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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Interview: Jim Garrison Pens Novel Set in Mekong Delta

Hi! I am Carolyn Howard-Johnson, your trusty New Book Review blogger and author of the multi award-winning HowTo Do It Frugally Series of books for writers. This blog has heretofore been exclusive for reviews but I thought I’d do a special series of interviews after I chatted with Jeanie Loiacono, President of Loiacono Literary Agency – Where ‘can’t’ is not in our vocabulary!  I thought sharing the interviews would help the many subscribers and visitors to this New Book Review blog, including authors, reviewers, and, of course, readers who just might find a new favorite author among the featured books and authors.

So, today welcome Jim Garrison

  • What is your genre? Is it fiction or nonfiction?
    • I mostly write fiction, typically a cross between genre and literary fiction. My first novel, QL 4, is both historical fiction and a literary crime novel set in the Mekong Delta in 1970 during the Vietnam War. 
  • What made you want to be a writer? As long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated with books and the doors they open, both in the mind and in life.  So I thought, Why not create my own literary canvas drawn from my experiences and observations and render these tales in a way that entertains and informs?
  • Of all the authors out there, who inspired you most? There were many writers of all stripes who inspired me, but Ernest Hemingway is probably the one who gave me the writing bug in my teens, especially A Farewell to Arms.
  • What is your writing style? Do you outline? Linearly? By scene? Why? Going back to when I practiced law, I start with a lump of clay: ideas jotted down on sticky notes and scratch paper, then in a notebook dedicated to the novel.  The first part of the notebook may be ruminations about characters or even a story arc.  As the concept develops, I begin a list of characters with their descriptions and back story, a timeline, and a chapter outline (based on different scenes).  To start writing, I “outline” in a way that usually ends up getting every scene and character down on paper.  Next I flesh out the story (description, characters, and dialogue) in long hand until I have a complete novel that may be hundreds of pages. I try to be flexible; writing chapters out of order, revising, deleting, changing course.  From those handwritten pages, I type a manuscript, which I deem my first real draft.  
  • Do you write every day? How much? How long? When I’m not travelling, I usually write or edit, every day, but I have no set schedule (and my writing may take other forms than fiction, from poetry to legal documents).  When I’m working on a novel, I usually spend no more than two or three hours a day unless I have a deadline.
  • Do you think reading is as important to writing for an author? Why? How can you write without reading: fiction, nonfiction, current events, poetry, comics?The wider your range of knowledge, the deeper your insights into people, the human condition, everything.  Also, knowing what the reading public reads helps the author write for his or her chosen audience.
  • What are some of the things you would like to share with budding authors? Get something on the page, no matter how rough, inelegant, or incomplete.  Keep a journal, write a description of a place or person or event.  Observe everything and everyone around you.  Listen, eavesdrop.  Cancel cable television.
  • Do you have any marketing and promotional advice, referrals, tips you would like to share? From my scant experience, you must have a platform, including a good website that shows you know your subject.
  • Do you think conferences are beneficial? If so, what have you learned? Which ones do you frequent? Certainly conferences can be beneficial.  Here and there, I’ve picked up some writing tips, but most valuable has been the interaction with other writers and a few agents and editors. I’ve been to the Pike’s Peak Writers Conference several times, as well as to conferences sponsored by the Houston Writers Guild and the Writers’ League of Texas.  I also attended the Maui Writers Conference once in its heyday.
  • Where can we find you, your books and when is your next event? https://jamesdgarrison.wordpress.com/ Johnnie Bernhard with Loiacono Literary Agency represents my novel QL4 (available for acquisition), a brutally honest, unflinchingly poetic, final test for a disillusioned American GI as he searches for an honorable way out of his predicament during the Vietnam War.  http://www.loiaconoliteraryagency.com/authors/jim-garrison/


Agent Johnnie Bernhard is a former English teacher and journalist whose life’s work has been writing and reading.  A published author, her work has appeared in newspapers and magazines, both nationally and internationally.  Johnnie believes that good writing has the ability to transform and transport the reader.
            Her novel, A Good Girl, a second finalist in the 2015 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, is available for acquisition.
Genres:  Literary Fiction, Women’s Literature, Faith-Based Literature, Southern Literature, Historic Fiction, Memoir, and Nonfiction.

Jeanie Loiacono, President, Loiacono Literary Agency
A facilitator of dreams, Jeanie Loiacono represents over eighty authors. Her forte is mystery, romance, thrillers, historical/military/southern fiction, and all quality fiction/nonfiction. Her passion is to see her authors succeed.
“There is nothing more rewarding than to hold one of my author’s books and know I helped bring it to fruition. I am so blessed and privileged to be able to work with some of the most talented writers in the world.” Jeanie.L@llallc.net  www.loiaconoliteraryagency.com


The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. It is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

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