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An Interview with Jim Neville — Joannes Rhino - Bali Online Editor " />
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07 Jul

A child of Khaos with a touch of Gaia, the serpentine line between Yin and Yang, evil and good, human and supernatural, meet Jim Neville…


JR: Tell us about yourself, and how would you describe yourself?
Jim: I am the serpentine line between Yin and Yang, evil and good, human and supernatural. I am both and neither. I preserve the separation and the union, for I am a child of Khaos with a touch of Gaia coursing through my spirit. I am also the crux that can open your mind. One of us is a phantasm of the mind. Which one is which does not matter, because the author of this reality has solidified both.
If you can’t wrap your mind around the possibility, or you think I’m being silly, then I’ll relate to you on a basic level so many people believe to be true. I was a Broadcast Radio & Television Engineer for over two decades. I have lived in the Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Philippines, and the US. I obtained a Computer Science degree and graduated Summa Cum Laude. I’m a lover of life and all living things. I take wonder in the microbe and the universe.


JR: When did you first realize you want to be a writer? Who spotted that talent?
Jim: It all started on Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day (Dec 8th). All my life, I’ve prognosticated the future and trends in technology. For some reason, I was inspired to write a short blurb on LinkedIn. I wrote of a man from the future who was stuck in the mind of someone from our time. The man from the future compared his daily life to ours.
Someone at work (Morgan) read it and loved it. She said I should write more, so I wrote another chapter. Then someone else at work (Lindsay) read it and praised my work even more. Everything snowballed from there. The effect I had on others’ spirit and imagination probably kept me going..


JR: Do you have any formal education in creative writing? Do you think formal education in writing is necessary?
Jim: I’ve only had the basic classes in high school and the general education requirements in college. Whether or not it’s necessary is dependent upon the person and level of passion. It’s my opinion (take it for what it’s worth) that the ability to communicate is essential. That includes both speaking/writing and listening/reading. Simply put, can you draw a picture from words alone? After that, genre determines the skills required.
There are great tools to assist writers now. The grammar option in Word helps, but it’s not always right. There are many times I have to check the Internet for help. I also love the online Thesaurus. I’ve used one ever since I was a child. (I don’t like sounding redundant.)


JR: Are you a full-time author? Do you have other activities as main source of income? How do you organize your schedule and time in writing a book?
Jim: No. I work with databases during the day. As a result, I must steal time here and there to write. Sometimes I write during lunch, but most of my writing is done at night after work. Schedules never worked for me personally, but I’m sure it’s necessary for some folk.


JR: What made you decide to start writing something? What or who influences you?
Jim: It was my muse, Calliope. She visits from time to time and tempts me into creative writing. I have learned to read my formal messages and reports before I submit them. I often remove creative snippets that Calliope thought hilarious while I typed. She’s a very mischievous muse. Sometimes she speaks to my mind. At other times, she takes over my fingers as I type. She’s even been known to take the form of a coworker, friend, or fan.
As far as what influences me, I would say advancements in technology. I’m always wondering how this technology and that, if combined together, could result in a change in how we live our lives. As an example, how will virtual reality affect our lives? Will we work in a virtual world? Will we become addicted to the perfect virtual reality and avoid the physical world outside? To put it succinctly, I’m influenced greatly by “What if?”


JR: What is the greatest lesson you have learned and/or greatest achievement you have reached as a writer?
Jim: I have learned I really need an editor. I can proofread my book ten times and still miss errors. It’s simply because I know what it’s supposed to say, so that’s what I see when I read. My greatest achievement has been inspiring a few people here and there. The response of readers is more important than laurels.


JR: Do you have habits in writing? Any specific time and/or place to write?
Jim: I don’t do well with a structured schedule. I probably violate every rule and good practice other authors live by. I don’t even outline my stories (except Which-Way books). I have a general idea of where the story is going, but the characters actually drive the boat. Sometimes, they even change the outcome. You see, in my mind, they are alive. Each one has an impact and I’m not sure what they’ll do until the situation presents itself. As I said in the beginning of this interview, “I am a child Khaos.”


JR: How long do you normally finish writing a book? What is the hardest part in the process?
Jim: It takes me about 3 months to publish a new story. About half that time is focused on editing. That’s the hard part. I read the book again as I create an HTML version of my work. Then, I read it again on my tablet. This is after reading it multiple times when I get writer’s block.


JR: Do you have professional editors finish your books? If you do, any recommendation you would like to share to fellow authors?
Jim: I have no editors. One fan in Australia volunteered to give me editing feedback, but she ended up with an extended stay in the hospital. I haven’t heard from her in many months. (I miss you, Mandy. Be well.)


JR: How do you think you have evolved creatively?
Jim: Funny you should ask. The more I write, the more synchronicity creeps into my life ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synchro… ). It’s very strange. It has spawned a book I’ll be writing in the future, Gods of the Mind. It sort of clears the mind of fluff and dust. My eyes have been opened and my third eye is waking from it’s slumber. (You probably think I’m nuts.)


JR: Do you ever face Writer’s Block? If you do, how did you overcome the situation?
Jim: I can’t imagine any writer who hasn’t. It’s a question of what do you do when it happens (which you wisely asked, Joannes). Some people struggle against it like a rat in quicksand. They struggle and sink. I’ve found you can’t fight it. So, I do things like this interview, answer questions about my books (that takes about two seconds to see there aren’t any), or I do everything else I neglected (like promoting my book). After I’ve procrastinated long enough, I’ve found it helps to read what I’ve written so far. Besides finding an error here or there, it sometimes gives me a “kick-start” to continue writing.


Mr. Saxon & the DroidJR: Do you have professional designer to design the cover and/or interior of your books? If you do, any recommendation you would like to share to fellow authors?
Jim: I’m glad you asked. I’m actually rather proud of my covers. I make them all myself because I’m very, very poor. Since I can’t pay anyone, I use public domain art. I’ve always had a passion for classic art and I discovered most of it is Public Domain. I’m going to hate myself for telling you this, but I Google search (“PD-Art” commons KEYWORD -pinterest) to find Wikimedia pages. I try to use a keyword that reflects the theme of the book (I use “love” a lot). There’s a nice reference at the bottom of the Wikimedia pages that identifies why it’s Public Domain. I tend to steer clear of art that is not Public Domain in all countries. (Don’t forget to identify the art properly on your copyright page.)
After I find a nice piece (sometimes it’s a small portion of the painting), then I take it into PowerPoint. The key is to not get carried away (a rule I should follow more). You can even download extra fonts if you don’t find what you want. So my secret is revealed, but strangely enough, it’s still safe. That’s because very few people read what I write.


JR: How do you involve in promoting your books? Any marketing technique you can share?
Jim: I HATE PROMOTIONS AND MARKETING!!! It’s a necessary evil, though. So I do what I can. I post my sales and free book offers on Goodreads. The problem I’ve found is very few people will review or even check a little star after they’ve read a book. For me, it’s about one in a hundred. I have one book that I made free on Christmas when I published it. A ridiculous number of people obtained a free copy, but not one review exists on Amazon (I think they’re ashamed to admit they read my Karma book). It’s also my most read on Kindle Unlimited.
Before this turns into a bitch session, I’ll simply say: Don’t do what I do. Unless success isn’t important to you. Promotion and marketing are necessary, but I have little time or patience. It reminds me too much of sales.


JR: Give your thoughts about traditional publishing Vs. self-publishing?
Jim: That’s like asking a fish to give you its thoughts on swimming and walking. I’ve only done self-publishing, so I can’t really answer this. If I ever get published traditionally Joannes, you can ask the question again. I promise to provide a more cogent response.


JR: How many books have you written (published and non-published)?
Jim: As of July 2017, I’ve written six. Two of them really don’t count because they’re YA (Young Adult) versions of two books I already wrote. Well, maybe they do count in a way because it was a complete re-write from first-person to third-person along with additional perspectives. (BTW, I don’t suggest this task to anyone.)


JR: What genre do you normally write, and what draws you to this genre? Do you always write in the same genre?
Jim: My favorite is science-fiction. I love technology. When I was a boy, Star Trek was very influential in my thinking. Besides the really cool tech, the stories gave us an opportunity to look at ourselves from a different perspective. Like the aliens who were white on one side and black on the other. Ridiculous? Yes. But they discriminated against each other because they were white on different sides. To us, they looked the same. It was an obvious message about racial prejudice and an opportunity to see all of humanity as one. I also enjoy writing about fantasy and paranormal themes. Some say this is still sci-fi, but it’s not. (Horror is also not sci-fi, and I’ll never write in that genre.)


Mr. Saxon & the Thought PoliceJR: Of all the books that you have written, which book do you think is the best one? And what do you think readers will find most appealing about this book? What’s the “real story” behind this book?
Jim: My favorite is Mr. Saxon & the Thought Police. This story follows a man from our current time through many years. I share much with the main character, but to be honest, there’s a part of me in every character. It was written as a prequel to Mr. Saxon & the Droid and provided as bonus material for those who enjoyed my first two books in that series. The real story behind the book is the danger that is coming from virtual reality. It may be science-fiction, but it’s more difficult to imagine what I wrote is not actually partly true. It’s highly possible a present day version of the Thought Police exists behind the scene.


JR: Any other works in progress?
Jim: I’m actually writing three at one time. One is an adult Choose-Your-Own-Adventure like my Karma book, but this one is driven by dreams. The reader makes the initial choice, but things can shift like our dreams do. The second book I’m writing is the third book in the Crux series. It will have snippets of information from the Thought Police book, but there’s a deeper story going on as Zach’s memories are restored. The third book is going to be fun. It’s Gods of the Mind. This one deals with paranormal kids who are recruited and trained to be modern day gods. Think Harry Potter in a Buddhist temple. As they learn to refine their psychic skills, another group of teens are learning to oppose them. I’ve already written the first two chapters of this one and my coworkers love it. I have 81 little psychics identified, each with unique skills.


JR: What advice would you want to give to an aspiring writer?
Jim: If you enjoy writing, then write. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It doesn’t get any simpler than that. Some people can’t punctuate to save their life, but that doesn’t mean they can’t write truly inspirational stuff. Such a person would need an editor before publishing, but they should still write if they enjoy it. It helps exponentially if someone else enjoys reading it.


JR: How can readers discover more about you and your works?
Jim: I have an author page on Goodreads ( https://www.goodreads.com/author/show… ). I welcome and answer all questions. I even write a blog post there every once in a while. I have a Facebook page, but I don’t put much there other than notices of sales and releases. Of course, you can follow me on Amazon ( https://www.amazon.com/Jim-Neville/e/… ) to see my works and releases, but that’s about all that’s good for. I don’t tweet. Nor do I read anyone else’s tweets. I really don’t care what someone ate for lunch and I doubt anyone cares about what I ate. I just can’t wrap my head around the Twitter obsession, but I never understood peoples obsession with celebrities. They’re just people. Actors and actresses can’t even think for themselves. They just express what someone smarter than they wrote.
Oops. How did I get on this soapbox? So what was the question? Oh yeah. If you really want to discover more about me, you should read my books. I’m in there all over the place. Goodreads is the best place, though.


jim neville