JS Garner Interview

I keep a pretty simple rule on writing. I only write it if its fun to write and interesting to read

What inspired you to write?
My inspiration came from a laboratory accident. My daytime job is as a chemist working for a small company. In November of 2012, I mishandled a reaction and accidentally generated poisonous phosgene gas. I ended up in the ER, but managed to survive the incident. After that, however, I smelled phosgene everywhere. It felt like a curse that followed me from place to place and I could not escape. I had a great deal of anxiety with working in the lab again which grew worse with time. About a year later, I sought professional help and one suggestion was to find a creative outlet for handling my anxiety. I started writing as a means to distract myself from the anxiety and it worked. I write to this day not just as a coping mechanism but also because it is fun to tell new stories.

Did the inspiration to write come to you suddenly, or had you been thinking about it some time?
Very sudden. Prior to writing my first ebook novel "Mackenzie: An Assassin's Tale," typed at breakneck speed trying to distract myself from the fear, the only things I had ever written were school assignments. Several of the stories, however, are ideas that had been in my mind as either fantasies or daydreams for a long time.

How did you tell your story? In other words, did you use an outline, or just write your story from start to finish?
I just write the story from start to finish. I've tried outlining before, but it doesn't work for me very well because sometimes the characters have different ideas for the story direction than I do.

Did you receive any encouragement from family and friends, or did you work on your book alone?
Mostly, I work on the books alone. My wife is a great support in allowing me the time to do so.

What was the most difficult part of writing your book?
Editing. It's a very slow process.

What was the most enjoyable aspect of writing your book?
When story-lines, especially ironic ones, come together and make sense. It's a good feeling.

Did you experience any personal transformation after the book was published?
I've had a great deal of personal transformation and learning as part of the process of writing the books. It may sound odd, but several times characters have great advice which I've been able to put into practice in my own life with varying degrees of success.

What’s something that gets in the way of your creativity?
Lack of time and exhaustion.

What strategies do you use to deal with criticism?
I remind myself that this is a hobby that I do for fun and relaxation. That being said, I do try to incorporate improvements in as I can. If I'm going to write, I might as well try to write well.

Have you received any awards for your books?

Not yet. Winning an award is not a trivial task and so it may be some time before anything like that happens.


Are you working on a new book at the moment? What are you up to nowadays?

I am always working on a new book. I have been writing constantly for the past three years and I have no inkling of slowing down or stopping. It has practically become a part of my life. Typically, the night after I get one book published on Amazon, I start right up with my next novel. Usually it has been spooling up in my mind for some time and so, by the time I sit to keyboard, I already know exactly what I am going to write. Sometimes, I get impatient and skip ahead and start working on the subsequent book as a break from editing the first book. I never imagined I would like writing. Prior to my first novel, the last time I wrote fiction it was in high-school mostly for class assignments. Since I discovered writing, for me it has become almost as necessary as breathing. I spend the day dealing with a never-ending stream of logistics, resource management, risk, and stress. At night, I get a chance to let all of that go and disappear into a world of fantasy and fiction to escape it all. It truly is a joy to have the opportunity to write and I strive for that opportunity whenever I get a chance. As of right now, I’m working on "Bistro Viande: Afterlife" It is the sequel to Bistro Viande and set in a dystopian future Toronto. It focuses on the adventures of a teenage girl rescuing her friend from terrorists. I'm about half-way through it right now. I have a couple more book ideas lined up for after I finish this one, along with a few dangling sequels that I would still like to get around to as well once I stop plugging through new books.


Do you have any author appearances coming up and/or are you doing any books giveaways or contests?

I don't have any author appearances scheduled. I do have giveaways which occur from time-to-time (watch my blog). I plan to work-in contests and such in the future, but I haven't managed to really get this set up or formalized as of yet.


Tell us about yourself: where did you grow up and what is your favorite childhood memory?
I grew up on the outskirts of a small town named Elwood, IN. Our house lay sandwiched between a woods and a crop field. Most of my favorite memories as a child involved exploring and playing in the woods around our house, a source of endless wonder for a curious little boy.

Do you have a favorite quote?
"If you're going through hell, keep going."

What is your favorite show on TV?
My children control the remote, so I have to go with PBS's 'Odd Squad.'

Favorite book?
"A Tale of Two Cities" Charles Dickens

Who would you want to meet if you could? Dead or alive.
Stephen King

Is there a talent you wish you had?
Would the ability to divide myself up into two and get twice as much stuff done in the day be considered a talent or a super-power?

What’s something about you that would surprise us?
I played tuba throughout high school and college... I don't own a tuba and haven't really played since, though. So most people don't know this about me.

Describe yourself in 3 words!
Chemist, Father, Husband