James Fant is a writer I’ve been waiting anxiously to interview. His busy schedule means that he can only interview when he has time and I was willing to wait. For those of you already aware of his work, you will know what to expect. For those new to the work of James Fant I should explain some important things about him. He is a gentleman above all and his education shines through clearly. James is a sturdy, strong-willed man who loves his family and his wife. He doesn’t need anything other than the family unit to keep him strong. Calm and sophisticated, he’s a man who drives himself along with his own strength and creativity. I am proud to present a true professional to you today. Here is James Fant.
Q) So tell me, James, how did you get into writing?
A) My imagination is exceptionally strong. I’ve always been able to see an invisible world and translate what I see onto paper. I’m not crazy, mind you, but I have always enjoyed making up stories. I wrote a story in the third grade about a witch and three pirates. The witch ended up eating the pirates because they tried to kill her. (Crazy, right?) But I received an award for that story in the third grade.
Q) So that one story you wrote in third grade stirred you to become an author?
A) No. That story was a result of the creative gift that God gave me. I started writing professionally because God kept giving me stories to write. I can be driving down the road and see, for an example, an old rusted van in the back yard of a house. I say to myself, “Why is that van there in the back yard? What’s that van’s story?” So, that’s what stirs me to write. I look at things and see the story inside of them.
Q) When did you publish your first book and what was it called?
A) I published my first work in November 2011. It was a short story called “The Mended Fence” and it chronicled (briefly) the adventure of a cheating husband who came home one night and saw his wife returning the favor. I really had fun writing that story because I fashioned it to be a sort of poetic short story. Like all of the works I write, there is a message or theme in that short story that will inspire readers.
Q) I really admire that you always leave a moral or theme in your work. Is that consciously done?
A) Yes. I feel that my work is both entertaining and inspirational. In “The Mended Fence” readers are taken on a wild ride that includes reckless driving, destroyed property, and a bank robbery. You see, the main character of the story was trying to buy a diamond for his wife because she caught him cheating on her. He was trying to fix a problem in the wrong way. The moral of that story is that sometimes you need help, someone greater than yourself, to fix problems that you create.
Q) I think your work sounds wonderful. You don’t care for this current trend of sex and profanity in others’ work, do you?
A) No. I choose not to use profanity and graphic sexual content. However, I do write steamy material. It is all in the way I write.
I have a novel available now on Amazon.uk called “An Ode for Orchids.” It is about four beautiful woman and their relationships with men and with each other. This is a romance novel, but this is a novel that a reader can read out loud to their pastor. The content is steamy, sensual, and exciting; yet, it is totally clean.
Q) I was going to ask about “Ode” next. You beat me to it! How is the public receiving it?
A) Very well. I have glowing reviews of the work. Several readers have said that it made them laugh out loud as well as cry. Readers also say that they can identify with certain characters. I really love when readers pull something out of the book that I had not consciously thought of. I’m reaching readers and enhancing their life through the power of inspirational fiction and I absolutely love that about writing.
Q) Where do you get the inspiration to write your books?
A) Divine inspiration. Take “An Ode for Orchids,” for example. I started writing the story in 2006 and nearly shelved the idea after I started graduate school, but the story would not go away. No matter how busy I was with school work, with church, or family life, the story would come back to me. It needed to be told. I’m sure readers will be able to identify with the story and say, “Yes. I went through something similar.” I believe God inspired me to write the story to be both entertaining and edifying.
The idea came from my appreciation of the enduring strength and tenacity of all of the women in my life. My hardworking mother, my loving grandmother, my strong sisters (related and non-related), no-nonsense aunties, and last but definitely not least, my beautiful wife. A lot of women are holding it down on their own for one reason or another. They endure many hardships and have become tougher for it. However, they still have the power to be nurturing and sweet. So, I believe that God gave me this story to edify not only women, but also the men that want them and must have them in their lives.
I have to give credit to God for the ideas that He gives me because that keeps me going. He’s the Master Communicator and everything starts with His Words. So, I’m a big student of communication and the art of wordplay. An author can project a certain theme and really draw the reader in just by choosing the right words and putting them in the right place at the right time. It’s really a beautiful thing.
Also, as a storyteller, one has the luxury of creating utter chaos for the reader’s enjoyment. I recently read “One Blood” by Qwantu Amaru and the chaos was in full swing. Powerful storms, heated battles, tragedy and triumph. All without the need of a stunt double. Knowing that I have the opportunity to write literature that is both endearing and exciting motivates me to want to write forever.
Q) How do you go about writing your work? Do you need silence or do you listen to music? How does James Fant write?
A) James Fant writes to the rhythmic sounds of Robert Glasper, a jazz pianist with such albums as “Mood,” “In My Element,” and “The Experiment.” The list goes on. But I’ll put in my headphones and let the syncopated rhythms pump as I punch the QWERTY.
My writing process is very simple. The story starts off as divinely inspired idea. Then I outline the entire story, trying to be as brief with the outline as I can be. Then I just write. And, I mean, I don’t sit at my laptop and think about what I’m going to write. I just write.
One of my favorite movies is “Finding Forester,” with Sean Connery and Rob Brown. In one scene, William Forrester (Connery) and Jamal Wallace (Brown) were sitting at their typewriters. Forrester starts typing away while Wallace just sits there. He tells Forrester that he’s thinking, but Forrester replied that the first draft is written with the heart. The second draft is written with the head.
When I’m in writing mode, I really don’t think about what I’m writing at all. I have the story in my head and I just let my subconscious go to work. What I really love to do, especially if I don’t have to get up early the next morning, is to write late at night. I like to see what I come up with in the haze of sleepiness. Sometimes when I get up in the morning, I’m pleasantly surprised by what I wrote. There are some words, phrases, plot twists, and endings that my mind would definitely tell me to avoid if I’m writing earlier in the evening. After midnight, I write with my heart primarily and include every intimate detail of my experiences and thoughts. I usually come up with something pretty cool. Or, I end up writing something really crazy, get a real good kick out of it, and file it away in a folder named DO NOT USE.
Q) It sounds like a wonderful process. I write in a similar way and I always love writing to jazz. I think you have a lovely style. So what sets your books apart from others in the genre?
A) One major distinction is that there is no profanity or lewd sexual scenes in my books; however, the stories are still extremely hot and steamy. There’s a high level of passion and conflict within my stories. There may be arguments and fights. There may even be a great deal of sexual tension. But there is no profanity or graphic love scenes. Now that I’ve given that disclaimer, I love including “OMG” moments in my books, places that will make the reader say, “Wow. I cannot believe the character did that.” It’s all in the way I use words and I actually have a lot of fun crafting hot, steamy, non-raunchy books.
I want to write stories that will encourage readers to analyze and repair their personal relationships. That’s what I love about writing fiction. You can create this wonderful and exciting story with lots of twists and turns, but the story can also have meaningful characters and situations that readers can identify with and learn from. Another distinction, like my upcoming novel titled “14-Pages,” is that I may write love stories that involve married couples. Many romance novels are about people actually hooking up and eventually getting married, but I believe that love stories don’t end when the wedding ring goes on.
Q) As an author, what are the keys to success that lead to your book getting out to the public?
A) Enlisting the help of others is a major key. You don’t know everything, and you can’t be good at everything. As an indie author, I had to realize that it doesn’t matter that I run a small publishing company and that I have to wear many hats. I still need to surround myself with talented people.
Education is another key. As a graduate student I learned that the true goal of any Masters or Doctorate program is to teach the student how to learn, how to educate himself. To be successful as an author, publisher, or anything for that matter, you can’t be scared to learn new things. You actually have to embrace learning.
Q) I agree. So what is your publishing company called? Are you taking manuscripts right now? If so, what genre? How can people approach you with their work?
A) I created my publishing company REAL FANTASY PUBLISHING to release only my work at present. That doesn’t mean that I will never publish other authors. That is actually phase five of my long-term plan. But presently, I am only publishing books by James Fant and I’m having so much fun doing so.
Readers, however, can check out my website www.jamesfantbooks.com for information on my work.
Q) Can readers of your books contact you? How about publishers?
A) Readers and publishers can contact me at the following places.
jamesfant (@) yahoo.com
Q) So what is next for you? Another book? A new idea?
A) What’s next for me? My novel “14-Pages” will be released soon. “14-Pages” is about a newlywed couple who argue so much that they discuss divorce, but a marriage expert tells them that their issue is that they signed a marriage license and not a marriage contract– a document that will govern how they treat each other.
So the couple draft a 14-page contract with step-by-step marriage instructions. It even includes crazy clauses like the Tip Out Clause, The Quota, and Chill Therapy. Everyone thinks the contract is crazy and they may be right. But for Marco and Venice, the newlywed couple, happily ever after needs all the help that it can get. So here’s the question– is a 14-page marriage contract enough to save a failing marriage? Only time will tell. (Or in actuality, only I will tell since I’m the author of the story!)
Q) I will be getting a copy, James. I have really enjoyed this interview. So is there anything you would like to add? Any last words, so to speak?
A) I’d like to leave this little bit of encouragement to the readers of this interview. Please, whatever you do, continue to dream. No matter how busy you get with the cares of life, dream and I mean dream drastically. As children we fantasized about what we will be. We even tell people proudly about our dreams without an ounce of trepidation. Any and everything was possible when we were children. Then came adulthood and what many term as the real world. And many times we stop fantasizing because we’ve gotten a healthy dose of reality. But here is the real reality. All things are possible if you believe. Do you believe that?
Q) I do, James. I have dreamed my whole life and tried to make them come true. I finally met the girl of my dreams and everything fell into place. Your words really hit home with me there.