Thursday, April 22, 2010

Meet Author Jim Hartley

Jim Hartley is an author with the new publishing company, MuseItUp Publishing. His book is due to be released December 1, 2010. The title of his book is The Ghost of Grover's Ridge.

1) Tell me a little about your book.

Out of work paranormal investigator Ken Parker arrives in Groverton, and meets and falls in love with cute red-headed Jinny Talbot. He gradually realizes that there is magic in the town, good witches and evil warlocks, and sees a war looming between the two. He discovers that his girlfriend Jinny is a witch, and more surprisingly, that he himself is. As the battle nears, Ken joins with Jinny and the witch covens to fight the warlocks and the Ghost of Mordecai Grover.

2) What gave you the idea for this particular story?

I have no clue; it just sort of started writing itself, as many of my stories do. Sometimes I get an idea for a title, or just for a little piece of dialog or action, and expand on it, but by the time the story is finished I've forgotten where it started.

3) Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?

I am retired, so I should be full time, except that my wife always has other things she wants me to do! My writing time is not organized at all, just when I can get around to it.

4) When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

I submitted my first story at age 11 ... typed (poorly) single spaced, on both sides of one sheet of paper, and sent to one of the major markets ... rejected, of course. My first serious attempt was much much later, after computers arrived and were able to overcome my lousy typing skills. Back then all submissions were on paper and it cost too much so again I let it slide. But I keep coming back to it, don't I? And this time it seems to be working. Huzzah!

5) What do you hope readers will take from your writing?

I just hope they will enjoy it; that’s what it's for.

6) Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?

Fantasy and SF, that's what I have been reading all my life, from the Oz books on up. Lately I have started reading Mysteries, and wondering if I could write one (or more) of those.

7) What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?

Finding story ideas. Once I have an idea, I can go with it. But if I don't have one, I just wait a bit and one will, like a taxi, come by.

8) Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.

Not really for this book, but I have used real events from time to time. For example, there was a girl who rode a bicycle to high school (very un-cool at the time), and who broke a date with me at the last minute. Made a nice little time-travel piece.

9) How much is your protagonist like you? How different?

Not too much like me ... maybe a lot more like I wish I was!!
10) What kind of research did you do for this type of story?

Not much. In fact, not much for most of what I write. I'm not the kind of writer who will set a story in, say, Newark, NJ in 1947 and then research what store was on a particular street corner. I'll just invent the city of Oldark and put the stores where they are convenient. Like the Springfield of "The Simpsons," I tend to write fictional action in generic settings. I'd really rather write than research!

11) Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not?

It doesn't bother me directly, but I worry a littlr about a reader who might say, "He wrote that trash? I'm not buying any more of his. books." So I generally keep it toned down.

12) What about your book makes it special?

I wrote it, isn't that special enough? :-)

13) What is your marketing plan?

Er, um, ah, can I skip this question? Seriously, this is an area I haven't done much with, and I'm still learning. But it takes a while.
14) Where can people learn more about you and your work?

I'm working on getting a good website set up with this kind of information on it.

15) Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?

For that genre, or anything similar: when you get an idea, write it down so you don't forget it; use those ideas to actually write the stories; and when you get a story done, submit it somewhere! (And while you're waiting for a reply, write another story.)

Jim, it's been a pleasure learning more about you and your work. Thanks for being my guest.


  1. Hi Jim, thanks for sharing about your writing in the interview. I like the title of your book. I wish you much success with it.

  2. Hi Susanne, Thanks for stopping by. MuseItUp Publishing has picked up some great authors for its starting line-up in December.

  3. There certainly seems to be a lot of paranormal books written these days. I'd certainly be interested in hearing why Jim wrote in this particular genre. Do you find you sell more paranormal books than others?

  4. Katie, I will pass your question along to Jim.

  5. Katie -
    It's not just a question of sales (although that does make some difference). But you can't write if you don't get ideas, and that is going to be affecteed - A LOT! - by what you read. I've been reading SF and fantasy all my life, it's so ingrained that I seldom think of anything else. For example, a little while back, there was a contest for stories 500 words or less, involving "snow." So I wrote a piece where a UFO lands on the kids sledding hill! (Didn't win the contest, but did end up on Every Day Fiction a couple of days ago.) And I'm working on a mystery with a female cop ... but she's a witch.

    So you see, the answer is I just can't get away from it. But that's just me.

  6. Jim, thanks for coming back to answer Katie's question.

  7. Jim and Penny, Great interview. Jim, how long did it take you to break into publication?

  8. Cher, thanks for stopping by. I'll be sure Jim gets your question.

  9. Cher -

    It's kind of difficult to remember. I tried writing some 15-20 years back, I think it took 6 months to a year to get a sale. But back then it was slower, it was all by snail mail. And while I did sell a few pieces, it was a money-losing proposition back then, with the cost of paper, stamps, etc., and I sort of put it aside. But I DID NOT throw away the unsold stories.

    So when I got the urge to try again and started writing new stories, I was also able to submit a bunch of the older ones. And this time it only took a few months to get a sale.

    The key is to write lots of stories, and submit lots of stories Don't give up!

  10. Jim, thanks for sharing that tip and coming back to answer Cher's question.