My guest today is N. Lombardi Jr.
Nicolas is the author of The Plain of Jars, Journey Towards a Falling Sun, and the soon to be released, Justice Gone.
Hi Nicolas, would you please begin by telling us how your journey as a writer began?
I wrote my first novel in 1985. It was a catharsis for a broken heart, and it was therapy for getting over what I considered, at the time, the loss of the love of my life. It’s also a story about cultural confusion in East Africa. In the 1980’s it was much easier to get an agent, which I did, but after she submitted the manuscript 15 times, with rejection after rejection, I put it on the shelf for 30 years. It was finally published in 2014 as Journey Towards a Falling Sun, a romance adventure set in Kenya.
I began my second novel, The Plain of Jars, in 1998, and worked on it for 15 years while working as a groundwater geologist in various countries. I had no intention of writing again, but when I visited Laos and learned about the secret war the US waged against that small country (without an official declaration of war) and discovered that more bombs were dumped on that country than all the munitions dropped in World War II, I felt I just had to write about it. The novel was published as my first, in 2013.
What gets your creative juices flowing?
Relaxing and pondering about the story, certainly not while in the mechanical process of writing. I might be sitting with a glass of wine, and start daydreaming, and that’s the state I’m in as the narrative takes form.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
In the process of creating the story, I inevitably find myself getting lost in it, as if I were watching a film, and this gives me a very pleasant buzz which I carry around throughout the day.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest novel is Justice Gone, and was inspired by a true event, the fatal beating of a homeless man in a small Californian town. This was such an extreme case, and one which did not include any racial elements, that it exposed the utter abuse of authority in which an outraged public reaction was inevitable.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
When I get the idea to write a novel, I know what it’s generally going to be about, but often my initial ideas are wiped out as I go along and the story takes on a life of its own.
Do your characters ever seem to have a life of their own or an agenda of their own?
I guess I can interpret this question as “do my characters ever get away from me, following paths I can’t control?” This is difficult to answer, but there have been occasions when they do seem to do something in my head that I hadn’t planned on. This happens when I’m daydreaming about the story.
Do you use your personal experiences in your writing?
Journey Towards a Falling Sun contained many of my own personal experiences, but this is not true of anything else I have written.
Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
Justice Gone could be considered a mystery/thriller combined with a courtroom drama, and such stories are usually categorized as legal thrillers. However, I wanted this book to have broad appeal because many topical issues such as homelessness, troubled vets, and the legal system are imbedded in the story.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Watch an intriguing film, or just sit in my backyard gazing at the mountains.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
Marketing is really tough. I feel like I’m in the Land of the Giants, competing against the Big Five publishing houses, leave alone the thousands of Indies who are trying to get their book noticed. While a writer has to go with what works, the book has to stand out on its own as a unique entity.
Thank you for joining us today. Best wishes for the release of Justice Gone.
Justice Gone is available for preorder and is due to be released on February 22nd.
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