Hello! This weeks Author of the Week is John Espie. John is a busy chappie with lots going on and kindly took time out to sit down and conduct an interview with me. John has written the String Rider and the Trapdoor Spider. He runs his own blog as well as writing and being an educator! Busy man! Hello John! Welcome to the Author of the Week interview. We're going to get nosey and pry into your deep dark secrets! So let's start with learning a little about yourself. Hi Elizabeth! I live on the West Coast of the United States, have an English degree in Literature and Creative Writing (with an emphasis in screenwriting!), and I have been an educator for 25 years. I also have two of everything that’s important: kids, pets… Only one wife, though. Well thank heaven for the one wife! What got you into writing? I’ve been reading and writing for as long as I can remember, telling myself stories for entertainment. I earned cash as a teenager by mowing lawns, and I distinctly remember pushing the mower across my neighbor’s huge front yard, under a blazing summer sun, and absolutely laughing my head off because I was telling myself a funny story. This is probably why none of the neighborhood kids wanted to play with me... Oh, you're that kid! There's lots of us about! What’s the main thing you love and hate about writing? I love the fact that when I write, I’m in total control of my world… even if “total control” mainly involves me torturing my protagonists. Plus, it is beyond cool to pick up something after a long while, read it, and think, “Wow! Who wrote that???” and then realize that it was me. As far as what I hate about it… there’s just not enough hours in the day to write and do everything else necessary for living. I squeeze it in when I can, and it’s often accompanied with a fair amount of guilt that I’m not spending the time with my wife or kids instead. Speaking of torture, who is the worst villain you’ve ever written, and why? I’m writing him now! I have a fascination with sociopaths and love reading psychological case studies to learn what makes them tick. In my novel The String Rider, I have a villainess who I wanted to fully develop as a sociopathic personality, but by the time it was all said and done, the machinations of the plot didn’t allow her enough “screen time” to really get her fleshed out the way I intended. I’m now writing a much larger novel with the purpose of fully developing a straight-up psychopath. It’s great to be pulling off what I’d been hoping to do for a while… but it’s also deeply disturbing. Climb into the skull of a sociopathic personality, and it is really, really dark in there. If not for all the case studies I’ve read, I wouldn’t be able to simply make this character up on my own because my mind just doesn’t operate on that plane, thank God. The end result is that while my book is about a sociopath, it focuses on the victims who I’m far better able to relate with in terms of personality and character. You're writing my autobiography, JOKE! No, John please don't leave lol. Moving quickly on...what is next on your list to write/publish? While I’m currently writing the suspense novel that I mentioned above, I’m going to publish a Christmas novella at the end of this year. It’s sort of A Christmas Carol meets The Shining with a healthy dose of Dante’s Inferno mixed into the plot… and it can be enjoyed by both kids and adults, alike. Now, admittedly, The Shining and Inferno don’t sound very Christmas-ish… but, hey, summarize A Christmas Carol and then explain to me how that one ended up being considered a bedtime story! I don't know, this is the woman who has a Jack Skeleton Christmas tree! And I love Dante's Inferno. Who is your favourite author, and why? It’s hard to pick one, but I have to admit that John Steinbeck influenced me the most. I totally appreciate any professional who can display the level of diversity as Steinbeck, and he made it look effortless. He wrote everything from pop (East of Eden) to nonfiction (Sea of Cortez) to children’s (The Red Pony) to humor (Tortilla Flat) to hardcore literature with books like The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men. You’ll be hard pressed to find another author able to pull all that off. Who encouraged you the most to write? Me. Having said that, I can’t put into words how grateful I am that my wife gives me the time and support to turn my passions into realities. Now this is usually a mixed question, usually split fifty-fifty between interviewees, are you as avid a reader as a writer? Unfortunately, no. I love to read, but life only allows me so much time. Given the choice of either reading for leisure or writing, I choose to write. After I retire, I’ll be able to indulge in both. What’s your favourite genre? I would have to say “thriller” only because that category seems to be the most broad, which plays into my appreciation of diversity, both as a reader and as a writer. The String Rider is a time-travel book, so I’m forced to classify it as sci-fi by default, but if you really want to know my thoughts on the matter, it represents the definition of a thriller that happens to incorporate time-travel as a plot device. The novel I’m currently writing is without a doubt a suspense novel, and suspense is usually included under the thriller category. I think my Christmas story could even be called “thriller-lite” or something like that if the reader wants to be generous! Do you listen to music when you write? Silence!!! My ideal setting for writing is alone in a room with zero distractions. So, of course, I don’t even have a home office, and I write from my living room sofa with kids running all over the place, TV’s blaring, dogs barking... My Facebook occupation is listed as “Writer at My Couch,” which is a totally literal statement. That sounds chaotic lol. If you could interview any famous author who would it be and why? Steinbeck, per my answer above, but Hemingway would probably make a more interesting conversation. Tell me a secret that none of your fans know! I have 17 screws in my body. To date, none of them are loose. Tell me what your main character would say about you! Sorry, but I’m trying to keep this interview G-rated… We are? Okay then finally, any words of advice? Always choose the red pill over the blue. Thank you, for taking the time to sit down and for the wonderful interview and last last strange piece of advice! To keep up to date with John please find him at, https://www.facebook.com/john.espie.56/ https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20885684.John_Espie Twitter: JEspie73 Instagram: JEspie73 Disclaimer. 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