Welcome to J.D. Hallowell.
Please tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a mid-50s-ish father and husband who’s been fortunate enough to have lived an interesting and active life. I’ve had one fantasy series, War of the Blades, published, and I have several other fantasy and SF projects in the works. I like to keep many irons in the fire at once, and I hate to be bored, so I’ve worked at an eclectic collection of jobs, including automotive mechanic, cowboy, photographer, psychiatric tech, paralegal assistant, massage therapist, bouncer, and medical billing clerk. I studied martial arts for over 30 years. I’ve been a soldier and an emergency medical technician, and I served as the chief of a volunteer ambulance squad. I was a diamond courier for a while, and later owned a working kennel where I trained dogs for law enforcement as well as personal protection, and most recently, I’ve trained one service dog, for myself. I don’t get around much now (I’ve been shot, stabbed, blown up, bludgeoned, poisoned, and even had harsh language directed toward me, if you can believe it, and it takes its toll), but I write whenever I can. I have pretty wide-ranging interests and hobbies, including, but not limited to, history, archery, paleontology, cooking, RPGs (the games, not the weapons) and making jewelry. I live on the Space Coast of Florida with my wife, my son, and my Great Dane service dog, until I can convince the rest of my family and friends to move to Arizona.
Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc.
All of my published work so far is epic/heroic fantasy. I have two books, Dragon Fate and Dragon Blade, out right now, with two more books set in the same universe, Dragon Home and Dragon Justice, scheduled for release this year.
Where can readers find your book?
Both Dragon Fate and Dragon Blade are available as e-books through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo. Dragon Fate is available in trade paperback through most major retailers. It is also available as an e-book through Google Play.
How long have you been writing and what, if anything, made you choose the genre in which you write?
I have been telling stories with my friends since I was very young – about five years old. I started writing my stories down around the time I was ten. Looking back, it surprises me more than a little that I went to the effort of writing at that point. I’m severely dyslexic, which made writing a fairly serious challenge prior to recent developments in technology, and while I always dreamed of being an author, I didn’t get really serious about it until much later in life.
As for why I write fantasy, well, the short answer would have to be that when the stories in your head involve talking dragons, it’s not really a hard decision.
The long answer would be that fantasy offers a huge degree of freedom to the writer, as well as the challenge of creating a believable, internally consistent universe, and I enjoy both of those aspects. As a reader, one of the reasons that I love fantasy is that feeling of being transported to another world, and that experience is something I want to be able to give to the people who read my books.
Who or what are your inspirations/influences?
Like any other author, I’ve probably been influenced in one way or another by everything I’ve ever read or experienced, and I’m sure that there are a lot of things that have affected me profoundly in ways that I am not even aware of. I was part of the first generation that grew up watching television, so some of my first heroes were people and characters like The Cisco Kid, Roy Rogers, The Lone Ranger, John Wayne, Jack Lalane, and Vic Morrow’s Sgt. Saunders. If I started to list authors whose work I admire, we’d have a very long and eclectic list. I’m sure that one of the things that influenced me is that I come from a family of storytellers. My family doesn’t give advice or comment on anything straight out; they tell you a story and let you figure it out, or not. A lot of the conversation in my house growing up really consisted of sharing stories, and I can’t imagine that that didn’t shape me.
Can you name a positive experience from your writing and a negative one?
There have been a lot of different positive experiences that have come out of my writing. I’ve enjoyed the actual act of writing my books immensely, and it’s been wonderful to be able to share them with my family as they take shape, and then share them with other readers. Hearing from people all over the world who have read my books and enjoyed them has been amazing. I’ve learned a great deal from the whole process, and one of the most positive things that it’s done for me is to help me be more open to accepting criticism and feedback. One of the negative things that’s come out of it is having to put up with internet trolls.
With the rise of e-books do you still publish in print as well? Is this medium important and why?
Yes, I still publish in print. A lot of the world still hasn’t converted to e-books, and I want anyone who wants to read them to have access to my books. While it’s true that an e-book never has to go “out of print”, there are also issues with e-books being somewhat ephemeral: once a format is no longer supported, then the book essentially disappears. Print books are one way of ensuring that if they have any interest, my grandchildren and even great-grandchildren, if I ever have any, will still be able to read my books. Dragon Fate is already available in a print edition, and Dragon Blade will be coming out in print shortly. Print editions are planned for everything I have in the publishing pipeline.
Do you listen to music or watch TV whilst you write?
No. I like to have quiet. I want to be able to pay attention to what is in my head, not what’s going on around me.
Books are important; why is this the case? What can a book provide that, say, a video game cannot?
Books give you the opportunity to exercise your imagination in ways that visual media do not. As a reader, you take the text as a framework and create your own world. Every reader’s imagined world is different. With film and video games, you are limited to what the filmmakers or programmers could imagine. You have much less freedom to create an experience that is completely your own.
Can you give us a silly fact about yourself?
People pay me to tell them about my imaginary friends.
Links for Dragon Fate:
Barnes and Noble:
Links for Dragon Blade:
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dragon-blade-jd-hallowell/1114021362?ean=2940016140698