I would like to thank author Jim Zoetwey for being kind enough to answer my questions for this, my first ever Tour and interview:
Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself:
I grew up in Holland, Michigan, but currently live in Grand Rapids, Michigan. One is a small town on the coast of Lake Michigan. The other is further inland. As a kid, I could (if I wanted) go and run/bike a few miles and be at the lake. Right now, it’s not as easy. Not that that matters. I’m a web developer, and over the last few years, I’ve been working at home.
Oddly enough, the profession of web developer didn’t even exist when I was in college, and so I never considered it as an occupation. I instead majored in religion and sociology with a minor in writing (that I never declared). I then went on to attend seminary for a couple years as well as getting a masters in sociology. I’ve also finished the majority a master’s degree in information systems. One could say I spent a lot of time in school that didn’t have a practical application, but I prefer to think I’ve got lot of knowledge to draw from when I write.
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
It got started when I noticed that people were publishing fiction online, and that some of it was actually good—despite my original expectations. When I went and did it myself, I found that people were both interested and even excited for new updates to my story. At the same time, the specific idea behind the story—that a guy might inherit his grandfather’s powered armor, and decide to do something with it—that dated back to when I was in college. A friend and I created a number of characters and never used them for anything.
Nick Klein, grandson of the Rocket (a World War 2 era superhero), was one that I actually remembered.
How do you create your characters?
It depends on the character. Some characters I’ve had in mind for years, and happen to find a place to put them into a story. Some, I’ve created because I know that they’re going to be important to the story. Others, an embarrassingly large number of others, were created on the spot when I hit a point in the story that required them to exist.
This can happen to characters that eventually turn out to be extremely important. One character that shows up briefly in the second chapter of the first volume of Legion of Nothing becomes extremely important in later books.
What inspires and what got you started in writing?
I don’t really know. I’ve always enjoyed reading. That’s probably the biggest part of it. When you grow up loving stories, and noticing that you particularly like certain authors, it’s natural to say, “I wonder if I can do that?”
I’ve also always enjoyed role-playing games. When I was gaming, I generally found myself being the game master—the person who designs the world people are playing the game in, creates the plot of the story the players experience, and the person who acts the part of all the characters that players aren’t portraying. In short, it’s a great opportunity to learn how to create a story, and how to learn by watching what gets people interested, and what bores them. It’s probably great training for a writer.
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)
The major thing I need while writing is peace and quiet. Basically, I need the opportunity to concentrate, and not be interrupted. Often I turn on music while writing, but that’s mostly to drown out the noise around me. I also generally get something to drink, but I don’t have any special preferences there. It could be tea, coffee, beer, wine, pop, lemonade, or water. I need pretty much the same things as I do when doing web development, or practicing bass guitar.
How do you get your ideas for writing?
I forget who, but some writer I like always says, “Poughkeepsie” when asked that question.He tells people that he sends them a letter, and they send him back an idea. It’s a kind of obnoxious reply now that I think about it.
Personally, like a lot of writers, I get my ideas from everywhere. When I’m doing something, feeling something, or thinking about something, I often think that it (the feeling, idea, or whatever) should be in a story. Sometimes I even use it.
My academic background includes religion, sociology, and information systems. I spent a fair amount of time studying history, ancient civilizations, and had a great deal of curiosity about anthropology. As a result, I’ve got a lot of otherwise useless knowledge that can be quite useful when I write stories set in other time periods, or want to portray different cultures.
What do you like to read?
I enjoy reading science fiction, fantasy, and (unsurprisingly) comics. Favorite authors include David Brin, Connie Willis, Nancy Kress, Isaac Asimov, Kim Stanley Robinson, Tolkien, Roger Zelazny, and C.S. Lewis. I also enjoy reading classic writers—particularly Hemingway, and Fitzgerald.
What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regard to writing?
The obvious one is simply this: write. You’ll get better at something if you spend time learning how to do it. You’ll never get anywhere if you don’t write. The other piece of advice: don’t just write. Go do other things you find interesting too. You’ll come back to writing refreshed, and as a bonus, you’ll also gather more material in the process.
The time I spent doing martial arts has added immeasurably to my writing when it comes to writing a fight. The time I spend playing bass, learning about music, and sometimes hanging around musicians opens up other things to experience and write about.
Anything else you’d like to share? Not a lot. Thanks for interviewing me.
Interested? Book description and excerpt on the next page.
Just want to BUY the book or see more Tour Dates for this book: Go HERE
“You may kill somebody today. We won’t think anything less of you for it.”
Nick Klein’s grandfather was the Rocket.
For three decades, the Rocket and his team were the Heroes League–a team of superheroes who fought criminals in the years after World War II.
But Nick and his friends have inherited more than their grandparents’ costumes and underground headquarters… they’ve inherited the League’s enemies and unfinished business.
In the 1960’s, Red Lightning betrayed everyone, creating an army of supervillains and years of chaos. The League never found out why.
Now, Nick and the New Heroes League will have no choice but to confront their past.
Read an Excerpt from Legion of Nothing:Rebirth
“I’m going out on patrol,” Cassie said.
We—and by we, I meant Daniel, Cassie, and I—were in the headquarters of the Heroes League, the 1950’s and 60’s premiere superhero team. Our grandparents had used it as a secret bunker against evil forces. We were using it to play Rock Band on the PlayStation. Every video game is better on a twenty foot screen.
Except for the musty smell, concrete walls and olive green carpet, it was an impressive place.
Daniel paused the PlayStation, silencing the middle riffs of ‘Enter Sandman’. Cassie was standing on the threshold of the bathroom, chin lifted in defiance.
She wore a costume that was an exact match for her father’s—light blue with the red, white and blue of the US flag covering her chest. I recognized the material: my grandfather had designed it for her father. It was resistant to bullets and most physical attacks, but nowhere near as effective as the Rocket suit—my grandfather’s powered armor. Captain Commando had preferred mobility over protection. You can do that when you regenerate.
Cap’s costume had also been skintight, but I’d never thought about it.
I noticed one other thing. She’d cut off her hair. It was a short, blond brush cut instead of shoulder length.
“Your hair?” I asked.
“Oh,” she said, “it wasn’t comfortable under the mask and it moved around a lot. So I cut it off back in August.”
“You had hair five minutes ago.”
She pulled a blond wig out of her duffel bag.
“Now that we’ve got the important stuff out of the way,” she said, “why don’t we get back to the original point. I’m going out on patrol. Anyone want to go with me?”
Daniel nodded like he’d expected her to say that. He probably had. His grandfather, the Mentalist, was the best known telepath to come out of World War II. His father, Mindstryke was just as well known.
He put down the guitar and stood up. When we were standing, he was half a head taller than me. He was also better looking—literally tall, dark, and handsome. Think black hair, skin a little darker than tan, and a face that reminded me a little of Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic.
Seriously, girls swooned.
With an easy grin, he said, “Sure. I’ll go get into costume. It’s in my car.”
“You guys go,” I said. “I’ll be here.”
“Why?” Cassie said. Whether her tone had an accusatory edge to it or not, I believed I heard one.
I tried to think of a reason. I couldn’t put it into words. Grandpa had taught me everything he could about how the Rocket suit worked, how all of his inventions worked. He’d arranged for a friend to teach me how to fight. I’d learned a lot from both of them, but how was I supposed to live up to what he’d done?