Jen: Today we are excited to welcome J.A. Garland to Romancing the Book. J.A., please tell us about Instinct and where the idea came from.
J.A.: “When you’ve been betrayed, how do you balance revenge with trust?”
Lone wolf, Rory Archer, never failed a single mission. Now the hunted instead of the hunter, Rory unwinds a twisted trail leading back to Amber Arlington, a spirited Halfling tied to a world of Shadows. Bound to vows initially forged out of necessity, Rory and Amber’s relationship surges into more than either of them bargained on. Scrambling to identify their attacker before joining the casualty list, Rory is faced with doing the unthinkable, or watching Amber become a slave for his species.
In the battle against Shadows, demons and all variety of monsters come out to fight. Can one wolf learn to trust in time to save them all?
Where the idea came from: If you know anything about me, you know that I am a self professed cheese puff connoisseur. I spend a lot of time researching and sampling different types of cheesy goodness. Which leads me to my next favorite thing to do…running. Thank goodness, right, or else I would be a tank! When I am running the trails, I plot out my books, because, yes, I’m also a plotter. I have to sketch everything out to make sure I intertwine scenes and get that big black moment just right. The characters that carry the storyline come secondary. Sometimes, though, they don’t like to play nice. They take that ‘breath of life’ and run amuck with my plot!
Jen: Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.
J.A.: The world is an exciting place, but it wouldn’t it be even more exciting if ‘Otherkind’ creatures existed? Like demons, werewolves, vampires, shapeshifters, etc? Instinct is book one in a series where Shadow creatures–paranormal beings who refuse to fly under the humans radar, come out to play. The National Otherkind Administration (NOA) is responsible for overseeing human and Otherkind interactions. Utilizing Analysts, they collect information on the Shadows. If they believe an infraction of the Otherkind Agreements exists, they send in the Trackers for recovery. At the top of the food chain is the Otherkind Council. They act as judge and jury, and have become celebrities of sorts in the eyes of the Otherkind. My series follows several key players on both sides of the table.
Jen: This is your debut novel. Can you tell us your call story?
J.A.: I am one of those uber lucky people who are surrounded by great friends. One of which, is a sports editor. He read my manuscript and educated me about the EBook market–he felt it was the only way to fly. I wasn’t totally sold, if you haven’t noticed, I’m stubborn. I wanted one of those big NY print houses, right? (Ducking my publishers long reach right now, lol). I decided to appease him by sending my manuscript to two small presses that I’d researched a bit. The other one responded first, but I held out to hear from both. I’m glad I did, because when I heard from Champagne Book Group, which later created BURST Books for their SciFi/fantasy line, I knew they were right for me. They have open communication from top to bottom, great contracts, a wealth of supportive authors, amazing cover artists and caring mentors.
Jen: Why Urban Fantasy? Is there a genre you’d like to try or one that you’ll stay away from?
J.A.: I guess I’ve always wanted to believe there was some ‘magic’ in this world. So incorporating it into my books and characters just came naturally. Not that normal folks are boring or anything, lol, but you have to admit, super charged creatures are a lot of fun!
I would like to try my hand at Science fiction. Which probably isn’t too much of a jump for a fantasy author. I’m something of a technology geek, so I think it would be fun to cover futuristic space travel and space aliens. Gotta have space aliens.
Jen: Do you have a writing routine?
J.A.: I am a dedicated morning person. I get up before the sun, around 5am. I then drink a carafe of coffee, I’m not joking, I have the blood pressure to show for it, lol. Then I go for a run. I run at least 6 days a week. My favorite place to run is at a nearby park. 500 acres of trails, I love it! When I run I think about the next chapter of my current W.I.P. So by the time I get home, I am all ready to have at the computer. I peter out around noon, but get a second wind in the evening. Then I usually edit paragraphs I’ve already written, I don’t add anything new.
Jen: Who are some of your favorite authors?
J.A.: I think I’ve read just about every one of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s books. Which is quite the accomplishment since she is such a prolific writer! No, I have never stalked, er, met her. I would love to talk to her though, but not at a stuffy, automated book signing. I’m thinking it would be fun to chat about life and writing over coffee and beignets in a New Orleans cafe. What do you think, Sherrilyn? Are you up for it?
Jen: What are you reading now?
J.A.: On the writing groups where I belong, there are so many great authors that I decided to read at least one book offered by each. First, I started reading just the ones in my preferred genres, but then I realized I was limiting myself, so I branched out. I recently finished a book by Linda LaRoque, ‘A Way Back,’ and although there weren’t any ‘Otherkind’ creatures in it, I loved it! The woman can not only tell a story, but she can connect the dots with a precision and skill that is amazing.
Jen: What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?
J.A.: My writing style has been described as Twilight meets T.J. Hooker. Thriller, action, a little romance, any author in those genres inspire me.
Jen: What’s next for you?
J.A.: I am currently working on book two of the Halfling Chronicles, and I’m almost ready to submit. Without giving anything away, this novel pursues the origins of the Halflings and the Shadow creatures who wish to control them. It also follows Slade, who tried really hard in book one to take center stage. In this book he gets full rein, and boy does he take it!
J.A. is a full time firefighter in the state of California, an addicted trail runner, a connoisseur of all things cheese puff, and an author for BURST Books. When she isn’t slogging through the obstacles at a mud run, you can find her hunched over her computer unleashing demons, vampires, and werewolves upon the world.