Today I am so pleased to welcome James Siewert to Joyfully Jay. James has come to talk to us about his latest release, Sparks in the Dark. He has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving James a big welcome!

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James has written some questions and answers to share with us today!

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

I choose to write in the science-fiction and fantasy genres because those are the stories that inspire me the most; far-off places and far-flung ideas light my brain up like no other. These two genres represent the majority of fiction I consume – it’s very rare that I will explore dramas, contemporary romances or other down-to-earth stories, as I find there’s just not enough going on in them (some exceptions do apply, of course). Horror I enjoy too, but the spooky-kind, not the gory-kind – I enjoy the Lovecraft-universe immensely, and some of the works of Stephen King (Eyes of the Dragon especially).  

When writing, I love harnessing the flexibility these genres provide in building worlds and unique characters, but I do need to be careful not to go overboard. The best sci-fi/fantasy worlds still have ‘rules’ that must be obeyed, otherwise, there’s no peril to the characters – they can simply ‘magic’ their way out of a situation (being the spell-casting kind or the sci-fi-tech kind) and it spoils the story.  

In terms of balancing, right now my writing is on a massive sci-fi slant, and I’m just rolling with it, letting the stories flow. I do have some fantasy stories on my back-burners though, and I’m sure they’ll see the light of day sometime in the future.

Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them.

Yes, I write about mature, burly men with hairy, realistic bodies with ‘normal’ attributes (albeit they’re often quite muscley, and a massive exception for the anthropomorphic Oarth, of course). I found characters like these to be very rare in the gay-fiction world: far too often, the main character is a perfect, young Adonis whose only real flaw is an eccentric (yet still adorable and never actually problematic) character quirk. Oh, and they have a cool name with an X in it. Those types of characters have their place, it’s just that for me, I’m nothing like them in real life. I’m a big dude who likes big dudes, and the only stories I found with guys like me were heavily into the BDSM, Master/Servant, overly-tattooed leather biker camp (which I am not). So, I figured if I want stories about big-hearted gay bears, I better start writing them, because I couldn’t find any on my own!

Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?

At the moment I’m a part-time writer, though I’ve got plenty of dreams in becoming full-time one day (I think I’m in no way unique with those dreams). While the day job pays the bills, writing is my passion, and being an author is what I think of myself as. In terms of affecting my writing, I wish I could say that I strike a healthy balance, but that’s often not the case – the industry I work in has peaks-and-valleys of busyness (more peaks than valleys, to be honest) and when I have to work, I have to work. During those times, the last thing I want to do when I get home is look at a computer screen for another four hours.  Hard thing to admit, but there it is. The good news is that during the valley-periods, I explode with all the stories I’ve been brewing in the background while working, and I often write huge chunks of material all in one go. Still, I long for retirement (or winning the lottery, or striking it big with a novel) so that I can make the switch to being only an author, rather than an author/office-drone hybrid.

Are you a plotter or a pantster?

Little of both, really. I find that creating a skeleton of a plot is my best starting point (the plotter part of me) but then switch to pantster-mode while writing the story out, capturing ideas as they come to me, fleshing them out in real-time. Sometimes this goes off the rails, and I find I’ve misaligned the story with my intended goals, and that ends up with entire chapters being discarded. Other times, I discover entirely new solutions to the plot, and the story is made all the better for it. 

Do your books spring to life from a character first or an idea?

More often than not, my books spring to life from the character. One of my goals with writing is casting big men with big hearts as the lead hero of a story, and often, I’ll have the character worked out well before any form of a story for them is created. I guess that’s part of how I like to write – I imagine a guy, give him a set of personality and physical attributes, then drop him into a world and a story and see how he reacts to it. I take great care not to make my character a super-hero by design, but by action instead, so how the character behaves becomes one of the main points to the story. Sometimes, I’ll tweak a character a little, just so they fit better into the world (nature versus nurture, and all that), and adjust their backstory accordingly, to make sure that they’re realistically a part of the world they inhabit. 

All this only holds true for my primary characters, though – my secondary characters are often the offspring of the story, and I frequently discover them as the main hero explores the world, which is kinda like real-life in a sense.


Blurb

sparks in the dark coverSpace: Where discovery and danger are two sides of the same coin.

Meet Albert ‘Buzz’ Buchanan, a retired space marine now freelancing as a gun for hire, who finds himself accepting a deal too good to turn down, even if it’s too good to be true.

Meet Thomas Cutter, a star-ship engineer who’s a lot more than what he first seems. He seeks knowledge and adventure, and the offer to team-up with the sexy space marine is just what Cutter’s been waiting for.

As our two heroes set out, they encounter more than they bargained for: a discovery of a lifetime, but only if they can escape with their lives. Will the galaxy reward them for their bravery, or will they fall victim to the great unknown?

Join Buzz and Cutter in their very first episode as they journey across the galaxy, finding high adventure and untold dangers in the darkness of space … along with discovering a friendship that promises so much more.

Warnings: Sexual situations

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Bio

James Siewert avatarJames and his husband live in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. Part-time office drone, part-time storyteller, full-time sci-fi and fantasy enthusiast (and some spooky ghost tales), James couldn’t find enough stories involving guys like him and his hubby are: big men with big hearts, full of big ideas!

Taking matters into his own hand, James seeks to share high adventure, low-angst stories where the heroes are solid blokes who take centre stage. Come join the adventure and explore bold new worlds full of authentic characters, gripping scenes, lush imagination and a touch of mushy stuff – there’s a whole galaxy waiting for you to discover!


Giveaway

James is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card with this tour:

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