It was an honor to be interviewed this evening by Sezoni Whitfield at Writer’s Kaboodle. Writer’s Kaboodle is a networking site for book lovers, writers and best-selling authors everywhere. Its hashtag, #WritersKaboodle, is its conversation forum where readers and writers can find discussions about new releases, read recommendations, writing tips and useful resources.
Below is the text of the interview, including comments and questions from guests invited to the interview.
Sezoni Whitfield: Hi J. C. Conway! Welcome to the chat on Writer’s Kaboodle.
J. C. Conway: Thank you for having me.
SW: Could you tell us a little about your book HEARTS IN RUIN?
JC: Sure. It’s about two archaeologists, Andrea and Daniel, who differ passionately in their views about how to handle some extraordinary and controversially old artifacts at a remote New Mexico dig. Add to that the problem of being extremely attracted to each other, and then the activities of at least two outside forces that work hard and effectively to sabotage or even destroy the site before its significance can be documented, and you have the main story. The most important side story takes place some 20,000 years ago during a tragic climatic change caused by a celestial impact. The plight of those characters, and what remains of them, is at the heart of the mystery Daniel and Andrea are striving to uncover.
SW: When was Hearts in Ruin published?
JC: It came out May 5 — Cinco de Mayo — 2014. It’s an eBook.
SW: What is the genre and what inspired you to write the Hearts in Ruin?
JC: Hearts in Ruin is a contemporary romance and suspense story. The characters and the underlying mystery they are trying to solve actually came to me as I was researching celestial impacts. There have been many climate changing impacts in the dim past. I didn’t want to write a story all about that. But the remnants of one of those hits, and the effect it had on the ancient people of the time, made a great foundation for the conflict in the story. Daniel and Andrea, of course, are modern archaeologists, steeped in academia, each in their own way.
SW: Which character would you like to introduce this evening?
JC: Let’s introduce Andrea. She’s the character that gets the most point-of-view time. She is a doctoral candidate in archaeology. She’s worked very hard for many years to earn her position as the top-ranking graduate student in her department. She is planning to run her own dig this year and finish her dissertation. Then her dig is whisked away from her by an outsider, Daniel.
SW: How do you come up with so much information to write about?
JC: Well, it depends. When it comes to the people, I write until they come to life for me. Andrea, for instance, has a strong personality, she’s confrontational and blunt, she’s also incredibly smart and has a great deal of integrity. I have no idea where she came from. But now that I know her, it was a snap to find the conflict that would bother her the most. She had to be in a position where her own integrity was compromised and she felt cornered into a betrayal. If we’re talking about the foundations of the story, the schools, the site, the archaeology and its nuances, I research. I talk to people. I draw on my own experiences. I surf the internet like a madman looking for authentic people involved in a real way with the things I need to learn.
SW: Can we order Hearts in Ruin directly from you? Or on a publishing site?
JC: Not from me. It is available quite a few places. Here are a few links:
LSB is Liquid Silver Books. The publisher.
SW: If readers want an autographed copy of Hearts in Ruin, what should they do?
JC: That’s a question I’m still pondering — how to autograph an eBook. I’ve signed anthologies with my short stories in them. I would love to do the same with this book. Until and if it gets into print, I guess the best I can do is autograph a printed cover page, which would be kinda cool–at least I’d appreciate it from an author I like. For something like that, anyone can just contact me on Facebook and I’ll figure out how to get it done.
Judy Rosine Hyp (Guest): I just ordered it for my nook! I don’t normally read romance but it actually sounds interesting and more than just romance.
JC: Thanks Judy — yes, while it is a romance and published by a romance publisher, there are some readers that have come up to me and said they felt it was more of a mystery or suspense, and they really enjoyed it that way.
SW: Woohoo! Judy Rosine Hyp thank you for ordering J. C. Conway’s book!
JC: Yes, thank you very much. I hope you thoroughly enjoy the story!
SW: J. C., is Hearts in Ruin available in Kindle and paperback as well?
JRH: I love mystery and suspense!
JC: That’s ideal. Throw in a romance, and that’s what you’ve got.
SW: Judy, feel free to ask J. C. questions about his book.
JRH: Sounds good! I will post on Sezoni’s wall when I am done with it!
SW: J. C., what is the takeaway for the reader?
JC: That would be wonderful, Judy! I’ve only had four reviews so far on Amazon from customers. They’ve all liked it. But I’m certainly anxious to hear more from readers and how they feel about it.
SW: Judy, that would be awesome!
JC: Sezoni Whitfield I guess it’s that there are always more questions than answers, but that’s fine, so long as it is approached with an open mind and being true to yourself. Both of the main characters in this book have to look inside, question their motives, and reconcile that with their actions. Without that, they don’t have a chance against their other troubles.
SW: J. C., what advice do you have for writers who want to become better writers?
JC: There is a lot of good advice out there. Seek it out. Everyone is different. For me, I feel it is most important to (a) dedicate time to writing, and (b) study the craft. It’s tough to take critiques at the beginning. But that’s how you learn fastest. Develop the thick skin it takes to be told your work could be better, and plow forward. Study, write, study write.
Kris Lynn (Guest): Hi, just chiming in – hope it’s not too late. I like the last question – anxious to get your reply J. C. Conway. You are such a good writer, how did you do it – what path did you take to achieve your goals?
JC: Hi Kris! Thank you! I took pretty much that path. I thought I was good when I was younger, but it took quite a few years before I realized that kind of good wasn’t good enough. I dropped the ego and started listening, learning and practicing!
JRH: You didn’t mention Bin……yes I down loaded and starting reading it!
KL: Great answer. And it helps to have a thick skin about people’s reactions, edits, and so forth. I know you are always perfecting your craft.
JC: Judy — Yes. I like Bin and Tala. They appear in the prologue, and you will see them again … they’ve got quite a story of their own.
SW: Hi Kris! Are you currently reading Hearts in Ruin?
JC: Kris — It’s a never ending thing, isn’t it?
JRH: Ok I’m going to check out now. I want to read! Thank you!
JC: Thank you, Judy!
SW: J.C., do you have a favorite quote you’d like to share before we go?
KL: Hi, I’m not sure what protocol is for these Facebook things. I am reading Hearts in Ruin and I was immediately engaged in the story. J. C., there are some similarities in my story to yours, so I am reading (and writing because now I really want to finish my book! I’m jealous) yours closely. Not only for the characters and story, but how you deal with the archaeological side of things.
JC: I like Philip K. Dick’s quote, which appears in VALIS, and I think also in I Hope I shall Arrive Soon — “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”
SW: Kris, let me know if you want to do an interview on Facebook when your book releases. Just send me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
JC: This has been a lot of fun, Sezoni Whitfield. Thank you very much for hosting. Kris Lynn, definitely take her up on the invitation. I am looking forward to you publishing your work.
KL: Oh my gosh. I will definitely like to do that. I hope to finish in the next couple of weeks with the first draft. Still need to revise etc. etc. So, I’m a ways out. So happy for J. C. This is a terrific book.
SW: J. C., thank you for joining us this evening! We enjoyed learning about Hearts in Ruin.
KL: Goodbye and keep writing, J. C. On to the next book!
JC: Thank you. Have a wonderful evening.
SW: Kris and Judy, Thank you both for participating in the chat! Judy, I’m glad you found something good to read!