t want to focus too much on the vampires and demons (though they are catalysts) but instead made the central problem something we as everyday people can relate to, that of drugs and their effects. This way, even someone not normally into paranormal stories can find something to hold onto as they read it.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not overtly, at least not intentionally, but the final chapter has some words of wisdom I think everyone should take to heart. Essentially, Cheryl, the main character, learns that the people no longer in her life still have an impact on the way she presents herself to the world. Little things like how many sugars you take in your coffee, to big things like your world view are all influenced by the people important to you, even after they’re gone.

What was the hardest part of writing Spiral X?
The hardest part was molding my writing process into what works best for me. Spiral X isn’t my first novel, just the first published, but each time before I had always written by the seat of my pants based upon half-baked ideas running around in my head. With Spiral X, I stalled about halfway through the first draft, and had to rethink my approach. Oddly enough, once I made the decision to self-publish through Amazon and other platforms, it freed up some anxiety and allowed me to think more clearly about what I needed to do to move forward. Once I did that, everything else came smoothly.

What books have most influenced your life most?
I don’t think there’s any specific books that have influenced my life, though I guess my love for David Eddings’ work helped push me over into wanting to work hard at being a writer. I certainly think all books help in that regard though, and I feel it’s important for writers to also read so that they continuously feel the enjoyment that comes from reading a well-written book.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
My current absolute favorite is Jim Butcher. What he’s doing with his Dresden series is something that I think many series authors need to look at. Essentially, self contained stories where the plot for that story is resolved, but each successive story adds to and builds the characters and the overarching plot that connects each one. Also in my favorite authors list is Eddings and, more recently Michael Sullivan.

Are you working on any current projects?
I just finished up and released a novelette set in the same world as Spiral X, entitled Split. I’ve also begun initial writing on the outline for the follow-up to Spiral X. I refuse to try and say when that is going to be done, as work, family, and school have a tendency to get in the way, but I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be out this year.

Is there anything you need (music, snacks, silence, etc.) when writing?
I typically listen to music when I want to write. Mostly alternative and hard rock, in accordance with the action-oriented works I write. And don’t get me started on snacks. I’ll destroy a box of Cheez-its if they’re anywhere nearby when I’m writing.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I think the biggest thing I learned was to embrace the patience necessary to get things done right. I can be extremely impatient and it has bit me a few times in regards to Spiral X so I hope to apply what I’ve learned going forward with new projects.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Keep writing. Always keep writing. If you’re a goal-oriented person, set goals. If not, then just write something every day. The worst thing you can do is stop writing, because it’s hard to start back up again. So keep writing, and get better in the process.

This interview is part of a Book Lovin’ Bitches E-book Tour.

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