James Godfrey stopped by to talk about his life as an author. Read on for a glimpse at the man behind the books and be rewarded with an excerpt from “The Deceitful Heart.”
Have there been any authors who have influenced your work? If so, who?
The authors that have influenced my writing the mystery genre have been Kathy Reichs, Dan Brown, and Ann Rice. I have enjoyed reading Dan Brown’s work for the effectiveness of drawing the reader into the story, and then keeping them captivated until the very end. Kathy Reichs has a way of utilizing today’s pop cultural influences in such a way to craft such amazing and intriguing story lines. In the horror/paranormal genre, there have been only two iconic pioneers that have influenced my writing, Stephen King and H.P. Lovecraft.
Out of all the characters you’ve written, who is your favorite? Why?
Of all the characters that I have given life to, there is only one that will always be near and dear to my heart. This would be the very talented and unique Sgt. James Travers. All of my characters in my work are inspired by real people. The individual who inspires this character is a man who valiantly served his country as a special forces operator, and then served his community as a police officer. He has always believed that his mission was to make this world a better place by protecting God’s children. I feel that Sgt. Travers is a character that others will be able to connect to and in some ways inspired by.
On a side note, the female characters created for “The Deceitful Heart” were also some of my favorites. So many times in the mystery genre. Female characters are seen as helpless and weak. The female characters that I created for “The Deceitful Heart” are strong, confident, and independent women. Which gives such a unique dynamic to the story being told. Again, these characters have their real life counterpart influences. I wanted to do them justice and present them as the strong, confident, and driven women that they are in real life.
Are there any types of scenes you find more difficult to write? Which ones and why.
When you write scenes in a genre that you love is easy. One of the toughest tasks that a writer can encounter is creating an emotional connection to a character. To do this, the author has to dig deep within themselves. Which is often a hard task, and most authors are very protective of the most inner workings of their soul. What makes me different from other authors. I create emotional connections with my characters and the reader. The reason that I find writing emotional scenes difficult for me. I put so much of myself in the story, and allowing the reader to have a glimpse into the deeper aspects of my soul. This in itself is a terrifying experience, but feel that it makes me a better writer and person as a whole.
What would you say the most rewarding part of being an author is?
The most rewarding aspect of being a writer is being able to introduce new worlds, new ideas, and cultures to a variety of readers. You often have to wonder just how much of science fiction author Jules Vern’s work influenced modern day society. Many say that he is responsible for planting the seed to the creation of the modern day submarine through the introduction of .”20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.” You also have the opportunity to take the reader on a journey that may inspire, heal, or at the very least allow us to escape into another world for a little while.
What advice do you have for authors just starting out in their journey?
My advice to new authors is very simple but very powerful. If you have a story to tell, one that keeps driving you to put words to paper. Then you need to tell it. Do not worry about what people are going to think. Write from the heart and your work will be genuine. You may think, “There are so many authors. I will never be successful!” You have to stop thinking like this. A true writer will write for the pure love and passion of telling a story. If you look at writing as way to become a celebrity or have the next theater blockbuster. You never will be successful, because you work will not be genuine. Be true to yourself and to the story you are telling. Then you will be very successful. The readers will come in time.
Do you have a writing ritual? If so, please explain.
Before I write, I like to meditate to clear the mind. Then I will read the previous chapter to refresh my mind as to where I left off. Then I will listen to music as I write. Many say that you need a quiet place to write. I find the opposite is true for me. Depending on the scene that I am writing, the music helps me to visualize the scene and better write. When writing “The Deceitful Heart”, I had listened to so much Evanescence and Halestorm. I found myself honoring them both in my book by writing a small part for the driving force behind Evanescence, Amy Lee. Then making sure to mention Lzzy Hale as well for her influence.
Was being an author something you always wanted to do?
Being an author was something that I had never even dreamed of. I would always watch a movie or read a book, and then think that it was lacking. I would then tell how I would have changed the story to be more appealing. Everyone around me saw such potential and talent in me. I had entered a few writing contests not ever expecting to win anything, but to my surprise the work submitted to various contests received such high praise. I than began to start writing on a regular basis as a ghost writer for various projects. Then came the idea for “The Deceitful Heart” and the rest is history.
If you could have a conversation with any one person, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
I would say that the one person that I would love to have a conversation with would be the late iconic horror film director Wes Craven. He was the genius behind such classic horror films that spawned iconic characters like Freddy Kruger from the Nightmare on Elm Street series. The ability to exchange ideas about the genre, and the opportunity to learn from his years of expertise as to what makes a great horror story.
Would you care to provide an excerpt from one of your books as a sample of your work?
On a bright hot August summer day in Miami Beach, Florida, Sgt. James Travers of the Metro-Dade Police Department is laying in a sniper’s prone firing position. Sgt. Travers looks intently through the scope of his high powered M107 .50 caliber sniper rifle on the roof top of an old abandoned warehouse a mile away from a luxury high rise building. The warehouse that is home to his sniper’s nest is set for demolition later on that day. Sgt. Travers as he stands ready to fire the fatal shot is enduring a sweltering heat at a temperature of 110 degrees. He can feel the scorching heat of the sun bearing down on him, and the heat radiating from the rooftop against his body. The cool gentle breeze coming off of the ocean does provide some comfort, but he utilizes every bit of his mental fortitude to ignore the heat and pain to complete his mission.
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