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J.W. Garrett is a multi-award winning author in young adult fiction and has been writing in one form or another since she was a teenager. Her early love of the fantasy genre goes all the way back to elementary school when she read the Hobbit for the very first time – she’s been hooked ever since. She currently lives in Florida with her family where she writes speculative fiction from the sunny beaches of Jacksonville, but she’ll always love the mountains of Virginia where she was born. Her writings include YA fantasy as well as short stories. Since completing Remeon’s Quest-Earth Year 1930, the prequel in her YA fantasy series, Realms of Chaos, she has been hard at work on the next in the series, scheduled to release August 2020. When she’s not hanging out with her characters, her favorite activities are reading, running and spending time with family.
What’s your background, what compelled you to start writing?
I’m trained in business with an undergraduate degree in Finance and a Master’s in Business Administration, but I’ve always had a love for reading and writing. Some find that combination odd, but that balance between reality and fiction has worked for me. Some of my earliest “collections” of short stories go back to elementary school, and since then I’ve written in short bursts of energy from time to time. School, work and family have always held a higher priority until I decided to flesh out the notes I had stored away for my first novel. Once I got going, I found my characters wouldn’t keep quiet.
Does writing energize you, or exhaust you?
For me the answer depends on the day, what I’m writing and how the words are currently flowing. Sometimes you’re aware a particular scene will be difficult to write for any number of reasons, so getting over that hurdle is energizing. On the other hand, finally working through the particular details for the scene is also exhausting, but in a good way. In the end, not much compares to having your very own book in your hands—truly exhilarating!
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Just begin. You don’t have to do everything at once. Set goals. Meet them. Set more. Repeat. Before you know it you’ll be stuck in deep and well on your way.
What inspires you?
Being able to capture the emotion in a story and convey that to the reader intrigues and inspires me. Also, I believe inspiration comes in the form of having the courage to follow a dream despite obstacles and setbacks while knowing there’s no promise of success at the other end—only the satisfaction of a completed vision.
Did you always want to be an author?
After reading the Hobbit I dreamed I’d be famous one day from all the great works I’d write. Time mixed with healthy doses of reality kept this aspiration on the back burner, but it was always there simmering, waiting for me, for the time when I’d come back, dip in again and write some poetry or a story or two. Now that I’ve written several novels I feel like I can finally take ownership of the desire to write and to keep writing, since not writing isn’t an option.
Besides hard work and talent, what other traits has led to your success?
I’d say perseverance, determination, tenacity and resiliency are four other traits you’ll need if you’re going to stick with writing long term. Determination and perseverance can see you through on those days when nothing seems to be coming together and you want to throw in the towel and your current work in process. Resiliency and tenacity are necessary to deal objectively with the rejections that are inevitable if you put your work out there. Listening to the voice in the back of your head that tells you you’ll bounce back stronger helps also.
Were you an avid reader while you were growing up?
I wasn’t an avid reader until I found books that clicked with me, like The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, The Earthsea series, by Ursula LeGuin, and The Earth’s Children series, by Jean Auel, plus so many other authors whose books opened new worlds for me.
What’s brewing? What projects are you working on?
Currently, I’m writing the 4th and final novel in my YA fantasy / scifi series, The Realms of Chaos, with the 3rd book, Remeon’s Crusade, scheduled for release in August of this year, and I have two novels in the planning phases.