VR: I have here a self published author, JC Phelps with The Alexis Stanton Chronicles. You published this book in Aug of 2004, was this your first published work?
A: There are three books currently published in The Alexis Stanton Chronicles. Color Me Grey is the first in the series and yes, it was my first published novel.
VR: I see that this series is spy intrigue genre. Have you or do you think you may try other genres?
A: I’d actually love to try a mystery or even something paranormal.
VR: Have you published anything else to-date?
A: I currently only have the three novels published. Color Me Grey, Shades of Grey and Reflections of Grey. However, I have had articles published in local newspapers and at online sites such as e-How.
VR: Your reviewers talk about James Bond, did you expect this comparison when you wrote your book?
A: Absolutely not. It is wonderful to have my character compared to one such as James Bond.
VR: There are some comments about your book being fun and intriguing. Was this intended or just the way the story wanted to be written? Or a little of both?
A: I had no particular story in mind when I first started to write Color Me Grey. All I had was a character to draw upon. My intent was to write about someone I wouldn’t mind being – in another life. In real life, I’m too lazy to be anything like Ms. Grey. So, I guess you could say it was a little of both. I wanted something action packed but the story really wrote itself and I just followed along.
VR: Do you have a favourite character or book from your writing?
A: Yes, but it’s almost like having a favourite child… They are all their own people and wonderful in their own way, it’s impossible to have a favourite. But, since this is you, I will say that I have a huge soft spot for Black.
VR: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Right now I’m trying to put together a fourth book in the series and I have another story idea simmering on the back burner.
VR: What was your influence or inspiration?
A: I was and remain inspired by my children. I write because it is what I’ve always wanted to do. I finished the books because I wanted to do something my children could be proud of.
VR: Did you have a muse?
A: I guess. She is invisible and very fickle, though. Actually, I think my muse for The Alexis Stanton Chronicles was Alexis Stanton herself. She is a very strong willed woman and demanded I get her story down.
VR: Was there a purpose or meaning to your story that you were trying to share?
A: No meaning – no underlying message to give to the world. I know, it’s disappointing. But the books did and still have a certain purpose and that is to be fun for the reader. I prefer to read for entertainment, so I write with that in mind as well. Yet, I have been told that my books are great to help young women and girls to find their confidence to be who they want to be and not be afraid to just go for it.
VR: How long did it take you on your book?
A: Color Me Grey’s first draft was complete in 21 days, however, the other two books took considerably longer to reach a finished first draft stage.
VR: Do you write every day?
A: I try to write every day but real life doesn’t always permit.
VR: Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?
A: Every day!
VR: Do you have anything in your life that influences or inspires parts of your book?
A: Everything I experience influences me. However, my biggest influences on my books were my parents. People who know my family know that Admiral Robert S. Stanton is almost the spitting image of my own father. And, though low-key, Alex’s mother is a lot like my own.
VR: How did you come up with your idea?
A: I was reading a book and a secondary character popped up in the story. She was very cool and strong and a thorn in the main character’s side because she was so great. She was who I wanted to get to know. She was who I wanted to be, so I took that “feeling” and made it my own.
VR: Do you plot, outline or free write your stories?
A: I usually start with a very sketchy plot and then just let the words flow. This seems to be a problem for me because my characters will take me everywhere but to a nicely wrapped up conclusion. So, I then will redo the plot in more description and start writing with the stricter guidelines. I include all the scenes I’ve already written, if possible, and end up repeating the process over and over until I finish.
VR: Do you create your characters or are they based on someone?
A: A little of both. Some of my characters are completely fictional and some have a little or a lot of people I know in them.
VR: Do you relate to any of your characters?
A: Absolutely. Alex’s attitude is somewhat similar to my own, except she tends to take things to the extreme.
VR: Do you have to do a lot research for your stories?
A: Yes. Though I rarely give a specific location of where my characters are, I generally start with real location in mind and fictionalize it. And, I have done quite a lot of research on B.A.S.E. jumping, cave diving, skydiving, weapons, satellites and all the fun technical things that pop up into my books.
VR: Have you had to overcome anything difficult in your journey?
A: We all have difficulties in anything we choose to do. I do suffer from writers block frequently, but that is more of a product of my life interfering with my daydreams. Some of my readers find this annoying and I do too, except I’d much rather not put out another book than miss out on my children and their lives. I have been very lucky to have family and friends who have all supported me from the very beginning with my writing.
VR: What’s your favourite aspect of your writing life?
A: It’s the same as reading – I get to go to a different world and be someone else for a while. But, when I write, I get to decide what happens.
VR: Do you have any certain music you listen to when you write?
A: It depends on what I’m writing, but The Alexis Stanton Chronicles are meant to have a lot of action so I usually listen to high-energy music while writing them.
VR: I see that you a self published author. Did you have any problems with publishing?
A: Yes and no. I’d say the biggest obstacle for me to self-publish was the money. But you have to remember I started back in 2004. There was no such thing as a Kindle or Nook. Ebooks existed but there really was no market for them. Most POD (Print On Demand) companies wanted $350 or more per title to even fire up their presses and local printers were far outside my price range because I didn’t want to make furniture out of my books (I would have had to order 5000+ copies to get the books down to a price that I could make a profit when selling them). I managed to start my own printing press and printed books for a couple of other people until Amazon and Barnes & Noble made the ebooks more accessible and desirable and POD companies like Createspace made POD reasonable.
VR: Do you have any important lessons you learned that you want to share with new writers?
A: Write from your heart. If you aren’t feeling the story, neither will your readers.
VR: What do you do when you’re not writing?
A: I am a mother of three beautiful girls, so when I’m not writing, I’m playing house.
VR: Where can we find out about you and your work?
A: You can find my books and author page at Amazon here: amazon.com/author/jcphelps
I post to my own blog at: http://jcphelps.blogspot.com
I have my Facebook profile here: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001056462125
My Facebook author page can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJCPhelps
I don’t Tweet often, but you can find me on Twitter (sometimes): https://twitter.com/#!/jeaniep3
My ebooks are available at Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Sony, iBooks, Diesel and Kobo
My paperbacks are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Createspace
VR: Do you have anything you would like to add?
A: Thank you for taking the time to interview me. This is probably the most in depth interview I have ever participated in.
Thank you again for taking part in this blog interview. I’m very grateful for taking time out from your writing to answer these questions and wish you all the best with your future projects.