Howdy and welcome to Kam’s Place, Jim Proctor!
- For those who might not be familiar with you, would you be a dear and tell the readers a little about yourself? How did you get your start in the writing business?
(Jim) I’ve been a laboratory scientist and engineer for the past 38 years. I’ve been married for almost 35 years, and my wife and I have four kids. The youngest is 22.
It’s hard to say when I got my start in the writing business. I think I started writing my first novel around 2007 or 2008. I spent more than four years writing it. I had this idea that I would send it off to a publisher and they would love it. They would send me a check for a bunch of money, and I’d be an author. Then I heard about this thing called self-publishing and I jumped into it. I cut a lot of corners, and the book sucked, though I didn’t realize it at the time. I wrote a short story and another novel, both of which also sucked.
It was then that I reached a low point in my life. My sister was dying of cancer. I was in poor health and dealing with constant pain. It was all too much for me. I unpublished all my books and vanished from indie book community for almost two years. Then I got the itch to write again. I decided, if I was going to do it, I needed to take it a lot more seriously. I wrote a new novel (which had grown out of the horrible short story I had unpublished). I hired a professional editor. I hired a professional cover artist. I began to think of myself as an author when I published Veronica Phoenix.
Somewhere in there, I started in the writing business.
(KAM) I’m truly sorry for all the pain and suffering you’ve experienced in your life. My thoughts are with you.
Carl Wilkins, a successful man with a thriving business, loses everything and has to start over from scratch. His dogged determination quickly deteriorates when he finds that even his reputation is gone. With barely enough money to buy a cheap bottle of booze, and no prospects for employment, things look bleak until he receives an unusual job offer from a stranger who turns up just as Carl hits rock bottom. The perilous space salvage job is more than just a chance to rebuild his broken life. It is also a chance to strike back at SACOM, the people who ruined him. Carl, the best space salvage operator in the star system, bets his life that he can complete the job. Setting out in the Phoenix, a specially modified space freighter, Carl begins a dangerous mission to find and collect missing cargo pods from the dense asteroid belt. Struggling to remain alive in the belt while avoiding detection by SACOM ships, Carl learns that he may have as much to fear from the people who hired him as he does from SACOM. His chance to rebuild his life turns into a desperate race across the galaxy in hopes of finding a safe haven where no one will ever find him.
- All writers fear the dreaded “block”. Please tell us how you handle it.
(Jim) I don’t really dread writer’s block. I write when the story is ready for me to write it. Sometimes that means writing every day for months on end. Sometimes the story just doesn’t fall into place. When that happens, I spend more time reading. The story always comes back to me to be written. You can’t force it. I can’t, anyway.
- Will you please share with the visitors what genre(s) you write? Also, when you’re not writing, how to do you spend your time?
(Jim) I mainly write Science Fiction and Fantasy. When I’m not writing, I work on old cars and I read.
- I know many writers, such as myself, keep their pastime/career a secret. Do those close to you know you write? If so, what are their thoughts?
(Jim) Most people who know me, know I write. When I first started, I wrote under a pen name and I didn’t tell many people. It was a bit surreal. I don’t know if I thought I was going to become famous and I didn’t want people to know who I really was, or if something else made me use a pen name. When I came back to writing, I used my real name. My friends and coworkers know I write.
(KAM) That’s great!
- Will you share with us your all time favorite authors? If you’re like me, it’s a long list so give us your top ten.
(Jim) Not in any order… J.R.R. Tolkien, Peter F. Hamilton, Julie E. Czerneda, Isaac Asimov, Terry Pratchett, John Varley, Lia Fairchild, Jon Messenger, Bart Hopkins, D. Hart St. Martin. There are many more.
- If you could choose one book to go to the big screen, yours or otherwise, which book would you choose and whom would you love see casted in the parts?
(Jim) Oh, I love this question. I would love to see Veronica Phoenix and Search for the Phoenix go to the big screen. I know that’s two books, but they are really one story. Or, two stories running side-by-side.
Casting… hmmm… If I could choose, Megan Carson would be played by Gina Torres. General Lance Nelson would be played by LL Cool J. Carl Wilkins would be played by Bruce Willis. Nolan Peters would be played by Peter Scolari. Georgia Bennet would be played by Sigourney Weaver. Some of these actors are too old for the parts, but I find it hard to accept that. After all, I’m still a teenager.
Fighting to remain one step ahead of SACOM, Nolan Peters and Megan Carson investigate the mysterious disappearance of their friend, Carl Wilkins. During the investigation, Nolan struggles with his growing affection for Megan, while she tries to cope with the recent death of her husband. Will the strain bring them together, or drive them apart?
When the pair uncovers evidence of a treasonous conspiracy that threatens the stability of all human worlds across the galaxy, they reluctantly put their trust in a SACOM investigator and a hard-nosed Army general to root out the conspirators. Will their trust prove to be their undoing… or prevent a galactic-scale military coup?
- Would you care to tell us what you’re working on now? That is if it’s not top-secret information. If so, just whisper it in my ear. I swear it’ll go no further.
(Jim) I started writing a post-apocalyptic story with a science fiction premise. Unfortunately, it isn’t going very well. I’ve written the first three chapters, and it is too much scifi. The post-apocalyptic crowd doesn’t like a lot of scifi in their stories. I am taking a short break, and then I will turn three long chapters into a short opening chapter. That’s the part I am having a hard time with. Then chapter two will start right in with the post-apocalyptic stuff.
- Where can we find your stories and is there a particular reading order?
(Jim) All my books are available on Amazon for Kindle and in paperback. I would suggest reading Veronica Phoenix before reading Search for the Phoenix. You can read Freedom: A Futuristic Fantasy before or after the Phoenix series.
- Would you please share how your present and future fans can contact you?
(Jim) I can be found on Facebook (facebook.com/IndieAuthorJimProctor) and on Twitter (@AuthorJProctor). I have a web site, as well: AuthorJimProctor.com, though I must admit I have fallen a bit behind on updating it. I need to remedy that.
- Before we conclude this enlightening interview, do you have anything else you’d like to share? The stage is all yours.
(Jim) I’ve been involved with the indie book community for several years and I must say, I have met a lot of wonderful people. Most are friendly and helpful, as well as supportive. A few… not so much. I ignore them. Usually you can spot the ones to avoid. Their facebook page is all “Me-me-me, I’m so wonderful.” Anyway, I want to say to everyone who has helped me, been supportive, promoted me, “Thank you.”
~~ Closing remarks ~~
Thank you Jim for answering a few questions for us and also for allowing ONE LUCKY VISITOR a chance to WIN a signed book by you.
Now, who’s ready to win a prize?! (keep scrolling for details)
~~Time to check out the prize!!~~
Jazeen is a prisoner—not in a jail or a dungeon, but in her own home. Her parents, guilt-ridden since the death of their oldest daughter, have taken overprotective to the extreme, never allowing her out of the house except to attend school.
Trapped and frustrated, Jazeen only wishes to be free. When a familiar bird taps on the metal of her balcony, compelling her outside to investigate, she’s hit by an almost jealous yearning when it spreads its wings and soars away. Despite knowing her mother would disapprove, she climbs onto the railing, staring out at the vastness of the stars. It’s then she hears it… the thrum of an airship.
Mistakenly under the impression Jazeen is about to jump, the eccentric airship pilot throws her a rope. In an act of defiance… or perhaps desperation… she grabs it and climbs onto the ship’s deck, sending her life in an entirely new direction. The dangers of the world, once no more than vague concepts, suddenly become very real.
Thrust into a reality where magic isn’t make believe and witches do exist, Jazeen isn’t sure if she has what it takes to protect her newfound freedom, but she isn’t about to give it up without a fight.
Venandi reached the next pad where a large passenger airship was tied up. A ship like this would have a captain, a first mate, one or two pilots, as well as stewards and a cook. With a crew of that size, it was a pretty safe bet that the first mate would slack off as soon as the captain was out of sight. He would promise the captain that things would get done, and then he’d delegate everything to his underlings.
Venandi studied the people milling around the airship. One man was doing a lot of pointing and barking out orders—probably the ship’s captain. Beside him was another man who seemed to be trying to look important while staying out of the captain’s way—likely the first mate. He would be the man to talk to once the captain left the area. Captains weren’t generally forthcoming with information when questioned by strangers. First mates were more talkative when their captain went away. They tended to be self-important, considering themselves just one step away from being a captain without having much in the way of real authority aboard ship. They were the ones who would tell you where their wealthy, invalid grandmother lived in exchange for a modest bribe. If money didn’t work, offering to buy the mate a drink or four often did. They were especially loose with information after several drinks. Venandi waited, being careful to move about casually so as not to appear to be watching the crew. Soon, the captain finished giving orders and walked away toward the town. The first mate, looking both annoyed and relieved, began yelling at other crew members as well as port workers assigned to their pad. Then, having relieved his own stress, he sat on a crate and watched as everyone worked. Venandi walked along the pad and approached the man.
“Nice ship,” he said.
The first mate looked up, grunted something under his breath, and went back to watching the crew work.
“Do you frequent the ports here along the coast?” Venandi asked.
The man looked at him and said, “Can’t you see I’m busy? I have a lot to get done before the captain comes back. Get lost.”
“Please, accept my apology. I didn’t mean to interfere with your important work. Being first mate is a tremendous responsibility. You practically run the ship from bow to stern while keeping the crew in line and working hard,” Venandi said.
“That’s right. And what do I get to show for it? Crap wages and derision from the captain, that’s what.”
Venandi sat on a crate nearby. “Exactly! That’s why I just walked away from the ship I was serving on. The captain started bossing me around as soon as the ship touched down, telling me to do this and do that. And then what does he do? He turns to leave, no doubt planning to find a bar stool that needs warming. Well, I’ve had my fill of that. I told him off and walked away. You should have seen the look on his face.”
The man smiled and nodded. “Good for you. So, are you looking for a job on another airship?”
“As a matter of fact, I am. Not just any ship, though. I have an old friend by the name of Angus Beaph who runs his own airship. I worked for him years ago. Leaving his ship was the biggest mistake of my career. I’d like to find him and see if he’d be willing to give me another chance.”
“Where’s he fly out of? Can’t say I recognize the name. Is it a passenger ship? I know most of the passenger ships in these parts,” the man said.
“No, it’s a private ship. He mainly does charter operations for small groups. You know, fishing trips, sightseeing, that sort of stuff.”
“Well, the name still doesn’t ring any bells. What’s the ship look like?” the man asked.
Venandi leaned closer and said in a hushed voice, “It’s a nuclear-electric ship. It has big engine pods with the electric motors coupled directly to the props. It has a red balloon and a light blue composite hull.”
“I might have seen a ship like that a time or two. What’s it worth to you?” the man asked.
Venandi smiled. “My future livelihood might depend on me finding that ship and getting my old job back. I would be extremely grateful for any information that might help.”
“Well, I could probably spare you a few minutes of my time if you’re buying. My captain always goes to The Wheelhouse Tavern when we’re here. I know another bar where we could talk in peace.”
Venandi stood. “Lead the way.”
“Extremely grateful, you said?”
Venandi nodded. Digging in his pocket, he pulled out two gold coins, looked around to see if anyone was watching, and handed them to the first mate. “That’s just the down payment. When we get to the bar, I’m buying.”
The man smiled and stood, slipping the coins into a pocket. “Follow me.”
The man led the way through the port and along the edge of town. He entered The Flight Deck, a rundown dive across the street from the port’s maintenance hangars. This was a bar where men and women with greasy hands and stained overalls would hang out. No airship captain would set foot in here, except maybe to find a delinquent crew member and drag him back to the ship.
The bar was dimly lit, crowded, and loud. Six pool tables were in use to his right. To the left, a wall lined with dartboards had a large crowd of spectators. The rest of the room was filled with tables from the front wall to the bar at the back. The first mate made his way to an empty table in the far-right corner beyond the pool tables.
Venandi sat across from him. “You said you’ve seen my friend’s ship.”
“I might have,” the man said. Waving to a man wearing a stained apron, he offered no more information. The man in the apron approached.
“What can I get for you gentlemen?” he asked.
“I’ll have a beer and a shot of whiskey. The good stuff, understand?” the first mate asked.
“Yes, sir.” Turning to Venandi, the waiter asked, “And for you?”
“Same thing,” he said as he handed the man some money.
The man counted the bills and slipped them into a pocket of his apron. “I’ll get your drinks right away.”
“You were telling me where you saw my friend’s ship,” Venandi prompted.
“Let’s see if the beer and whiskey jog my memory,” the mate said.
Venandi smiled. “I’ve already paid for the first round in advance.”
The mate smiled and nodded. “Ain’t the first round I’m worried about.”
The waiter returned. He set two tall mugs and two shot glasses on the table.
Venandi pulled out a wad of bills and handed them to the waiter. “This is for the next three rounds.” Turning to the first mate, he asked, “Are you satisfied?”
The mate nodded. “Make sure you’re back with the next round before this one is done.”
The waiter nodded and walked away.
“Now, my friend’s ship?” Venandi asked.
“We sometimes take folks over to a resort on the South Sea. I’ve seen a ship like you described a couple of times. Odd thing is, it’s never running along the coast. Mostly it’s going out to sea or coming back in.”
“That’s interesting. What’s out there in the sea?”
The first mate shrugged. “Don’t know. On the chart, there’s some small islands off the coast, but none of them have cities. They’re all too small. Can’t imagine he’d be going to one of them.”
“And where is this, exactly?” Venandi asked.
“Head over to Rockport on the south coast. Buy yourself a chart of the area. You’ll see the islands. There’s seven or eight of them scattered around the sea.”
“Thank you. You’ve been most helpful,” Venandi said as he stood.
“Hey, we still have three more rounds coming,” the mate objected.
Venandi smiled. “I need to go, but I’ll tell you what. You can have six more rounds on me.”
The first mate smiled. “It’s been a pleasure doing business with you.”
Venandi nodded, then turned and hurried out of the bar.
Ladies and gents, in celebration of Jim Proctor’s latest release, Freedom: A Futuristic Fantasy, he is offering ONE LUCKY CONTESTANT a SIGNED PAPERBACK COPY.
To enter, all you have to do is leave JIM a comment or question on his feature from NOW until Tuesday 11:59 p.m., central time.
On Wednesday, (June 27th), I will randomly select a winner and he or she’s name will be announced on a comment.
We ask that you PLEASE FOLLOW the blog posting so you will receive a notification when I make the happy announcement.
**Due to shipping costs, only residents of the continental United States will be eligible to enter.**
~~ Don’t Forget~~