Author Interview: John Gorman

What books do you enjoy reading?

I am a multi-genre reader. I love fantasy adventure, historical non-fictional, crime fiction, sci-fi, popular science for the masses-type books like Steven J. Gould, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Malcom Gladwell, classics, literary fiction, and stuff that doesn’t neatly fall into any particular category.    

What characters in your book are most similar to you or to people you know?

None of my characters even vaguely resemble me. What gave you that idea? Just kidding. I think I take a little bit of myself and spread it throughout a book. I will focus maybe on one or two characters and sprinkle some of my traits or ways of thinking on them. I don’t really do this consciously, but after I read it over, some things sort of jump out at me, and I say hmm how did that get in here? For instance, in my latest book, The Heir Apparent (Orb Of Zorn #1) I feel I may have sprinkled a dollop of myself into both the protagonist, Elcon, and his cousin, Tren. Now the book is epic fantasy, so I am not suggesting that I have Elcon’s magical capabilities, but there might be a way that he says something or how he deals with a problem that might suggest how I would do something. Some of the arguments Elcon and Tren have might even be a hint of the dialectical struggle within myself. I dunno, I probably need to think it over.  

What do you think is the best way to improve writing skills?

Re-reading and editing your work.       

What is a significant way your book has changed since the first draft?

Well, for my newest book I had originally thought of creating a quest adventure. The idea to retrieve a mystical object (the Orb of Eternity) came pretty early on, but as I started getting deeper into the book and writing more of the backstory, it became apparent to me that I wanted it to be pieced back together. The legend says that twins of creation, Grizilan and Gromalor fought, which led to the splitting of the world. I saw their struggle as a metaphor for the splitting of the Orb. I liked that idea and I stuck with it.   

What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve been given about writing?

To Kill Your Darlings (meaning to edit them out of the book). This oft-quoted maxim is a pretty good rule of thumb, but it doesn’t really tell you how to work the editing process. Somebody once told me that you may edit the “Darlings” out of your book if the scene or story is not flowing well, but you may want to stuff them into another drawer and return to it for another time. It may work somewhere else, perhaps in another story: a sequel or a prequel.    

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I write every day early in the morning. I need to get that early burst of energy onto the page. It may not be the best work, but at least it’s out there. Then I can return to it later on for editing. I also try to write at night before I go to bed, but I am not as religious about this as I am about my AM writing regime.   

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? 

For some strange reason, games happen to appear in all of my books. I’m an avid board game player. I also like to play cards. In my Nebilon Series, I’ve included Mancala, Backgammon, and cockfighting. A pretty odd selection I must admit, but I cannot tell you how happy it makes me to see my characters enjoying a good game as much as I do.      

What’s your favorite writing snack or drink?

Coffee and crackers (and cookies).

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

Mostly from reading non-fiction, articles, and history. Things also have a strange way of popping into my head when I’m doing something physical like playing tennis, walking, or carrying groceries.   

As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?

Spider-man or an archaeologist.   

Check Out Book Three of the Nebilon Series

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