Hi All! I’d like to welcome you to my second author interview and giveaway! Jonathan is one of my favorite YA Fantasy authors, as well as a fellow WordPress blogger and friend. He’s the author of: The Blackwell Family Secrets: Guardians of Sin, Elijah Dart: Angel of Death, and the soon to be released The Ghost of Buxton Manor.
Biography: Jonathan was born in San Pedro, CA to an Italian fisherman and a mother from New York. Growing up with one older brother, Jonathan had several hobbies: finding the best hiding spots to jump out and scare his mother, discovering new fantasy series, and imagining outrageous, whimsical worlds of magic. He is now happily married, residing in California in the City of Angels. He has two wonderful children–his dog Koda and cat Merlin.
In addition to writing, Jonathan and his artist husband Aaron run their magical blog at http://husbandandhusband.net and their popular Husband and Husband YouTube channel which has almost 7,000 subscribers!
Thank you Jonathan for taking time out of your crazy schedule to answer some questions!
1. What inspired you to write your first book?
Ugh! Geez…I’m going to skip mentioning the “first” book I ever wrote because I was fourteen and that was a little too embarrassing to mention. I’ll go right to my first “published” book The Blackwell Family Secret: Guardians of Sin. I grew up in a Catholic home. I was even an alter boy and all. Even though I wouldn’t consider myself Catholic as an adult, I still grew up with the stories from the Bible. I was always fascinated about the dark side of religion: Demons, Sin, the Devil himself. I wasn’t fascinated in a morbid sort of way (well maybe a little) but I always thought there was a story there. I wanted to write a story about a boy (who isn’t the greatest person in the world) journeying through the City of Demons, battling the Guardians of the Seven Deadly Sins, to find the goodness within him.
2. You’ve written three books now. What character resembles you the most?
That’s easy! Rupert Buxton from my newest novel: The Ghost of Buxton Manor. He came so naturally to write about and really felt to be mirrored after me.
3. If you were able to bring any of your characters to life to spend the day with, who would you pick and what would you do?
Again, Rupert. I think it’s so fascinating that the book is written from a ghost’s perspective. Rupert is learning about what happens after death. He’s so lonely, trapped for nearly a hundred years in such a grand manor, I feel like I would want to give him company.
4. Do your characters ever seem to hijack the story, or are you always in complete control?
I’m never in control! These characters have a mind of their own and I’m usually as surprised as the reader when writing my books.
5. Can you tell us a little about your writing process? Are you extremely organized, or are you more fly-by-the-seat of your pants?
My desk is organized, but that’s about it. I try to listen to music right before I jump into writing. If the story happens to be a love story, then I’m listening to similar music. If my characters are heading to war, then I’m listening to music that makes you feel like you are on an adventure through a magical world.
6. Music or silence?
Music until I start writing–then only silence.
7. What do you find to be the most difficult type of scene to write? Love? Action? Racy?
That’s a difficult one. I don’t have a typical scene that is difficult to write, but if I do have a break in writing I find I have to start from the beginning and read back. When I was writing The Ghost of Buxton Manor I had been at it for months and about halfway through when my husband and I took a trip to Paris for a week. By the time we got back, I had to start from the beginning of the story.
8. What is something memorable that you’ve heard from your readers/fans?
I automatically thought of this review:
“This is one of those books that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Really, really like it. When I needed to take a break I found myself saying Ok. Just one more chapter.”
-Still makes me smile. 🙂
9. Say you were running the 100 yard dash with a new writer. What writing/publishing wisdom would you share before you reached the finish line?
Write what you love and only what you love. Don’t ever write a vampire story only because that’s the type of story selling off the shelf. Make the next trend, don’t hitch a ride on one someone else started.
10. Is there a book/author who has had a major impact on your life?
J. K. Rowling. She has my heart.
11. Where do you see yourself as a writer in five years?
Hopefully still at it, but preferably with some extra change in my pocket.
And now for some fun, silly questions!
~ If you could pick five authors to sit down and have lunch with, and brainstorm ideas, who would they be?
Any????? Okay, here goes nothing: J.M. Barrie, J.K. Rowling, Mary Shelley, Brandon Mull, Ransom Riggs. I could keep going…
Kim: I’d love to be at that lunch!
~ What secret talents do you have?
I can put a spoon on my nose and leave it there without touching it. I know, not much of a talent, but I think it’s pretty clever.
Kim: Hey! I think that’s an awesome talent and funnily enough I can play the spoons! We could put an act together and go on the road!
~ If you were a superhero, what would your name be and what would your costume look like?
Superjon and my colors would be blue, white, and black. Cape, yes. I think a cape as well!
Kim: Cool! Okay this is just an idea, but since you and Aaron already had a Batman-themed wedding, if you ever renew your vows I think you should each design and dress-up as your own personal superhero!
~ Where is one place you’d like to visit that you haven’t before?
Ireland in a haunted castle surrounded by friends so I can handle it.
Kim: I’ll be there!
~ If you could have an accent from anywhere in the world, what would it be?
Kim: That’s my top pick too!
The Ghost of Buxton Manor goes on sale October 12th, and just happens to be the giveaway! Anyone who leaves a comment will have a chance at winning an ebook copy. I’ll be choosing a winner on Wednesday, September 14th. On a personal note, when I reviewed this book a couple of weeks ago, I knew it was going to be one of my favorites of 2016. Well, since then I’ve already re-read it again and I’m amending my initial assessment. I know there’s a few months left in the year, but I can unequivocally say that The Ghost of Buxton Manor is my #1 standout for this year. There’s just no other book that’s touched me so deeply. So good luck to everyone who enters. Once you read this book, you’ll never forget it!