Pretty easy to see why I like him, right? Go check out #00Bananas
Hello, JD! How are you today? I've been stalking you for a bit now. But tell my readers about yourself.
Greetings, salutations, and any other version of hello you can think of. My name is JD Estrada and I’m an indie author from Puerto Rico. Within this particular space time continuum, I’ve released 10 books and that’s a pretty weird way to phrase it since I’ve yet to release anything truly sci-fi, but with writers, it’s often more about rhyme and word count than rhyme and reason. Among those ten books, there are 2 urban fantasy novels with vampires, angels and Therians (don’t call them werewolves, trust me), 6 poetry collections (5 English 1 in Spanish), 1 middle grade short story collection set in the magical world of Draem, and a bilingual collection including short stories, poetry, and essays.
What is the current book you are promoting?
Among the many projects I’m working on, the one that is coming up to release is titled “For Writing Out Loud”, which is actually the same title as my blog. I basically made a selection of posts from the blog’s first 3-4 years, organized them under topics, and have collected, edited, and reformatted those writings to make sense in a book setting. In other words, I didn’t just copy paste what I’ve already written. Instead, I worked hard to tweak everything to make sense as a book and not just a series of semi coherent scribblings from off the interwebs. In addition to this project, 2018 will also see the release of at least 4 more titles. One is Peace, Love, and Maki Rolls, which is a non-fiction book kind of containing a lot of my life philosophy. Part of my mission as a human is to try and have a positive impact as much as I can and that book is definitely meant for that so let’s hope for the best. Next up is my middle grade fantasy about a young boy who dreams about flying, a sci fi novella, and a non-fiction book with writing tips and motivation. Oh, and about 5 poetry collections are in different stages of development, while I’m designing the interior of my first haiku collection. So yeah… I don’t get bored :D but for the rest of the answers, let’s focus on the Middle Grade Fantasy, whose title is Given to Fly.
Who is your favorite character(s) in your book and why?
Picking favorites is borderline impossible because once I do, other characters appear in my mind’s eye, pouting like a sad wittle kitty. Especially in Given to Fly. SO many I love so much, but I think among my favorites is Baron Bailey. He’s a huge droopy Basset Hound who is the chauffer for Mrs. Fawn, another very special character that has a knack of jumping from one book to another in my writing, which also happens with Captain Jane. See? I can’t even decide my favorite within one book!! But I did mention Bailey for a reason. He’s based on the dog I was closest to. You see, missing a dog is all too easy and at mom’s, we had 8 canine angels grace our lives with their love. But Bailey was the one who was mine the most and the one I shared the least. He was such a cool dog and I still remember his cold nose kisses on my cheek and I guess part of me really wanted to hang out with him and share some of the things that made me smile from what we shared.
Who is your least favorite character and why?
I worked hard so I didn’t have any least favorites and to want to visit each and every one of those characters. It was something very important to me with this project, from the Shpiders, to Noam the Bookworm, to Hiro, Talula, and Otto… every single character was meant to evoke an emotion and most come from something in my life. If I HAD to choose one, I’d say Fäet (one of the two protagonists). The reason I’d choose him is because he’s my literary incarnation and I can handle not being someone’s favorite :D
What inspired this book?
Once upon a time, my wife made me one of the most amazing gifts I’ve ever received. A combo of a hard cover notebook with a hard case where I would eventually write Given to Fly. The title comes directly from my favorite Pearl Jam song so I wanted to write something that was very special to me. The thing is that the gift meant so much to me and the song as well that I didn’t know what the hell to write. Then on a trip to Orlando, we go to Epcot Center and get on the Soarin ride for the first time in my life. While on that ride (which lasts a few minutes) everything started clicking together in my mind. A boy who dreams about flying, a weird house where he goes on adventures, and images from things in my life percolated in that moment. It was a very intense moment of realization that left me in tears because I had been trying to figure it out for so long and in a moment where I was carefree everything became clear. It’s a book that I wrote for it to be short, sweet, fantastical, and with no violence. It’s also me painting an idealized yet attainable version of a child. John is the protagonist and he’s 11, which I think is actually one of the kindest ages you have in your life. It’s right before hormones start kicking in and you’re still a child but rational enough to not have ALL the meltdowns. Basically I tried to look at the nicest age I was and it was 11 because when I was 10 I still did PLENTY of dick things while that 6th grade, I was honestly quite mellow and at ease for some reason. Oh and I’ve also always been fascinated by the power of flight. :D
Tell us about your world in your book.
I’m a big fan of urban fantasy and this book is actually set in a fantastical place within reality, meaning that the overall setting is the northwest and in a cove nearby a big house there’s this crazy house called Od Manor set on its side atop a huge tree that’s growing OVER that cove. It’s equal parts Addams Family mansion, Tardis, and Howl’s Moving Castle. Most chapters have an adventure set in a specific room with a specific set of characters helping John explore the different ways in which we can fly or feel like flying. All the while, there isn’t a birdcage in sight because I think it’s more important to explore the uplifting power of a song and those floating umami moments when you eat something amazing than it is to be literal. Being a middle grade book, I also wanted to do my best to impart some sort of moral lessons twisted with a tribute so there’s actually a character that’s basically a recovering drug addict angel. As you can see, I kept it weird :D
What is your next project?
Well above I mentioned several projects I’m working on but of the ones I haven’t mentioned, there’s of course the conclusion to the Human Cycle. Research is underway and I’m feeling good with much of the outlining I’m doing, but odds are huge that three projects will be released before that book (maybe more, because you know, poetry). The sci-fi novella I mentioned is titled Natural Intelligence and is set on Jupiter Moon Europa. It’s my first sci-fi and my first full length story written in first person, which brings new challenges. Apart from that, I’m debating whether to write a noir novel about 4 assassins that are wiping a city clean of crime or a Greek mythology project explaining what the hell happened to the Olympian pantheon.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why?
From all of my works, I think it all comes down to who is the most challenging to write and that would be a tie between so many characters in the Human Cycle. But honestly, I think Bill is my favorite. I like that there’s so much mystique to that character, so many twists, and that people find him so likable. But I like him because he is the focal point of several plot points in the Human Cycle even if people haven’t noticed yet… but that’ll come to fruition soon.
Are you a pantser or a plotter or both?
It all depends on the project and how I figure out how to tackle it. The main thing for me is to not repeat myself because I like to find more about who I am as a writer and think that every single project calls for something different in its DNA.
How do you write your books?
By long hand. Quite often I write in bursts as well. Rarely do I have the chance to sit down and write for hours, because you know, life. But every chance I can get to write, I pounce on it hungrily. So I don’t mind writing while standing in line, don’t mind long flights or delays, and don’t mind long waits at the doctor. The process of putting something LITERALLY down on paper is amazing to me and it’s amazing what happens once your hand starts floating almost as if by its own volition.
Who/what inspires your writing?
Life inspires me to write and in regards to people, there are so many. From my favorite bands, to favorites movies, to favorite authors, to loved ones, and friends, and author friends. Inspiration is literally everywhere if you choose to see it and I do my best to find as much of it as possible.
Where do you come up with your stories?
Ideas are like lightning butterflies and you need to catch them as best as you can. Napkins and receipts have been awesome helping me out but ideas are always popping into my head because the ole noggin’ is random like that. I seriously have ideas for at least 40-50 books right now so luckily that will never be a problem for me. To give you an example, apart from all I’ve written about, I have the idea for three series: one is a 4 book YA fantasy epic, another is an 8 book set fantasy with my take on magic, and another is a 19 book set, which would be the most complex project I’ll ever attempt in my life and it’ll be high fantasy (no shit, right?). That’s without getting into short stories or poetry, so yeah… I just let out the ideas so my head doesn’t cave in or explode.
Who is your favorite author?
I want to answer this triply because I wannaaaa lol. My favorite story teller is Neil Gaiman. He comes up with weird things that resonate in ways that I still don’t comprehend and I like that we can find common ground in weird things. When it comes to writing, the more I read terry Pratchett, the more I admire him and am convinced he’s the best technical writer in the sense of how you compose a damn sentence. It’s like every page is highly quotable and every sentence is an adventure. Finally, JK Rowling’s Wizarding World deserves a lot of credit in me throwing caution to the wind and wanting to be a writer. Harry and company mean the world to me and I am proud to be a Ravenclaw, which is a testament to the magical power locked within words. To offer additional inspiration, let’s add Frank Herbert, Douglas Adams, Poe, Lovecraft, Milne, Barrie, Carrol, and Bukowski for good measure.
What is one life lesson you have learned as an author?
Asking will surprise you. I don’t think I’ve said that one before and I hate repeating myself lol. What I mean by that statement is that walking up to a store manager and asking if you can do an event is an easy task if you break down what it requires… but doing it is pretty hard until you do (getting the nerve to ask is way hard for a lot of people). One day I was in a book store with my best friend and told him I’d stick around to ask if they’d let me do an event. Didn’t plan it, I just said, why the hell not see what they have to say. And voilá, first book event. It’s happened so often that it’s surprising and SOOO many people are terrified of rejection that they don’t even ask… well if that’s the case, here’s me saying, ask and who knows, you might just receive. As an added bonus, one of the biggest lessons as a human and an author I’ve learned is that if I don’t feel comfortable doing something, I don’t. Peer pressure need not apply and you shouldn’t be obligated to read a book/write a review/retweet/share or ANYTHING else. Anyone who pushes, by all means cut from your life because no one owes anything to anyone. The more you do what feels right, the less you regret.
Is there anything you hate about being an author?
I think this would be more about my current state about being an author and it’s the whole juggling act. It’s exhausting jumping through all the hoops so that everyone is happy, every base is covered, and then you have 10-15 minutes to write. I’d like to not need the day job and to focus on the writing. I’m sure there are other things that suck, but to me, that’s the one that sucks the most because it takes a lot of effort to get to a point where I can do what I love the most.
What do you love about being an author?
Writing. Damn I love writing. I love writing interview questions, reviews, comments, letters, emails, poems, songs, stories, and novels. The act of writing, of creating, of indulging in creative whims if only to see what the hell pops out of your head and for it to be magnificently weird, or quirky and to resonate with someone. That. That’s what I want more of.
How long have you been writing? What got you started being an author?
I’ve been writing poetry since high school and the short story that indirectly inspired the Human Cycle is also from that time period but I got REALLY into writing thanks to blogging back in 2005. I was invited to write anonymously along with 3 other people in my industry and although that might have gotten me blacklisted in a couple of places, it opened me to a whole new world and diving into writing. The first step taken to being an indie author was seeing an ad for Underworld and saying, “I can write something like that, but more me”… then it all got out of hand until 7 years later I published my first novel :D
What is your favorite genre to read?
My favorite is fantasy but I love reading as much randomness as I can. I love variety and can enjoy a nonfiction just as much as an epic fantasy.
What do you listen to when you write?
OOOHHHH that’s a loaded question hahha. I don’t always listen to the same music when I write and actually do playlists or have particular artists I listen to while writing specific projects. For the Human Cycle, Tool and Nine Inch Nails have been the biggest things I’ve listened to while writing that project, but the Cure also played a big role in the second book and Internal Landscapes by Anathema played in a loop in one chapter of Shadow of a Human. On the flipside, in Given to fly, Elbow’s Build a Rocket Boys has been one of the go to albums, along with Blind Melon and the Eels and for one chapter Tori Amos’s “Talula” (My fav song from her).
Is there anything you want to say to your fans?
Thank you so much for reading me. Thank you for believing in me. I am as me as I can get with what I write and to be able to share that with someone is a gift. To also hear about the ways in which we connect or something resonates… that…. That’s pretty special and words fail to properly express the level of gratitude I feel. Being an indie author isn’t easy. There are a lot of hard days. But every time I have an event, good things happens, and we are brought together by what were my words and somehow become our words.
Tell us about #00bananas and how you got started on that.
HA!!!! That was a silly thing I used to do in my old job and the oldest known 00 Banana picture is from 2014. I’ve always believed that maintaining a fun work environment is important and to make someone laugh by being stupid is too fun not to do so. So one day I held a banana like a gun and nodded to a co-worker. The ensuing laughter meant that I’d keep doing it and then one day I recorded myself doing something silly… afterwards my nephews watched and loved the randomness and who am I as an uncle to say no to them?
What, besides coffee, inspired you to write poetry?
Life, heartache, and confusion. Writing came as therapy to me which is why I recommend people do SOME type of writing. Words heal, especially when you let them go from within. As time passed more things inspire me and it’s something I really enjoy doing it for such a wide variety of reasons.
Which do you prefer writing, poetry or novels?
Each responds to a different part of me. Consider each an atrium or ventricle in my literary heart.
Your family lives in Puerto Rico, in fact your wife was there during the hurricane. Can you give us any insight into what life is like there and how your family is doing? Is there any way people can still help?
This question will be easier to answer when I visit the Island further on in March. At this time all I can report is hearsay and until you live it, you don’t know. I expect to take some pictures and have a lot to say. There are probably a lot of ways for people to help and I’ll be revising my links on Facebook when I have a better idea of what can help, but there’s a lot of info to sift through and a lot of people who are doing a much better job and require our support.
On a scale of 1 to bananas, how crazy do you think Rebekah Jonesy is?
I’d say you’re one banana short of a full on Dirty Jonesy lol. That means, just crazy enough to be your awesome self.
Get some JD Estrada Books here: https://smile.amazon.com/JD-Estrada/e/B00CP4834O/
Website – www.jdestradawriter.blogspot.com
Twitter – www.twitter.com/JDEstradawriter
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Soundcloud - https://soundcloud.com/j-d-estrada
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