Up for some enticing read, an action packed fantasy world of amazing warriors? Check out this author profile interview and boldly step into J. K. Brown’s imagination!
1. When I first read the title of your book ‘The All Powerful’ something completely different came to mind than a military action fantasy. Why this title?
I’m curious what you thought it would be about!
It’s less of a military fantasy and more epic fantasy. The reason most people focus on the military is because that’s where the story starts in the first 4-6 chapters and that’s the primary background behind Jason, the MC (Also less so the backgrounds of Josh and Jacqui, the other two main protagonists, and one of the main villains). The other 80% of the book really diverges into straight fantasy. I have a feeling as more readers join into this book, the fantasy aspects will be talked about more.
This title has been in my mind since I was in the 6th grade. My teacher gave us one of those “about me” assignments and told us to draw what we wanted to be when we grew up. I wrote “The All Powerful” and drew a guy with energy glowing in his hands. I couldn’t explain that one to my teacher (I wouldn’t consider writing a novel for over 10 years), but that day, the TAP universe was born. There is no other title I would use. It is so important to me that TAP became the series name as well.
So it isn’t a military fantasy, but more… Elemental. I’ve taken the basic four and expanded them into twelve, along with a couple hidden ones, each with their own techniques, strengths/weaknesses, and lore. I also apply other fantasy aspects too, such as summoning. The big difference between your average fantasy and The All Powerful is the lack of magic. Nothing in this book is magical, and magic isn’t even introduced until TAP book 2. These are all skills that humans have using some combination of the power of the mind, and power of the body. Have you ran until you get that sting in your sides? Power of the body. Ever focus on a problem so hard that it gave you a headache? Power of the mind. The whole goal is to make this difference feel as realistic as possible, because it’s an “alternate reality” of what you know as humanly possible.
2. Did you start off writing this SF fantasy genre on purpose or were you merely writing your vision?
My vision. I started this story almost 14 years ago and wrote it down in the last 3 years. When it came time to publishing, I looked up various possible genres to see where it fit because I honestly wasn’t sure. It touches on a lot of different things. Epic Fantasy and Action/Adventure were the best choices. Amazon likes to tie SF/Fantasy into the same group, though, which also works for this book.
3. You’ve had some wonderful reviews. How do you handle any negative comments?
As an author that I follow, JA Konrath would say: “Praise is like candy: it tastes great but it’s not good for you.” I am thoroughly blessed by the positive feedback I’ve had thus far, both from the editors and by the fans. Keep it coming, guys! I also enjoy negative feedback too, though. I have one friend I dub my “greatest critic”, because she does not like my writing style (or at least she didn’t in my earlier stages. I don’t think she’s tried the final product yet). I sent my book to her multiple times because she always had a new, constructive reason for not liking it. Call me a glutton for punishment, but a lot of her feedback helped shape my earlier chapters, and made my book much stronger. If it’s constructive feedback, I’ll consider it, good or bad.
My first honest blog review hits 2/15, at http://www.caroleraesramblings.com . My dad asked me last night what I’d do if she slammed it. I said, “Enjoy it and learn from it. That’s the whole point of honest reviews.” I told her something similar in my review request email: “As long as you’re honest and tell me why you loved/liked/disliked/snoozed-through my book, I’ll be satisfied.”
4. Could you describe your experiences with traditional publishing vs. self-publishing?
Other than a couple medium-sized publishers whom I haven’t heard back from yet, I have no direct experience with traditional publishing, though I have several writing club friends who do. Those friends (who write well and have interesting concepts, by the way!) have been so far rejected by the Big 5. They’re still pursuing it, and one even netted an agent, but we still see no light yet. Back in my creative writing course, while the teacher taught us all to traditionally publish, one classmate insisted he would self-publish. After listening to him a while, I started to follow the advice of authors like Hugh Howey and JA Konrath, self-published authors who had a lot of experience in the traditional business. Glad I did, because I think I’ll be the only published student from that class.
5. Did you use any previous military knowledge/background for this novel or was there research involved?
I was in Navy ROTC for four years, with a Marine drill sergeant as my NSI, so I already had a strong essence of military life. I did research some lesser-known military lingo, and the boot camp stories were hilarious and worth the time (I’m told it REALLY shows at the beginning of Chapter 3!). My primary editor is an army brat, so that helped a lot as well.
6. Some people claim writing fantasy is easy because you simply invent whatever you need. Would you agree?
Yes and no. I think easiness is a matter of perspective: some people enjoy the research, others are good at creating things. Also yes, I can invent whatever I want, but whenever I invent something, rules go along with it. The more inventions, the more rules, the less possibility for invention the further I go down the road.
I have found an exception to this: alternate realities. The All Powerful is an alternate reality of our world. My short story and novella are alternate realities of TAP. It’s A LOT of work to mentally create a new reality from scratch, but I enjoy it, its limitless possibilities, and the limited research.
7. Would you ever try other genres or a different age target group? Perhaps a children’s SF fantasy?
I’d definitely consider it. My upcoming short story (which is close to published) takes a much stronger SF role than TAP does, and my upcoming novella (which DOES have some military, war, and fantasy in it) is more of a drama. For completely different genres, I’m considering mystery (I love a good puzzle!) and horror, even non-fiction philosophy.
Other ages are not out of the question. I’m not a fan of erotic or vulgar content, so I’m already two steps in the right direction for children’s books. If I can teach and get kindergarteners to love Chess, I can write them a book. About the only age group I won’t publish is YA, or at least how the industry currently views YA. I want something that will last in a teenager’s mind, something they’ll cherish in English class and beyond, not a passing fad they’ll regret being part of years down the road.
8. How do you unwind after spending time in that intense action-packed fantasy world?
There is no unwinding for me other than writing it down. I’ve lived The All Powerful for half of my life in my mind, and will probably continue to. Even my favorite hobby, gaming, keeps me in the same mindset.
9. How did you feel when you wrote ‘the end’ in your manuscript?
It was a shallow victory, because not only did I skip some parts that I had to go back to, but I realized that I needed two more books to finish the main plot. Still, a victory is a victory, and I did smile. My dream was coming to life.
10. Are you inspired by other books or movies? Do you see your work on the big screen?
Not usually, but it does happen, even from stories I may not like. It comes in bits from different places, like LOTR’s non-vulgar storytelling and use of a large main cast, Hunger Games’ grasp of the present tense, Harry Potter’s use of puzzles in its plot, etc.
I do see TAP on the big screen, but not as confidently like my primary editor does. If you read J. Houchins’ review on Amazon, she’s much more exuberant about it. We’ve already agreed that if I make it to the big screen, then she’ll have a hand in production. 😀
*Note: I do expect to see TAP as an RPG.
11. Would you like to add anything about your current work or send a message to the readers?
If you’re looking for something different, a new take on fantasy, try The All Powerful. Of all the compliments I’ve received for this book, the one I take the most pride in is, “It’s different from the others.” Its adventure has been compared to Indiana Jones, the lore on Elements stronger than Avatar: The Last Airbender. The action goes by faster thanks to the third-person present tense, and the large cast gives a lot of flavor. The characters don’t just grow individually, but as a team; even the craziest member of the group participates to help everyone out, both in their struggles and their battles. There have also been many comments about how strong the women are, so strong, as Chris Eboch put it: “It’s not all lust and conquest. The men treat the women respectfully, as equals.”