Author Interview – J. I. Rogers
I am an award-winning, green-eyed, ginger-haired, caffeine addict who writes dystopian sci-fi novels. When not acting as a conduit for the voices in my head or working on something artistic, I’m a poster child for Gen X and the Queen of most boondoggles that lead to eyestrain and tinnitus.
My current project is ‘The Korpes File Series’ (formerly known as ‘The 942 Series’; re-branding does make a difference).
I’m ready to introduce you to J. I. Rogers.
Interview conducted by Sherry Terry
TNR: What drew you to write in your genre?
J.I.: I write what I consider to be dystopian science fiction… with a healthy dollop of character-driven space opera thrown in for good measure.
TNR: Tell us about your writing process and the way you brainstorm story ideas.
J.I.: This question is a good one but will lead to me writing a whole novel (or memoir) to answer it. For the sake of brevity, I’ll condense things:
Often, I’ll start with the idea seed; a doodle, music, or something one of the voices in my head whispers to me… a ‘conversation with one of my protagonists or antagonists,’ I mean. It sounds crazy, but often my characters often suggest things for the story that hadn’t occurred to me. I’ll let that tumble around inside my skull and see if it maintains its integrity, then I’ll see where it fits. Sometimes, it’s the missing link and other times it’s something that requires I rework the plot.
Absurd concepts have emerged as well; I have a notebook filled with them for future ‘outtakes’ or a ‘blooper reel’ for my series.
TNR: I love the idea of a ‘blooper reel’! What are you currently working on, and what is it about?
J.I.: Right now I’m working on completing this interview, but book-wise, I’m working on book three in “The Korpes File Series.”
“The Korpes ” picks up right where book two leaves off. Spoiler Alert: Our hero, Nash X. Korpes has disappeared, and no one seems to know where he is, or if he’s even alive. Events that were set in motion in books one and two come to a head, and civil war now threatens Korlune. Add in a charismatic cult leader with an unusual agenda, and a trip through the sentient jungle known as ‘The Seep,’ and you have some of the current points. Things may change.
TNR: When you develop characters, do you already know who they are before you begin writing, or do you let them develop as you go?
J.I.: Often I have a good idea of who they are, but when I don’t, I have a way of getting them to reveal themselves. First, I identify a core personality trait in them; something immutable. Then I write a scene with the newly fledged character interacting with a friend or foe and challenge their integrity. If I still don’t have enough of a sense of who they are, then I’ll write them at a party or an awkward job interview and make them answer questions. The rest of what develops happens as the story weaves itself together.
To be fair, I’m still learning things about the characters.
TNR: How do you go about world-building for your stories?
J.I.: I love world-building and am constantly finding images to spark the muse. My Pinterest account is stuffed, but I don’t begin with research, I start with my map. It can be a single continent or an entire planet’s worth of landforms and oceans, but that is where my inspiration takes root.
Fun fact: Tamyrh, the planet that “The Korpes File Series” is set on, has been a WIP for over thirty years and was initially intended to be developed as my fourth-year animation project in art school.
TNR: How do you go about creating the language in your book? How do you translate it?
J.I.: I’d dabbled with written scripts for years (old role-playing games were a good teacher) but coming up with a spoken language was a challenge. There are many groups in my series, and each has a language. While I have begun compiling a dictionary of words, phrases, curses, gestures, and the like, I’m not done with it. I’m certainly no Tolkien.
General Information on Languages in my world:
The Korlo have maintained their language, and everyone in Korlune has had to learn it. The Diasporan (refugee) population all speak it and their native ‘Slang,’ which is a polyglot of whichever ethnic groups settled in that particular city.
Nash was from Astel and spoke Astelang – it had some Tyr words mixed in with Ebo and Drakkar.
Davis was from Sarune and spoke Sarunang – it had a larger Birlo population combined with Ebo. I had his accent show when he spoke Korlo by dropping g’s.
The only words the slangs all shared were the swear words and the universal toast, “K’Stanzi.” Kah-Stan-zee; it’s phonetic and means ‘good fortune.’
There is also a gesture language that is universal among the Diasporan in Korlune.
The Ankor have both a formal and a standard form of their language. All Diasporan who settled in Ankoresh speaks the latter fluently.
TNR: How are you publishing your writing, and why?
J.I.: I’m self-publishing my work via Amazon, Draft2Digital, Smashwords, Ingram Spark, Kobo, Google Books, Apple, and distributing to more through these groups. I’m currently looking to consolidate things, and I won a prize package for PublishDrive, so I’m considering swapping over.
TNR: Do you have an illustrator? What is that like?
J.I.: AHG! Yes. I have an illustrator, and they’re the bane of my existence; demanding breaks, skipping deadlines, constantly whining about their need to sleep, expecting coffee, chocolate… oh, wait. I’m my illustrator. Never mind.
All kidding aside, I love illustrating and it’s been my plan all along to combine the written stories with art.
TNR: Now for a couple of personal questions. What do your fans mean to you?
J.I.: Everything. I have the best fans. Stories need to be read and shared to come alive and thanks to those that have responded to my style, my series has been given that gift. Some of the reviews people have written have astonished me.
To connect with my readers, I’ve set up a website, an author page on Facebook, as well as on Twitter and Instagram. I’m pleased to say that I’ve got between ten to twenty regulars who comment on posts. It’s a small, but mighty group.
As an experiment, I set up a Patreon account to augment my author earnings. I didn’t expect to gain much traction, but within a month, I had seven awesome people funding my special projects. Each of them will be getting something that isn’t available through any other medium around October of this year (Shhh, they don’t know yet).
Speaking of fans, my three primary beta-readers (those who have been with me since the pre-release in 2015) have earned a special place in both my heart and the series for their dedication and constant inspiration. Easter eggs abound.
TNR: What is your favorite way to avoid writing?
J.I.: My favorite way to avoid writing is to do something artistic. My usual approach is to go on social media, read, or play World of Warcraft.
Thank you for giving us a peek into your writing and publishing process. I had a blast!
Stalk J. I. Rogers and be the first to know about her new releases, her catalog, and her life on her Amazon Author Page and her website. Be sure to drop by her Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Patreon.
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