Author’s name: J. M. Erickson
Do you have a day job? If so, what is it?:
I’m lucky to have two very interesting jobs. On weekends and early mornings I work as a therapist. I work with mostly adults and adolescents dealing with issues ranging from depression, anxiety and life adjustments all the way to post trauma. This is a very rewarding job that is measured in years of work and growth. My other job is as a senior instructor to graduate and undergraduate students in psychology and counseling at Cambridge College, Massachusetts, USA. I teach how to identify and treat major mental illness in multiple settings. I just two short years I will have been doing counseling for thirty years and teaching for twelve. These are great professions for learning about different people and about yourself.
How do your interests and work experience affect your writing?:
Due to the nature of my work I have been lucky to see people who might be considered as disabled be indestructible, tenacious, and relentless in seeing a crisis through to the end. All of my characters tend to be people with issues that balance both positive and negative attributes. I would say that my work as a therapist has really affected my writing.
What is your latest novel called and what is it about?: My more recent book, Intelligent Design: Revelations (AIA Publishing), is a science fiction novella that translates the origins on the human species into a possible intentional plan by a more advance civilization. There is balanced use of metaphor, literature, science and speculation to hopefully make the story interesting but at the same time great efforts were made to keep it simple. This was an opportunity for me to focus on a straight forward novella that could be a stand alone story, and to keep it far less complex when compared to my other works, Future Prometheus I and II and the Birds of Flight series.
Why is independent publishing important to you? :
Honestly, I am a control freak. The idea of letting my work be handled by other people, and at a ridiculous low royalty rate, was just beyond me. The biggest area, maybe the only one, where I let the control go is when I turn my manuscript over to complete strangers for editing. Manuscript reviews, copy-editors, proofreaders, etc. I learn so much from these knowledgeable people! Is there a downside to this control? Yup. I have to change one of my book covers because I lost objectivity and went with something I wanted as opposed to what might draw the reader. If you control everything, you’re responsible for everything, good and bad. Still, the idea of leaving it to a publisher over the course of years with limited control and influence over the final product runs contrary to core. This is why independent publishing is a good fit for me.
Where is your favorite place to write? Why?:
My favorite place to write is at my desk in a separate section of my bedroom. I have one glass and metal desk that holds an old style CPU with 16 gigs of RAM, two monitors, color printer and a couple of small screen tablets. This is my writing and personal desk. My other desk right next to it is near identical except that is used exclusively for clinical work and teaching. It could all be combined to one but there is something about the “command center” effect that makes me feel self important.
When was the first time you remember writing? Was it any good?:
I started writing in 2011 when I drove my son to school on a daily basis. Since his school was far, it didn’t make sense to go back home so I stayed in the library with my laptop and looked at all the books around me. My son also inspired me. He mentioned that he wanted to try writing as a career. I read some of his work and was impressed with his skills and I wondered if I could do that too. When I look back at my earlier work, it is humbling and sobering at the same time – the pov was all wrong, the story line was weak, the cadence, tone and dialogue were just awful. The only thing I can say that was hopeful was my characters. They seemed real to me. That is probably the only thing that kept me writing.
I presently have six books published. The first three – Albatross, Raven and Eagle – are part of the Birds of Flight series, and action/adventure/spy books. Albatross was my first step into indie writing. It’s premise was “what if Jason Bourne saw a therapist and got all of his memories back all at the same time?” Future Prometheus series are five science fiction novellas that follow the main male character who is on the autism scale, and a strong female characters that are trying to save the human race. Finally, there is Intelligent Design: Revelations, a science fiction novella. This was labor of love in my attempts to refine some skills in point of view, character and plot development, and keeping things simple. Which one is my favorite? Picking my favorite book is on par with picking my favorite child. I just cant do either.
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