CAT Magazine

CAT Magazine

VBT Pit Stop with Adult Adventure and Children's Author Jimmy "J.D." Gordon - Dartboard

Today we are pleased to chat with author Jimmy "J.D." Gordon. Jimmy has written several books in adult adventure and children's books. Welcome Jimmy and thanks for stopping in!

WI: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

First, never in my life did ever imagine that I would be writing books. I’d freak out when I would come across an essay question on a test instead of multiple choice. My parents never saw me do a lick of homework during high school. I made damn sure I had a study hall or two during my day just to take care of that sort of trivial activity. Heck, it took me ten years to get through junior college. Of course training for my fulltime gig with the fire department was almost a three year endeavor. I started writing as something as a result of a dare. Rewind about 12 years, I was working as professional fire/paramedic at the time. I fell off of a train and was to be away from work after the surgery. While paying my peers at the firehouse a visit they asked how I was going to use my time away, because healing up and therapy, that’s easy stuff right? Though I had always been an avid reader the thought of writing never even entered my mind. Nevertheless, the words I might write a book popped out. My wonderful shift mates didn’t think I could do it. I had to prove them wrong.

After that writing really turned into nothing more than a hobby really, until another injury came along. This is one which ended my career. I had a choice to make, find a new job or get a little more serious about writing. We have two kids and both were and are still rather young. My wife had always been the real money maker in our family, so, after some discussion we decided I would do the Mister Mom thing and write at the same time.

To answer the original question, I don’t feel there was an actual first time when I realized I wanted to be a writer. I think like most events and situations which come along in life, there is a certain evolution but if I had to pinpoint a specific time, it would have to be shortly after the fire department hit me with my pension papers and scooted me out the door. The odd thing is this, though I have now written six novels and I am working with two companies, with new stuff coming out, I still do not feel like a writer. I feel like some guy who just types stuff up and waits to see what happens next. Again, that whole deal with evolution.

WI: What inspired you to pen this particular novel/book?

I write in two genres now, adventure novels for adults and paranormal stories for middle school children. The current title, Dartboard, is one of the adventure stories. I can’t stomp on any sort of single issue which inspired the book. As with all of my adventure stuff the inspirations stem from multiple sources. First, all of my adult stuff, for now, is set in the Caribbean. There’s hefty amount humor, booze, a little drug use and a whole lot of bullets flying and bombs going off. I have to admit I’m somewhat of a parrothead, you’ll find the Caribbean influence along with the laid back lifestyle there. I’m also a big fan of adventure novels and that’s reflected in these stories. Dartboard is my fourth adventure story, the three prior to this are all centered around a fellow named Eddie Gilbert. Eddie is a firefighter from the Midwest and a somewhat reluctant hero. After three books I felt Eddie needed a rest. I have to admit much of me is in this Eddie guy. I wanted to try and tackle someone different, so Jimmy Quigley was born.

WI: What road blocks did you come across while writing this story?

Not many really, or not any that are beyond the typical writers block. I write fiction, so if I come across something tough to throw out there it’s easy to just make stuff up. For example, Dartboard starts off with an historical sequence set in the late 1700’s during the American Revolution. I wanted to use Key West in the opening scene so I just made the island a stop the British used to refit their ships on the way north to fight the Colonials. In actual history I don’t think the island was settled by Europeans until the 1800’s. That didn’t work for me so I changed it. I figure today’s news media changes history all the time, why can’t I?

WI: What do you do if a story just doesn't seem to flow the way you were hoping it would?

I just keep writing and worry about fixing it up later. Though there are time when the writer’s block hits pretty hard, I just set the thing aside and try not to think about it. It seems I have a tougher time breaking through if I constantly ponder it. I have a few projects I work on or tinker with while I’m dealing with the whole block thing. Eventually the idea comes, I may be working out, or driving somewhere but suddenly it will pop and I’ll jump back into it.

WI: What has been the hardest thing about marketing this story?

I’m not a very good marketier. Is that even a word? I’m not a very pushy guy. I think I’m getting better, we’ll see. It’s tough to get folks to shell out ten or fifteen dollars on a book from a relatively unknown fella like me. In the past I have hired those PR/ book marketing type of people to help out. They are just not worth the exorbitant fees they charge for their services. I think most of them know that but a new writer will try anything they can to get their book out there and I think many of these folks really take advantage of that. (Sorry PJ, if you read this, you do rock.)

WI: What is one thing you wished you knew before, that you now know about marketing?

Please refer to the previous question and answer. A writer really needs to learn how to push their own stuff, don’t rely on others even when you pay them. Watch your pennies when you do spend them and make sure you’re using those funds wisely. And this even goes for folks who work with a company that provides PR people. I’m fortunate there with one of my publishers. I have a PR person but they can only do so much and they’re usually swamped. It’s not a one on one, author/PR person type of relationship.

WI: What is one piece of advice that you received to help your writing that you still carry with you today?

Just keep writing, you’ll get there, seems every established writer I know has passed that along.

WI: Tell us what a day in your writing life is like, do you have any writing quirks?

I don’t really have any quirks. I basically write from one of two spots. My wife works from home quite a bit. On those days I’ll walk over to one of my favorite pubs and claim a corner, along with the occasional martini and gallons of coffee, or ice tea, depending on the season. And of course, that’s in between the Mister Mom stuff, fighting the battle of the bulge and taking care of stuff on the ‘honeydo’ list. The whole writing in two genres and for two different companies does, at times, well quite often actually, keeps me up until two in the morning depending on which projects are where and when I have to get them in.

Firefighter and paramedic-turned-author Jimmy (J.D.) Gordon was born and raised in Chicago where he developed a taste for the finer things that the Windy City has to offer - pan pizza, live blues and the Cubs. 

Jimmy dropped into the world of literature, literally. After falling off a train and breaking his knee Jimmy had to spend quite a bit of time recuperating. While visiting the firehouse his peers asked what he planned to with all that time away. This when Jimmy said the words that he now claims to have changed his life. "I should write a book."
Despite some skepticism from his peers ("You don't even use punctuation on your run reports!"), he completed a novel, Island Bound, and made it a point to use punctuation throughout.

Another injury, sustained on the job, ended his career in the fire service. Aside from writing Gordon spends his Spring and Summer as an umpire for high school and youth baseball. He now lives with his wife and children in Glen Ellyn IL, a suburb of Chicago.

WI: Where do you hope to take your writing in the future?

Honestly, I try not to have any specific hopes. I plan to keep on writing and see where it takes me. All I can do is the best I can; whatever happens from there is out of my hands.

1776: An English payroll ship loses sight of its convoy and wrecks on the shoals of a small, remote Caribbean island during a terrible storm, marooning its crew and a small group of soldiers. After rescuing the gold and burying it on the island, they are overrun by a tribe of cannibals, leaving the treasure hidden... Today: Jimmy Quigley, a small town cop, inherits a boat and a treasure map from his Uncle Jackson, a renowned world explorer. He hooks up with Evelyn Quinn, who also received a small inheritance from his uncle. He heads to the Caribbean with Evelyn and her friend, Kristin, and his friend, Rick, for some fun in the sun and a possible treasure hunt. When the boat is ransacked by thieves not once, but twice, Jimmy wonders if his uncle's warning to watch his back has more to it than he first thought. With his friends' safety and the fate of the Lorraine gold in mind, Jimmy heads off into the biggest adventure of his life...

WI: Are you currently working on any new projects?

Of course, I just wrapped up the sequel to Kritterkreep. That’s one of the books for kids. The follow up is Field of Screams. I’ve been cleaning it up for a couple weeks now. I’ll be sending that along to the editor any day now. As for the adventure material, that’s in kind of a gray area at the moment. I have a couple options on my plate and I’m not sure which will pan out yet. We maybe reworking some of my older stuff, eventually I’ll write something new there, just not sure what yet. I have a few ideas but nothing solid. There’s one I’m leaning towards. It’s actually straying from the Caribbean background in favor of Chicago city streets and Lake Michigan. If I go that route that title will be A Wrigleyville Crime Story. So, there is new stuff coming I’m just not sure what. In the meantime I’m gearing up to start the next kids story, The Pumpkin Jamboree and the Legend of Stumpy Scout, yeah, long title but I kind of like it. At the same time I always have a few projects I play around with in between stuff, like a cookbook and a biography of my time living in the shadow of Wrigley field. Yup, I’m a Cubs fan. Hey, I root for the White Sox too. I’m also working on something about my time on the fire department. I have no timelines set to finish those, whatever happens happens. I’ll eventually get there.

WI: Do you have any upcoming events or special news you would like to share with our readers? 

Not much at the moment and yet quite a bit, if that makes any sense. I have few book signings at alternative venues, meaning not in a bookstore. I always do a few giveaways on my own through my facebook page. I have a few radio spots coming up next month. Honestly, I’m glad you asked, I have to check my schedule. I post everything on Facebook, that comment leads into answering the next question……

WI: Where can readers find you?

I have a little home on the web…

Or on Facebook, please folks, send me one of those friend requests, one can never have too many right? And you may just win one of those freebies I mentioned earlier.

WI: Where can your book be purchased?

With the demise of Borders pretty much online unless one lives in the Chicago area, then just visit your local bookstore, my stuff should be there, again, otherwise, all of the online venues.

We want to thank you for taking time to chat with us today and offering your writing & marketing experiences. We wish you much success in the future.

Thanks and thank you for having me!  

Jimmy is currently on tour with the Virtual Book Tour Cafe'. You can view his schedule HERE and follow his tour to learn more about him and a chance to win some great prizes!

3 Responses to "VBT Pit Stop with Adult Adventure and Children's Author Jimmy "J.D." Gordon - Dartboard"

Indieauthorscafe said...

Thank you Jimmy for chatting with us today! 


Jimmy G said...

Happy to be here!

Aceroberts said...

This is one author to keep your eyes on in 2012.
Kerry FreyDirector of Adventure Writer's Competition Sponsored by Clive Cussler Collector's Society