I have just finished reading the second book in the Eli Arnold and the Keys to Forever series and I am so pleased to announce that the author, John Carter, has agreed to do an interview with me here on my blog. Today. Right here. Right now. Yes! I know, right? Woo hoo! So without further ado, let’s give a warm welcome to Author John Carter!
And the crowd goes wild! *Applause!*
Alright John, can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
My name is John Carter … of Earth, not Mars. I can’t tell you how many people come up to me on a daily basis and ask me about that! I’m married with one daughter, Rachael. She inspired the Eli Arnold Books when she was a little girl.
Haha! I’m glad you cleared that up for me. I was seriously wondering… :) Ok, so what do you do when you are not writing?
When I’m not writing (or working) I love to play ultimate Frisbee. I also like to explore a lot of the old tunnels that run beneath my little town of Macon, Georgia. And of course, I love to read!
Do you have a day job as well?
I’m actually a practicing attorney but really can’t stand all the rules and regulations that go along with that job. Poor career choice on my part, I know, but it is what it is and it pays the bills :)
A lawyer, huh? You’re right. What a terrible choice of career. ;) (For a Eli Arnold, maybe!) Haha! When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
My first book, Eli Arnold and the Keys to Forever Book One: It’s About Time rattled around in my head for a long time. It started out as a bedtime story for my little girl and sort of took on a life of its own. I actually started putting it down on paper sometime in late 2011. I finished it in March of 2013.
Like I said, the Eli Arnold series started as a bedtime story for my girl. I’m sort of a big kid anyway so Children’s Fiction was a logical choice.
Where do you get your ideas?
Everywhere. News articles about historical finds, something someone says to me … they really do come from all over. I have a box that a keep interesting articles I find in and go through it when I need some inspiration.
A box of interesting articles…What a great idea for inspiration! Do you ever experience writer’s block?
All the time. In fact, I can’t think of anything else to put here right now, so …
Haha! Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I sort of know where a book is going but I don’t have any kind of written outline. I work it out as I go which requires me to go back and make changes a lot but it works for me.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
When I was a kid, I read a lot of Stephen King books – I particularly liked the Dark Tower Series. I also read a lot of James Rollins and Steve Berry now. Rollins incorporates a lot of science and history into his works – that really appeals to me. Berry was an attorney who quit practicing law to write – that very much appeals to me as well! He also went to the Law school in my hometown and is a really nice guy!
You know Author Steve Berry? No way! How cool! So can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
I self-published my first book and didn’t really have a clue about what I was doing. There was a lot of trial and error involved in getting everything just right. I also had a hard time believing that I had actually written a book and that people actually wanted to read it. I sat on it for a few months before I actually pulled the trigger and published it.
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
I don’t think so. I learned so much through that first publishing experience that I probably wouldn’t change a thing. That experience certainly helped me down the road.
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
I use social media a lot and have had a few local events. Free giveaways seem to work well to get prospective readers interested and Facebook has driven a lot of traffic my way.
Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
I’m working on a book geared more toward young adults right now. I might shop that around to the more traditional publishers when it’s finished. I’ll keep you posted :)
Ooooh, can’t wait! Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
Absolutely! Eli Arnold and the Keys to Forever Book Three: All Roads continues Eli’s quest to recover the Keys to Forever, find his brother and return home. This installment finds our hero in ancient Rome around the time of Leonardo da Vinci. Eli battles a branch of the Order of Disorder called the Legion in an attempt to locate Vulcan’s Fire and move on to the next time. Friends become enemies, enemies become friends, and nothing is as it seems. Eli meets an entire new cast of characters and runs into trouble no matter what way he turns. He’ll also get a little closer to finding out about the ancient race that created the Keys to Forever and started him on his long adventure. And of course there’ll be a twist :)
Ancient Rome? Leonardo da Vinci? I’m sold! Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Some of the characters in my books are based on people I know but most everything is from my imagination. I do try to incorporate as much cool science and history into the books as possible – things like Archimedes’ death ray and invisibility devices – cool science and history…not the boring stuff :)
You’re right, a death ray is definitely NOT boring! :) What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
In book two, Eli deals with a used car salesman styled Cyclops in the first few chapters. I think so far that was my favorite part to write. It was fun to do and when I went back and read over it, I loved it. I also like the very end of each book where all the seemingly unrelated stuff from the books get tied together and works out exactly like I’d planned all along – yeah right :)
How did you come up with the title?
I liked the name Eli Arnold and the full title sounds like a 1950’s serial to me. It just sort of worked so I kept it. Originally, it was Eli Arnold and the Keys to Forever – Stones of Never. I liked it better shortened.
Interesting…What project are you working on now?
Book Three is almost finished! Then it’s on to Book Four!
Will the next book in the series be coming out soon?
I’m hopeful Book Three will be out before Christmas – cross your fingers for me please!
*Fingers crossed!* :D Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
There are several characters that will make second appearances in the later books. I have them all carefully stashed away for when I need them.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
The toughest criticism – I was told that a lot of what I written in the first book was unnecessary and detracted from the flow of the book. I went through a lot of re-writes to get things whipped into shape and the book is better for it.
The best compliment – I got a review comparing my book to the movie the Princess Bride which is one of my favorites. I keep a copy of that review on my desk to keep me motivated!
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Keep writing. Write as much as you can and be open to constructive criticism. The more you write, the better you’ll get!
Great advice! Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Thank you! I love writing and hope that my books are well received. I work really hard to make sure that the product I put out is the best it can be and hope it brings some enjoyment to my readers’ lives. Thanks for taking a chance on me!
I’m sure your new readers will NOT be disappointed!
Well there you have it folks! Author John Carter. And wasn’t he a pleasure! If you (or your kiddos) would like to give the Eli Arnold and the Keys to Forever series a try, swing on over to Amazon here and get yourself a copy of the first installment. I’ve also read (LOVED) and reviewed both books. Take a peak at the reviews here.
And until next time, may your dreams become a reality, and your words be never forgotten…