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Conclusion of Interview with James W. Lewis
Are you successful enough to writer full time?
Not yet, but I hope to get there soon. Iím on the right track!
Do you plan out the entire book before you begin writing? Or do you just sit down and write?
To keep my story focused on the plot and characters Iím trying to flesh out, I always write an outline that breaks down the characters (who they are, how they look, motivations, likes/dislikes) and chapters. Of course, I donít always stick entirely to the outlineósometimes it seems the characters have a mind of their own and will veer off the path a bitóbut an outline still helps me maintain the essence of the story without jumping around.
Do you have a set time that you write each day? Or do you wait to be inspired?
I usually try to write at night. I donít have a set time, but I strive to write daily. Sometimes the mood to ďget my prose onĒ strikes as late as three in the morning.
Do you ever become bored with what you are writing? If you do, how do you get past that point?
I donít get bored, but as with most writers, I get writer's block. To overcome it, I step away for a while until I can figure how to get past my self-imposed hurdles. Oddly enough, I often experience ďeurekaĒ moments while taking a shower.
How long did it usually take you to complete a book?
It usually takes about a year, including the editing process.
What new doors has your writing opened up for you? Were there any opportunities that you had never considered before?
Itís opened up many doors! Iíve visited places I probably never would have seen on my own if not for my books, usually to attend book signings and book clubs in different states. I also achieved my dream of owning a business (an indie publishing company called The Pantheon Collective), establishing a fan base, and winning book-related awards. They all have brought me a level of recognition that I didnít expect.
How do you manage to balance your time between family, friends, and writing?
Iím blessed in that Iím a full-time student, courtesy of the militaryís Post 9/11 GI Bill. My full-time ďjobĒ is school, but I also work part-time as a boot camp fitness instructor. My hours are extremely flexible, which allows time to see loved ones often and write late into the wee hours.
If you could spend one hour with just one person, whom would you choose?
It would be my father. He left me and my family when I was a seven-year-old child. I always wanted to know why he left, but never got the chance to ask. I think one hour would help me understand his demons.
You are part of a publishing company, The Pantheon Collective. Whose idea was it to start this company? How long has it been in business? How successful is this company?
Stephanie Casher, Omar Luqmaan-Harris, and myself had decided in 2007 that if we didnít have a book deal by 2009, we would start our own company. By late 2009, none of us had achieved the dream of publication. I actually came the closest since I had a literary agent, but the relationship ultimately dissolved, so in Dec 2009, my two partners and I started The Pantheon Collective.
With the power of three, we have three times the power to promote our books. As a result of our collaborative efforts, weíve won several awards and have sold close to 20,000 booksóa significant achievement for an indie publishing company. We have big plans to expand in 2013.
Do you have any advice for writers who are striving to be published?
Immerse yourself in the world of writing by reading writer magazines/books, going to writer conferences and networking, taking classes, and joining writer groups (including online). The more you know, the better prepared youíll be when you launch that book!
Thank you, Mr. Lewis, for giving such interesting and informative answers to my questions.
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