James Garcia Jr. was born in the Central California town of Hanford. He moved up the road to Kingsburg with his family as a child. After graduating KHS, he attended Reedley College where he met his wife. They, along with their teenage sons, still make their home in Kingsburg which is also the setting of James’ debut vampire novel. “Dance on Fire”, was published in 2010. James is an Administrative Supervisor for Sun-Maid Growers of California.
Let's get to some questions, shall we. :-D
BRoP: When and why did you begin writing?
James: I have been writing fiction since Junior High School. Several factors collided to spark something creative in me in those adolescent years: I discovered music and its power on the soul; I was old enough to watch scary movies; and I discovered an enjoyment of books. I began attempting to write songs, thinking I would be a musician; however, soon came to realize that lyrics were too constricting. I needed more room to tell my stories.
BRoP: Tell us about your early works – what was the first thing you ever wrote?
James: Oh, yes. Since those first scary movies I began watching were Friday the 13th, Halloween, The Thing and The Nightmare on Elm Street films, my first attempt at writing was a slasher story. I recall picturing my friends as victims in the thing. It wasn’t because I didn’t like them or anything. *laughs* It was because they were the only people I knew. I think it did have an ending. I might have to look for that one of these days and see whether it might be still around… Then burn it!
BRoP: When did you first consider yourself a professional writer?
James: I don’t feel comfortable answering a question like this one, but so many are afraid of it that I thought I should. Most writers probably think they need to achieve a certain amount of copies sold, some bestseller status and perhaps a lengthy period of time before they would consider themselves professional writers. I think we need to lower that bar for our own self-preservation. If you’re putting in the work and writing stories that are being bought and enjoyed – you’re a professional writer. Whether you can quit that dreaded day job or not is another question entirely.
BRoP: What books have most influenced your life?
James: This one may surprise a great many, considering I profess to be a horror writer. I was definitely inspired by Uncle Stevie with books like The Stand and ‘Salem’s Lot, Michael Slade’s Special X series of novels which are awesome and Clive Barker’s The Great and Secret Show, but the author that humbles and inspires me the most is Pat Conroy. I never wanted to read Beach Music, but was peer-pressured into it by a sister in law. I have never been able to put it down. It is the most brilliant novel that I have ever had the pleasure to hold, and I pick it up every few years and enjoy it all over again. Then I was afraid to read another for fear of him disappointing me. Thankfully, he has not.
BRoP: What is your favorite theme/genre to write about?
James: My favorite genre to write and read is the thriller. You can’t read horror without getting some kind of rush, but basically anything that keeps you on the edge of your seat and makes you flip pages or hit that next page button is what I adore.
Each May, the Central California town of Kingsburg celebrates its Swedish heritage with the annual Swedish Festival: a weekend event where the town puts on its traditional dress, culminating with a dance around a Maypole on Friday, and a Swedish pancake breakfast and parade on Saturday. The town with a population of over 11,000 residents draws thousands more to the event. This year, two uninvited guests also converged upon the unsuspecting town.
Nathaniel is a vampire. He wandered into town, bothering no one; feeding upon stray cats and other vermin, wanting nothing more than to have a place to rest his head. Vincent is a second vampire, and the one responsible for making Nathaniel. He has been searching for his long lost “son” for well over two centuries. Vincent’s goal is to take Nathaniel home or kill him. Nathaniel has often wished for death, wondering why God ever allowed this punishment: to walk the earth undead and unable to be redeemed. Does God remember the little boy from Romania who watched his parents die, was raised by the murdering vampire, only to become one himself? What does God think of Nathaniel and could there yet be redemption for one outside of heaven?
Ten days before the start of the Swedish Festival the most tumultuous week in the history of Kingsburg has begun with two vampires leaving death and destruction in their wake. Kingsburg Police Detectives Mark Jackson and Michael Lopez, Barbara and the entire Lopez family find themselves drawn into something that threatens to destroy them all or leave them scarred forever.
In a marriage of the classic horror story and the Christian themes of good conquering evil and redemption, Dance on Fire is the account of characters being drawn into the fire and the supernatural forces around them watching as they burn.
For the rest of the interview, don't for get to check out my fellow host blogs.
Part 1 Yup, right here. :D
Part 2 Sandra
Part 3 Dean
Part 4 Terri
Part 5 T.W.
Where can we find and follow you?
FaceBook Page: https://www.facebook.com/JamesGarciaJrFanPage
Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3483458.James_Garcia_Jr_