Good morning, diners! It’s time for another sit-down with a Starving Review alumni. Let’s pass through the usual menu of delectable questions with Jim Heskett, author of ABANDONED, previously reviewed here.
- Please introduce yourself to my literary foodies!
Hello everyone. I’m Jim Heskett, author, podcaster, blogger, etc. I write the Five Suns Saga series, the Whistleblower series, as well as some other random things here and there, and I host the Indie Author Answers podcast.
- Do you do any work outside of the writing kitchen? Any non-work interests?
Lately, it’s been playing with my ninth-month old son and chasing him around the living room, since he just learned how to crawl. I’m big into the outdoors, and living in Colorado gives me all kinds of chances to experience nature.
- What is your latest dish to be served up? Are there any past pieces of literary cuisine you think we should take a bite out of?
My next work to come out is the first book in a new series about a man trying to put his criminal past behind him after entering Witness Protection, but trouble keeps finding him. Look for the book AIRBAG SCARS, coming soon.
- What made you want to put on the chef’s hat and whip up your own books?
I’ve always been a storyteller. I used to write screenplays, but realized I didn’t want to be a Hollywood hustler. Fiction is more immediate and intimate.
- Do you have a genre of specialty or do you dabble? Why?
I’ve dabbled, maybe a bit too much. While everything I write is in a general “suspense” kind of genre, I’ve written dystopian, mystery, regular thriller, plus some satire and comedy.
- Style! Every literary chef aspires to have their own unique one! What do you think sets yours apart and why?
I just do my best to get out of the way and tell the story. I want to create great characters involved in unpredictable plots.
- Even the best of us find inspiration is the dishes of others. Do you have any literary inspirations, heroes, and influences?
Many! Stephen King was my first love, with others such as Cormac McCarthy, Kurt Vonnegut, Max Barry, Neil Gaiman, and a list too long to mention.
- Let’s get into the meat and potatoes: the art and craft of writing itself! Do you have a preference of points-of-view when you write?
3rd-person limited gives me the best option to create suspense. I love alternating viewpoints because you can let the readers in on details the characters don’t know yet. But that’s one thing I love about short fiction… being able to experiment with viewpoint and style without investing too much time.
- Sparse or wordy, how do you like your descriptions served up? Are you a Hemmingway man or do you like some saucy adjectives with your nouns?
Generally sparse, and I try to avoid adverbs and adjectives unless necessary. A great simile or metaphor can paint a beautiful picture, but it’s best to use them sparingly.
- Picking off the menu of base literary conflicts, what’s your favorite and why?
Not sure if I have a favorite. I love stories that make me care about the characters and put them in situations that make me worried they won’t succeed. If you can do that, I’ll love your story no matter what it’s about.
- What do you think is more important to your recipes, plot or characterization? Why?
I think you need a solid balance of both. I won’t care about your brilliantly-conceived plot twists if your character is boring, and I won’t like your book if your awesomely awesome protagonist sits around and contemplates her navel for most of the book.
- We all know that the first taste means the most! What do you do to get that first bite hook with your readers?
I like to give them something surprising early on in the story. I love a story with twists and turns, so I try to make the reader guess what’s going to happen next.
- The most important of questions: Cake or pie?
Cake, and it’s not even a question.
- Finally, if you could give one piece of advice to aspiring literary chefs out there, what would it be?
The more words you write, the better you get. Don’t get discouraged, just keep on writing. If you love it, don’t ever stop.