Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Inside the Mind: J D R Hawkins

Lily:  Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview J D R Hawkins, I enjoyed reading A Rebel Among Us. I’d like to get to know the mind behind the story first. Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?
J D R Hawkins:  I have been inspired by many authors, from classic authors like Mark Twain and Jack London, to more modern authors, such as Margaret Mitchell and Geraldine Brooks.
Lily:  That's a great variety! So, quirky question, what do you want your tombstone to say?
J D R Hawkins:  LOL! Wow, I hadn’t really thought about that. How about “Here lies the most amazing writer that ever lived!” Just kidding.
Lily:  Hehe I love the confidence in that answer! Nothing wrong with shooting for the stars. Ok, if you were a superhero, what would your superpower be? What would your super name be? What costume would you wear?
J D R Hawkins:  I would like to have the power to transport around in time. My name would be Super J, and I would wear an amazing outfit that would be timeless so I would fit in wherever I went. Something elegant and beautiful, but not too flashy. Okay, maybe just a little flashy. With a cool hat, like Agent Carter.
Lily:  A cool hat is definitely key! Love the idea of being able to move through time. It would be my choice too. Ok, you can go anywhere right now that you've never been but have always wanted to visit. Where would you want to go?
J D R Hawkins:  The Caribbean or Hawaii.
Lily:  Mmmm tropical sun and fresh tropical fruit. What isn't to love? Ok, time to wind back the clock. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
J D R Hawkins:  I think I always liked making up stories and it came naturally to me.
Lily:  That's awesome! When the creative juices get flowing, do you prefer a pen or typewriter or computer?
J D R Hawkins: Pen and computer. I write out a plot, an outline, and character sketches, and then I commence to typing at a desktop. I like it the best because the keyboard I have is easy to use.
Lily:  Comfortable and easy to use keyboard can make all the difference in my experience. I've always wanted to try a typewriter for the experience. Now I’d like to talk about the book and your process in writing it. Who’s your favorite character?
J D R Hawkins: The main character, David Summers.
Lily:  He is a very deep and likeable character. What was the hardest scene to write?
J D R Hawkins:  In this book, it was difficult to write the prison camp scenes. They are based on journal entries made by actual soldiers, so they really happened. This, to me, makes it even more poignant and horrible.
Lily:  They were very powerful scenes. I think you did them justice. How important are the names to you in your book? Did you choose the names based on liking the way they sounded or the meaning?
J D R Hawkins:  I based them on meaning. Believe it or not, I got a baby name book and looked up names. I used the names’ meanings to fit the characters. I also selected specific astrological signs for the main characters so their personalities would fit with their birthdates.
Lily:  That's awesome. I like how in-depth you went during character creation. How did you come up with the title?
J D R Hawkins:  Originally, the book was titled A Beckoning Hellfire. The book grew too long, so I cut it in two. A Rebel Among Us fits with the plotline. The first book in the Renegade Series, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, was named from a quote a Confederate soldier wrote about the war. The quote appears in that book.
Lily:  I think the title is a perfect fit. Is there anything specific you hope readers take away from the book?
J D R Hawkins:  I want them to more fully understand the reasons for the war, and how people who lived through it dealt with it. I love those old pictures of reunions. The old soldiers embraced each other, and said they hoped they hadn’t killed anybody. After experiencing something so terrible, I think it’s a beautiful testament to the human spirit to love each other and forgive.
Lily:  It really is. It's amazing how through so much horror and hate, the human spirit and love endures through all. Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
J D R Hawkins:  I just want to elaborate on the last question a bit. Although I don’t consider myself to be a historian, after researching for my series, I learned a lot of things about the Civil War that I wasn’t taught in school (I grew up in Sioux City, Iowa). The war was about politics and states’ rights. Slavery was a side issue that was being phased out. Westward expansion and severe taxes on Southern cotton also caused the war. To me, it’s fascinating and complicated.
Lily:  That's definitely much more in depth than I learned in school in New York about the war. How can readers discover more about you and you work?
J D R Hawkins: On my website, my Amazon author page, and my blog, as well as on Facebook. You can also follow me on Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest, and find me on LinkedIn. You can find my books at Amazon,, Smashwords, and Foundations Books.

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