Author Interview: Justin Edison
Each Sunday, I'll be interviewing a different author about their writing journey. If you are an author and would like to be interviewed for this series, please complete this application form. If you have any questions, or if you want to recommend an author, please get in touch by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Justin Edison
Justin Edison has made a career of getting lost! Raised in Nashville, TN and going to school in the Midwest, he wandered around and eventually settled in Seattle. A background in journalism and technical writing, plus travel (sometimes ill-fated), contributed to his passion: telling engrossing stories.
Justin has published four novels, with his fifth on the way. He lives in the Emerald City with his wife, two awesome kids, and a vocal cat.
Where and when did you first know that you wanted to become a writer?
I was in high school when I knew I wanted to do this for life (and I dreamed it would be a career, ha-ha). It was a creative outlet, an escape. Amazingly, not one of those awful tales I penned has made it to my modern world.
Who is your favourite author?
This may sound odd, considering he writes non-fiction, but I love reading Mark Bowden's work (Black Hawk Down, Killing Pablo, etc.). He's so talented at putting the reader right there in that firefight, or sipping that well-deserved cocktail. You live in those stories, and that's what I've always aspired to do.
How long did it take you to write your first novel?
My first, Watching the World Fall, took 11 years of bumbling, mistakes, and frustration, all told. If the first one is written simply to go through the process, I certainly made an odyssey out of it.
Do you plan out your novels or just start writing?
I plan them—at least, the big chunks. If I tried to do it 'organically' I'd simply lose too much time to stumbling around.
Description or dialogue? (Which do you prefer to write?)
I love snappy dialogue and I try to build my scenes around them. My last book, Tempest Road, had four disparate villains in a jungle survival/adventure. Boy, those conversations were fun to write!
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I've learned to recognize it ahead of time—sometimes the mind won't cooperate—so I switch to something else. It helps to have 3 or 4 projects going at once.
What does literary success mean to you?
Barring millions in income (ha-ha) it would mean that my books are getting hundreds of positive reviews and selling well enough to get myself in the black, financially.
Are you working on a novel right now? If yes, can you tell us a little about it?
I'm finishing up Destruction, the sequel to Endgame. My heroine June Vereeth (a sniper) is in heaps of trouble, again. This book opens with a mission up on these ridiculously fogged-in towers without the weapons they're used to and with little intelligence. There's a large, mystery animal who becomes a problem, and the war is raging. Good times!
Where is your favourite place to write?
Believe it or not, I love the occasional trip to the coffee shop. I think it's the noise and energy of people around me that, paradoxically, lets me focus on a scene.
Is there any part of the writing process that you really hate?
I'm not good at editing myself. It's a necessary evil (unless I want to pour gobs of money into someone else's work) but I feel like I end up writing the same thing 4 different times. There's so much second-guessing in this business, and you have to do it with fresh eyes for each pass.
What time of day do you prefer to write?
I prefer mornings, when it's just my coffee and the cat, before everyone is awake. It's hard to focus with kids asking random questions, of course. Then I usually get a creative burst right before I have to go collect them from school.
Do you need to feel emotions strongly to become a good writer?
Absolutely. If you've never been terrified imagining something you've written, or openly wept at something you've written, you may want to reconsider. And don't get me started on love or lust!
How do you feel after writing 1,000 words?
Energized, without a doubt. I tore through my first draft of Tempest Road in about six weeks between jobs, 2,000 words a day. It felt great, even though much would change or be cut during revision.
If you weren't a writer, what job would you like to have?
I work on building and improving websites, and I really enjoy the marriage of the story plus the visual. That's how I hope to grow my business, bringing the story aspect to sole proprietors and their ideas.
What is your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?
This is a game of perseverance and flexibility. It takes years to really find your voice, and then more years to figure out what you want to do with it.
Enjoyed the interview? Connect with Justin!
Facebook: Justin Edison Novels
If you are an author and would like to be interviewed for this series, please complete this application form. If you have any questions, or if you want to recommend an author, please get in touch by emailing me at email@example.com.