Advice from IR Approved Author James Charles: “We need to support each other as we struggle to “get out there” in the mainstream.”

Spirit of the Amaroq: A Story of Salvation received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.

Following find an interview with author James Charles.

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

Spirit of the Amaroq: A Story of Salvation, January 28, 2018

What’s the book’s first line? 

Before sunrise in his basement gym, he curls weights, pumps out fifty pushups, crunches fifty sit-ups, jumps rope for ten minutes, and punches a boxer’s speed bag.

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”. 

Pastor Jack Douglas resigns his ministry after a traumatic event and hikes across America. In North Dakota, he finds work on an oil rig until a violent turn of events forces him to seek seclusion in the Alaskan wilderness where he’s stalked by the mythical Amaroq wolf.

In Nome, Jack takes a job on a king crab fishing boat where he continues to struggle with his past tragedies while fighting feelings for the proprietor of a rustic inn, a beautiful Inuit woman, Qaniit.

A man from the past perpetrates a catastrophic event that will once again challenge Jack’s faith. Will Jack survive or will God forsake him once more? 

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event? 

My novel before this one was about a veteran struggling with PTSD (My War with Hemingway, 2015). A lady-friend told me, “You have to write a trashy romance novel. Women love that.” So, I started working on a so-called romance novel, but because that is not who I am (a trashy romantic!), “Spirit” morphed into an adventure, inspirational piece (with a romantic element sprinkled in). I wanted this book to have “meaning” and heart.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?

I think I have written a book with a protagonist that most men would love to identify with (rugged, just) and most women would fall in love with (especially in the “me too” movement), a character who is genuinely respectful of all others (particularly women). In addition, this novel is a great American adventure set in the final American frontier, Alaska. Finally, even after all the tragedy he has endured, he is not only “rescued,” but he rescues others, most importantly the love interest who has suffered similar tragedy.

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character?  Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of? 

Jack is a modest, reluctant hero. A “nostalgic” for the Golden Age of Hollywood (although I’m not really that old), I would have to say Jack reminds me of an amalgamation of Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) in “To Kill A Mockingbird” and Tom Doniphon (John Wayne) in “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance”.

If they made your book into a movie, who would you like to see play the main character(s)?

Tom Ellis (TV show “Lucifer”) who, I think, has the alluring sex appeal and characteristic qualities Jack possesses.

When did you first decide to become an author?

About twenty years ago (first book Dance with the Devil). Always a daydreamer, I decided to put dreams into words.

Is this the first book you’ve written?

No, Dance with the Devil, 1997 (pre- 9/11, foreshadowing-type novel?), under the name J. C. Arlington.

What do you do for work when you’re not writing?

I worked for the Los Angeles Unified School District for 28 years in many capacities, retiring as an administrator. I’m in training to become a scuba diving deck hand on a diving boat.

How much time do you generally spend on your writing?

I try to write a couple pages a day; however, I become caught up in research, as my books require much.

What’s the best and the hardest part of being an indie?   

Even though I found a small e-book publisher who hires an editor and a cover designer, formats, and puts my books into the digital world, marketing and promotion is the most difficult part of this process; although, I understand traditional publishers require their authors to engage in much of this process as well. In addition, the barriers to quality indie authors obtaining distribution in traditional bookstores is most frustrating. I believe our books could compete with others.

What’s a great piece of advice that you can share with fellow indie authors?

Buy, read and review one another’s work. We need to support each other as we struggle to “get out there” in the mainstream.

Would you go traditional if a publisher came calling?  If so, why?  

Yes, because obviously, they have the means to get your book into brick-and-mortar bookstores. Indie authors, even with the support of a small e-book publisher, don’t have that means.

Is there something in particular that motivates you?

I made decent money in my career and live in paradise, despite what the media say about the volcano, so my writing is not about the money, and I would not want fame; I have seen and met some celebrities and they cannot go places without being bothered all the time. What motivates me is the writing process; that is, having an idea, conducting some research, and executing the work, including the rewriting, polishing, rewriting and polishing. When the book’s finally published, it is like losing someone.

Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire?

Tough question. My previous book, My War with Hemingway, contains episodes with Hemingway, so he is one because of his innovation. Additionally, Fitzgerald and Steinbeck for similar reasons.

Which book do you wish you could have written?

Another tough one. I think The Great Gatsby because it is the great American tragedy. Similarly, The Grapes of Wrath and The Sun Also Rises.


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