Q1. John, it’s wonderful to have you with us for this Q&A. Please tell us about your humble beginnings as an author.
Upon retiring from a long career as a graphic designer, advertising art director, copywriter, illustrator and creative director in 2015, I explored several other means to satisfy a creative outlet—painting, leatherworking and making historic dioramas. Many of my later paintings were of a social commentary nature but within a static visual image, no matter how evocative, only a small slice of a larger story told. One day in March of 2016, while at my isolated off-grid cabins in northern Arizona, I had the inkling to write a book. Within three months, I had a novel on my hands and no idea how to publish it. A professional colleague suggested I look into Lulu Self Publishing and they have been my main publisher ever since. ‘2035 The Elephant in the Room’ was the first of what has now become over twenty novels, novellas, short stories and many non-fiction books as well. My best selling novella ‘Tommy Polito’s Tavern,’ based on a trip to see my dying father in 2011, began life as a short story filler simply entitled ‘The Tavern.’ Three non-fiction books, also based in my home town of Guilderland, New York followed. Since I am a graphic designer, I created several websites for all of the above themes. Some of those sites actually preceded the books.
Q2. Which writers have influenced your storytelling the most?
Five come immediately to mind: 1. Stephen King in his earlier works, especially The Stand. In it he weaves a myriad of characters all believable and revealing the strength and weakness in humanity. 2. Rod Serling and his penchant for twist endings. 3. Stan Lee and his stories in Atlas Comics like Strange Tales or Tales to Astonish. Two of my short stories and novellas loosely based on concepts he wrote over fifty years ago. 4. Edgar Rice Burroughs. He was not only a master of writing action scenes but also using cliff-hanger chapter endings because many of his earlier books started life in magazine serial form. Most of his stories are at their core, romance stories. Most of my fiction has some tale of romance intertwined. 5. Richard Adams, the author of the 1977 classic ‘Watership Down.’ His humanizing characterization of rabbits and other animals they encounter inspired the style and substance of my novella, ‘Lola, Sam and the Jackalope.’
Q3. Any advice for aspiring authors?
Write what you know. Even within the framework of fiction, I use personal experiences, people, geography and even snippets of odd random memories. In one story, I needed something to demonstrate how a female alien could read minds. When the character counters her with the fact that she could have gleaned his information from other sources, she reaches deep into his mind to reveal a remorseful memory of a rabbit killed which he had never mentioned to anyone. Like the character, that random memory came from my life and of which I have rarely spoken. King often writes of characters that are writers and struggle with tobacco, alcohol and drugs. He knew those topics well. For me, these inclusions add authenticity and personal connection to my stories.
Q4. What are your hobbies besides reading and writing?
Always an avid reader of history, I play historic war game simulations with people all over the world via e-mail.
Q5. Tell us about your upcoming projects.
I have several books in various stages of completion both fiction and non-fiction. ‘Off-Grid on a Shoestring’ is based on experiences developing my off-grid 40-acre ranch in northern Arizona. ‘Napoleon & Lee – Great Captains of History or just lucky bastards?’ ‘2037 – A brave new world’ I am writing in tandem with a fellow author and a non- writer.
FICTION & NON-FICTION
John is originally from Guilderland, NY, but moved to Arizona in 1999 and is a retired graphic designer, advertising art director, copywriter and illustrator.
He spends half his time now at his 40-acre off the grid ranch in northern Arizona, occasionally joined by his lovely and forbearing wife, Wendy. Many of his stories were written there during the quiet starry nights amid the howls of coyotes, hooting owls and things that go bump in the night.
For synopsis’, reviews and purchase links please visit: www.jgreenbooks.com