Monday, October 11, 2010

Author spotlight with J.L. McCale

What has been your biggest influence on becoming a writer?
I’ve always loved reading. The library was a magical place and I thought it would be wonderful to contribute to that magic.

How did you feel when you got your first publishing contract?
Thrilled but guarded. I received a letter in the mail from a small publisher in Florida. They wanted three books from me. I’d fired my agent the year before and had been slammed by rejections from the big houses. I didn’t trust the offer right away, but it worked out okay. They were in the early stages of e and POD. I wasn’t familiar with the different formats at the time. Electronic books seemed like a strange idea. Now I’m a huge fan.

How do you categorize yourself: pantser or plotter?
I’m a pantser. Even when I attempt to outline, I can’t follow it. The story takes me in a different direction.

What makes a book great in your eyes?
I don’t believe brilliant prose or ingenious plot lines make a great book. For me, I need to completely lose myself in the pages. I want to forget I’m reading. A good story takes you into the adventure.

What is the biggest piece of your advice you can give a beginning writer?
Read. I hear too many authors claim to no longer have time to read. That’s just a crock. To improve your craft you must read.

Do you have any guilty pleasures?
Yes but I’m not sharing those.

What influences your writing? And why?
Everything around me influences my work. It can be a moment, just a second or two where I’ve witnessed something interesting. It can be a dream. I’ve even found characters through hearing other peoples’ conversations.

What are you working on now?
I’m currently working on a piece called Midnight. A woman is in the process of getting revenge when she discovers romance with a man that might send her to jail.

Who is your favorite all-time author?
That’s a hard one. I have so many favorites. I’m currently reading Jim Butcher. I love his Dresden Files.

Do you write in one genre or several different ones? And why?
My writing does vary. There are times when I don’t write fantasy/paranormal and others when that’s all that will creep into my writing. There are times when there is a love story in my work and times when there isn’t.

Do you have another career besides writing? What is it?
I’m a paper pusher by day. I type contracts, file, and do absolutely nothing of interest. Needless to say, I frequently daydream.

What’s your biggest reward in being a writer?
Getting an email from a reader. For someone to take the time to tell me how much they enjoyed a story means a lot.

To date, which is your favorite story? Which one did you have the most fun writing?
Crying Blood is still my favorite. The heroine is so flawed, so different. I absolutely love her. She’s so dark and still finds redemption.

How do you go about developing your characters and setting?
My characters tend to take on lives of their own. I start with a person and they simply react, building themselves from the pages. The settings are harder. I start with an idea and just see what happens.

If you had the opportunity to say one thing to your readers, what would that be?
Thanks for reading my work. It means a lot. You can visit me at

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