Interview with J. Beckett, Author of Island of Secrets

29 Sep 2020

What can you tell us about your new release, Island of Secrets?

I’ve always loved the pulpy action adventure thrillers. As a kid I devoured David Goleman’s Event Group Thrillers. I also really loved a very short lived Canadian show called Adventure Inc. (short like 1 season iirc) that featured a team of folks that were treasure hunters. It was fun to watch them explore the depths finding previously hidden things. I wanted to tap into a bit of that excitement.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I think there are two major factors. As a kid I wasn’t a huge reader, but my parents bribed me to read and write book reports with GI Joe figures. Once I got started I never stopped reading. The other factor was much later when I discovered David Eddings and Terry Brooks’ work. While I don’t write fantasy, my early reading was predominantly fantasy and really kindled my imagination.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

Oh wow, tough one. I’ll cheat a little with series 🙂
1. The Shannara Chronicles – Terry Brooks
2. Omega Force – Joshua Dalzelle
3. Spinward Fringe – Randolph Lalonde
4. Wool – Hugh Howey
5. The Event group Thrillers – David Coleman

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

I think maybe Hugh Howey. I’d ask if he was surprised at the success of Wool. It was one of the first (that I recall) self-published things I read and I remember falling in love with his world. He was/is one of those ‘breakout’ success stories, but there’s always more to that, I’d love to talk to him about it.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

I love telling stories. I have since I was a kid. I always looked at assignments in school and if possible made them into stories even if that wasn’t the project.

What is a typical day like for you?

I try to write every day. My current day job is running my own indie conference company, so some days it’s all about that, but most I try to get a few words down. Much of my writing tends to be in the evening, often as I’m re-watching old sci-fi like Stargate SG1, Dark Matter, or Firefly.

What scene from Island of Secrets was your favorite to write?

I think the (Spoilers ahead) base. Exploring that and then subsequently destroying it. Creating a bit of history around it so it (at least to me) felt kind of plausible.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

Not a John Wilker Original but I love “the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself”

It’s so easy these days to measure yourself against someone else regardless of if they’ve been on their path longer than you or if their path even similar to yours, etc. I try to keep my eye on the prize and not worry what other writers are doing.

J. Beckett is the author of the new book Island of Secrets.

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