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Interview with Vampire author James Garcia Jr./Book Review & Giveaway

IN THE October 30 ISSUE

FROM THE Books & Tales,
andContributors,
andFantasy & Fangs,
andLorie Lewis Ham,
andMarilyn Meredith
SECTIONS

by Marilyn Meredith
& Lorie Lewis Ham

Interview by Lorie Lewis Ham, book review by Marilyn Meredith, and contest to win a copy of Dance On Fire by James Garcia, Jr. at end of post:

Recently we had the privilege of talking to local vampire author, James Garcia Jr. from Kingsburg. It seemed a fitting interview for Halloween weekend.

James Garcia Jr.

Lorie:
When did you first start writing?

James:
I first started writing sometime after I discovered horror novels in junior high school. I had discovered hard rock music at the same time and originally dabbled with attempting to write song lyrics. I think I abandoned that notion due to the fact that it was so constricting. I wanted the space to be as creative as I could which led me to begin writing stories.

Lorie:
How did you decide to write a book?

James:
Writing stories simply led to writing longer ones, and ultimately books. I never had an epiphany that told me to write a book one day. The stories are simply as long as they’re going to be. Sometimes I wonder whether the stories have already been written on some other plane. I know that sounds crazy. Perhaps I’m some sort of Shaman who can “see” the story and write it down for those who cannot. When I’m writing fiction I don’t feel that I’m creating it, so much as I am simply dictating it.

Lorie:
Have you done any other kind of writing before this?

James:
No, it was only after having my novel and two short stories published that I started writing blog posts and articles.

Lorie:
What made you decide to write a vampire book?

James:
I didn’t, actually. The first thing I saw when I started writing what would eventually become this novel was two police officers standing in the middle of town, in the middle of the night, just shooting the breeze. They are attacked, although it isn’t described. The reader does not see them again until the next morning when what has happened to them is revealed.

Lorie:
What is different about your vampire book from others?

James:
Lol Are you asking whether they sparkle? I think the main difference is the potential Christianity of one of the characters, and the whole Christian angle. I don’t beat the reader over the head with the Bible, but it is present. After all, the Bible is the original good versus evil book, isn’t it?

Lorie:
Do you stick to the old lore?

James:
I think I do. There are some people who know the entire history of everything even remotely considered vampire. They are walking encyclopedias on the subject! That isn’t me. My vampires don’t fly, nor do they push the envelope with regards to being out in the light of day. I haven’t written anything about religious symbolism being an issue for them, although they do know the Bible quite well.

Lorie:
How did you come up with the idea for your main character?

James:
My main character is a loner, just as I was, or thought I was in those dark, troubled days of adolescence. He came about out from the part of me that thought he was alone, that longed for someone to love and to be loved by. All that stuff.

Lorie:
Why set it in Kingsburg?

James:
Originally, it wasn’t in Kingsburg, but a fictional town about the same size. I think I was finding myself spending so much time inventing the town that it was distracting me too much. I eventually realized that there was nothing stopping me from using Kingsburg, so I went for it. It took a little while to get over the giggle factor; a feeling of embarrassment that seemed to creep in because it was my hometown. So far, everyone who has commented about the giggle factor agrees with me, but they also tell me that it eventually goes away, thanks to the very good plot. I hope everyone finds that to be true.

Lorie:
Day job?

James:
Lol Yes, I have one of those. I work 10.5 or more hours, five days a week. My day begins very early. I have a family and two teenaged boys to keep an eye on, too. I’m doing a lot of juggling right now!

Lorie:
When do you find time to write?

James:
That’s a very good question! Writers are taught to write every day. However, I knew early on during this process that 2010 would be all about PR and getting the word out. Other than cleaning up a short story and having it published, I haven’t written any fiction this year at all. The writing that I am doing occurred in the following manner: my publisher set up a blog for me; a guest post for Wicked Writers led to a invitation to join their staff as a regular writer; a positive review of my novel in a local magazine led to my working for Kings River Life Magazine; and subsequently I have offered to assist a fellow author with her blog. That has been taking up all of my time.

Lorie:
How long did it take you to write this book?

James:
This is one of my favorite questions. It took twenty years. My family was starting about the time I began the book. Eventually all other concerns pushed my writing to the back burner, as they say. Yet, there was some maturity, which needed to happen, too. Eventually, in God’s perfect timing everything worked out. About three years ago, I began to feel the magnitude of the regret that I would feel in my golden years if I never tried to complete my novel. That, and the fact that my kids were older, worked together to bring me to a place where I was able to put the work in and see the project reach its conclusion.

Lorie:
How did you find your publisher?

James:
The first publisher I found was a scam artist, which was heart breaking. Thankfully, I was able to get out of that contract, but then came the year and a half process of getting my hopes up, followed by disappointment. I think one very big problem was my crossover genre. I don’t think the secular folks were too interested in the Christianity and the Christian folks were not too thrilled with the blood and guts! Eventually I was led to a new publisher that was interested in anything vampires, as long as it was good. Vamplit Publishing loved it from the start and saw the potential that Dance on Fire had.

Lorie:
What was the hardest part about writing the book?

James:
I believe that the novel wrote itself. Certainly, it took a lot of circumstances to get it to where it is now. I had to do the digging until it could be fully exhumed. My publisher/editor worked very hard, scraping the gunk away until it shined, making it the work that it has become. What might be the hardest part of all is getting people to give it a chance. I have had many very good reviews, but it has been a slow process getting it the exposure that it needs. It got its start as an e-book first, which makes it that much more difficult since not everyone has embraced them yet. We shall see what happens when the paperback version comes out hopefully sometime soon.

Lorie:
Did you have to do a lot of research, or have you always been a fan of vampires?

James:
I have read my share of books and seen my share of films, so I think I had a fairly good hold on the subject matter, especially the lore. The market is so glutted with them at the moment, if you look long enough you will find any spin, which may hinder more than it helps.

Lorie:
Is this part of a series? If so, tell us a little about the next book?

James:
Yes, the second book is entitled, Dance on Fire: Flash Point. It continues with the characters that survived the first book. Someone from the first one, not who you might have expected, returns and enacts revenge. Telling you more would spoil the surprises.

Lorie: Are you from Kingsburg? If so, what schools did you attend?

James:
I did grow up in Kingsburg, so I attended all four schools: Washington and Lincoln elementary, Roosevelt Junior High School and of course Kingsburg High. There are more schools now, however.

Lorie: Are you a fan of vampire fiction/TV/movies? If yes, what are some of your favorites?

James:
I don’t have a lot of time to watch any television, really. With film, I love Bela Lugosi’s version of Dracula; Francis Ford Coppala’s version, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, with the great Gary Oldman; The Lost Boys is always fun. Interestingly enough, I found myself unable to get through Anne Rice’s book Interview with the Vampire. It took several attempts before I actually read it. I loved the book, Concilium Sanguinarius by Andrew Boylan. Another Vamplit author, Marissa Farrar has a good one entitled, Alone.

Lorie:
Writing goals for the future? Do you want to write other types of books?

James:
My second novel was completed in a mere three months, other than some minor polishing that I want to do. This fact has kept me from getting stressed about the next project; however, sometime very soon I need to take the outline which is book three and begin writing it. I think I plan to finish this series first, which should be three books… It’s a trilogy, big surprise, right? However, I do have a tearjerker inside me that wants to come out into the light; something tragic. I have a ghost story that is lurking up in the attic of my mind somewhere, too. I don’t know all of the details on it yet, but I know it’s there. There’s no way that I am going to be able to keep up this pace, as well as write fiction as long as I have this day job. Hopefully my publisher will help me have enough reasons to stay home and write full-time one day lol. That’s every writer’s dream, isn’t it?

Lorie: Anything else you would like to add?

James:
I would simply like to thank the readers of Kings River Life Magazine for taking the time, and for KRL itself for taking an interest in me and what I do. I hope I give back to the magazine everything that they have given to me.

You can find James on on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @danceauthor
Blogs that he’s involved with are: personal blog
Something Wicked This Way Comes and Wicked Writers

Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and an enthusiastic contributor to various sections, coupling her journalism experience with her connection to the literary and entertainment worlds.

Dance On Fire, Review & Book Giveaway!

review by Marilyn Meredith

Great news for lovers of both really scary stories and those that contain vampires, James Garcia Jr.’s new e-book, Dance on Fire, will definitely entertain.

In the unlikely town of Kingsburg, the home of the Sun-Maid raisin and the Swedish Festival, two vampires take up residence. Immediately, the Kingsburg P.D. is faced with the horrifying deaths of two of their police officers that are soon followed by other murders of unsuspecting citizens. The lives of Detective Michael Lopez’s wife, Barbara, and their infant twins are threatened by the most evil vampire, Vincent. Vincent’s bloodlust is insatiable. As Vincent’s bloody trail is followed, the presence of the second vampire, Nathaniel, offers some hope, though he isn’t nearly as powerful.

Garcia has done a terrific job of showing the havoc vampires can have on a small town in a compelling tale. An excellent storyteller, I expect Garcia will quickly gain a faithful following. Highly recommended for all horror fans—great depiction of the vampire culture with an added hint of Christianity.

To enter to win an ebook copy of this book, simply comment on this article. U.S. residents only please.

Marilyn Meredith is a Springville, CA mystery author and an ongoing contributor to our Local Literary section. Be sure to visit her website; fictionforyou.com

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 James Garcia JrNo Gravatar
Twitter: @danceauthor
October 30, 2010 at 11:25am

Okay, you guys. Don’t be shy. I look forward to hearing from you and to giving at least one copy of the book away. If you’re not much for comments, that’s okay, too. Come see me on Facebook, Twitter or even on the Dance on Fire blog and give me a follow. I would love to know you’re here. We’ll get to know one another over time. And keep coming to KRL and help us spread the word of the work that Lorie and the rest of the staff is putting in, letting everyone know how special our valley is. How about that?
Take care,
-James
A recent post from James Garcia Jr: Monday Morning MusingsMy Profile

Reply

2 Lisa AndersonNo Gravatar
Twitter: @doubleagentlisamayanderson
November 1, 2010 at 7:43pm

Great article…learned yet, something new!

Reply

3 James Garcia JrNo Gravatar
Twitter: @danceauthor
November 2, 2010 at 8:26am

Hi, Lisa. Thank you so much for taking the time to not only investigate me, but for visiting our magazine as well. We really appreciate it. Have a great week.
-James
A recent post from James Garcia Jr: Halloween WeekendMy Profile

Reply

4 Elizabeth FisherNo Gravatar November 5, 2010 at 10:27am

Enjoyed the article. Am interested to see how you work in the
Christianity. I could see the difficulty in getting published with
the mix of the two. I buy books for our church library and
pretty much have to stay with certain publishers for them, but
would certainly like to read it myself. As long as you are not aimed at the teen girl audience LOL. Sparkles…ugh.

Reply

5 James Garcia JrNo Gravatar
Twitter: @danceauthor
November 5, 2010 at 3:27pm

Hello and thank you so much for stopping by, Elizabeth. It is always nice to know that someone took the time to investigate me a little bit. Rest assured that there are no sparkles to be found in the novel. Lol! Having said that, I like to think that there is a bit of everything for everyone within the story. You’ll have to be the judge and tell me what you think.
Take care and thanks again. Feel free to find me anywhere along the world wide web, be it Facebook, Twitter or the blog. I’d love to hear from you again.
-James Garcia Jr.
(Author of Dance on Fire)
A recent post from James Garcia Jr: A Giant Six DaysMy Profile

Reply

6 Janette SlagleNo Gravatar November 5, 2010 at 8:42pm

I am vampire buff and am intriqued with the thought of local vampires living among us. My interest is peaked to read your view of vampires. This has sparked my passion to continue writing my vampire novel, I call it “The Goddess”, that I have put on the back burner for a few years. My question to you is, how do you discipline yourself to continue writing something that you have put down?

Reply

7 James Garcia Jr.No Gravatar
Twitter: @danceauthor
November 6, 2010 at 9:26am

Hello, Janette. It is nice to meet you. I thank you so much for your interest, as well as your comment. The discipline was what I most definitely did not have and why it took twenty years to complete the project. There were a great many aborted attempts over the years. It wasn’t until three years ago when my kids were old enough and our family was in a good place, allowing me the time to rededicate myself to seeing the novel through to its conclusion. I did, and while I waited to see whether my queries might land an agent or publisher, I was able to write two drafts of book 2.
Thanks so much for your question. I hope you will find my blog, Facebook or Twitter accounts so that I can follow you as you work through the same types of things that I did.
Take care,
-James
A recent post from James Garcia Jr.: A Giant Six DaysMy Profile

Reply

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