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Interview with James A. Jennings : Author of MIRADOR

James A. Jennings

Check out the promotional post to get all that you need to know about the book release Here!

Now, let's get straight to the Q&A!

1.Tell us a little bit about your book and where to find it.

The novel is called Mirador. It is available on and in hardcover, paperback, and kindle versions. It is also available in some bookstores.

2. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a writer. I became especially interested in writing in my early teens. In my younger years I was a songwriter. Of course, the practice of law involved a lot of writing. Eventually, I settled on novel writing as my best creative outlet. Everything I did along the way played a role in preparing me for that.

3. How long does it take you to write your book?

Mirador is historical fiction. It involved an enormous amount of research. This involved reading anything I could find on the Zapatista Rebellion and the conditions that led to it. It included studying newspaper accounts, consulting non-fiction books, and videos of the rebellion itself. Over time, more and more useful information became available on the Internet. My research included several trips to Mexico, most important were trips to Oaxaca and the San Cristóbal de las Casas, which figure prominently in the book. Also, many hours taking virtual trips to Mexico by means of Google Earth were useful – what I didn’t see in real life, I saw that way. All told, the writing of Mirador consumed the better part of fifteen years.

4. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

I do my best work in the morning. I rise early and keep my nose to the grindstone until early afternoon. After that, real life seems to intervene.

5. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

My wife says my method of organization is disorganization. I like to spread research papers and working drafts on tables and on the floor. I surround myself with them. That gives me a broad view of things.

6. How did you get your book published?

The short answer is persistence – simply pressing on, not stopping. Mirador is the second novel I have had published. It is the third novel I wrote. For several years, I participated in the writing program at the University of Central Oklahoma. That was immensely helpful in learning the craft of writing. I attended many writer’s conferences and pitch conferences, gave readings, submitted query letters. Eventually, I got acquainted with the folks at the New York Writers Workshop and found a home for Mirador at Greenpoint Press. I have many friends there now and I owe them a lot.

7. Where do you get the ideas for your books?

For me, it’s a matter of having a strong sense of the kind of stories I want to tell and a feel for the settings, both time and place, that provide the best dressing for telling those stories. Eventually, all of that seems to come together.

8. When did you write your first book and how old were you?

I was a late bloomer, I guess. I didn’t focus on writing novels until my mid-forties. When I got my focus and found my voice, I became very committed. I still am today. God willing, I’ll have the chance to keep it up for years to come.

9. What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I still practice law, though that doesn’t occupy as much of my time as it did for many years.

Otherwise, my focus is family and friends. What could be more important?

10. What does your family think of your writing?

They seem to approve. At least, they tolerate it graciously. That’s a lot to ask for and a lot to receive. It has been a real blessing.

11. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

Maybe this: the way events and experiences from real life creep into the lives of my characters and the experiences that are the dressing of the story I’m trying to tell.

12. Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

Mirador is hot off the press. So, these days I am hearing a lot from readers. It’s immensely satisfying and reassuring when people respond favorably to my work.

13. What do you think makes a good story?

For me, the key ingredients are action, adventure, and romance in an exotic location. My hope is to tap into feelings and ask the questions that readers ask themselves. When all of this comes together with solid and even poetic writing I feel like I have succeeded.

14. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

Many things: cowboy, explorer, adventurer, soldier. And eventually, as adulthood set in, a lawyer. And all the while, a writer. My father was all of these things and he was my hero.

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