About J.M. Beal:
I started writing seriously in 2001, behind the check-out counter at Walgreens on left over receipt paper or whatever I could get my hands on, with a novel full of drama and romance and epic sword battles. In all honesty, it will probably never again see the light of day.
It’s been a long road since then, through different genres and projects and full of life events that keep getting in the way of what I’d like to be doing with my writing. Still, I’ve always got a new idea in the works.
In the grand tradition of writers who dream big and jump without looking, a friend and I launched a publishing company in June of 2014. You can find us at Golden Fleece Press.
I live outside Washington DC with my husband, our son, and three cats (usually it’s like living in a houseful of toddlers). I’m an avid knitter/crocheter–well,I say avid. I do a lot of it, I make no guarantees how good I am–and a giant geek.
What inspires you to write?
Everything. News bites, overheard bits of conversation, booked I’ve loved and books I’ve hated, people I know, people I wish I didn’t know. There’s a whole world of possibility around us, and I still feel like writing/reading is the easiest way to experience it.
Tell us about your writing process.
I am incapable of writing without a finishing destination. I hyper-plot, with nearly every scene of every chapter written down before I write the first words. But I don’t hold on to it. Frequently, in the best ways, the story gets away from me somewhere in the first third of the book and I’m scrambling trying to keep up with where it’s going then.
Every book is different, and I do my best not to steer the ship any more than I have to. I have faith that it’ll be the thing it should be on it’s own, and the best way for that to happen is to let go and follow where it leads.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Yes and no. They are people in my head in very real ways, some of them louder than others. If I’m having a difficult moment sometimes we sit down and have an interview. Once in a while they yell at me because I’m messing something up.
What advice would you give other writers?
Don’t look at the market before you start writing. It’s useless. Writing a book takes, generally, so much longer than you’d think by the time it sees the light of day. Wherever the market is right now is very likely not where it’ll be when it comes to publication time.
Just jump in and write the book you want to write. And give yourself permission to fail. First drafts are horror-stricken zombie-fed things. Let them be. You’ll get plenty of chances to fix them.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I’m in a strange blended place in an already blended market. I published Undiscovered Country with Vagabondage Press, but I’ve also started a small-press company myself and I’ll publish books through them too (this is not technically speaking self-pubing, but it’s kind of a split hair difference).
A new author should explore everything. There are good bits in self-publishing, and good bits in traditional publishing. And obviously I’m a huge advocate for the viability of small press publishers in the market today. The books you write and the author you are both make a big difference in where you should be going. So does what you need out of your publishing experience.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I’m not a pearl-clutching “the end is neigh” kind of person. I know that to a lot of people the publishing market doesn’t look good. But the market changes and it is changing, and what the reading audience looks for grows and shifts with every day. There are so many new and different things people can do with books now that would have been impossible twenty years ago.
I sincerely think it’ll find it’s feet soon and have nowhere to go but up.
What genres do you write?: Science Fiction, Romance, Space Western, Paranormal, Childrens, Mystery
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print