While living in China from 2011 to 2015, J.M. wrote articles about traveling for the magazine Thursday Review. While he still contributes to the magazine, his time in China also saw him return to writing science fiction and fantasy stories. J.M. is the author of two books, Storm in Shanghai, and Between the Lanterns. He also has two works in progress, Fight Without a Sword, and The Gods That Keep Them, the latter being crowdfunded through Inkshares.
Check out J.M.’s full bio here.
Getting motivated. I will have the entire story racing through my head, making important changes and decisions while staring at a wall. But when I’m finally like, ok, let’s write this thing… the distractions of the modern world start falling at my feet as I attempt to reach my writing station.
“You have to have an agent to be successful.” I mean, sure, that would help. But I’ve known plenty of authors who had an agent who never sold their book to a publisher. They are still sitting on them right now, hoping for that six figure book deal. Meanwhile, sales of both of my self-published books are doing great!
Hugh Howie said the best way to market your book is to write the next one. I thought that was insane at the time, but it’s actually brilliant. He advises you to just keep writing books. Build a back log of work. Howie says that your books remain new until discovered. I like that. A lot.
Writing writing writing. NaNoWriMo is an excellent way improve your writing. Every November they put on a contest, and the only way to “win” is to write a book with at least 50k words during those 30 days. It is challenging, rewarding, and fun. Another thing that has helped me improve as a writer is feedback from both fellow writers and readers. Now, other writers can sometimes be overly critical because they feel (subconsciously) that their book/writing is better than yours and they want to let you know it. But their advice has been critical in making my writing better by leaps and bounds. Beta readers are imperative because they really help you to see how differently people can approach your writing. The vast expanse that lay between two beta readers’ comments blew my mind. I assumed everyone would read it like I did in my head. That is not the case, and so it always makes me a better writer to see how things unfold in other people’s minds.
Can you please describe your current project? (genre, title, story, inspiration)
I am currently writing two novels. Both are fantasy and center around my favorite fantasy race: DWARVES. The first is actually the book I wrote last year during NaNoWriMo, Fight Without a Sword. I’m currently editing it and polishing it up. It’s a genre bending novel, since it is a fantasy that contains space travel and mixes our world with that of the dwarves. Here’s a brief description:
Two dwarves, both from humble beginnings in the fishing caste, find themselves 60 years into a war with the devilish Helvete Faen, and at the forefront of the last stand for the Dwarven race on Planet Brenna. BRAKA HAMMAER is an elite warrior of the Oor Viti, Dwarven kind’s greatest fighters; and STROND ULLAC is a young but powerful sorcerer of the Hyggiandi, the most powerful magic users in Dwarven society. After temporarily staving off their race’s extinction, the two dwarves find in each other a connection neither has ever felt before.
Along the way home, the two male heroes become intimate with one another, an act which is strictly forbidden in the Dwarven kingdom. The King of the dwarves thanks the two soldiers for their heroism in saving Dwarven society on Brenna… and then banishes them for breaking the laws against same-sex relationships.
Together, Braka and Strond take to their second home, the open sea, in order to find a new place to call their own. Strond unearths ancient knowledge and spells concerning the piloting of ships off world… into the black emptiness of space. To seek adventure, and perhaps a new home without the bigotry their own kind has shown them, Braka and Strond leave the atmosphere of Planet Brenna in their black clipper ship.
Almost immediately, they are picked up by a strange metal vessel full of humans; humans very different from those found on Brenna. What follows takes them beyond anything they have ever known, and eventually brings Braka and Strond back to the very beginning, where they will have the chance once more to save their people. But this time, Braka and Strond will have the right to ask themselves whether or not they should.
I wrote this because I was hearing people talking about diversity in fiction, and I thought, “You know what? I’ve never read a story where two male dwarves fall in love.” So I wrote one. It’s a badass action adventure where the love interests happen to both be dudes. So, my other current work in progress is the novel I have on Inkshares, The Gods That Keep Them. It’s a sister novel to the other, in that the world written about in TGTKT is mentioned in Fight Without a Sword. Here is a brief description:
On the planet Asa-thor, in the dwarven kingdom of Kelgrond, the spirits of ancient heroes reside in the heavens to watch over the sturdy race as they go about their day-to-day lives. But all is not as it seems in the dwarves’ peaceful land. An old enemy moves in the shadows, threatening to destroy everything the smallfolk hold dear. Some dwarves will try and use these dangerous times to gain power and earn a legendary status in the history books, while others will attempt to step out of the spotlight altogether.
Through it all, the entire kingdom’s fate is held in the blood of a former prostitute – Ceean Uldhe – who has been thrust into this adventure by destiny itself. Her guide, Yintal the Hunter, is a foul-mouthed dwarf raised by an ancient group of humans that seek out and slay giants. He carries a sword almost too big to be used and wears the frilly garments of the seafaring humans that raised him, but he knows the secret of Ceean’s destiny and will do whatever it takes to see she reaches her true potential. Even if that means letting his dwarven kin, who he has no true ties to anymore, be utterly destroyed.
Thanks J.M. for taking the time to do this interview and best of luck with your works in progress.
For those interested in learning more about J.M. Bush and his work, please feel free to use any of the below contact information.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/J.-M.-Bush/e/B01JELA48I/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1472602685&sr=1-1
Book Links: https://amzn.com/0997284226 https://amzn.com/099728420X