Jonathan Fesmire, lives in Southern California with his son. By day, he’s a copywriter, by evening a steampunk author, and at all times, a dedicated dad. Though Jonathan started out writing fantasy, he has moved completely to steampunk, enchanted with its aesthetics, possibilities, and implications. He’s a fan of the stories, the art, and the gadgets, and enjoys interacting with the community. In fact, Jonathan regularly interviews popular members of the steampunk community for his The Wild Steampunk Blog.What is one thing that no-one would usually know about you?
I am open about the food I eat. I mean, I want it to be good quality, but I’ll try any dish and like most of them. However, I don’t like pickles. Most of the time, I really can’t stand them. I’ll even give them a try now and then to see if my tastes have changed. They never do.
Are the names of your characters important to you?
It’s important that the names feel right for each character. Often, I don’t have a reason for a name, it just feels like it fits. Sometimes though, I do. For example, the main character of Bodacious Creed is U.S. Marshal James Creed. He earned the moniker “Bodacious Creed” by being so good at his job of capturing criminals. Another character in the novel is Jonathan Johns. Why that name? My uncle, who supported the Kickstarter for the book (I talk about this in another answer in this interview) gave me the idea for this character. So, I named him after the two of us, Jonathan for me, and Johns for Uncle John.
How did you choose a title for your book?
There’s such a long story behind this, and I’ve talked about it in a dozen places. I can make this answer short, though. When developing the concept for the book as a steampunk western, I got up in the morning after half-dozing, and the name Bodacious Creed was in my head. I thought that would make a great title and name for the main character, but it seemed to me that someone must have used it before.
I immediately searched the Internet. Don’t you love living in this age, when it’s possible to look up things like that immediately? Well, it turned out that, while the phrase “bodacious creed” had a few links, there was no character or intellectual property for that name. So, grabbed it.
Are there any occupational hazards to being an author?
Reading posts on the Internet can become painful, particularly when people use bad grammar. Is the difference between your and you’re really that difficult to understand? It’s tough not to correct people when those sorts of terrible mistakes crop up.
Have you ever wished that you could be or do anything else instead of writing, and if so what?
I wanted to be a 3D modeler and to work in film for a while. I even have an MFA in Animation and Visual Effects. These days though, I might do an occasional art job or book cover, and I’ll sometimes do digital sculpting for fun.
Have you ever written naked?
Sure. I like to air-dry after I get out of the shower sometimes. I’ll put my towel down on my chair and do some writing until I’m dry enough to get dressed.
What is the single biggest challenge you faced when writing your book?
Life! When I started the novel, I was going through a period of poverty that I had to work hard to get out of. However, in those few years, I found a job and improved things greatly. That ended up slowing down the writing.
Do you have any hints or tips for aspiring writers?
I recently read a post in a Facebook writing group, one mostly made up of beginning writers. That post asked, “Do you think that writers should be experts in the basics of grammar.” Many of the respondents said, “No!”
Seriously. They didn’t think that writers should be experts at grammar basics.
Should a doctor be an expert at the basics of biology? Should a plumber be an expert at the basics of how water flows and how pipes work? Of course! Likewise, a writer needs to be an expert at the basics of grammar, and then some.
The excuse these novices gave was that a writer’s job is to put his or her imagination on paper and that it’s up to editors to fix the grammar. Yes, you should get an editor to ensure that your writing is as error-free as possible when finishing a book. However, if you don’t have the discipline to master your language, how will you have the discipline to juggle characters and plot?
Lazy people have no business being writers.
How do you remain sane while working?
I’m not sure what you mean. Working, i.e. writing, is how I remain sane.
What has been the best experience you have ever had in your life?
I was there at the birth of both my children. Those were the best experiences of my life. It is an unbelievable feeling, seeing your own children for the first time.
Are you jealous of other writers?
I’m occasionally envious, not jealous. The difference is that envious means I want the same kind of success others have without wanting to take it away from them. Jealousy implies taking from someone. However, I’ve learned in the last few years many strategies for marketing myself and my writing, and my sales on Bodacious Creed have been good.
I’m playing the long game. When I get to retirement age, of course, I won’t retire from writing books. Few authors do. I plan to be successful enough that I can make a good living from my writing at that time.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I used to go looking for ideas. I wanted to come up with unique concepts that no one had done before. Because of that, it took me forever to get stories written.
I now know that ideas come frequently, but stories aren’t about ideas. They’re about characters in conflict. Our ideas provide a framework for exploring how people might deal with strange situations.
So, I get fun ideas, but the real inspiration comes from what the characters do within that context after I’ve created them.
What is the strangest thing you have ever had to do to promote a book?
After I had the basics for Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western planned, but before I started writing it, I ran a Kickstarter to basically gage interest, get pre-orders, and get reader input. More novels are getting Kickstarted these days, but in 2013, it was almost unheard of. In fact, I had some people tell me that you shouldn’t Kickstart a novel, just write it. I figured that if you could run Kickstarter for a graphic novel, why not a standard novel?
It worked well, too! I gave high-level backers the opportunity to come up with character names and even full characters for the book, subject to my approval, of course, and integrated them into the story. It helped shape the plot in unexpected ways and I’m happy with the result. Plus, those backers get to read about their characters in the book.
You can find Bodacious Creed in Kindle and Paperback format here: :
Amazon – Bodacious Creed
And, you can meet Jonathan on his website here: http://jonathanfesmire.com
WHY ‘THE THURSDAY THRONG’?
These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then why not visit Thursday Throng Author Interview Guidelines to find out more.