Meet the Author – J.M. Dover

Recently our newest author, J.M. Dover took some time out of her busy schedule to answer some of our questions about herself.   We are so proud to have J.M. as a part of our family and look forward to sharing more books in the Finding Atlantis series from her, with you.

  1. What is the first book that made you cry? Old Yeller by Fred Gipson. The dog is one of the central characters and (spoiler alert) he dies at the end of the book. I think any character you become attached to evokes strong feelings.
  2. What is your writing Kryptonite?  That would be what I call the muddle-in-the-middle. Doesn’t matter if it is the middle of a novel or the middle of a trilogy, nothing can kill my creativity quicker than writing that part.
  3. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?  Write, write, and keep on writing, even if you think your writing is awful. You learn more about your craft every day, and that is the only way you can become a better writer. A published writer needs to do this too, because the learning never stops.
  4. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?  One Child by Calgary writer, Jeff Buick. It is a thriller written from a variety of points of view, and you don’t see the ending until it happens.
  5. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?  It depends on the premise of the book or story. Finding Atlantis required a lot of research into the history of the Atlantis, various archaeological digs, and many ancient civilizations. Where a short story might have little or no research. My Girl in Blue story began with just a picture of a tombstone.
  6. How do you select the names of your characters?  That varies too. For fantasy or science fiction, I might start with a random name generator or search mythological names. I’ve learned the names need to be varied in length and easy to pronounce, nothing pulls a reader out of a story more than constantly stumbling over a character name.
  7. Did you hide any secrets in your book that only a few people will find? I might have done that subconsciously, but I didn’t do it intentionally. Certain twisted minds might see a Star Trek reference, but again, that was unintended.
  8. What works best for you: Typewriters, fountain pen, dictate, computer or longhand? I use a computer to write, but most of my notes are longhand. When I am fleshing out ideas, I find the thoughts flow better with a pen in hand.
  9. Do you have a set schedule for writing, or are you one of those who write only when they feel inspired? I like to write in the morning. I can sit at my computer and write for a couple of hours before other interruptions occur. But life happens, and I need to look for inspirations to write whenever I can find them.
  10. Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you? I used to say I was a quilter, which is kind of a combination of plotting and pantsing. I would write keys scenes as they came to me and then try to fit them into a story arc. There were a lot of amazing scenes that ended up being cut from the story. As Stephen King says, ‘kill your darlings’. Now, I work with an outline of the key scenes including what each of the key scenes should do. I write those scenes first, and then fill in the rest of the outlined scenes before I write more. That gives me a clear idea of what should happen in each scene and I kill less great writing. So now I am more of a plotter than anything else.
  11. What is the most important thing about a book in your opinion? Characters (and character arc). If you don’t have engaging, multi-layered characters then the reader will not care what happens in the story.
  12. What did you want to become when you were a kid? A Naturalist, but I didn’t pass a couple of the university science courses required for the degree. So, I changed my major to psychology, and ended up going into social work. Writing stories was always a creative outlet for me, and now that little hobby has become the center of my life.
  13. Do you recall the first ever book/novel you read? Or the first book that meant something to you?  Books have always been a part of my life. My mother loved reading, and read to me every night when I was very young. The first books I remember were: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and The Wind in the Willows. The book that had the most impact on me was A Wrinkle in Time. I have read that book so many times I’ve lost count.
  14. How much of yourself do you put into your books?  Sometimes my feelings are hidden in a certain character or the theme of the book. A common thread in all my writing is the ‘coming of age’ story. I put my characters in situations where they have to grow. I guess that is because I feel that life puts all of us in situations where we need to grow to move forward. And sometimes, my character’s growth is mentored by a wise character. Am I hidden in the wise characters in my stories? I’ll let my readers figure that out.
  15. What is your motivation for writing more? I still haven’t converted all the non-readers, in this world and any other worlds we will inhabit, to readers.

Finding Atlantis Was officially launched on Aug 10 2018, at When Worlds Collide, in Calgary Canada.  Your can get your copy of it today at all your favorite online booksellers.

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