I am starting this blog tour with a preview of my interview with Author Juan Zapata, a brilliant writer of the most difficult genre, sci-fi.
Hey Juan, welcome to my blog. It is brilliant to start the tour with your words. Let’s get started about your book Golden Skies and the hard work behind it.
Let me get on to my questions
1) Tell me something about yourself? Who is Juan Zapata?
– A very dashing, noble man. Haha just kidding! I’m a senior at Alabama A&M University majoring in Criminal Justice. I want to work for the FBI someday, but if I get famous with this whole book business, I’ll stick to that.
2) How did you get to writing a sci-fi book? Were you always interested in this genre?
– Science fiction is what I first tried my hand at in high school. I failed miserably. I tried again in college and succeeded. I don’t know what it is…but science fiction has always drawn me. I like advanced technology over magic. Technology that’s game changing always adds an air of excitement to a story.
3) How long did it take for you write this book and did you have a lot of research to do for getting the gadgets right?
– It took from February 2016 to July 2016. So five months…but I had a lot to learn. It wasn’t anywhere near publishing standards until February 2017. As for the gadgets, Star Wars inspired me a lot. How they work – well, I did that off the top of my head haha.
4) How did the publishing deal happen?
– In an unorthodox manner. I submitted my manuscript to Owl Hollow Press in October 2016. They rejected it and gave some feedback. Exasperated at the number of rejections I’d been getting, I hired a developmental editor named Cris Olson. She’s like the Gordan Ramsey of writing – completely ripped my heart apart along with my manuscript lol. But I learned a lot. I approached Owl Hollow January 2017 and broke a silent, but clear rule: never contact a publisher with the same manuscript after a rejection. I apologized for breaking protocol and listed all the changes I’d made, how I hired a developmental editor, etc. and the acquisition editor asked me to send my refurbished manuscript. They liked it and requested some additional revisions and bam! One phone call later, a publishing deal.
5) How many books in this series and how long between each book?
– There will be three books, so a trilogy. Each one will release roughly the same time every year. Book 2, Ethereal Horizon, should be out summer 2019.
6) Did the world of Malik just appear in front of you while writing? Or had you already envisioned Certamen before you started writing?
-Well, Malik in his final state appeared in front of me. I can’t say what that is as it’ll spoil the entire trilogy, but he’s meant to reach a certain point. I know I’m being vague here lol. But yes, Certamen slowly filled in the gaps. The story all started with Malik though and only him.
7) Did all the characters talk to you while writing this book? Were they unruly in the first draft?
– Not really! All were easy to write. What I struggled with the most was Malik and Alayne’s relationship. I couldn’t delve too much into a romance because of the situation (torture, horrible prison), but I wanted them to have a strong emotional bond. It was hard to balance.
8) Did your main character Malik have shades of you? Do any of your characters have resemblance to people in your real life?
– Malik has a shade of my seriousness. Other than that, he’s what I wish I could be. Well, without the flaw of sometimes being overly honorable or honest. Henry would kind of resemble a police officer I know lol. Eliza is the sister I never had. I always wanted a sister :/
This was Juan at his finest the most understanding (many questions, this interview has a part 2), open-minded, and a dream of an author to work with. Of course, it also helps he is a good looking dreamboat too 😉
(his response- Haha so I am a dashing young man? I take back my “just kidding” from the first response!)
Stay tuned for the part 2 of this interview at the end of the tour, while I go and dream about this dashing author.