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Tuesday, 29 March 2016

An Interview with Harry James Fox

Welcome to my blog interview.

I am pleased to introduce the Amazing Harry James Fox.

Hello Harry. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am from the USA, born in Colorado. I was raised on a cattle ranch in the western, mountainous part of the state. In many ways, my early life was much more like the 19th century than the 20th. I can’t remember not being able to ride, since I was thrown on a horse’s back when I was still crawling. My parents taught me to be self-reliant and responsible, and brought me up in the Christian faith. In some ways it was a hard life, with lots of bumps and bruises and early responsibility. Did I say there was no modern conveniences? But I would not trade that early life for another.
I served in the US Army and served in Vietnam during the war. Nearly 48 years ago I married my love, Carroll, and we have two sons and six grandchildren. I spent a career in natural resource management with the U.S. Department of the Interior. Upon retirement, we served as missionaries and lived in the Philippines and Thailand for awhile, then I decided to spend more time with writing, which always was an interest of mine.

What bought you to the world of writing?

I have dabbled in creative writing for many years. Thankfully, the early efforts never were inflicted on anyone else. I had many years’ experience with technical writing, and learned that craft pretty well. I have always been an avid reader, and finally decided to bring works of my imagination to life.

What is your first book and what do you think of it now?

My first book is one on theology called Crosscurrents—Making Sense of the Christian Life. It is not an easy read, or so I have been told. I still like the book, and have not felt any desire to go back and edit it. Some people have been gracious enough to tell me that it is a contribution toward resolving some thorny issues. If so, that makes me happy.

What type of books do you write and do they fulfill your reader’s needs?

I am concentrating on fiction at the moment. My books come from a Christian world view, but they are not overtly of the “Christian” genre. I see no reason to leave faith out of them since that is a fundamental part of real life. They don’t exactly fit any genre, as a matter of fact, since I merely created a world as I pleased. Some call them “Fantasy” and that is not totally wrong, since my world takes place about one hundred years in the future. It is a world something like medieval times, so people that like historical novels seem to enjoy reading these tales, There are elements of “Dystopian”, “Action-Adventure” and “Romance” but that is because romance is also part of life and this future world is a violent one. I suppose it would have been smart to have crafted the books so they are a solid fit in one genre, but I was trying to do something different.

Would you like to feature a book, if so which one?  Tell us about it?

My first novel is called The Stonegate Sword. I gave a lead-in already. This tale is about a lore-man named Donald. He has been schooled in the old writings, which are the surviving works of our culture. From this sheltered background he is forced to learn to be a warrior. He falls in love with Rachel, then loses her when she is kidnapped by a band of mercenaries. Because her captivity was his fault, he sets out alone to search the Rocky Mountains in wintertime to try to rescue her. In the process he finds himself in the centre of a war.  An invading army is on the move, and conquest is their intent.
I am working on the second novel now, which takes up where the first one leaves off. It is called The False Prophet. I have plans for a third, which will complete the series.
How long does it take you to write your first draft?
I usually can write about 1,000 words per day. But I don’t  write every day. So a novel the length of The Stonegate Sword takes six or seven months. But after the first draft is complete, the real work really starts.

Do you plot or not, if so why?

I have an idea for the main story line in my head before I begin. However, I always think of sub-plots as the writing progresses. I also like to have a firm idea of the characters and how they might react in a given situation. Sometimes they take on a life of their own, and the plot might change a bit. The rewrites often involves bringing these story lines together.

Do you write in 1st or 3rd person, or have you done both?

I write in the 3rd person, but sometimes I put the character’s thoughts in the text, and these will be in the 1st person. They only make up a tiny fraction of the story.

How do you edit your work?  Do you leave your draft alone for a while or edit as you write?

This probably sounds strange in the world of electronics, but I prefer to write my first draft in longhand. When I get a chapter finished, I type it into the computer. I do a bit of editing at that point. But I really don’t try to over-edit. If I leave the work for a few days, I often re-read what I have just written, and sometimes I will fix a few obvious things then. But serious editing is something I leave until the entire first draft is handwritten, typed and in a complete document. It is better to leave it alone for awhile before editing.

What type of people/readers do you market your books to?

I try to make my books suitable for young adults. I always include one teen-aged character and don’t use strong language, for example. But my target audience is adult. People that like tales of conflict, courage, love, and honour are my kind of reader, and they are the ones I want to please.

Do you self-publish or have you worked with an Agent/Publisher

I quickly found that traditional publishing is not for me. I simply don’t have the patience to go through the hurdles necessary for an unknown author to make the grade. So I self-published, and that is a good fit for me. The big shock, of course, was the realization that a self-published author has to devote a great deal of time to publicity. It is really very difficult to find readers; to get one’s book noticed in the millions of books available on-line.

How do you promote your writing?

This is something I have not really figured out. I am active on GoodReads, and I have Twitter and Facebook accounts. I have an Amazon author’s page. I advertise on all the sites that I can find that give free publicity. Occasionally, I will get a paid spot on one of the eBook promotion sites.

Where can we buy your books?

They both are on Amazon. The Stonegate Sword is available as an eBook and paperback on Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and similar sites.

Who are your favourite authors?

I like J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Stephen Lawhead, John Grisham. The classics have been my domain for many years. Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Lewis Stevenson come to mind. American authors like James Fenimore Cooper, Mark Twain, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow are old friends.

The Stonegate Sword

Personal accounts

Personal Website

Do you have any more information you’d like to share with us?

I like the outdoors, playing with grandchildren, patriotic parades, horses, coffee, Earl Gray tea, green chiles from New Mexico. I don’t like chocolate, sweets, long speeches or needing reading glasses.

Thank you very much for sharing that with us, Harry.

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