Friday, December 14, 2012

Author Interview: The Apocalypse of Hagren Roose by J.W. Nicklaus

Describe your book in five words or less.
Nothing one does is unknown.

How did the ideas for your books come to you?
As newborns males come hardwired for trouble. We spend our lives seeking new ways of harnessing our troubling gifts. Along the way we learn and adapt—usually. Some lessons come easier than others; some we are just too damn stubborn to let go of. It was that underlying notion of holding onto your beliefs—even if they’re detrimental—that intrigued me.
As flesh-and-blood creatures we have the potential to work through these issues any number of ways . . . but past that, beyond our physical lives, how are we held accountable? Are we held accountable? If so, by whom and why? Is the judgment final or do we get a second chance?

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Watch how others react to you. Listen to what they say, not just with your ears. Try to forgive and hope for forgiveness. The Apocalypse of Hagren Roose ends with one word that sums up the answer to this question.

What is the hardest part of writing for you? What's the easiest?
I have yet to achieve any cohesive sense—much less application—of outlining a story. Documenting story arcs seems to elude me so I do it in my head. This is my next mountain to climb.
Beginnings and endings are the easiest for me. I try to make the first sentence as strong as possible, try to hook the bait with the best worm I can. For instance, here’s the first sentence from the new novella The Apocalypse of Hagren Roose:
“Dying doesn’t hurt. Dying’s easy. The process, however, is agonizing.”
I think it abruptly causes the reader to consider the underlying meaning of each small sentence then string them together to form context. That quick process makes my job easier because it sets the tone for the story. I like the simplicity of it, the efficiency is sublime.

What's next for you? Are you currently working on or have plans for future projects?

My current list of projects are domicile-based, although I hope to warm up my writing again by sinking into another story (or novella). It’s working title is King of Hearts, but I am seriously considering changing it to the much more impactful Black. Here’s the opening:

“It came, and sorrow followed.
It came, gray and sickly, carrion skin against bone. Putrid, black and iron-red sores breached the outer flesh, nourishment for tracts of pulsing white maggots. The bodies had once been sailors, yes, but their mangled repose betrayed tortured souls.”
Very festive, no?

Why did you choose to write for specific genre?
Truth be told, I have yet to come to terms with having my writing falling into some neat, tidy category. To my mind it sort of trickles and splashes, like a stream tumbling through a forest, into a number of categories. I find it easier to say what it isn’t than what it is.
When I write it’s because I am compelled to, meaning the story speaks to me and I have the inhumane task of attempting to make it breath through words, to give a misty notion form and life. I find it difficult to write for a “genre.”

What's it like hearing that readers are eagerly awaiting your book's release date?
I’m not so sure that many times the author isn’t more eager for the release date than his or her readers. People don’t spend their time writing because they don’t care if others like it or not. At the very least they want some feedback, to know if their labor was well spent—or did it fall short.
Having said all that I’d imagine it can be at once profoundly exciting and anxiety inducing. If we’ve done our jobs there will be people who “get it,” certainly those who enjoy the work, while others simply won’t. A lack of enjoyment may simply be a matter of the material being outside a readers’ ability to understand or absorb—or, of course, the story telling mechanics may be flawed; things like bad spelling and such can dissuade certain readers (if not all).

What is one question that you've always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
Q: Do you speak in the same manner or style which you write?
A: (laughs) When my thoughts escape through my fingertips I have the luxury of time, backspace, and delete. I can make sure the words act and move as I want them to. When those same thoughts make the much shorter trip from brain to throat I have to compose on the fly at the speed of thought—not always an easy thing to do.
So the short answer is “no.”

What was your road to publications like?
The Apocalypse of Hagren Roose is, at least for now, strictly digital. So my road was plotted out, cleared, graded, and paved entirely by me. It involved a lot of work but the reward lies in the experience. Now that I have stepped through all the required formatting and submissions I have a solid idea of what’s involved. The big advantage is complete control; the disadvantage is not having an editor, a cover designer, or a strong marketing department. The first two can be easily rectified, the last one is the largest stone to roll up the hill.
Because I controlled Apocalypse from start to finish everything fell within boundaries I was comfortable with, so I rather enjoyed the process.

J.W. Nicklaus attests to living somewhere between the city closest to the Sun and upon the precipice of Hell—but the winters are mild in Arizona. An avid reader and peerless amateur philosopher, he is “DNA and energy. I am cellular and soulful. I am shadow and light. I am carbon and water . . . and I am stardust. As are we all.” His singular ambition is simple: to leave the world a slightly better place than when he came into it.
J.W. latest book is the fiction drama novella, The Apocalypse of Hagren Roose.
You can find out more about J.W.
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