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The Jack O’Lanterns are carved, and the marshmallows are toasting over the hellfires. Pull up a pitchfork and join me once more in the devilish domain of His Satanic Majestic.

Characters and authors aplenty for your infernal entertainment.

Welcome to Jack William Finley, one of the authors from the Heroes In Hell shared universe series.

Where are you from and where do you live now? From Logansport Indiana and now live in Indianapolis.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. My writing has been compared to old Twilight Zone stories, that’s probably a pretty fair comparison.

Where do you find inspiration? I think one of the most important parts of becoming a decent writer is knowing that ideas and inspiration are everywhere. If you can write and write, not even well, just competently, there is nothing you can’t use.

Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off? Nope. Sounds like it would be fun to do at some point.

Is there a message conveyed within your writing?  Do you feel this is important in a book? Yeah, probably. I’m pretty opinionated and I can’t imagine that doesn’t bleed into the writing. No, I don’t think it’s all that important.

Sort these into order of importance: Great characters; great world-building; solid plot; technically perfect. Can you explain why you chose this order? (Yes I know they all are important…) OK, here’s the argument-You’ve gotta have interesting character because no one will care if you don’t. People will watch/read really interesting characters no matter what they are doing or where if you don’t think so, watch 5 minutes of something popular on TV. But, flash over substance works too, just watch a summer blockbuster or in too many cases read one. As often as not these things fall apart under close examination, but if they have enough spectacle they’ll entertain people for the length of a book or movie. Technical perfection doesn’t mean a thing if you have nothing to say. If you think you must have technical perfection you’ve never read Cormac McCarthy and I hear he’s done pretty well for himself. I think this is a terribly dangerous road for writers to get on. If you let yourself believe any part of the writing is more important that another you focus too much on that part. Good writing should be a cohesive whole. I think if anyone can point at some part of your story that stands out as being better than the rest you’ve made a terrible mistake and need to fix the stuff they didn’t like or tone down the thing they did like because the story is out of balance and a story can never be as good as it can and should be if it’s out of balance.

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? Exclusively self edit? Hell no. I think one of the worst things you can do is assume that you can catch all the things that are wrong with a story without anyone else’s eyes ever being on it. I think one of the most catastrophically bad things about the ease of self publishing is that some of these new writers think they can do it all and it’s a train wreck way more often than it isn’t. You have to self edit some what, that part of the job of writing but to rely on just that is asking for trouble.

Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? I think publishing is in a transition state and because of that people are putting way to much time into thinking about the wrong stuff. What makes a good story hasn’t really changed since cave men telling stories around campfires-and someone somewhere is annoyed I said cave men and not cave people-we’ve putting way too much stock in where the writing comes from and what format it’s in. The only thing that should matter is whether or not it’s good story telling. Yeah, I do think they are seen differently. Some people champion self publishing because of a David vs. Goliath attitude and some people think if it wasn’t good enough to be picked up by a REAL publisher it probably sucks and I think it’s all very unfortunate because it’s distracting people from what’s important and that’s-is the story any good and is it well told. Everything else to me is just an annoying distraction.

Well, I don’t rule out self published stuff. I think the only thing that matters is if it’s good, no matter what the source is and even if it isn’t good, sometimes you can learn a lot about what not to do reading stuff and isn’t good.

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews? Engaging with reviewers is, to me a waste of time, but I know people who do it very well and get a lot of attention doing it. I suspect they are preaching to the choir and very possible not getting good value for the investment of time, but that’s just me. I’m a writer. I think anything that isn’t making the next story better is an annoying waste of time. I’m told by smart people reviews are important. I try really hard to give a rat’s…it’s a work in progress

When buying a book do you read the reviews? No, not really. I have a lot of smart friends with good taste and I tend more toward recommendations from people I know rather than the random opinions of people I don’t.

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers? You don’t read enough, read more. You don’t write enough, write more. Find people you trust to tell you when your stuff is good, because you probably won’t know.

Can you name your favourite traditionally published author? And your favourite indie/self-published author? I really suck at the whole favourites think so, no, not really.

Do you have a favourite movie? There’s a list. It’s longer than this questionnaire/Interview and it generally changes before I can get from the first on on it to the last one on it.

Can you name your worst job? Do you think you learned anything from the position that you now use in your writing?  I did, I think, half a day as a telemarketer once. It was many years ago and I’m not entirely sure I’ve scrubbed myself clean from it. Did I learn anything useful? Maybe. Just about everything you ever do is useful in some way or another at some point or another, but I couldn’t pick it apart and tell you when or how and I’m not sure it would be useful if I did. That’s just the sort of thing you learn by doing. You write enough and at some point you think-how I remember when that thing happened to me and yeah, that would work really well with what I’m doing with this story write now, but it’s something that just happens. I don’t think it’s the sort of thing you can plan.

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? Probably not. I suspect I suck at silly even more than I suck at favourites.

Book links, website/blog and author links:

Jack’s author page: http://www.amazon.com/Jack-William-Finley/e/B008KKI5YK/

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6440300.Jack_William_Finley

Rogues in Hell http://www.amazon.com/Rogues-Hell-Heroes-Janet-Morris-ebook/dp/B008JZCFMO/

Dreamers in Hell http://www.amazon.com/Dreamers-Hell-Heroes-Nancy-Asire-ebook/dp/B00DEB1IJE/

Poets in Hell http://www.amazon.com/Poets-Hell-Heroes-Janet-Morris-ebook/dp/B00KWKNTTW/

Doctors in Hell http://www.amazon.com/Dreamers-Hell-Heroes-Nancy-Asire-ebook/dp/B00DEB1IJE/

Heroika: Dragon Eaters http://www.amazon.com/HEROIKA-DRAGON-EATERS-Janet-Morris-ebook/dp/B00VFVCQRS/

Terror by Gaslight http://www.amazon.com/Terror-Gaslight-Fantom-Enterprises-Production/dp/1499057571/

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