Check out this author spotlight for J. W. Kiefer!
You can find all his links furthest down the page, and don’t forget to check out his books!
1. Hi! Welcome to my humble blog of all things bookish! I would like for us to start by getting to know you. Give us a short bio, please!
I am a father, minister, novelist, script writer and blogger who hails from the Southern Tier of Western New York State. I have a degree in Theology and Church management as well as a degree in liberal arts. I am also a reserve Green Lantern; and when duty calls, can be found assisting the rest of the core in interstellar matters. An avid vocalist and worship leader, I love to belt out Disney tunes, especially when it is most awkward and embarrassing for my children. As well as being an anime and comic book addict, my other pursuits include knitting, canning, watching paint peel, and observing the occasional pot hoping to see it boil.
2. To get to know you just a little bit better, I’d like to ask you some this or that questions. Answer 5 of these and explain why you chose this or that, or maybe an entirely different alternative!
Ninjas or pirates?
Ninja, obviously. Who wouldn’t want top learn the mystical arts of the greatest assassins the world has ever known? Plus, being an avid Anime fan, I love Naruto. All kidding aside, I actual love the history of Japan and the rise and fall of the Samurai. One of my main characters in book one is called the Shogun and is a samurai from ancient Japan.
I love studying about Iga and Koga where the ninja clans came into prominence. I am working on a prequal book to my current series The Justice Cycle that takes place in ancient Japan. This has given me an excuse to indulge in my fascination of Japanese and ninja or shinobi history.
Mountains or beaches?
Always the mountains. I actual am not a huge fan of the beach. As Anakin put it, “I don’t like sand. It’s all coarse, and rough, and irritating. And it gets everywhere.” Plus, I am a big guy currently and I hate taking my shirt off in public. I feel the less of my pasty pale body people see, the better it is for everyone. Seriously, I am a blonde, so I look like an albino sasquatch. Honestly, I lived in Florida for about 15 years, and I did love the peacefulness of the ocean at night but missed the solitude of the mountains. The mountains, however, have always held a beautiful fascination for me. Most fairy tales happen in either forests or mountains. It is a place where mortals commune with god’s and where the mystery of the heavens kiss the knowable mortal realm. For me, the mountains still hold that kind of magic and mystery. I actually climbed Mount Evan in Colorado a few years ago and plan on making mountain climbing a hobby.
Plotter or pantser?
Pantser. I actually tried plotting my current WIP and found that after a month of struggling, I actually hated life and writing. I mean it, I just hated every minute of it. One good thing that came from it, is that I did a whole heck of a lot of world building. My world is now very fleshed out and I really needed to do that to move forward, so some good came of it. For me, a basic idea forms and I come up with a begging and a tentative end and then I let the characters and the world show me what happens in the middle. I found that this works well for me even if I write slow at times.
Pen and paper or computer/phone?
Absolutely computer. I can’t read my own handwriting so free hand is a pointless exercise in futility for me. That doesn’t mean I don’t jot things down so I don’t forget them at times, but if I try to write the whole book free hand, I would not be able to read any of it. I have tried dictation writing and it just doesn’t work for me. I must put my music on, sit down at my computer and just write. It is the only way that works for me. I am pretty sure I would not have been a writer before the creation of the typewriter. Couldn’t do it.
Hero or anti-hero?
Ok, I am a hero. At least, I hope I am. Like most people, I think antiheroes can be fascinating, but I don’t aspire to be one. I hate the current trend I find in comics, film, and novels of this nihilistic idea that everyone is just grey. Or rather, that we glorify in our greyness instead of trying to become better. Sure, I am not perfect, but I try to shore up my weaknesses and become the best me I can be. I love characters like Superman and Captain America. They represent the idea that we can be better. They are the mentors and heroes the others look up to. Without them, we have nothing to aspire to. Just look at the Watchmen world. That is exactly what they had, and I don’t know about you, but it wasn’t a world I wanted to live in. I have no desire to be a bad boy antihero, but I do have a desire to be someone who lays down his life for others. I guess that is also the Christian in me coming out. Jesus was the ultimate warrior, but he was also a true hero with no dark side. In fact, this is one part of my main characters story arc that I will show as the series goes on. Will he simply be nothing more than an executioner for the universe or will he evolve and become something more.
3. When you look for books to read, what trope or type of story will always catch your attention?
I love the hero’s journey. I also love the villain redemption arc. These two are my favourite tropes. Honestly, I tend to gravitate towards characters or stories that involve sacrifice for others. Therefore, I generally read fantasy. In the real-world people sacrifice their lives everyday for others, but we don’t really see it. Such people as doctors, police, soldiers, fire fighters, direct care, teachers, pastors and first responders are always there in the shadows giving of themselves were no one sees. In fantasy we can bring those concepts out in exciting fashion. For instance, I love Samwise Gamgee. Without him, the whole War of the Ring would have been lost. He was the most underrated and underestimated member of the fellowship, but his willingness to put others before himself made him the person who could do what no one else truly could. I love characters like him and wherever I find a Sam Gamgee, I am happy.
4. What do you write? Tell us about your current projects and the latest happenings!
I am currently working on book two of the Justice Cycle: Famine. The justice Cycle is a paranormal urban fantasy series that begins in Western New York State and then moves out to encompass the greater world. The tentative release date for the project is April of 2022. The Justice Cycle is a projected 5 book series that will also include two prequals and a book of short stories. The tentative titles are:
Prequals: The Shogun, and The Musketeer
As of yet untitled book of short stories. I am also working on a book, blog and youtube channel called “Parent’s Guide to the Universe.” It is very much in its infancy, but hopefully will be available some time next year as well. I hope to also release a children’s book series called “Two Monkeys”. The first book, “There are Two Monkey’s on My Head” is done and I am looking to have it published traditionally.
5. What is your most recent release? Give us a short presentation, cover, and a link for where to buy it!
My first novel The Justice Cycle Book One: Death is my most recent release. It is the first book in a planned five book series that will also have two prequal books and a book of short stories. It is available on paperback, digital and Kindle Unlimited.
The elevator pitch is: In the normally tranquil city of Binghamton in upstate New York women are turning up dead. Murder is something every town experiences, but here in the country, two in as many days is frightening. Police detectives Jared Caddrett and Dana Campbell are tasked with finding the killer, but when a mysterious FBI agent from the big city shows up, they begin to realize that something far more sinister has come to their little town. As the war between the spirits of Justice and Injustice threaten to invade the earthly realm and angels and demons battle, what began as a simple murder investigation will lead the two detectives into the unseen world that exists in the shadows, thrusting them into a supernatural war that has been raging for millennia.
6. What real-life inspiration do you draw from, and what are your primary fictional sources of inspiration (books, authors, films, music, etc.)? Name a few!
Well, I grew up in a Christian home and my father and grandfather were both pastors. From a young age I experienced many supernatural events in the church, in other people’s lives and in my own. I often tell people that my childhood was kind of like the kids in the Sixth Sense only with demons and angels instead of dead people. For me the war in the unseen world was very real and still is. My personal experiences with the supernatural is the source of inspiration I draw from the most.
I was also very much inspired by superhero comics as well. I love to write about heroes, and they were my inspiration. In fact, I tried to get in comics long before I decided to take up novel writing.
I would also have to say that authors like JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, RA Salvatore and many others have inspired my work. My editor commented that my style seemed like a mixture of Tolkien and Lewis, and she could see their influence on my writing. People who have read RA Slavatore’s Forgotten Realm series will also see a lot of influence form his characters as well. Drizzt, Artimus and Jarlaxel heavily influenced characters in my world such as the Musketeer.
7. What is your writing routine? If you have one, give us the run-down!
I sit down, put music on and just start typing. The music and my writing desk are keys to me being able to get into a routine. My day job, or night job since I am an overnight vampire, is quiet and I have some down time and people are always asking me why I don’t make use of that time to write. Well, I can’t. I need my music and I need my isolation, or I can’t lose myself in the creative process. I have tried, believe you me and it never works. Other then that, I have set word count or chapter goals I set for each month. This way I can project what needs to be done and in what time frame. I try my best to stay on track, but my crazy schedule doesn’t always allow it. Other than that, I like to listen to music and imagine. I wrote the last scene in my mind just the other day while listening to music and driving to work. Music really is the key for me. It helps my imagination soar giving the scenes in my head more emotional depth.
8. If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice as you started out on the path to becoming an author, what would it be?
Make sure to write every day. I know this is a given, but you would be surprised at how many of us don’t do it. Most of us creative types are horrible procrastinators. Even though we want to write, we allow every little shiny object to distract us. If I could go back and do one thing over, it would be that. If I had mastered the discipline of writing everyday when I was young, I would already have tons of books out instead of just one. I am forty-six years old, and I have been writing since I was fifteen and I just now mustered up the discipline to finish my first novel. Yes, as Tolkien so eloquently put it, life happens; but If I had just wrote even fifteen minutes a day since I was fifteen just imagine what I could have accomplished by now. Anyway, living in our regrets is a waste of time. All we can do is use the time we have left as wisely as we can. (Thanks for that Gandalf.)
9. Last but not least: where can we find you? Drop those links!