Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I couch surfed for nearly five years after I graduated college with a degree in film. During that time, I worked as a freelancer in the North Carolina film industry, working as everything from a production assistant to a sound mixer to a member of the art department on different films and commercials. I stuck around the same area for most of that time, because I really liked my friends and family and didn’t want to leave them.
When I wasn’t working, I wrote and exercised my creativity by playing a lot of tabletop RPGs with different groups of people. During that time, I decided I wanted to take my passion and love for writing further and become an author. I kept writing for the majority of my days.
Despite all of that work, I didn’t release anything. I was terrified no one would like it, or worse, no one would care. So I just kept writing without an audience.
Now, I’ve stopped making excuses. With the support of my wife, friends, and family, I am releasing my first book on October 27th, 2015. It’s a small collection of short stories, but it’s a big step for me, and it is only the beginning.
Which writers inspire you?
Honestly, everyone who writes a book inspires me.
Finishing and presenting a book is hard. It takes time, energy, mental fortitude, and sacrifice. It takes a lot for someone to create a piece of art and present it to the world, knowing some people are going to hate it for some reason.
Even people who write books that I find unreadably awful inspire me. They did something very few people have done, even if they never write another book again.
The courage it takes for artists to create and release art is inspiring.
Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?
Unfortunately, I have not. I love tabletop RPGs for their collaborative storytelling elements, so actually making a story with another author is something I would love to do.
When did you decide to become a writer?
Someone once told me “Writing is one of the few occupations that you don’t choose. Writers have to write or they’re miserable.” That is true. Even now, when I’m not writing, I am miserable. My head is full of ideas, and I have to let them out.
I knew writing was going to be a part of my life in high school, but I didn’t know exactly how. As I mentioned before, it was after college I finally understood I needed to do it.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
With the help of my unreasonably supportive wife, I dove into this headfirst. It is a full-time gig.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
Outlines are the second most important part of writing for me. The first is a word processor program to get my thoughts onto a page. I have a very active mind, so I’m constantly thinking about what will happen two books from now in the story I’m working on, what I need to eat, a way to solve a problem in another book, and good encounter for my RPG players, and what I should get my wife for Christmas. Outlines help keep me focused on where I’m going in that particular story and help to channel those thoughts into foreshadowing and making the story better as a whole.
Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers?
Not yet. This is my first attempt. The strategy this time was simply trying to find anyone who wanted to read my book. Blog tour services are looking nicer and nicer after the amount of hours I poured into finding every reviewer I sent an email to or tweeted.
Though the nice part about doing all the work is that I feel extremely happy each time someone from one of those websites replies.
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
Stories are a form of art, and not everyone is going to like the same pieces. You have to take some bad reviews as people who just don’t like that particular piece.
However, you also need to understand that some criticism is good, and you need to be able to extract that so you can become a better writer. You also have to do that without feeling horrible because you did something wrong. Maybe that part is easier for other people than it is for me.
Good reviews are awesome. I try not to let my inner pessimist come out and be bothered by a good review when they don’t say something constructive. I’ve learned to let a good review just be a good thing.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
My website: RexiconJesse.wordpress.com. I post RPG ideas and encounters there, review games for fun, and post other things that should amuse.
My Twitter account, @RexiconJesse, and my Facebook account, facebook.com/JesseGalena, are updated with website posts, other fun things, and my writing updates.
Any Comments for the Blog readers?
If you want to do something creative, do it. Don’t make excuses like I did and do it later than you could have. Try it. Draw. Write. Paint. Whatever. Do it and share it. Learn to take constructive criticism and to brush off the unconstructive crap people will throw at you. Also learn the difference between the two.
Any feedback for me or the blog?
Thank you so much for connecting with me. It’s incredibly nice to see some people will give time to an unknown, first-time author. I’m not sure I can express how much this means to me.