Interview with J. Ramirez

Posted on September 2, 2013

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Since pretty much the beginning of me breaking out of my shell and sharing my writing on this blog, J. Ramirez has been a huge supporter of mine! I am so pleased to be able to bring you this amazing interview this evening! Please enjoy and spread the word about this up and coming author with such a big heart!

                    

What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on several projects, but my first novel (Urban Fantasy) is my #1 priority. I’m also working on a collection of poems and a short story on the side.

How many (if any) books do you have published and what are their titles?
None yet, but I am currently working on publishing my first novel which is called “My Dark Side.” It should be out late 2013. I’m also working on publishing a collection of my personal poems but have yet to select a title and release date.

What inspired you to write your first book?
I have been interested in the Gothic social class for quite some time, their style, and so forth. Then an idea came to me which I thought would sound really interesting to read about. So I just went for it!

Do you have a specific writing style or one that you prefer?
First Person/DescriptiveWriting – I enjoy writing from a personal point of view, and explaining the scenery and detail what my character is doing in order to place a picture within my reader’s head, but not too much so they can create the scenes themselves. I’ve tried Third Person, wrote a few short stories for fun, but I didn’t feel the personal affect – that spark just wasn’t there.

How did you come up with the title of your book(s)?
I wanted this book to be a trilogy and the main character’s personality and abilities become darker and darker throughout each book. I had several idea down, but went with the one that best suited this trilogy.

Is there a message in your writing that you want readers to grasp?
Normal is not the norm; it’s just a uniform – to accept others no matter how one dresses. People often forget others dress in a certain fashion to display their personality, what they like, to be accepted, get away from reality, etc. They’re quickly analyzed and others think negatively of them.

How much of the book is realistic/true?
This Urban Fantasy book is realistic in terms of the struggles a girl deals with when relocating to another town, school, and making friends; things many people would live through when relocating to a new location and starting over. Events throughout the book become borderline when witchcraft is introduced and becomes more UF throughout.

Are the experiences in your writing based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
No, but they’re similar to when a person has to relocate and start over in terms of learning of the things around him/her, making friends, getting a job etc.

What books have most influenced your life most?
“The Collected Poems of Emily Dickenson” – this book got me to write poetry which I try to write a new poem almost every day.
The Fallen Novels by Lauren Kate – Lauren does an excellent job blending in angels and Goth which assisted me in creating my debut novel.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a “mentor”?
Suzanne Collins. The types of stories I enjoy creating are typically in First Person and Suzanne does an excellent job writing in this point of view. The way she organizes words within sentences is masterful.

What book are you reading now?
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My best friend Thomas Manning. We’ve been friends since childhood. We exchange ideas and assist one another with our writing. Whenever one of us gets stuck, we bounce ideas and quickly breakthrough our issues.

Do you see writing as a career or a hobby?
Definitely a career if my novels become popular enough.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I wish I would have written my first draft in first person instead of third. This would have drastically reduced the amount of time editing and a lot of rewriting. My first draft had over 110k words, and although a lot of the scenes were used, a lot of editing was involved.I didn’t feel close to my characters when I had written the entire book in third person.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I used to write short stories as a child because I wanted my imagination to come alive. I had stopped at some point and then began writing poetry which sparked my interest in story writing again.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?
This is an excerpt of my book, My Dark Side:

The last thing Scarlett Verandia wanted was to move across the country, leaving her soul mate behind. However, with nightmares plaguing her every night, she couldn’t help but think a change of scenery might help. When she arrived at Cold Spring, everything seemed quiet and peaceful, but as she learned more about the town and discovered a journal over a century old, her nightmares were only the beginning. All of a sudden she was having visions, learning of curses and being prepared for something which she did not know. With strange abilities manifesting within her, she learns her life may be in danger, and the only way to survive would be to embrace her dark side.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I would like to become a better third-person writer and increase my vocabulary.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
My favorite author would be Suzanne Collins. I’ve chosen her because she had worked with several television programs which I grew up watching. And now as an adult, I’ve been reading her work and learning how to intensify scenes within a book.

Who designed the covers of you books?
Kate Bloomfield, an author I’ve been following on Twitter and reading about.

What was the hardest part of writing any of your works?
Receiving critiques and not letting them get to me. They are overwhelming, but you need to remember to use them to make yourself a better writer, not bring you down. Reviews are an author’s livelihood, and we need to pay attention to reviewers.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Don’t stop writing. Don’t let others tell you your story/idea is dumb because that’ll cause you to stop writing entirely/lower your self-esteem. Continue writing because learning to write is like learning anything else. If you want to be a writer, research the craft of writing, read a lot of the type of genre you want to write about, and write; you can’t be a good writer if you don’t write.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Remember to leave feedback after reading a book. Reach out to the author and let them know you’ve read their work. That means a lot to an author. Authors and readers need each other to thrive.

What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing your stories to life?
I needed to devote time to writing; apply time management to my life, my full-time job, my wife and dogs. I needed to research structure appearances in specific locations during specific time periods as well as how people dressed/spoke during those periods. One of my characters works with patients so I needed to research that person’s trade prior to writing.

What character from your writing is your favorite and why?
My favorite character in my current novel is Kensey (supporting character) – an outspoken “I can care less what you think” Gothic chick who always backs up her friend, Scarlett who is the main character.

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