I'm starting with the offer because I know that's what you really want to read about. ;) You guys voted and decided that you would like be able to buy the book at 50% off. Well here it is!! Craig is offering At The Beech House readers Jacob of Avondale paperbacks for $10 each or $25 for three books!! That is a great deal, especially with Christmas coming up!!! You can purchase the books from me (Lindsey) or at Craig's office in Farmington, UT. If you don't happen to be in the Davis County-ish area and/or would like your book otherwise shipped, call Craig's office to get that sent to you for an additional $5. Here is a little coupon for redemption or you can mention the At The Beech House Discount to get the deal.
You can also share your review on the Jacob of Avondale website and the Jacob of Avondale Facebook page.
A big Thank You to Craig for being so awesome as to do an interview for us (me)!! I think you all should join with me in asking him to write another book...or two or three. :) -Love the poem to his sis!
Are you going to write more books? OR What should we expect next from you?
I’ve been asked this question a number of times from people who have read my book. Some have asked for a sequel, but most have wanted me to write a prequel. I guess there are some who want to know who set up the adventure upon which Jacob embarks.
At this time, I don’t have anything in the works. Jacob of Avondale took me nearly 5 years to complete and I felt like I had homework hanging over my head the whole time. Everytime I sat down to read a book, I felt like I should be working on my own instead. That, and the fact that I have a regular job and a busy family life, rules out any immediate plans for another book. Maybe sometime in the future I will reconsider.
What inspired you to start writing generally?
My oldest daughter, who is turning 16 years old in a couple of weeks (yikes!), was my impetus for the book. She went through a stage in her earlier years where she had a lot of “school anxiety.” She’s very intelligent, and has always loved reading, but we had a difficult time getting her to go to school in the morning. She would actually become physically ill because of her worries. One morning I made a deal with her that if she went to school, I would write a chapter or two of the book that I had in my head (see question 1 from Becky below). She went and I wrote. Hours later she came running home from the bus stop, swung open the door, dropped her backpack on the floor and stuck out her hands. I placed the stack of papers on top of her precious little palms and she turned and ran up the stairs to her room. A short time later she returned to the kitchen, handed me the pages and asked, “What happens next?”
Did anything help with the writing process? (Music, treats, or anything else)
I couldn’t write at all if there was any noise in the house - especially piano practicing. Most of the time I had to be alone in the home or at least have my noise canceling headphones over my ears. I also found that I needed to turn off my email, phone, etc. because if a single interruption pulled me out of the time period that I was writing in, it took me a while to get back into the Avondale mindset.
Were any of the characters or places modeled after real people or places?
That’s a good question! The kingdom was completely in my head, and I can still picture the places, rivers, trees, and overall layout just as I imagined it while writing. There was one character that was modeled after a real person. My great, great grandfather’s name was Ossian Leonidas Packer. I used his first name and described him from an old black and white photo that we have of him. Although, I added the part about his bushy eyebrows being “dangerously close to touching in the middle”.
What is your dream job or life?
Well, I wish I would have had the opportunity to make money playing basketball, but since the Utah Jazz never knocked on my door, I had to get a real job. I’ve been practicing dentistry for over 13 years now. As far as a dream life goes, I would love to have a secluded home and small ranch tucked up against a river that is loaded with hungry trout. I guess Raoul isn’t the only one around here that is a bit of a recluse.
Questions from Becky:
Where did you get the idea for this book?
Apparently this is a common answer from authors who are asked this question, but it came from a very vivid dream that I had. I dreamt that a young man had found a secret room in an old, ornate castle. He saw on a shelf an old, white human skull. In my dream he rushed to the skull and after picking it up, threw it to the ground. When it broke into hundreds of pieces he found a bunch of magical figurines among the bony shards. That’s when I woke up.
What inspires your ideas?
I’m not sure exactly how to answer this one. I’ve always been an avid reader and especially loved books by Lloyd Alexander, Susan Cooper, C.S. Lewis, and of course J.R. R.Tolkien. I guess when it came time to try my own hand at writing, I was already used to living in fictitious lands and with make believe people. I also grew up being intrigued with superheroes and their amazing abilities so Jacob’s character was especially fun for me to create.
How long did it take for you to find a publisher? Did you have to send it out to a ton of publishers or did the first one take you?
I kind of took the quick route to getting published. I sent it to a local publishing company and was not accepted. As I then studied the process and learned about agents, New York based publishers, etc., I realized that I didn’t have the time or desire to spend a lot of effort doing things the traditional route and started looking into self publishing through internet companies. Just as I was about to do that, I heard about a company who likes to publish from first time authors. After submitting my book, they called with a contract offer and I accepted. They claim an acceptance rate of less than 10% but I’m skeptical. There are some marketing fees that they require, and at times I wish I would have held out and tried harder to use a mainstream publisher.
Question from Ann:
What is your writing process? Does the story just come or do you start with an outline? What about the land and maps?
For me, it was very important to have an outline. I would at times go many months without writing a single sentence and so I needed to be able to just read the last couple of pages and start right where I left off. I also drew a rough map of Avondale and of the castle so I could be consistent as I moved the characters around from place to place. After the book was completed, my amazing wife (who graduated from college with an art degree) took over and turned my rough sketches into the works of art that they are now.
Question from Emily:
What is it like to have the coolest sister ever?
Wow, where do I even begin? Maybe with a poem that I wrote when I was only 12 or 13.
“I have a little sister she’s as cute as she can be,
And every time I smile at her she smiles back at me.
I couldn’t live without her . . . I wouldn’t stand a chance.
If I tried to live without her I’d be as miserable as can be.
I just don’t know what I would do without my little Emily.”
Now, many years later, I feel the same way. Love you Sis!