How did J.E. Jones choose the names for his characters? When did he first feel the desire to write? What is the most exciting part about writing a book to him?
How did you choose the names for your characters?
It varies. Sometimes I’ll name them after my favorite celebrities. I’ve used the names of fictional television characters as well. I also have a baby name book that comes quite in handy, too.
How completely do you develop your characters before beginning to write?
I usually create detailed character profiles for each of my main characters and shorter ones for the supporting characters. I like to include a lot of information in the profiles that I sometimes don’t get around to using in the book but I need it to fully visualize the character and how they will react in certain situations. The profiles will include important details like, appearance, employment and family history, and even minor details like what the person sleeps in, their favorite foods and what their five-year plan may be for their lives.
Which character is your favorite? Least favorite?
It’s a tie for my favorite between Lamar and Monica. Both characters were important beacons of truth and empathy I think really shines through in the novel. Least favorite? It’s Percy, of course! He is everything I ever despised about obnoxious Greeks in college.
Which scene is your favorite? Least favorite?
My favorite scene is the gathering in Percy’s apartment when ALL the characters are together reliving the tragedy that has bonded them for life and theorizing about who may want to kill them because of it. Ironically it’s also my least favorite scene because it was so tough to write. There were so many people in the room and I had to make sure I had the right person saying the right things and positioned here, or there, so the reader didn’t get confused. I actually had to draw a diagram to make sure I was consistent is describing where I had certain character standing when the action erupted.
How long did it take you to decide on a title for your book? Were there many other possible titles you had picked out?
As the novel was first coming together I must have changed the title five or six times. But none of the earlier titles ever felt “right.” While I was doing some “research reading” I ran across the term “eternal sphinxman.” The term just really resonated with me and I knew THAT should be the title of this book.
What do you find to be the most exciting part of writing a book?
Creating something that seems reals out of thoughts and questions I just made up in my head. Pure and simple.
When did you first have a desire to write?
After I wrote a “Just Say No to Drugs” skit in the third grade as a class assignment. My teacher thought it was so good that she let me cast my friends in it and we performed it in front of my class. After that I was addicted to the craft of creating stories and entertaining people.