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Interview with J.A. Duxbury

J.A. Duxbury

She has been writing since she was 10. Her chosen genre is science fiction; however, as she writes from her dreams, sometimes science fiction is not produced. She lives in Western Australia and loves to go away in her caravan. She and her partner have yet to take their Siberian cats with them.

Q.1 Tell us a little about yourself, not many people know?
I used to play the piano and had a honkytonk piano to practice on.

Q.2 When should we expect your next book? What will it be about?
The next book is out on 22 February 2022 and is a sequel to Heart of Deception. It is about the survival of a royal family after a take-over bid.

Q.3 What made you write Heart of Deception: Part One of the Consequences series?
It was a dream. I wrote it down as soon as I woke up, and it built itself. But, what did come through was the consequence of making and keeping a decision. That's what the entire series is about - living through the consequences of actions and decisions.

Q.4 Were there any obstacles you faced while writing this series?
Trying to split the first two books and making sure I'd break them in the correct place. With the third book, I realized that when I thought I'd finished it, I hadn't.

Q.5 What’s the most challenging part about writing an action thriller instead of the sci-fi genre? What made you switch the genres?
The most challenging part was working with the technology of today and not being anywhere near Europe. The books are centered on a fictional island in the Alboran Sea and thus closely associated with the European Union. Learning what would most likely happen in those circumstances was more daunting than sci-fi because of whatever I make up in sci-fi. As I said earlier, it was a dream that had no sci-fi in it at all.

Q.6 Why should other writers want to write a thriller?
It's exciting. All the things you can do to your character, but don't go overboard. If it doesn't move the story along, then don't write it.

Q.7 What is the most challenging thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
The most challenging thing is to make sure that I have kept to how the opposite sex would react. Having 2 brothers growing up and living with a friend and his brother has helped with that.

Q.8 How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
I'm a pantser. I have a very vague plot and usually start with one character - the one who turns up in the dream - and everything evolves from there. When I write the second draft, I turn to a bit of a plantser and that's when I realize that some scenes I've written - no matter how great they may be - sometimes have to be removed as they don't move the story forward. I sometimes use a whiteboard, depending on how complex the storyline is.

Q.9 How do you select the names of your characters?
If they are familiar names, I just pick whatever comes into my mind. If it's fantasy or sci-fi and nothing comes to mind, I usually use the random keying of all fingers simultaneously on the keyboard and then insert what might be missing to make the name read quickly.

Q.10 How many books have you written? Which one is your favorite?
So far, I've written five. I've published two; the third, Legacy of Risks, is due out in February 2022, another is in editing now, and I've only just sent Dangerous Heart (Consequences 3) to the publisher. I don't think I actually have a favorite. When Dark Dimensions came out (18 April 2021), it was my favorite, then that switched to Heart of Deception, so I think my favorite is often one I've either just finished or am in the process of finishing.

Q.11 Outside of your family members, name one entity supporting your commitment to becoming a published author?
I'd have to say National Novel Writing Month. My first three books were written in the various November, and I have another one set up for this year's contest, too.

Q.12 Do you believe in writer’s block? If yes, how do you deal with it?
Oh, I definitely do. I usually take a day off to de-stress. At the moment, I'm trying to finish a cross-stitch project, so I use that as a destresser, but I paint as well. If the block lasts more than a day, I try to find its source and work through that. If I still can't, I flick through the various works I've got on hand until one sticks out to me, and I write that. Usually, after a couple of days, I can get back to my main work.

Q.13 What were the most surprising things you learned while writing your books?
That characters talk to you. I remember lying in bed trying to think of what one of the characters would do next, and I got this crazy impression of him saying: "Shut up, you've just shot me!" Which I had no intention of doing until I was writing that scene.

Q.14 Do you have any unique and quirky writing habits?
The music I listen to depends on what I'm writing. I used to write action and dialogue for 1812 Overture, but I've now started a playlist of other things for fights. If I'm stuck for a moment, I have a hat with "think" on the back of it, and I'll put that on.

Q.15 Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
EEK! I don't want to think about that! I would probably be painting or drawing instead.

Q.16 What three things readers should expect from your books?
Action. Lots of action. A hint of romance: I don't do many steamy scenes. Real fights where if a person is hit on the jaw or head, they go down. Not like these super fights you see on TV. If sci-fi, usually space ships and, possibly, dimensional travel.

Q.17 What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Keep writing, and when you don't think you can write anymore, write some more. If you don't know how to start, pick your favorite show and write some fan fiction. I had 20 years where I didn't write, and fan fiction got me back in the habit.

Q.18 Which famous person, living or dead, would you like to meet and why?
Oooh, I can only pick one? Darn! Okay, I'd have to say Nostradamus so I could ask him what order his predictions were meant to be in!

Q.19 What is your favorite book and why?
I have too many. One is Julian May's Saga of the Exiles. It was the first series that I read where it was circular. Julian May had very complex politics, relationships, and personality disorders. I still get surprised by what her characters within the story arc do and why they do it.

Q.20 Share the experience of your journey so far?
My experience has been one of turmoil. I began with one publisher but moved to a different publisher, and the changes have been absolutely marvelous. I couldn't have done anything better than change publishers. With the first one, I was disappointed all the time. With the one I'm under now, I'm excited all the time!

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