Cool Sci-Fi's 10 Questions with... JC Dellatorre, author of Ancient Rising

De La Torre’s first book, Ancient Rising, follows the adventures of widower Dan Ryan, an author who lost his wife and daughter to a tragic car accident and goes on to find the lost continent of Atlantis and releasing the Gods from an ancient curse. We talk to JC about his career path and love of sci-fi.

Q1: From your personal websites I see you have been working for an employer throughout the period you wrote Ancient Rising. Have you been concentrating all your spare time writing the novel? A few minutes here, a half hour there?

A: Yes, exactly. Every spare second I could find went to the novel. At times it was a grind but I really enjoyed the writing process. I think the satisfaction came when I had finally reached the end and it was exactly the way I wanted it.

Q2: How much of your “soul” have you poured into your work? Writing about other peoples lives, unless it’s an autobiography, your own experiences are bound to be used.

A: The only real memories I used was during the scene when Dan lost his wife and child. Death is traumatic. It’s final. Our family has been touched by death the last few years as my wife had her father and grandmother pass away. It was a tough time and I used that to set the emotion of those scenes. To paint the picture for someone who may have never lost anyone close to them how it feels to lose a loved one – or to tug on the memories of those readers who have lost someone. The loneliness. The sense of loss. I did pour a lot of my soul into the book – but the reader must remember that I am not Dan Ryan. His views of the world aren’t necessarily my views.

Q3: Numerous new authors are using editors to help shape your book to publication and avoid embarrassing pitfalls. Have you employed the services of one yourself?

A: Oh yes, definitely. For any author worth his weight, whether you self-publish or you are going through a traditional publisher, your work must be edited by a professional. It has to be. I worked with my editor, Angela Hooper, on polishing it. I knew how the book was going to end before the first pen hit the paper. I had everything planned out, outlined. Interestingly, I deviated from the outline quite often, as I wanted to add a love interest here, a plot twist there – but it all was a means to the end that I had imagined from the start. Angela did a fantastic job catching a lot of my stupid mistakes. She was a savior!

Q4: Writers have a love of reading themselves, reading always comes first. Fixating on authors and rushing out to get their newest books who’s style you love. Who were your favourite authors growing up?

A: Oh great question! Interestingly enough, the authors that inspired me the most were not part of the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre but Horror. Anne Rice and Stephen King were two large influences on me. I tried to pattern myself after them. Interestingly enough, though, my work has been compared more to Dan Brown than any other author. It’s a compliment but embarrassingly I’m likely the only person in America not to have read The Da Vinci Code. In my genre I will say I love the classics. Tolkien. CS Lewis. Bradbury. Orwell. Of course, HG Wells. All fantastic authors that I do love.

Q5: How do you prepare yourself and your environment to write? Since it appears your wife is also writing her first novel right now, do you pay her the same respect when she gets in the zone to write?

A: Indeed, I don’t like distractions. I typically try to find a quiet place with my laptop, put some music on (typically something instrumental - movie scores, piano music, classical, new age – something relaxing), and get into my zone. I hate to be broken out of it too. My wife knows when I’m writing to just leave me undisturbed and of course I pay her the same courtesy. It’s not easy balancing your personal life and writing but we’ve made it work and we’re both very excited about our final products.

Q6: When you met your wife, did you both have the same aim in life, to write and publish sharing with the world, or have you both encouraged each other where you might not have chosen this path?

A: We both enjoyed writing, but I don’t think either of us realized what our true potential could be. They say everyone has at least one novel in them. I had a love of writing since I was a child, it was the same for her as well. She came home one day and told me she was writing a novel. The next thing I knew, I was on the web, researching Ancient Rising, and believing that we both should embark on this part of our lives. I had wasted too much time in self doubt that I could really do it. I was truly shocked at how easily it all came together. She was my inspiration, her dedication prompted me to get of my arse and do what I’ve always wanted to do. In return, I’ve pushed her as well and I think once both novels are out there – we will both be thrilled with the results and hopefully our fans will as well.

Q7: Your publisher Lulu is a publisher that is getting greater prominence on the net amongst writing communities, offering print on demand and a myriad of services including managing sales through Amazon and other associated sellers. How much confidence do you place in their services for the future?

A: Lulu is fantastic, but one slight correction. Luna Brillante Publishing, my independent publishing company, is the publisher. Lulu is not a publisher, they provide printing services for small publishing companies like myself to get our books printed. They offer so many great services to small businesses like my own it’s crazy. I have the utmost confidence in their ability to meet the demand for the company’s works. Through Lulu’s distribution, my book will be available through any store in North America and the UK. That’s mind boggling for a little startup like me that someone can walk into their local Barnes and Nobles or Chapters, go up to the information desk, say “I want to order JC De La Torre’s Ancient Rising” and they’ll have it in their hands in a week to ten days.

Q8: You provided the words and storyline, who provides your book cover images and advertising images? Did you have a last say on the proofs?

A: They say you can’t judge a book by its cover but we all know that’s hogwash. We all do it. How many times have you gone to the store, seen an interesting cover, picked up and read the back to see what it was about? I knew that the cover of the book would be critical to marketing, thus I searched for a qualified graphic artist and found the absolute best in Kell Carter. She did a fantastic job and met all of my demands. Working with her was a tremendous experience and hopefully she will be our artist for future Luna Brillante Books as well. As for final say, that’s the beauty of Lulu. You’re the publisher, so you decided what’s on your cover.

Q9: You mentioned in your blog that the first run of your novel had a printing error. Were you panicking at this time or did you feel it was par for the course, knowing that the finished product would arrive when it arrived?

A: Yes, there was slight panic. That happens when your proof arrives with a gorgeous cover but a completely blank interior (laughing). I came to found out it was my error as the pdf file that I submitted did not have the fonts properly embedded, thus, the printer could not read the file properly.

Q10: Can you tell us any more about the sequel to come?

A: The second of the trilogy is going to have two story tracks. One track is Dan and the crew’s battle against the elements as Poseidon tries to prevent them from getting to a “holy place” that could lead to the ultimate destruction of the Gods. The second track is a flashback of how the Gods came to our world, how Atlantis evolved, and what ultimately led to its demise. They’ll be a lot development of new Atlantean characters, how they coped with their world and eventually the end of it.

Ancient Rising is available on Amazon.
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