A) I’m from the California Central Valley, near Fresno. When one reads my books they find about it because I set my vampire series there, and Seeing Ghosts starts there before moving off to the California central coast. I thought I was going to be an artist when I was a kid. I used to draw all the time; however, I discovered horror novels in my teens and I never looked back. It wasn’t very long at all before I began crafting my own stories.
Can you say that your journey to publication was difficult? If so, what were the hardest moments to get through?
A) Perhaps immaturity was the hardest part. I finished some novellas and short stories, and the beginning of my first novel; however, once career and family began to become a priority, I set things aside. I tried unsuccessfully to jumpstart my writing over the years, but it wasn’t until I turned thirty-eight that I really began to feel the regret that I was facing. I dusted off the manuscript, saw it finished and founded a small publisher to step out on a limb with me. Ultimately my first novel took twenty years.
Wow! Twenty years, that is incredible. I know during those long years (and the years since publication) that you must have faced some struggles. So, when it comes to your writing, how do you overcome i-suck-it is, that little voice in your head that tells you your writing isn’t good enough?
A) You know, I don’t think I’ve really thought I wasn’t good enough at any time, at least not these past six years or so that I have been writing again. The problem as I see it is the competition is simply so huge that it often feels as if I’m beating my head against that proverbial brick wall and no one even notices I’m there doing it. That’s the tough part. The frequent feeling of wanting to quit has nothing at all to do with whatever level of talent my writing might sit at. It’s really more to do with the size of the mountain to be climbed. Add to that my eleven hour day job, and the work gets harder still. Yet, I keep moving forward, just looking for that break that will propel me.
On a more positive note, what is your dream vacation?
A) My wife and I have been talking about Italy and France for a long time (I love Francophiles!). That would certainly qualify. A couple of years ago we were fortunate enough to travel to New York City to accompany my son and his high school Wind Ensemble as they were invited to play at Carnegie Hall. It was a glorious five days that still feel like a dream sometimes.
Describe your writing style in five words.
Dark, twisty, humorous, romantic, suspenseful.
What movies are you currently excited to see?
A) Well, now that the teens are older they don’t need dad to take them to the movies anymore. They see all the blockbusters well before I do. *sigh* ;) My wife and I just saw Before Midnight which was the third film in that series for those familiar with the Before Sunrise and Before Sunset Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy films. I’m rooting for the newest Wolverine film since the last one was rather iffy. Other than that, I’m just looking for any excuse to take my wife out to the movies. She’ll do some action film, but mostly we hope for a good RomCom to see.
What are you currently reading?
A) I’m between books at the moment. I just finished Linda Cassidy Lewis’ romance drama, An Illusion of Trust; Stant Litore’s zombie bible book, Strangers in the Land; Richard J. Parker’s serial murder novel, Scare Me; Dan Brown’s latest, Inferno; Stephen King’s son, Joe Hill’s Horns. All were very good. Once I get through this book tour I’ll start reading again.
If you weren’t a writer, what other careers would you pursue?
A) Well, as I mentioned earlier I already have a day job. If the writing thing doesn’t get far enough, I suppose I’ll just have to figure out how I’m going to satisfy myself with finishing out the next twenty years or so until retirement. *weeps* Just kidding! ;)
If you could create a holiday of your own, what would it be called?
A) Chicago Cubs World Series Champions Day… *laughs* I’m sorry. My poor baseball team hasn’t won a world series since the Titanic was only a series of blueprints! We’re talking 1908 for those unfamiliar with our plight. It would mean we finally won the thing.
For people who haven’t read your novel, how would you summarize the plot?
A) A man who is struggling to live without his dead wife and unborn son moves into a spooky old ranch house and finds himself haunted by more ghosts than just the ones that haunt his memory. As if that weren’t enough, he then meets a woman who is the spitting image of that dead wife and it’s almost more than he can bear.
What are two of your pet-peeves?
A) 1)When I can’t find my keys because a family member left them somewhere else instead of putting them back in my hand or the drawer where I leave my wallet, sunglasses, etc. *sigh* 2) Before I recently had my work hours changed, I used to work from 4 am until 3 pm. When I would come home from work during the summer or a holiday break and find the rest of my family lounging around in sleep ware that would really bug me!
To you, what makes a good story?
A) Hmm? I don’t know. Don’t try to impress me with your vocabulary or mastery of science. Just get out of the way and let your story take me somewhere. That’s why we read, am I right? To be transported away.
What usually turns you off about a story?
A) A lot of us are Indies these days, trying to make it all on our own. Unfortunately, some are in too much of a hurry to get their work out there and cut corners with editing, proofing, etc. I know because I was guilty of that myself. I didn’t realize I was doing that, but I was. It’s hard work and often expensive, but we need to put in the full professional effort or we do ourselves a great disservice. Books that have not little errors, but grievous ones are a huge turn off.
If you could collaborate with any author, who would you choose, and why?
A) Probably a fellow Indie author. I love this community of writers, and collaborating with another sounds life great fun and something that would be very rewarding.
What is on your night stand?
A) Canadian Whiskey! *laughs* Not really. The night stand is on my wife’s side of the bed. My kindle is usually nearby on the dresser, if that’s what you’re asking.
What is your favorite book?
As you brace yourself to hear about some God-awful horror novel, I have a shocker for you. My favorite novel is nothing of the sort. It’s Beach Music by Pat Conroy. I never wanted to read it, but succumbed to some peer pressure from a family member. I’ve never stopped reading it! It may very well be the most perfect book. Life-like characters, incredible interwoven plotlines and superb dialogue that wrap up at the end as if tied with a beautiful red bow – it’s a superb read!
My thanks to the Paranormal Romance Fans for Life audience and Danica Winters for allowing me this great opportunity to share a little bit about me and what I do.
James, you are very welcome. Thank you for joining us!
James Garcia Jr.
Number of pages: 147
Word Count: 76,303
Cover Artist: Maria Zannini
Paul Herrera finds himself bequeathed a mysterious old house near the California central coast by a deceased aunt he never knew. The woman who shows it to him is the spitting image of his wife, taken from him three years before in a senseless car accident which also took his unborn son.
While he deals with the ghosts of a past he cannot let go, there are new ghosts Paul must deal with - alone for the week in the expansive two-story house that he will soon discover holds many secrets.
Eventually, he will see that he is surrounded by ghosts as he struggles to hold onto the only thing that he has left in this world - his sanity.
About the Author:
James Garcia Jr. was born in the Central California town of Hanford. He moved up the road to Kingsburg with his family as a child. After graduating KHS, he attended Reedley College where he met his wife. They, along with their teenage sons, still make their home in Kingsburg which is also the setting of James’ vampire series. Dance on Fire was published in 2010 and its sequel Flash Point was published Halloween 2012. His third book entitled, Seeing Ghosts, a stand-alone paranormal romance is set for a June 2013 release.
James is an Administrative Supervisor for Sun-Maid Growers of California.