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Interview with James Quinlan Meservy

He was born in Northern Utah and currently lives with his wife and six children in Southeast Idaho in the United States. During the day, he works in a warehouse full of dehydrated potatoes.

Q.1 Tell us something about yourself not many people know?
I am hydrophobic.

Q.2 What inspired you to write The Rai Saga?
My dreams. Generally speaking, I do not start writing a story idea until I dream about it.

Q.3 Are we going to read more from you in the near future? Any new project you’re working on?
I don’t know how far in the future this project will come out, but I am working on a dystopian story about a boy who lives in a city controlled by dragons, and he does everything he can to escape.

Q.4 What is the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
I don’t really know, mostly because I have never thought of it before. I guess when writing about women, my most challenging thing is describing the emotions correctly and describing them realistically.

Q.5 Do you plan out your books before you start writing, or do you just write and see where it takes you?
Traditionally, I just write, but I am learning a new method of lightly plotting, especially in my high fantasy work, to help me know the plot a bit better, so I don’t have to rewrite anything.

Q.6 How long, on average it takes you to write a book?
It depends on the length. A short story from start to publication usually takes me about 6 months. But my novels usually take 2 years.

Q.7 How many books have you written? Which one is your favorite?
I have 18 published titles that are out right now. But that includes several short stories, a collection of poetry I co-authored with my daughters, 2 novellas, and 4 full novels. 

I have 2 more books coming out later this year, one is another short story, and the second is an anthology of Realm of the Light Short Stories, Within the Shadows, which will include 3 new stories and 4 shorts that are currently released.

Q.8 Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Oh, that’s easy. I work, likely work a second job, and spend my spare time with my family.

Q.9 If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead role?
An unknown actress who is looking for a break.

Q.10 Is it vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing? Tell us about your marketing campaign?
I mean, if I want to sell books, then exposure and targeting the correct readers is vital. Right now, I am learning how to put together a marketing campaign, so it looks like me posting something on social media, posting a regular newsletter, and not much else.

Q.11 If you could be a member of any fantasy race, which would you choose and why?
I would be a Creature of Rai, a member of the Volkrog Clan, an immortal who can shift into a volkrog, a canine creature with a horn on the forehead, with some magical abilities.

Q.12 If you could invite one character to dinner from your books, who would it be and why?
Arctyrus Hunter, so he could explain to me in person about his unusual moral and ethical codes.

Q.13 What three things can a reader expect from your books?
First, a reader can expect the use of humor. While I am not a humorous person when put on the spot, if given time, I can think of a funny thing to say.

Second, a reader can usually expect some form of natural magic. I usually say this because I do have a couple stories that are not in the fantasy genre.

Third, a reader can expect a character to have an internal conflict between choosing to follow light or darkness.

Q.14 Among all the supporting characters in your books, who is dear to you and why?
Most dear of all my supporting character is Amyrith Hunter because she is my Eponine (my favorite literary character from Les Miserables.)

Q.15 Who designed your book cover? How do you select them?
My works are published through Cosby Media Productions, and my publisher designs the cover. The covers for most of my self-published works are created by Alicia Scarborough. Alicia is an excellent graphic designer, and when she has time to do freelance work, she is the obvious choice for me.

Q.16 How do you select the name of your characters?
Some character names are selected very carefully because of what the character means to the story. For instance, Amanda Adams’s name came to me in a dream. I met this young woman with fair skin, red hair, and blue eyes, and she introduced herself as Amanda Adams. On the other hand, LyAnn Parkinson, also from The United, has had several name changes until I settled on LyAnn because none of the names I had for TJ’s romantic interest felt right.

But most characters in my stories do not need essential names, and for those, I scroll Social Media for a name that could work, think of an acquaintance of mine who may have a similar personality trait. I have been known to pull a list of famous names or baby names from a specific location or time period.

Q.17 Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad ones?
No, not anymore. I used to read my book reviews but now, I just check to see how many I have, so I know which types of promotions I can apply for.

Q.18 Which famous person, living or dead, would you like to meet and why?
I would love to meet my childhood hero, John Stockton. He has always been a wonderful role model to me.

Q.19 Are there any new books or authors in science fiction or fantasy (or both!) have you excited about? What are you reading right now?
What am I reading now? I just finished listening to John Stockton’s autobiography, Assisted.

New books or authors in science fiction or fantasy that I am excited about. My friend, Tessonja Odette, recently released A Throne of Shadows. A princess is framed for the murder of her sister-in-law, so she hides in the forest, honing her magical skills until the moment is right for her to seek her revenge. I am so excited about this because Odette is a skilled author, and her next book is always excellent.

Q.20 Share the experience of your writing journey so far?
Well, I am an unconventional author. Several authors I know started writing stories as children and loved to read growing up. Not me. When I was a child, I preferred a movie or video game, or even household chores to read. I read because I was assigned to in school. My fifth-grade teacher once asked if I would be interested in having a short story I wrote in her class be published in a collection of stories from fifth graders across the nation, and I told her, ‘No, thank you, I don’t want to be a writer.’

Fast forward to my twenties; after graduating from college, story ideas kept creeping into my mind; fantastic stories and superb dialogue popped into my head day and night and would not leave me alone until I wrote them down. 

So I eventually began to write out my thoughts. But I quickly learned that I had no idea how to write stories more extended than a couple thousand words. So I read books on how to write and books in my chosen genre, YA Fantasy. Now, twenty years later, I enjoy writing and have several published stories.

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