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IR Approved Author J.R White: “The freedom that comes with being indie is amazing.”

Shadow of Wolves received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.

Following find an interview with author J.R White.

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

Shadow of Wolves was published in September of 2020.

What’s the book’s first line? 

Five men stood alone on the shimmering expanse of the Mojave.

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

Shadow of Wolves is a character-driven cross-genre adventure that fuses elements of horror and the wild west. The story centers on a tortured gunfighter, a Navajo outcast, and a monster that stalks the moonlit Mojave.

Ruled by a ruthless baron, the remote mining outpost of Shank’s Point is under siege by a sinister evil. When disappearances become mangled bodies, John Swift-Runner calls on his old friend, a vagabond gunfighter, to stand with him against the coming slaughter. Their hunt for the beast on the burning Mojave leads them deep into a generations-old mystery of shamanic curses and satanic relics. Can the killing be stopped? Or will Kit Barker, a cold-eyed gunman with demons of his own, become a footnote in the bloodstained pages of legend?

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

Writing Shadow of Wolves was about creating the story I wanted to read. It was probably around 2004 that I picked up a paperback somewhere that promised a “cowboys versus monsters” adventure and was just utterly disappointed with it. The cowboys were simply dudes with big hats and the monster turned out to be swamp gas or something. It bothered me so much that I decided to write the story I had imagined when I saw that simple premise. Ultimately it became much more than that as characters and scenarios came to life, but at its core my writing is about telling the stories I would want to hear.

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

For the thrill of it – because it’s fun! My first love for reading came from the simple excitement of entering a new world, meeting strange and exciting characters, and riding along for an adventure. In a world that’s awash with quick-hit entertainment, there is still room for the imagination-driven pleasure of a good book. Before the days of constant smartphones, the thing you pulled from your back pocket in the quiet moments was a dogeared paperback. That’s why you should read Shadow of Wolves, it’s an adventure in your pocket.

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

Kit Barker’s defining characteristic is his internal conflict. He has an innate aggression and temper that can get him into trouble, and he has to constantly fight to keep them in check. He is comfortable with violence but tries to only use it for the right reasons. Sometimes he fails – once with catastrophic personal consequences. Barker carries the weight of that past with him, and it deeply affects how he sees himself and the rest of the world. In some ways, he’s an example of how sometimes the only thing that separates a hero from a villain is their choices in a given moment.

I’ve been fortunate to spend a lot of time working with professional fighters and military personnel, and something they have in common is a powerful sense of honor and morality. So, you have these people who are deeply motivated to do the right thing, and at the same time, are exceptionally skilled at acts of violence. The sort of self-restraint and personal discipline it takes to walk a line between what you ‘can’ do and ‘should’ do when it comes to conflict is very interesting to me. With Barker, you get to see someone walking that tightrope when the line is very frayed.

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

When I was growing up, we didn’t have cable or broadcast TV. Instead, we watched movies on VHS as a family. So naturally, I love movies and I’d love to see my characters on the big screen. When I see the scenes in my head, they’re very cinematic, so it would be really cool to see what a good director would do with it. For the character of John Swift-Runner, I picture a young Eric Schweig from Last of the Mohicans. Barker is harder to imagine, though – I’d have to see the auditions, but possibly Toby Kebbell or Tom Hardy.

When did you first decide to become an author?

I’ve wanted to be a writer since grade school, but it wasn’t until college that I started to think of it as a serious option.

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

I’ve done a pretty wide range of stuff for money – research scientist, fighter, Jiu-jitsu instructor, sculptor  – but these days I focus on my writing and being a stay-at-home dad to my two fantastic Adventure Girls.

How much time do you generally spend on your writing?

At the moment, I average about four hours of actual writing per day, and then another two or three on editing, marketing, and research.

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

The freedom that comes with being indie is amazing. I get to write the stories I want to read, set my own deadlines, and have full creative control over every delicious bite of the process. The downside of that is there’s no well-oiled machine waiting to market you to the world. The “machine” is you, and getting exposure, figuring out marketing and grinding out all the work that comes after you publish is one of the hardest challenges I’ve faced.

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

Get something on the page. Once it’s on the page, you can mold it and change it and do whatever you want, but it’s not writing until something is on the page.

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

I want to see my stories in the hands of as many readers as possible, and I’m open to anything that increases the chances of that happening. That would be the deciding factor – what will get the story to the reader most efficiently.

Is there something in particular that motivates you (fame? fortune?)

I write for the love of it, and I really savor the affirmation I get when my readers are engaged and entertained. I’d certainly love to be known for my writing and make a decent living at it, but it’s not a primary motivation right now. One of my favorite quotes on fame and fortune, often attributed to Bill Murray, is “If you think you want to be rich and famous, try to get rich first and see if that doesn’t cover it.”

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