J. I. Rogers
‘If you don’t like what you’re reading then write something that you’d want to.’
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In the beginning…tell me what made you decide to start writing?
I can’t remember a time where I didn’t have concepts for stories; as an artist, it’s difficult not to create them while you’re working on a project. I did my first concept art for “The Korpes File Series” in 1985 as I was thinking about heading off to art school in Vancouver. I did, I took film animation (pre-CGI) at Emily Carr College of Art and Design but didn’t complete the degree. I spent the next couple of decades working, raising a family, doing the sci-fi and fantasy convention circuit as an artist, and running ‘pencil and paper’ role-playing games for my friends.
When I moved back to the small town my parents live in my gaming outlet ended, and the voices in my head got bored.
In 2012 I did a bit of world-building / concept art for a game designing friend of mine, and everything fell into place. Two weeks after that project concluded I signed up for NaNoWriMo, and I haven’t stopped since.
Are there any authors or artists who influence(d) you?
I read many genres, and as an artist, I appreciate a lot of styles. Indie or traditionally published?
Traditionally published: Jaime Hernandez, H. G. Wells, Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov, Anne McCaffery, Orson Scott Card, D. C. Montana, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. J. Cherryh, R. A. MacAvoy, Arthur Conan Doyle, Iain Banks, William Gibson, Spider Robinson, Neil Gaiman, Mercedes Lackey, George Orwell, Guy Gavriel Kay, and Barbara Hambly.
Indie: I plan to publish a list of indie authors that have influenced me on my website later this year – and give them some well-deserved recognition. Releasing names now would act as a spoiler.
Tell me about your series.
“Genetic throwback seeks kindred souls for illegal antics that will‘transform’ the existing corporatocracy; voices in my head need not apply.” ~ Nash X. Korpes
The closest definition I could come up with for “The Korpes File Series” would be that it’s a blend of dystopian and science fiction elements. There’s a healthy dollop of space opera mixed in as well; I’m a fan of character-driven plot. Summing it up, the story is set against a dystopian sci-fi backdrop, and told from multiple point-of-views, and centers around the main character’s experiences as a genetic anomaly. The protagonists and antagonists each offer clues that ultimately reveal the dark machinations behind the scenes. It contains everything from Aliens hiding in plain sight to a toxic, sentient Jungle that’s inexorably encroaching on the known world.
The Korpes File – Book 1
“It’s dangerous to be Diasporan, and Technician Nash Korpes knows this only too well. As a ‘throwback’ he was coveted by the shadowy Korlune Military Research and Development for his genetics, and he’s spent more time in Med-Bays than he has at work. When he’s torn from those he loves by an act of war he seeks to make sense of it all and uncovers a nemesis that threatens them all.”
The Korpes Agenda – Book 2
“Something dark is stirring in Korlune, and there’s only one person who sees it; brilliant, but haunted, Master-Tech Nash Korpes. Freshly escaped from the clutches of Korlune Military Research and Development he finds safety within the ranks of tech giant Harlo-Fyre. As the line between friend and foe blurs and friction between Korlune’s military factions reach boiling point, Nash is forced to act.”
I’ve just started work on the final draft of book three.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Seven, but there are more flitting around in the belfry. There are currently ten planned for the world of Tamyrh.
What’s your opinion on the practice of ‘banning’ books?
I don’t believe in either banning or burning books. I prefer having the option to read or not read work based on my personal assessment as opposed to having it decided for me by a government or a mob, and I believe that others should enjoy that same right. I trust my moral and ethical judgment. Enlightenment comes in many forms, and even the worst books can serve as a caution, lest we forget where we’ve been and what we’re capable of. Our fiction is just as valuable as a time-capsule of an era and should be treated as such.
Indie, or traditionally published – and why?
I went the indie route after researching my options.
My why is simple; I have plans for my work and wish to maintain creative control. There was a time when traditional publishing was the only course outside of vanity presses, but that’s changed. Social media, the ability to create personal websites and use POD services that are credible have placed a lot of power in the hands of the authors.
It’s said that to write well, you need to read a lot. What do you think?
I absolutely agree. Read multiple genres, traditionally and independently published work, comics/graphic novels, go attend plays and watch a plethora of movies (I suggest International films as well as classics). All of it is fuel for the Muse.
Tell me what you feel the worst, and the best, aspects of being an author are, and why.
Worst: Waiting for reviews.
Best: Writing something that someone else loves as much as you do.
Are you a plotter, or a pantser? What do you think of the opposite approach?
I am both. The overarching plot has been set, certain key events are set, but what the protagonists and antagonists do in their free time is somewhat fluid.
Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Oh yes. My beta-readers and Patrons all have things to look for.
Tell me about one favourite hobby or pastime that isn’t writing or reading.
I’m a professional artist, and my Muse happens to love mythological, sci-fi, and fantasy themes. I explore them through illustration, sculpture, and painting.
What are you writing at the moment?
Two more interviews and book three “The Korpes <insert an appropriate word here>” are the other open Word documents on my laptop right now.
What’s your opinion on the belief that indie books are badly edited and lower quality than traditionally published?
“You’re an author? Who reps you? Oh… You’re self-published? How cute. You’re not a ‘real author’ though, it’s just a hobby.” ~ Something someone has actually said to me.
I’ve encountered a few ‘unreadable’ books by those that hold they can produce a finished product in one draft, but they are not the majority. Everyone has had to up their game with the rise of the ‘indie author’, and I can’t honestly say I know an unprofessional author.
There’s still a snobbery surrounding being traditionally published, but that’s losing its shine as the advantages once offered are dwindling. Now we can access the services of professional editors, formatting software, and cover designers. Social media has made it easier to create and maintain a fanbase. What about the glamour of being offered a book deal and an advance? For myself, I’m not certain money would mollify the control freak in me regarding my current project… Perhaps the next? 😊
What is your favorite genre to write, and why?
My Muse is happy writing science fiction right now – probably because my office walls are covered in maps and sketches, and my laptop is filled with story ideas based in my world.
If you could, would you live in the world you’ve created? Why / why not?
If I were to there would be caveats, so I guess I’d have to say no. Why? The water is caustic, the jungle is toxic (and sentient), and humanoids require special equipment to survive for longer than a couple of days ‘topside’.
In the Northern country of Korlune, if you aren’t Korlo, you’re Diasporan (refugee) and a second-class citizen. While the Korlo inhabit the larger more modern cluster cities and have access to the best of everything, the Diasporan do not. They live in the rundown stations and mini-cities the Korlo set aside. Trains connect all of the population centers via an elaborate tunnel network, though airborne transports fly between cities.
The Southern country of Ankoresh is on a high desert plateau and receives almost no rain, but sandstorms are a problem. Though they are not as technologically advanced as the Korlo, they have greater numbers and a fine martial tradition. The Ankor and Diasporan populations are more integrated and while things appear better on the surface, underneath there are still elements that still resent the refugees… even after a couple hundred years.
If you could go back to the start of your writing career, what is the one piece of advice you’d give yourself?
Keep your metadata consistent across all platforms!
Do you listen to music when you write, and if so, what do you like?
I create soundtracks for writing, and I’ve found downtempo psybient electronica, industrial, and angsty bands from the late 90s and early 2000s inspire my dystopian Muse.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I was surprised and delighted to learn that people like my work.
Tell me three unique things about you.
– I lived in Kenya and Tanzania for a total of six years.
– I’m ambidextrous.
– I’m a bit OCD when it comes to clover patches and find a lot of four-leaf clovers as a result; I suspect I’m an honorary Leprechaun at this point.
J. I., thank you for participating in Galaxy of Authors!